Monday, June 27, 2011

Different Location-Same Truth

Different Location-Same Truth

I am not starting up my daily messages again, but felt the need to share something with you this morning.  I am in NYC now for business and decided to go out this morning for a mini morning workout.  The park that I was in is not too far from where I used to live (click here).  When I was done with my workout, I decided to take a walk through my old neighborhood, Edenwald Projects, Bronx NY, 10466.  As I am going through looking at areas I used to hang out, and other areas where I engaged in things I shouldn’t have, I came across my old building.  It brought back some good memories, but of course some bad.  As I am in a reminiscing trance, I hear someone shouting Jesus! Jesus!  Jesus, is that you!  Jesus was the name they used to call me on the street so it took me by surprise that after all these years I am still known by that.  When I looked over, there were two slightly older men, who clearly displayed evidence of how living by the code of the streets has taken a toll on them.  To be honest, they look familiar to me, but I did not know their names.  We gave the normal hand shakes and hugs, and I informed them of my name.  We began to talk, and of course they wanted to know what I have been up to.   Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!  Evangelizing time!!!!

I began to share my walk and to correct certain errors of information that swirled in the many years of my absence of that area.  I laid it on them heavy with the word and was pleased with the manner of how they were intrigued.  I say, I was with them for about 15 minutes or so.  Shortly after that, another pair of guys, who I definitely do not know came over to us.  Their faces were twisted as though they smell something bad, and did not care that they were offending me with their up and down looks as though I was delicious.  I just offered a brief smile, and quickly turned my face so I do not see anymore of their offense, and allow the enemy to cause me to bring some unbearable pain to them.  While I was pretending to be attracted by the surrounding area, I heard them inquiring negatively about me.   Then my neck snapped in their direction.  The earlier two men, said, “Chill, do you know who this is?  This is Jesus from back in the day.”  I was in shock.  I was not shocked that the other two seemed to change their facial expressions and adjusted their posture to that of submission.  I was shocked that after 15 or so minutes of witnessing to these brothers, that they felt it was necessary to use who I was back then to calm their concerns instead of who I am now, a child of God.  They did not say I am an old friend of theirs, or that I am cool people.  They reverted backwards.  I gave all of them hugs, bid them peace, and said “God bless you,” and moved on.

Whether it be Orlando, Fl, Chicago, IL, Bronx, NY, or any other location in the United States, there are people who are spiritually deprived, and because of this depravity, they will never be able to synchronize what they hear briefly (meaning the word of God) to what they see as reality (their hell).  I walked by people who I knew were old g’s back then but are now addicts to the same poison they were selling.  The elderly walk pass me with their head hung low, forced not to make contact out of fear that it may trigger a beating. I seen people who used to make fun of the men and women tasked to try to keep the place clean, now wearing the same uniform.  And I see young males who could not wipe their bottoms properly and always had a runny nose, now with thousands of dollars worth of jewelry on with tough looks and adjusting their waists because the guns they are carrying are too big.  However, when you go to them, and look them in their eyes, and say “I come in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and I am hear to tell you that He loves you, and desire for you to have a better life,” that tough stance diminishes.   Their facial expression changes, and what you really see, is a hurt and scared soul crying for help.    You have the community centers, and the park for the kids to play, and even have a Police Department in the center of the projects, yet crime and hurt is still prevalent.  They need something else.

This may not be some of you guys reality, but it was mine, and it is theirs.  Too much stuff has taken precedence over the needs of the community, and God is watching those who know better.  Just because you do not see it, doesn’t mean that it is not there.  The bible says “Without a vision, the people perish” (Pr 29:18).  Right now, you have ghettos across our nation who has people that need to change the things they see.  They are living in a Matrix and need to be freed.  We, who have been freed by the blood of Jesus Christ, should not just move on.  We should try every effort to reach those who were just as lost as we were.  Go into the projects.  Go into the jails.  Go where people are scared to go.  It is not as hideous and dangerous as the media makes it.  Furthermore, if God be with you, who be against you?  You are not going into Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, or Pakistan.  You are going right in your back door.  Remove the thoughts of “well that does not apply to me”  The same young man who you save from the streets, could be the same young man that does not end up putting a gun in your face prior to raping, robbing, or even murdering you.  Amen!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Just Leave It To God

Gracious Father, I thank you this morning for all that you have done and will continue to do in my life.  I thank you this morning for your grace and mercy.  I thank you this morning for the blessings of life and health.  I pray that these blessings not only be bestowed to me, but to your children who loves you.  I pray a special blessing on the reader of this message.  I pray that you bless them and keep them, and pray that your Holy Spirit encamp around them in all that they do.  Father, I just thank you for being a God, who we can come to.  Not as we pretend to be, but as we are.  I pray Father that you continue to love your children who adhere and share your word.  And Father, I pray that you forgive us of any trespasses committed.  These I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

My spiritual walk up to this point has been a long rewarding and at times daunting one.  I have been saved for six years and in them I have experienced and witnessed what many have not in their whole life as a Christian.  It is amazing how my spiritual life sort of mirrored my secular life.  I’ve seen it and done it, and men who lived up to 80+ years conceded that they have never experienced what I have.  As I continue this faith walk and spiritual growth, I have come to one conclusion, to just leave certain things to God.  Before I go into the message, I would like to share that this will be my last message, at least in the form of the internet.   I have contemplated the thoughts of possibly slowing down to at least one message per week.  However, with seminary in my focus as well as my new direction with the prison ministry, I need to focus my time on learning and being effective in those areas.  I prayed extensively and the results were the same.  I thank those who have followed up to this point, and I pray I have been a blessing to you.  I give God all honor, glory, and praise.  Amen!
As I stated above I just came to a point to where I just leave things to God.  Part of it may have been birthed by the paper I have written for my seminary.  I titled it “Christianity: A Look At Christian Behavior” Most of the paper was about my walk and about others in certain spiritual circles.  However it amazes me when I was able to recall certain dialogues I heard, that I participated in, and certain messages I praised when spoken.  Oh how wrong I was.  I then recall reading Romans 14-15:3, and my eyes were opened.  Forget about the world, Christians at times can be far more an enemy to the lost than the lost themselves.  They claim to be about love, but love are sometimes (majority of the time) not in their speech or action.  They claim to be about unity, but all it takes is a certain doctrine they are emotionally tied to, and a division will birth.  My favorite is how they will spout on what this or that pastor deserves for his shortcomings, yet failing to see what they may deserve for their shortcomings.  My goodness, and I was just like them.  I was no different from a Pharisee.
Family, I encourage each and every one of you to read Romans 14-15:3.  Your eyes will open, and by the grace of God, it may just set you free of negative thinking that we hide behind as being the truth.  I recall how I would say that women cannot be pastors, and gays and lesbians cannot love the Lord, and this church should not teach tithing, and blah, blah, blah.  Regarding women pastors, I know what the scripture says.  I believe in it whole heartedly.   No one in my eyes can tell me different.  What about that woman?  She may believe in it whole heartedly and no one can tell her different.  So must I fight her because of her position?  This is a debatable item that I choose no longer to debate.  She loves God in her heart, and she teaches the scripture to the best of her ability, so the rest, I leave to God.  To those men and women who believe they can still practice their lifestyle of desiring the same sex, and claim to have love for Christ, I know what the scripture says.  To me it is a matter of faith and understanding.  If they love Christ like they say, then I leave it to God, and trust that He will work it out.  To the churches and parishioners who tithe, more power to them.  I believe that tithing was commanded and required to the children of Israel and them alone.  God did not command the Amalekites, Hittites, Jebusites, Amorites,  or Canaanites in the Old Testament to tithe, nor did He command the Gentiles in the New Testament.  It was only the children of Israel.  Punishment followed if they disobeyed.  What is going to happen if I do not tithe?  Am I going to hell?  Here is my stance.  I am a child of God, who gives as a child of God.  I give from the heart.  Not because of requirement, not because of obligation, but because I am a child of God.  At times it is a tenth.  At times it is more than a tenth, and at times it is less.  I have yet to starve, I do not live from paycheck to paycheck, and the only debt that can be seen as huge, is my mortgage.  What am I saying?  I am not going to beat down the pastor or condemn the church who preaches tithing.  God bless them.  I am not going to debate with them to show them they are in error or for them to show if I am.  I will leave it to God.
Family, Christians have the tendency to say or do things which can cause many to stumble.  Where was their love of God in that?  I just shared many things to where I view it as the truth, while to another it may be doubtful.  Cannot it be vice versa that someone may view things as the truth, and I be in doubt of it?  In truth they are matters of opinion and these opinions are between the one who spout them and the Lord.  So if there are things that I doubt, guess what, I leave it to the Lord and I make sure I do not engage in them.
Did I have some sort of epiphany, maybe?  I tell you this.  I believe that God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whoever believes in Him, will not perish, but have everlasting life.  I believe that God did not send His Son into the world to condemn it, but that the world through the Son can be saved.   I believe that Jesus was punished in our place.  I believe that he died, was buried, was risen, and ascended back to the Father.  I believe that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit are one.  I believe that I am a sinner, and a sinner by nature.  I believe that I could not change on my own, and needed to accept Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, and by repentance and confession I am saved.   I believe in both hell and heaven, and believe that Christ will come back to judge His people.  All I desire to do is study to show myself approved unto God, a man of God who need not be ashamed, and rightly divide the word of truth.  I want to love God with all my heart, mind, and soul, and to love my neighbor as I love myself.  This love however is jeopardized if I engage in debatable matters, or engage in a spiritual dual with one whose faith may be weak, or who lack understanding.  So what do I do?  I just leave it to God.  May the Lord bless you and keep you.  Amen!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Watch Your Mouth

Gracious Father, I thank you this morning for one more day in the land of the living.  I thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed on me.  I pray that these blessings are also bestowed on your children who love you.  I pray the same on the readers and doers of your word.  I pray a special blessing on the readers of this message.  I pray that they receive it in love and consider it moving forward.  I pray that you bless them and keep them.  I pray that your Holy Spirit encamp around them in all that they do.  I pray that they continue to be a light for those in the dark.   Father, I just pray that you continue to show mercy and grace on an undeserving people.  And Father, as always, I pray that you forgive us of any sins committed, whether my thought, speech, or deed.  You deserve all honor, glory, and praise, and I pray these in Jesus’ name, Amen.

There was a time when I was a young boy, that I was a bit loose with my lips in speaking what I believe to be right.  I was speaking to my mom at the time.  I do not remember the content of my words, but I do remember feeling the need to say it, and I also remember not finishing my statement.  In mid sentence, I remember my mother grabbing the front of my collar with her left hand, and making some movements with her right hand as it was coming toward my face.  All I thought was how in the movies a man grabs another man by the collar and punches him in the face and knocking him out.  It was that thought that caused the tears to roll down my cheeks.  It was then, my mom’s right hand changed course, sort of.  I believe a fist was about to make contact to my face, but the tears caused her to change her mind.  What she did was just as painful.  To be honest, I might have preferred the punch.  She used her fingers and grabbed my lips and began to twist them while saying “watch yur mout, likkle bwoy” in her deep Jamaican accent.  It was more like w..a..t..chhhhhhhhh, yur mout likkle b..w..oooooooooooooy”, and each syllable was like an extra twist.  I swore my lips switched places.   It felt like my bottom lip was on the top, and vice versa for the bottom.  Surely I have given you a clear illustration, if you are not cracking up by now.  What my mother taught me that day was to be careful of the words I choose when speaking.  Clearly there are consequences if consideration is not taken.

That took place as a child, which I am sure many of you can relate.  What about as an adult?   I believe we are bolder now to say certain things, because we feel it is our right.   Part of our 1st Amendment is Freedom of Speech.  So many of us say, “I can say what I want, and it is my God given right!”  Yes and no.  We are to be careful with our liberties.  The Apostle Paul says “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.” (1Co 10:23)  Meaning, that yes you have the right to say anything you want, but what you say may end up being harmful to you or others if you are not careful.  We have the tendency to have the last say.  We have the tendency of winning an argument.  There is something about remaining silent, when someone disrespects us verbally, that makes us feel weak.  So what we do is say to ourselves, “who does that person think he/she is talking too? Well he/she is going to find out.”  And before you know it, our tongue takes on a life of its own, and after the smoke settles, the devil sits back and says “bravo!”

The bible says “But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.  With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in the similitude of God.  Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.” (Jas 3:8-10) Think before you speak.  Watch your mouth.  Silent rivers run deep.  All of these clich├ęs represent the same thing.  Our words can have an adverse affect on what we initially wanted to express if we are not careful.  Some of us praise God with our mouths, and from that same place, would tell someone about themselves if they push the wrong buttons.  There is power in words, and with that, we ought to handle what leaves our lips with care.  Words can cause people to commit suicide, or even murder.  Do you see the power of words?  Knowing what damage you can do, is it not worth handling it with care?  The bible says:

“In the multitude of words sin is not lacking, But he who restrains his lips is wise.” (Pr 10:19)
“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.” (Pr 18:21)
"But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. Mt 12:37 "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Mt 12:36-37)

They all speak on practicing restraint with our lips.  In order for this to happen, we have to change the way we think, and what we allow to resonate in our hearts.  When my mother told me to watch my mouth, it was because my words caused her to feel in such a way, that she had to answer me back physically.  Your husband did something to hurt you, and now you want to hurt him back by saying something to injure his ego?  Please reconsider.   You are tired of your co-worker boasting on how the boss likes her work, and now do you want to burst her bubble?  Please reconsider.  When at the checkout and that young lady have an attitude, not knowing that your taxes that comes out of your check is her paycheck. Do you want to rub it in her face?  Please reconsider.  Are you just tired of that person who just talk too much, and you want to tell them to shut the blank up?  Please, please reconsider. 

When God created us.  He created us after His image, and after His likeness.  God made things come to pass by saying it.  We too, have limited power in making things come to pass by our words.  Let us use this gift wisely in where God will be well pleased, and not the devil.  Amen!

Friday, May 13, 2011


Father, I give thanks this morning for all that you do.  As I ponder on the conditions of the people of society, this country, and the world, I pray that you have mercy on us.  This I humbly and passionately pray in Jesus name I, Amen!

I was driving to work this morning and I was in the far left lane on the highway.  This lane is usually the lane where people drive a bit higher than the speed limit.  I was behind this car in that lane and she was driving the exact speed limit.  I stayed behind her a bit, not too close, but enough to let her know that I would like for her to either drive faster, or for her to move over to let me pass.  There was no one in front of her so there was enough room for her to accelerate.  At one point she even pressed on her breaks abruptly, but kept going.  It did not affect me because I was not that close to her, so I took that as she did not want me behind her.  No worries.  I left that lane and made the attempt to pass her.  She now begins to speed up as though she did not want me to.  So I pressed down on the gas pedal and felt my truck about to take off.  I just got the water pump replaced so I am not sure if that had anything to do with it.  She did not have a chance.  I beat her easily and got in front of her.  As I look in the side mirror, you can see she was yelling in the car, and then flipped me the bird.  I just shook my head and kept driving.
I’m thinking to myself, why was she angry?  She did not want to move over, so I tried to pass her, and then she sped up as though she did not want me to get in front of her, I made it in front of her with enough room for another car to come behind me, and she is angry at me.  Why did she do that?  Then I began to ponder on a lot of “why’s” that people do.
Why do local assemblies allow people in leadership that behave contrary to the scriptures?
Why do some leaders of churches drive expensive cars and live in expensive homes, yet preach to their congregation about being content?
Why do leaders tell their congregation about sharing the gospel, yet they do not have any evangelistic efforts in their church?
Why do churches have all these funds, such as building funds, mission funds, etc and no changes have been made to the building in years, and never seem to have money for missions?
Why is the congregation surprised when the church had so many preachers come and go when the committee who hires the preachers is a bunch of hypocrites?
Do you think I am making this up?
Why do some Christians struggle so much, and hide behind them being Christians are the reasons why they struggle, only to realize if they would have just got up off their behind, they would struggle less?
Why do some Christians show love while they are in the Church, but let someone accidently cut in front of them at Wal-mart, or any super market, and see how they behave?
Why do some Christians bend over backwards to do anything for their local assembly, but if their spouse or children asks them, it is always an issue and vice versa with the children and parents?
Why do some Christians claim to be honest, but when tax time comes they put all these people as dependants in order to get a bigger return?
Why do some Christians have time to watch this show or that show, go window shopping, address their appearance, etc but have no time to study the word?
Do you think I am making this up?
Why do people say they are not racist, yet they would not want their children to date someone from another race, the only relationship they have with someone of the other race is when they have to, such as work, school, or even the church, they feel comfortable when someone makes racial comments in their presence, they attempt to find reasons why they are not comfortable around this or that person from another race, and hold a whole race accountable for the actions of some?
Why do people talk about how bad society has become, yet to not one single thing to make a difference?
Why do people expect compassion from the police when they were caught speeding, or when they are a little short at the supermarket, or if their warranty had expired, yet when they see a homeless person they keep passing by?
Why do people say, “we are judgmental” when we are pointing out something that they are doing that is not fair? 
Why are people quick to say a person deserves this or that punishment, yet do not consider what they deserve?
Do you think I am making this up?
These are a lot of questions that I asked myself in the course of me driving to work.  These are true scenarios regarding the church, Christians and people.  So what does this say about our society, country, or world?  I have scriptures to give, but I won’t.  Ponder on these questions, and then tell me where your heart is at when you are done.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Seriousness of Sin

Heavenly Father, I come before you on bended knees as your child saying thank you this morning.  Father I thank you for allowing us to see another day, I thank you for choosing me as your son and you being my Father.  Father I ask that you renew a clean heart in me as well as those who love you.  I pray Father that you instill in us the heart to forgive those who trespass against us. I pray oh God, that you bless this day, and that I will be a light and a blessing in someone’s life. I pray a blessing on all who reads this message and a blessing on the readers or doers of your word.  Father, I pray that in all that we do and say, that you get the glory Father.   All that we have are because of your grace and mercy towards us, so I thank you this morning Father.  And Father, I pray that any sin committed, that you have mercy and forgive us for it.  You deserve all honor, glory, and praise and I pray these in Jesus name, Amen.

People today, meaning in today’s society has made a grave error.  The error they have made is dividing sin into different categories.  In one category are the small sins that are seemingly innocent and really, in our eyes, hurt no one.  In the other category are the sins that they consider to be big that do the most damage and are the most noticeable.  This is something that we all have a tendency to do.  However, this is dangerous in attributing this type of mentality to ourselves.   When we think that there are some sins that are worse in God’s eyes than others, we begin to categorize ourselves as good and others as bad based on the perceived seriousness of one’s sins. 
This can be attributed to how our law is set up.  The crimes that are committed ranges from misdemeanors, and you have different classes such as class a, b, etc; to felonies which are have different classes such as class a, b, etc.  The law is set up to determine the level of punishment due to one who has committed a crime based on these levels.  As a society we have accepted this.  However, this is a secular view, which has no bases on our faith walk.  Suppose I was to share that we commit sins that God hates, and these sins in a secular view are not illegal.  What would we do with that information?  It seems we are more willing to obey secular law because we will physically be put in jail, than obey the word of God, because we do not see any immediate judgments.  Oh, how wrong can we be with such thinking.
Anyone who reads the bible, or even take the time to look at nature or how our bodies are created, can see how God’s love is manifested.  However there are things that are detestable to God.  The bible states these things in Proverbs 6.  It states “These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, A lying tongue, Hands that shed innocent blood, A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that are swift in running to evil, A false witness who speaks lies, And one who sows discord among brethren.” (Pr 6:16-19)  We would be a liar if we have not partaken in at least one of them.  I am sad to admit this, but I know of family members who have and may even now have continually engaged in six of these.
As there are consequences when we violate society’s law, so are there when we continually and willfully violate God’s word.   The bible states “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortionists will inherit the kingdom of God.”  (1Co 6:9-10)  So we know that people who willfully engage in this behavior will not see the kingdom of God.  If you notice, only two of these are parallel with society’s law which base on the seriousness, can land someone in jail.  The rest are behavioral, and yet God is clear where they will not be.   So where would they be?  The bible states "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death." (Rev 21:8)  Am I to understand that immoral behavior is worth what awaits?
The reality is that sin is not serious because of what the sin is, it is serious because of whom it is against. We are sinning against the One who can dispatch angels to assist us during of peril.  We are sinning against the One who can create a hedge of protection around us and our families.  Most importantly, we are sinning against the One who can place us in heaven or hell.  What we have to understand is sin is of the devil.  The devil and his demons are not only present when we sin, they are present when we don’t hoping that we can give them the opportunity for them to take control of us so we can continue to sin.  So how can we fight back?  We can repent, deny ourselves, and follow Christ.  We can look unto Jesus for help.  We can change the way we think, and mirror it according to the will of God.  We can learn to allow the Holy Spirit to convict us.  We can learn how to resist the devil and tell him to flee.  In my opinion, I think many would refrain from sinful behaviors if they remove certain company from amongst them.
Family, sin is serious.  We need to get away from the “out of sight, out of mind” mentality and change how we view sin.  We need to stop dividing sin into different categories based on its perceived seriousness.  All sin is the same in that it is against a righteous God.  Romans 3:23 tells us that everyone sins and comes short of God’s standard.  Regardless of what that sin is, the result is the same.  It results in missing the mark.  “Sin is not small, because it is not against a small Sovereign God.  Let’s try and do better together.  Amen.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Guilty AS Charged

Heavenly Father, I thank you this morning for the many blessings you have bestowed upon my family and me.  I thank you for giving me life health and strength.  I thank you this morning for my sight, hearing, and the ability to speak in a soundness of mind.  The many things that we often take for granted, I thank you for this morning.  I pray now that these blessing not only reside with me, but for all of your children who love you.  I pray a blessing on the reader and doer of your word.  I pray a blessing that they continue to practice what thus saith you, and not keep it to themselves but share it.  I pray that your Holy Spirit, rest, rule, and abide in wherever they are.  I pray a blessing of peace upon them.  I pray a covering on their coming and going.  I just pray that we are often rewarded with that of which faith produces.  I pray now Father, which I always pray, that you forgive us of our trespasses.  We give you all the honor and praise, and I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen

I used to live my life without a care in the world.  It was not because I was in a nurturing environment.  It was because I did not care about anybody, unless they were in my immediate circle.  The conditions or the affairs of the community much less the world, was no interest to me.  The friends that I kept were the worst of the worst.  Their thoughts were like my thoughts, and their ways were like my ways.  We were compatible.  We partied hard, we partied in groups, and could not careless who we offended.   A few of those friends did things far worse than me, and did not care.  As I stated before I did not have a care in the world.
Then the expected happened.  I was arrested.  There was no grand jury, nor was there any hearing.  I went from being arrested to facing trial.  There were no jurors selected, just the prosecutor, the judge, and some spectator.  In my eyes, I was innocent.  The prosecutor began to lay out the charges against me.  I was amused, because the charges were when I was having fun.  It appeared that the spectator was amused also.  I sat patiently listening to charge after charge, and began to worry.  I began to worry because the more charges he spouted out, the more serious his facial expression were as though the punishment will be severe.  In my eyes, yeah some were punishable, but does not warrant the outcome this prosecutor is expressing.  I think what bothered me the most is the more serious the prosecutor the more joyful was this spectator.  He definitely was beginning to annoy me.
After all the charges were read, the prosecutor looked at the judge as though waiting for an answer.  I looked at the judge and you can see sadness on his face.  Now I am concerned.  I began to realize how selfish I was.  I did not care about anything else, but I now had care for my outcome.  I had enough conviction to know I do not expect anyone to care since I did not have any care for anyone.  The prosecutor rested his case.  I was relieved, so I can now defend myself since there was no one pleading my case.  There was silence.  I was waiting for someone to say “defense call your next witness.”  I heard none.  There was only silence.  I look back at the spectator and he had this grin as though he knew what was coming next.  The judge then stood up and said “he is guilty as charged.”  I could not believe my ears.  The prosecutor said all of my charges were punishable by death.  At this time the spectator was jumping for joy.  The prosecutor told me to get up so he can lead me to my punishment, then the judge stood up, took off his robe, and said “take me instead.”
Every one of us stands guilty as charged.  Not only how we were before, but even now, and we will stand guilty as charged until the The Day of Judgment.  According to the prosecutor (law), we are all guilty and the spectator (devil) was salivating at the mouth because he wanted to take us. But those who believe in Christ (judge) will never face the punishment we so deserve because Jesus sacrificed His life, so that we can live.  The bible states “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit.” (1Pet 3:18)  This is not a threat, or a fear tactic, but should cause us to look at how we live now and make adjustments, and if we know people who are not right, it is for us to share why they should.  Amen!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Love Covers

Gracious Father, I come before your throne of grace, first to say thank you.  I thank you, Father for answering prayers.  I thank you Father for allowing your children to make their requests known, and allowing them to be a part of thy holy will.  I thank you for being a God who day by day expresses the love you have for those who love you.  I thank you this morning for the peace of mind that surpasses all understanding.  I pray Father that I am not alone in these blessings.  I pray the same for family and friends, near and far.  I pray the same for the readers and doers of your word, but specifically for the readers of this message.  I pray that they will receive it in love, and exact change if need be.  I pray that it penetrate their inner parts, and permeate from them where ever they go, so that it is evident that your Holy Spirit is encamped around them.  Oh God, just have your way with us this morning.  I pray Father, each day that any sins committed, whether by thought, speech, or deed, that you forgive us for it.  I give you all the honor, glory, and praise.  These I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.

I do not think people understand the power of love.  Love can cause people to do things they would not normally do.  There is the saying that love is blind.  This pertains to couples who are in a loving relationship where one person may be doing something to the other that is hurtful, but because of the love that the person has, who is the victim, he or she does not see the effect of that hurtful thing.  Love has many other attributes.  The bible says “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” (1Cor 13:4-7)  Wow!  Love still has other attributes, but what I want to share with you today, is how love can cover.
My wife and I have been together for 21 years.  We had many challenges in our relationship.  Some of them were my fault, very few was on her.  However, her family was not receptive of me.  In their defense, on some issues I could understand why they were not receptive, but as time went on, those reserves should have subsided.  They did not.  And over the course of 16 years, I had to bear many forms of disrespect.  Many people that I know would not have endured it for so long.  But I did, because as stated above, love endures all things.  Other people I know would not had stayed in the relationship because they do not think it would be worth it.  I stayed, because in my eyes my wife is worth it.  The love that I have for her covered all of the mess I endured from her family.  Love covers.
God loved us so much that He wanted us, His beloved creation, to be in relationship with Him for all eternity.  However there was a problem.  The problem was sin.  The bible says that the wages of sin is death (Rom 6:23), and we are sinful by nature (Eph 2:3).  However, God wanted something to not wipe away the sin, but cover it (2 Cor 5:21), and this was done out of love (Jn 3:16).  This is not a blank check for people to engage willfully in sin, but to use this as an opportunity, knowing that God afforded us more time to set our lives right.  The sin is still present, it is only covered.  This covering allows us to sincerely repent to God with a sincere heart, and God will forgive us. 
This is the type of love we are to have for one another.  We are to imitate God (Eph 5:1), and one way is how we are to love.  The bible states “But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.  And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." (1Pe 4:7-8)  Fervent is defined as having or showing great warmth or intensity of spirit, feeling, enthusiasm, etc.  The Apostle Peter states this is the type of love we should have for one another.  I hear of families not speaking with one another for years.  You hear of husband and wives separating after many years of marriage.  There are instances where fathers hate their sons, and mothers are jealous of their daughters.  You hear stories of husbands and wives plotting to have the other killed.  I witnessed for myself, where a sister in Christ, wanted to see her brother in Christ fall, and expressed joy when it appeared he has fallen. Where is love in all of this?  I thought love suffers long.  I thought love does not envy.  I thought love thinks no evil.  I thought love does not rejoice in iniquity.
Family, I did not know it back then, but I know it now.  God has been working on me for years.  In all of the things that I have done, there were things I just could not do.  I could not do them, because I had compassion, I had honor, I had loyalty, and I have them even more now.  What I endured in the earlier part of my relationship was done out of love.  I did not hold my wife accountable to what her family did.  I did not allow their actions to dictate how I felt about her.  The love that I have for my wife, caused me to cover all of that which was perpetrated by them.  It is this kind of love that I am saying that we all should have.  If there are any grudges being harbored, ask yourself, where is the love in that?  If you love God and is happy to be a child of God, be mindful of this; “forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespasses against us.”  Finally consider what God has done for you when you know you did not deserve it, and how would He feel if you do not pay it forward?  Amen!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Fish Want Real Food

Father God, I thank you this morning for allowing me to see one more day in the land of the living.  I pray Father that you grant this blessing not only on me, but for my family, and on all of your children who read and practice your word.  I pray a blessing on them, and I pray that you cover them in all that they do.  I pray that you continue to use me as a vessel to bring forth and share your word.  I pray that I have decreased, so that you can get all the honor and glory.  I pray Father that you forgive us of any trespasses performed, and we pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

 I went fishing the other day with some brothers of mine in Christ.  We went fresh water fishing, which I have never done before.  The bait that is used in fresh water of course is different.  In salt water, baits such as shrimp, crab, sand fleas, squid, and mullet are used to catch majority of fish in that type of water.  In fresh water, the main bait is worms, and I believed crickets can be used as well.  Again, I have never been fresh water fishing before, but these were the bait I told to use.  I learned something interesting though.  At one time we were using fake worms as bait, and it seems that the younger fish were the ones that fell for it.  The bigger fish, which of course are the older ones, seem to be attracted to the real deal. 
Of course you will hear stories of how people caught monster fish with fake bait, but those same people do not go fishing with fake bait alone, which indicates that it is not often that fish go after fake bait unless they are really hungry, but that is another story.  As I look back at my fishing experience, I am reminded by the conversation Jesus had with the men, who we learned have become his disciples.  In the bible it reads “And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.  Then Jesus said to them, "Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men."  They immediately left their nets and followed Him.” (Mr 1:16-18)  What Jesus was referring to was teaching the men to be able to speak to people with such fervor, that they will be attracted to what is being said, and would desire to hear and learn more.  What they would be attracted to is the word of God.
We refer to fishing for men as being a witness or evangelizing.  What I realized is many churches fail in their evangelical efforts because fake bait is being used to attract the fish, or in other words, the wrong kind of people are being used to do the right thing.  You have plenty of people out there who are hungry for truth, and deep down they want to change.  However when they are confronted by that person, who is claiming to be a part of a local assembly, they are making a sales pitch, instead of bringing an unadulterated word.  The bible says “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.   You will know them by their fruits.  Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?  Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”  (Matt 7:15-20)
You have churches that send out teams of people for the sole purpose of filling the church.  They ensure that the teams are made up of good orators, and pleasing people to look at.  They may where attractive jewelry and make promises of blessings that may not be contingent upon faith.  As stated earlier with the young fish, they seem to be the ones who fall for the fake bait, but the older ones, who have been there and done, they reject it.  They want real food.  Majority of the people who have been through things, are not interested in the hoop-la, and the promises of material things.  They will reject it.  They want to hear the word of God.  They understand that eyes are not needed to hear what thus saith the Lord.  They want to hear someone willing to pray for them right then and there.    They are not concerned about what this or that church can promise them, because if the person evangelizing sounds like a car salesman, they have just lost that person.
Churches can be fishers of men; however they have to have a sincere heart of wanting to see people saved.  If they send people out to solely preach the gospel, those who ears it falls on will automatically want to hear more.  By default they will come to the church to hear it.  Real food is what attracts real people.  Amen!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Are You A Murderer?

Father God, Lord I come before your throne of grace, with head bowed, and heart humbled, first to say thank you.  Father, I thank you for being a God, who is merciful and forever showing grace when I fall.  I thank you for being a God, who gives me opportunity after opportunity to get it right.  I thank you for being a God, who is not like these idols, who are silent, but you use pastors, ministers, evangelists, books, t.v and a whole hosts of things, to bring conviction in my life.  I know you are the only, one and true living God, who created the heavens and earth, and all in it.  I thank you for being the God, who created us in your image, and love us so much, that you did not condemn us to eternal punishment, but sacrificed your Son to pay for our sins.  Oh God, I just thank you this morning.  Father, I am just a humble minister seeking to do your will, and I just thank you for allowing me to do so.  I pray this morning, that this message touches your children.  I pray Father, that you will ignite the spirit in them to exact change if need be.  I pray Father that you set the atmosphere for them to meditate on this message and on you without any interruptions or hindrances.  Father, I just pray that you have your way in our lives this morning.  We give you all honor, glory, and praise.  This I pray in Jesus name, Amen! Amen! Amen!

On T.V. the other day, I was scanning the channels and I happened to catch some older men talking to some teenagers.  I do not remember what channel it was on, but what caught my attention is when the man said “Thank God”.  Apparently he was recalling a memory when he was about the age of his audience and he was running with a bad crowd.  One day this crowd got into some beef with other kids and they were planning for some payback.  There was a neighbor who kept riding him on how he should stay away from that crowd.  He was recalling on how much he wished that man would just mind his business, and even thought about doing harm to him.  That day when the crowd rallied up their weapons and came to pick him up, his neighbor ran to the car and told him to get out or he would tell his parents.  When they were about to drive off, the neighbor said then he will call the police and tell them he was kidnapped.  Because the driver did not want any heat to come to him, he made the guy get out, but threatened the neighbor on what he is going to do to him when they return.  At this time the man began to cry.  He continued to tell how his friends never made it back.  They never even made it out of the car.  The turf that they rolled up on, may have expected them, and they began to fire into the car until all occupants were dead.  That neighbor’s persistence saved his life.
As I recall my teen years, I remember on many occasions I had to change the course of action because of what I called a nosey neighbor.  Although back then I still engaged in activities contrary to how I was brought up, those instances, where I had a change of heart could have determined whether I lived or died.  What about those neighbors or family member who say nothing?  The bible says “When I say to the wicked, 'You shall surely die,' and you give him no warning, nor speak to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life, that same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood I will require at your hand.” (Eze 3:18)  I have an aunt who is a mean, bitter, and wicked person.  The things she does, would give anyone with a conscience pause.  For years my family and I would just ignore it.  When I say my family, I mean my mom, other aunts and uncle, cousins, etc.  We would chalk it up to “oh that’s the way she is.”  We were killing her!!!  Every now and again, someone would express their disappointment and may not come around anymore, but what did that do?  No one gave her warning to explain that what she is doing is a matter of life and death.  It was only as recent, that I and others really got deep with her and told her about her ways.  As of now, she does not want anybody around her.  This is good.  She will have time to reflect and there is no one around her to be wicked to.  There is hope.
Some of us have neighbors, people who live next to us.  People who we see daily and they or their children may be engaging in things they shouldn’t.  What have you done?  Are we not commanded to love our neighbor like we love ourselves? (Matt 12:31)  Or are you Christian when it is convenient?  Mind whose business?  If you are sincerely concerned about the welfare of someone, then that is your business.  If you are unable to speak to them directly, then pray to God that he gives you an opportunity to say something.  But to sit by idly, and do nothing, you are helping in killing that person.
Family, being a child of God is not only about belief, but also of practice.  I will tell you that every time, I think I got it together, something always bring me down; in a way of saying I do not.  What I have learned to do is just study what God says in His word, practice it to the best of my ability in all sincerity and in truth, and the debatable stuff I leave to God.  I do not think this is one of those things that are debatable.  If we are commanded to love our neighbors like we love ourselves, then what does that mean?  I think if we try to answer that question, we will have an idea if we have been subtly killing the people we know.  Amen?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Don’t Do It Alone

Heavenly Father, I give thanks this morning for life, health, and strength.  I thank you Father for your mercy and grace.  I thank you Father, for being a God that we can make our requests known, and being assured that your will be done via our requests.  I pray Father that you continue to guide and protect us Father.  I pray a blessing on the readers and doers of your word.  I pray a special blessing on all who read your message today.  I pray that they are in the right mind to receive it, and will be in a better mind afterwards.  I pray a blessing on wherever they are, and you’re your Holy Spirit encamp around them.  I pray a blessing on their family and friends, and I pray for comfort in a time of hurt or distress.  We love and adore you, and pray that you forgive us of any sins committed whether, by thought, speech or deed.  Oh Father just have your way with us this morning.  We give you all the honor and glory and praise, and we pray in Jesus name.  Amen

In my early twenties, I worked for a moving company.   We were a team of about 16, and I and another fellow were the youngest.  They were in the business of moving celebrities.  We were hired to move Woody Allen.  This was a big job, and as being the youngest, my partner and I wanted to make an impression.  We were busting our behinds removing furniture quickly and with precision and each time we would glance at the owner and you can see a pleasing smile on his face.  We got to this huge couch, and by the look of it, you can tell it was expensive.  So we made sure we wrapped it carefully and began to remove it from the penthouse.  When we got to the opening of the door, we were unable to get it out.  The penthouse had at least 2 entrances so we were not holding up progress of the other movers.  As my partner and I was carefully fighting to get this couch out the door, the other movers would pass and sort of chuckle at us.  This of course made us angry, and made it out business to show them we are not the ones to laugh at.  We began to strategize and plan how we were going to remove, and every attempt we made, we failed.  The owner came by and began to sort of hover near us.  Every now and again, he would look over and also offer a chuckle.  This was not good.  I then made the decision to remove the door, and it was then that he came over.  He said “guys, removing the door is not necessary.  Just remove the legs.”  We were fighting with this couch for about 15 minutes, and once the legs were removed we went through the door in 2.  The owner said, “I know you guys want to impress me.  Ok, I am impressed, but what I also want to see are people who are willing to ask for help.”
When I look back at that story, I am reminded of the story regarding the disciples.  It was shortly after the Jesus fed 5000 people with 5 barley loaves and 2 fish.  The bible reads “ Immediately He made His disciples get into the boat and go before Him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while He sent the multitude away. And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.  Now when evening came, the boat was in the middle of the sea; and He was alone on the land.  Then He saw them straining at rowing, for the wind was against them. Now about the fourth watch of the night He came to them, walking on the sea, and would have passed them by.  And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled. But immediately He talked with them and said to them, "Be of good cheer! It is I; do not be afraid." Then He went up into the boat to them, and the wind ceased. And they were greatly amazed in themselves beyond measure, and marveled, for they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.” (Mark 6:45-52)
This is a story that should be looked at carefully.  Jesus just performed a miracle, which is probably one of the greatest miracles He performed.  He made something out of nothing.  His disciples were front row to this feat.  The scripture stated that after Jesus prayed, about the fourth watch he came to them.  A “watch” back then was intervals of 3 hours.  So for no more than 12 hours, his disciples were rowing against the sea.  Jesus was able to see all of this from the mountaintop.  This indicated that they did not get anywhere.  It is like taking hours to reach a destination which only takes 15 minutes.  The bible also said that he came to them walking on the sea and would have passed them by. Finally after thinking it was a ghost and after Jesus assured them it was Him, He went into the boat, the wind ceased and they were marveled.
What we need to gather from this, is that the disciples were so focused on their circumstance that they forgot the miracle that just took place hours before.  They forgot who their master was.  They were not compelled to call out to the Lord in a time of distress, and Jesus at one point was right before their eyes, and yet they did not see.  Family, some are you are the same.  You have experienced the wonders of Christ working miraculously in your life, and know it could have been no one but Him, yet you face another circumstance, and you try to get out of it on your own.  You try this or that, just as I did with the couch, instead of saying, “Lord, help me with this.”  We often soon forget the goodness of the Lord, and when we are struggling, and struggling, and struggling, we tell ourselves “the Lord is testing me.”  Not always!  Sometimes He is waiting for you to call on Him.  How many times, after the call is made, the issue is resolved just like that?  The question now is how much time could have been saved if you only call on him sooner?  Some may say, “Well, God did it that way specifically for me to go through it.” And here is my answer to that.  Rubbish!!!!  Practice becomes habit.  God does not want you to do it all alone.  If you do it one time, you will do it again, and then you may end up thinking that you have all the answers and that you are in control.  I beg to differ that God did it that way.
Family, God wants us to call on Him.  I am not speaking about the things that we can do and have the power to do.  I am talking about the things that no matter where we turn, there is an obstacle.  Now would be the time to find that quiet place and pray.  As I said, practice becomes habit.  When we make our requests known to God constantly, we are practicing good habits to be in constant communion with Him.  You do not have to do it alone.  God is there waiting.  Call on Him.  Amen!