Friday, April 8, 2011

Merciful And Just

Father God, I come before your throne of grace, in the only way I know how, with head bowed, and heart humbled to say thank you.  I thank you for life and strength this morning.  I thank you for a covering at night while my family and I slumbered.  I thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed, those seen and unseen.  I thank you for your grace and mercy, and most importantly, I thank you for Jesus.  I pray Father, that these blessings continue to pour on your children.  I pray a blessing on the reader and doer of your word.  I pray that you bless them just as you bless me, Father.  I pray oh God, that we continue to let our light shine to those who are in the dark.  I pray that your Holy Spirit rest, rule and abide over us in all that we do.  You are a God who can keep us from falling, and I pray in the mighty name of Jesus, that this blessing never leaves us.  And Father, I pray that you forgive us for any sins committed.  We give you all the honor and the glory, and in Jesus we pray.  Amen

I love my mother.  I know some of you after reading that first sentence are probably saying, “Ooooookaaaay!, I love my mother too, what’s your point”  I was just sitting at my desk wondering how I am going to write my paper for my seminary and just started to think about my mother.  The memories that I remember the most are those of when I was young.  I received so many beatings from her, I lost count.  But hey, I turned out alright didn’t I?  Of course mainly by the will of God.  My mom was very unique in our upbringing.  One of the things she always used to tell us is “do not bring things that do not belong to us in the house.”  She did not care if it was a gift or not, if she did not purchase it, or if she did not approve of it, you better not had brought it in.  As always, me and my hard-headed self, I used to defy her.  A friend gave me a toy car, I would bring it home, and my mother would tell me to give it back.  I brought home a pencil that was given to me; my mother would tell me to give it back.  Every item that a kid normally has in his possession it was given to me and my mom would tell me to give it back. 

I do not remember what the occasion was, I do not remember how I was in my friend’s home, but I do remember his mom giving me $5 dollars.  Listen!!!! $5 dollars in the early 80’s was big bucks for a kid.  I got home, and my mom saw the money hanging out of my pocket.  With a cold whisper, she asked me where I got it from.  Looking in her eyes, and seeing her nostrils flare, I knew already, that this time it was going to be more than her telling me to give it back.  Before I could answer, she let me have it.  Do you know those types of beatings where each strike was a word?  For some reason, it felt like each strike was a letter.  It went on forever, and then she took the money and I believe she made a phone call.  I do not remember hanging out with that friend again.

I came to the realization later that I got what I deserved.  It was not about how harmless it was for a child to give another child a gift.  It was not about how cute it was for children to express sharing.  Nor was it about an adult doing something out of the kindness of her heart.  It was about my mother giving me an instruction and for me to follow it.  It doesn’t matter if it made sense or not.  I was not old enough to wipe my behind properly, so how dare I try to make sense out of it.  I continuously disobeyed, and she let it go until she felt she had to make her point clear.

When I look back at that memory, I am reminded of the children of Israel.  They cried to the Lord when they were in Egypt (Ex 3:7).  He removed them from that bondage.  What did they do with that blessing? They cried because they were in the desert (Ex 16:3).  They murmured for this and for that to the point God said "I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people! "Now therefore, let Me alone, that My wrath may burn hot against them and I may consume them. And I will make of you a great nation.” (Ex 32:9-10)  Moses sent up prayer and for the sake of Moses, God held His wrath, however they continued to murmur and they continued to show disobedience, to where God acted.  They wanted meat and complained how better it was for them when they were in Egypt.  God spoke to Moses and said “Then you shall say to the people, 'Consecrate yourselves for tomorrow, and you shall eat meat; for you have wept in the hearing of the LORD, saying, "Who will give us meat to eat? For it was well with us in Egypt." Therefore the LORD will give you meat, and you shall eat. 'You shall eat, not one day, nor two days, nor five days, nor ten days, nor twenty days, 'but for a whole month, until it comes out of your nostrils and becomes loathsome to you, because you have despised the LORD who is among you, and have wept before Him, saying, "Why did we ever come up out of Egypt?" (Nu 11:18-20)

How quickly can people forget yesterday’s blessings when encountering today’s difficulties! We see these incidents of Israel’s complaining, and God was just in calling them a “stiff-necked” people.  We had stiff-necked people back then, and we have them now.  They complain because they are lonely, then God bless them with a mate, then they complain about the mate.  They complain because the children are never home, then when the children decides to stay home, they complain because they are eating them out of house and land.  They complain because it is hard to find a job, so the Lord blesses them with one, then they find something to complain about.  Blah, Blah, Blah!  Whaah, Whaah, Whaah!  If they would shut up, and compare the now to where they were, they would realize that God could have dealt with them worst.  If they look at how others are who are less fortunate, they would realize that grace kept them.  So when God decides to deal with their murmuring, and their discontent, these are the ones who will blame the devil. 

I learned from an early age, what it means to be obedient.  It took me a long time to realize it, but I can look back now and make proper adjustments in my life to acknowledge God’s mercy, and to pray that I will do nothing to invite his wrath.  As a blessed people, and if we really look at it, we are truly blessed, we should thank God for even the little things, because there is someone out there who do not even have the little things.  The bible states “Now when the people complained, it displeased the LORD; for the LORD heard it, and His anger was aroused. So the fire of the LORD burned among them, and consumed some in the outskirts of the camp.”  (Nu 11:1 ) In no way am I saying you’re your complaining will get you killed.  However, when the children of Israel did it, it displeased God.  It displeased God because they had nothing to complain about.  They had God’s ears, and He loved them by answering their prayers, and they responded with an ungrateful response.  Look back at your life and I guarantee that you will see many times that something could have happened that was not in your favor, yet miraculously, it worked itself out.  That was God.  Isn’t He awesome?  Amen!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Practice Becomes Habit

Father God, I present myself humbly before your throne of grace, ever in awe of the love and mercy you continue to bestow on me, and I am grateful Father.  I thank you Lord, for allowing a wretch like me to call on you when in need.  I thank you Father, for being the God who you are, allowing your children to come to you as they are, and not who they pretend to be.  I thank you for your loving kindness bestowed on an undeserving people.  And I thank you Father for Jesus.  I pray now Father, that your will be done in my life, and in the lives of your children.  I pray a blessing on the reader and doer of your word.  I pray a blessing on their family and friends.  I pray a blessing on all that they say and touch.  I pray that your Holy Spirit rain down on where they are, and that the atmosphere is set to receive your word in spirit and truth.  I pray that all distractions are removed, and we cast down all imaginations that are not of you.  In the name of Jesus we rebuke the enemy now, and in each time he makes himself present.  We plead the blood of Jesus on all our circumstances, and we pray that we remain in the light, and shun the dark.  And Father, we pray that you forgive us of our trespasses we may have committed.  We honor you; we lift up your name.  We give you the glory, and the praise, and we pray this in Jesus name, Amen!

As a former Martial Artist, it is not unusual to have a primary and secondary discipline, or have other sub disciplines you learned from.  My primary discipline was Tae Kwon Do and my secondary was Shotokan Karate.  Tae Kwon Do means the way of hand and feet, although in order (Tae-Kwon-Do) it means Kick-Punch- The art/way.  The discipline does have many ways to strike with the hand, however Tae Kwon Do is known for its various ways of striking with the feet.  Since Tae Kwon Do, was my only discipline at that time, my emphasis was on increasing my kicking techniques.  This changed when I was in a tournament, and the opponent realized that my strength was in my kicking.  He took away my legs, and I took a beating.  When I looked back at my loss, I realized I lost because I was handicapped.  Although I knew some hand strikes, it was in no comparison to his, hence the desire to learn more hand- to- hand combat moves.  I enrolled in Victory Martial arts which taught Shotokan Karate.  Karate means the art of empty hand, and I sought to master it. 
The master knew I was coming in with an advanced belt, and wanted to place me appropriately.  He tested my skills with his advanced fighters and realized my weakness immediately, and instructed me to not use my legs while my opponents were able to utilize all their limbs.  I of course expressed my resentment, but he shared something that was profound and I utilize it even now.  He stated that I was so used to using my legs, to the point I were dependant on them, even when it was not necessary.  He wanted me to learn how to use my other limbs and would not take “I can’t” as an answer.  He said “Practice becomes habit” As a fighter at that time, it was habitual for me to use my kicks, but it ended up working against me.  As people, we have some practices that we’ve created that may have appeared helpful in the beginning, but now has become harmful.  We’ve engaged in these practices for so long, it has now become habitual in our lives.   We have to now create better practices and make those practices habitual.
One practice that can resonate with most of us is how we handle our finances.  Many people are thousands of dollars in debt, have taken furniture on a rent to own basis, and have a credit card for every letter (hyperbole).  The bible tells us that we are to owe no one anything, but love (Rom 8:13).  Love is the only debt that will ever remain due.  So why are so many people struggling?  Is it because they never learned how to manage their money?  Or is it due to continuously attempting to satisfy flesh?  The Apostle Paul expressed that he has so much love and trust in God, that no matter what his current state was, he is content knowing God is in control and will help him provide for what he need (Phil 4:11-13).
Another practice we engage in, and this is targeted mainly to men, is that we must always feel we are in control.  The problem already is “we”.  Certain issues we faced, appeared to have been resolved by our hands and we feel that it can be done the same way all the time.  We face a problem, whether it is regarding relationship, job related, etc and we continue to tell ourselves, we can handle it.  Even when we so no evidence of it being handled, we still try to come up with a way to resolve it.  It is like an addict who is trying to mimic that first high.  It will never happen, yet they try just the same.  The bible states “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.” (Pr 3:5-6)  Sometimes we men have to just step out of the way and let God do it for us. 
The above examples are practices that may not have had an evil intent.  What about people who engage in practices that are intentionally evil.  You have those who simply love to gossip (Pr 20:19).  Just to go a bit further on this, if when you are speaking to someone and you use words such as “Have you heard”, “Guess what”, “You wouldn’t believe this”, “Let me tell you something”, or “You’ve got to hear this”, you are a potential gossiper.  You have the subtle ones that say “it has come to their attention”….well if it came to your attention, then keep it to yourself.  You have those who enjoy instigating between two friends or between family members (Rom 16:17).  What about that person whose every other or third word is a swear? (Col 4:6)
There are many practices that people have been engaged in so long that it has become second nature.  Some I have listed, others I have not, but when we compare them to the word of God, how do we measure up?  Are these practices encouraged by the word or are we instructed to refrain from them?  All behaviors, practices, habits, etc starts with how we think.  If we can practice a better way of thinking, we will have better habits.  I submit to you what I am still practicing, and yet have become a habit, but each day I am drawing closer.  It is:  
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things.  The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.” (Phil 4:8-9)  Would you join me?  Amen.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

See For Yourself

Most heavenly and gracious God, I come once more before your throne of grace, first to say thank you.  I thank you for family and friends.  I thank you for the blessings of security.  I thank you for health and strength.  I thank you for life and the ability to see a new day.  I just thank you for being one of your children, and I thank you for your Son Jesus.  I pray now Father for those who have heard your word, but have yet to abide by it.  I pray Father that you continue to show mercy by extending the time for them to receive it.  I pray Father, if it be your will that you not hand them over to the results of their wickedness.  I pray Father now for the hearer and doer of your word.  I pray a blessing on them, on what they touch, and their homes and families.  I pray that you comfort those who are comfortless, and pray that you strengthen those who are weak.  And Father, if I have not said enough, I pray that you forgive us of any trespasses committed against you and our fellow man.  We give you all honor and glory, and we pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

There was a commercial a while back regarding the power in using Google.  A woman’s washing machine went bad and she called in a technician to take a look at it.  After the technician took the machine apart, he was telling her how in bad shape the machine is, but it can be repaired.  He said it would need a part, and he told her the name of the part.  He continued to say how expensive the part is but he can get it at a discount for $200.  While he was talking and wiping the grease off of his hands, she ran into another room and searched for the part on Google.  The part listed for $50 dollars, so she made a print out of the part and showed it to the technician, and in a sarcastic way asked if this was the part he was referring to.  He looked at the paper and at her and displayed a grin that showed his embarrassment, in which she responded back with a “yeah right” smirk.  What one can grab from this commercial is when you know the truth, no one can lie to you, and not be aware of it.
The word of God is recorded in the bible.  It has been preached on the streets.  It has been preached in churches.  It has been preached on the television.  It has been preached on the radio.  Family, friends, and strangers at one time or another had made attempts to share the word of God, and there are those who are just not convinced.  They are not convinced regarding the power or the authenticity of the words.  Some disregard it because it was written by men, so they ignore the inspiration by God part.  Some feel because of the time frame that it was written, it was directed for that specific period and that it does not transcend time.  Some feel with the many advances that science and technology have made, these things prove that God does not exists.  Some simply just can’t come to grips in believing or trusting in something that their senses cannot identify with.
If you noticed, all that I described points to a form of logical thinking.  For the sake of seeking the truth, let’s put on our logical hats for a bit.  These same people who find it difficult to adhere to the bible or believe in God, are the first ones to say they are lucky if they nearly lost their life, or by some reason unknown a great deal of money lands in their possession.  What is luck?  It is defined as the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person's life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities.  Logically, luck does not identify with our senses either.   What about when you are crossing the street?  People would trust in those two yellow lines first before they trust in the word of God.  Those yellow lines serve one purpose and one purpose only, which is to separate the traffic of cars traveling in opposite directions.  Yet you see many people who choose not to cross on the green stand on the yellow lines as though the lines will provide protection from being hit by a car.  Can the yellow lines affect if a driver is impaired?  Can it affect a car which the gas pedal, brakes, or steering wheel malfunction?  Can it persuade a driver who have it in his heart to hit somebody that day, and you just happen to be in his sight?  Logically, the answer is no.  So with our logical hat still on, how can one believe in one item that does not identify with our senses, yet disregard another?  Logically, it does not make sense.
Let’s continue a bit on the logical road, if you do not mind.  In one of the verses of the New Testament, it reads “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good,  traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”  (2 Tim 3:1-5)  Are we not seeing this now?  There was a time when watching the television, the only word that may have been offensive and consider a curse to some is “damn”.  Now, forget about it.  Almost all shows are viewer discretion advised.  The writing of 2 Timothy is said to have been written between 64-68 A.D.  That is over 1900 years ago.  How did Paul know this?  So if this book is said to be the authoritative word of God, and it speaks regarding past, present, and things to come; after reading the above verse, would it not be logical to see what else is said?
The bottom line is many will continue to be skeptical.  Many will ask questions to why is this or why is that.  Here is the solution.  Instead of hearing other people proving it one way or the other, why not you do it yourself?  Why not form your own opinion afterwards.  The bible speaks about the people of Berea when it came to things of God.  It states “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”  (Acts 17:11)  Why not do what they do?  See for yourself and your logic may end up turning into faith.  Amen!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dangers of Inconsistency

Father God, I come before your throne of grace the only way I know how; with my head bowed, and my heart humbled to say thank you.  I thank you for life this morning.  I thank you for protecting my household while we slumbered.  I thank you for health and strength this morning, Father.  And I thank you for Jesus.  I pray this morning that these blessings not only be with me, but be with all of your children who loves you.  I pray that it not only be with them in their homes, but even when they pass through their door thresholds.  I pray a blessing on their coming and going.  I pray that a hedge of protection be with them throughout the day.  I pray that you soften the hearts of anyone who wish to do your children harm, whether it be by slander or action.  I pray a blessing of comfort, Father, on those who are in despair.  Oh God, just have your way in our lives this morning and throughout the day, Father.  And Father, we pray that you forgive us of any sin we performed.  We give you all honor and glory, and we pray this in the precious name of your Son Jesus, Amen

When there is consistency, there is no confusion.  I do not like politics and rarely, and I mean rarely do I talk about it.  However there is something in politics that stood out to me back when, and it helps in the direction of my message today.  There was a time where there was plenty of negative rhetoric going back and forth between the Democrats and the Republicans about “I have no idea”; nonetheless it was present at the time.  Then a time came where both parties had to come to an agreement, which I believe was in regards to the Stimulus Package.  Apparently, there were certain constituents of the Republicans that were expressing their disappointment that their leaders were meeting with the Democrats to get this bill signed.  I remember President Obama stating how important it is to tone down the rhetoric, because your supporters will expect you to maintain that demeanor even when it is not favorable.  To change the rhetoric to the contrary causes them to lose trust in you, and not take you serious when it matters the most…….Election time.  They will not take them serious.  Hmmm.
When I ponder on that statement (They will not take them serious), I think about Sodom and Gomorrah.  Everybody always refer to the wickedness of the cities, and the inhospitality, and of course the homosexuality, but as always I go a bit deeper.  I have yet to hear anybody talk about Lot.  For example, WHAT WAS HE DOING THERE?  The bible speaks about believers being unequally yoked with non believers (2 Cor 6:14).  It speaks about all the different wicked deeds that people commit and believers are not to be a participant (Eph 5:1-7).  It speaks about what people are going to become, again with their wicked thoughts, speech, and deeds, and we are instructed to turn from them (2 Tim 3:1-5).  So why was Lot in this place with his family? Flesh that’s why!  Please read here to get an idea.  When the blessings of the Lord came upon Abraham and his nephew Lot, it got to the point where their possessions was too great to dwell together in one location.  The male servants of each were fighting amongst each other.  Abraham had a solution.  He said "Please let there be no strife between you and me, and between my herdsmen and your herdsmen; for we are brethren.  Is not the whole land before you? Please separate from me. If you take the left, then I will go to the right; or, if you go to the right, then I will go to the left." (Gen 13:8-9) Abraham did not care in which direction he goes.  He knew that wherever he (Abraham) goes, God is going to bless him just the same.  BUT LOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The bible states “And Lot lifted his eyes and saw all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered everywhere (before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah) like the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt as you go toward Zoar. Then Lot chose for himself all the plain of Jordan, and Lot journeyed east. And they separated from each other.” (Ge 13:10-11)  Family, the grass is not always greener on the other side.
So why is inconsistency dangerous?  Well according to this Lot showed righteousness when he saw two strangers come to the city.  He showed righteousness, when the men of the city wanted to get to know (rape them) the new strangers in Lot’s care, by trying to persuade them to leave.  He even showed some partial righteousness by offering up his daughters instead.  However the inconsistency is when the two men reveal themselves as angels of the Lord to destroy the city.  He was told to take his family and flee.  The bible states “So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, "Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!" But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking.”  (Ge 19:14)  WHY?!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Lot, why are your sons-in-law not taking you serious?  What kind of behavior have you displayed for them to question what leaves your mouth?  Here let me help you.  God told Abraham He was going to destroy the city.  God is omniscient!  Do you think God was not aware of Lot being there?  He was going to destroy it just the same.  The bible states “When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city."  And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city.” (Ge 19:15-16)  LOT DID WHAT?!!!!  What are you lingering for Lot?  Didn’t God say he wants to destroy the city because of its wickedness?  Did you not urge the angels not to stay in the square at night?  What happens at night Lot?  So why did you linger to leave such a wicked place to where the angels had to grab you to leave?  Family, that is why inconsistency is dangerous.  If it was not for Abraham pleading with the Lord, Lot would have perished.  If it was not for those two angels to take hold of his hand, Lot would have perished.  It is because of Lot’s on again off again righteousness, why his sons-in-law were confused on his stance.
Truth be told, some of you are a bunch of Lots yourself.  One season you want to be righteous and in another season, you want to bust hell wide open.  Then when you see a loved one who have fallen by the way side you can’t bring them back because of the fluctuations of your righteousness.  They won’t take you serious.  Then you hide behind “a prophet is without honor in his/her home” (in my goofy voice).  Yeah whatever!  Family, this is not a bashing message, but it does need to get your attention.  Those of us who are believers, we are considered walking bibles.  There are people watching us, and we have to represent that which is good.  There are people who may not say a peep to you, but you have moved them closer and closer to the Lord by way of your speech and actions.  This type of characteristics must remain consistent.  It cannot be up and down like the stock market.  It must be certain as death and taxes (don’t hold that against me). Not only for our sake, but for those who are watching and are curious about our faith.  Amen?  Amen!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Blessings or Curses, Which Do You Prefer?

Father God, I thank you once more as I come before your throne of grace for the mercy you have shown on an undeserving people.  I thank you for allowing us to see a new day.  I thank you for waking us up with our organs functioning and our bones intact, oh God. I thank you for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a tongue to give you honor and praise, oh God.  I thank you for blessing us with what we have, and what you are still working on in our favor, oh God.  I thank you for a roof over our heads, oh God.  I thank you for food in our homes, oh God.  I thank you for clothes in our closets, oh God.  So many people are without, oh God, yet you saw it fitting to bless us even now, oh God.  I thank you for positioning us in our lives to proclaim the title of victor, oh God.  I thank you for positioning us in our lives to proclaim the title conqueror, oh God.  Oh God just continue to have your way with your children who are called by your name oh God.  I pray oh God, in these blessings that you also forgive us of anything that was not pleasing in thy sight.  I pray a blessing on all whom read your message to day, and that they are a better person afterwards.  Father I give you all honor, glory and praise, and I humbly pray this prayer in Jesus name.  Amen

A choice was presented to us by our gracious Father.  It was not forced upon us.  In making us after His image and likeness, God bestowed upon us part of His sovereignty.  What I mean, is that there are certain things we have control over and in essence we can do what ever we want with that certain control.  We can choose to obey God or not to.  What I am realizing is that many people are unaware of the benefits of obeying and the consequences of not.
BLESSINGS: Deut.28:1-14 (11)
CURSES: Deut. 28:15-68 (53)
If any of the messages I shared had a level of importance, and the rate scale was between 1-10, 10 being the most important, I would rate this work at 100, meaning, it is of the utmost importance.  I would like to share something with you; a stereotype.  This stereotype is in regards to black people here in America, or should I simply say “African-Americans.”  The stereotype is "Blacks Don't Read". The general statement is simple and thought-provoking: one of the reasons African-Americans are still second-class or even third class citizens is that they don't read.  The stereotype isn't talking about illiteracy. It's talking about choosing not to read when one could choose to do so, and the consequences of making such a choice are, fundamentally, dangerous.  Of course, this is from a secular view.  However, if we look at it from a spiritual view, many do not even read from a Bible that professes the religion they “so called” have love for, and this refers to all races.  Many of you, who are reading this message, have yet to read all of the messages, or majority of the messages I put forth.  Please understand, I am not saying that you should read every single lesson that I write, but the truth is, many of you would prefer to read garbage “daily” than read the word of God.  Many of you would rush to read the horoscope, than to read the word of God.  And it is this lack of reading, this lack of seeking God’s word why many people are in the positions they are in.

I got in touch with an old school friend.  He is in bad shape.  He is a drug addict; he is not working, and has been locked up recently.  All of these things, when I heard, I reached out to him to share a word.  He had tears in his voice.  Now you know that does not make sense.  What I mean is, you can hear in his voice that he was moved with guilt in seeing the results of his actions.  I really thought this was a beginning of a break through.  I shared with him my testimony.  The scripture states, “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony” (Rev 12:11) I shared with him, all that I did to overcome the enemy in an attempt for him to overcome him (the enemy) as well.  He identified with what I was saying, and vowed to change.  A week later, he calls me and stated that he might be going to jail.  When I asked why, he stated that he got caught up again in the foolishness.  I stated to him, that he must go through the hell in order to come out right.

What happened to my friend is just a part of what happens to many people.  They choose death instead of life.  They choose evil instead of good.  They choose to hear what people have to say about the contents of the bible instead of reading it for themselves.  Amen!   My brothers and sisters, God is real.  The devil is real.  The blessings are real, and so are the curses.  In the above reading, chapter 28 has 68 verses.  Verse 1-14 speaks about blessings where 11 of the verses are the blessings in detail.  Verses 15-68 speaks about the curses, where 53 of the verses are the curses in detail.  Since I never hear people ask why they are blessed, only on why things are not going the way they want, let’s just address some of the curses listed.  Do the following sound familiar?
1)     You will be cursed in the town and cursed in the field.
2)   You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out.
3)   The Lord will send on you cursing and trouble and punishment in everything to which you put your hand, till sudden destruction overtakes you; because of your evil ways in which you have been false to me
4)   The Lord will let you be overcome by your haters: you will go out against them one way, and you will go in flight before them seven ways: you will be the cause of fear among all the kingdoms of the earth.
5)    He will make your minds diseased, and your eyes blind, and your hearts wasted with fear
6)   You will take a wife, but another man will have the use of her: the house which your hands have made will never be your resting-place: you will make a vine-garden, and never take the fruit of it (applies to women too)
7)    Your sons and your daughters will be given to another people, and your eyes will be wasted away with looking and weeping for them all the day: and you will have no power to do anything (It does not have to be slavery.  How about your son dating a bad girl daughter dating a bad boy?)
8)   The man from a strange land who is living among you will be lifted up higher and higher over you, while you go down lower and lower (my God, I will leave that to your thoughts)
9)   He will let you have his wealth at interest, and will have no need of yours: he will be the head and you the tail (My God  here is another one)
These are just nine.  There are 44 more just as serious and may even answer some questions that many of us wondered. 

The bottom line is these are the miseries comprehended in the curses which flow from continued disobedience to God.   It is better not to run from God, but to run to him; not flee from his justice, but draw to his mercy.  There are situations where the Lord will test those of the faith and it may appear as a curse, but it is not.  The bible states “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.  But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  Meaning as children of God, affliction will come.  It is the instrument God uses to polish and refine us.  Therefore through the work and effect of afflictions, we are perfected in Christ.  However, those who understand this know what I mean, and where they are in their walk.  However, those who are constantly battling, constantly at the bottom, constantly at wit’s end, take an inventory of your life.  Read those verses I shared.  Ask yourself some questions.  Am I doing what the Lord wants me to do?  Am I willfully disobeying God’s word?  Do I have a form of godliness?  If you answered yes to these questions, then I there is a strong chance that some way or the other, these curses have played a part in your life.

I pray that those of you, who were able to identify with these elements in your life, decide to turn over a new leaf and change.  Unfortunately, some do identify with these elements but do not want to give up the temporary pleasure that comes before the curses.  I guess vomit tastes good to them. (Pr.26:11) Amen!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Got To Be Free

Heavenly Father, I come before your throne of grace once more to say thank you.  I thank you for being a refuge for children, oh God. I thank you for being a very present help in a time of trouble, oh God. I thank you for making a way, out of nothing, oh God.  I thank you for our family and friends, oh God.  I thank you for our jobs, oh God.  I thank you for being a God, who we can call on, oh God.  I thank you for your loving kindness, oh God.  I thank you for loving us, when we knew you not, oh God.  I thank you for your mercy and grace, oh God.  I thank you for the opportunity for eternal life, oh God.  I thank you for sacrificing your Son for our sins, oh God.  Who are we that you love us so much oh God?  You are willing to love us unconditionally, yet day after day, we prove to be unworthy, oh God.  Lord I just want to say thank you!!!  In our thanks, oh God, I pray a blessing on each and everyone read this message, oh God. I pray that you bless them in everything that they do, and everything they touch oh God.  I pray a blessing on their families, oh God.  I pray that they are in peace and that all chaos and confusion is blocked by your awesome power.  I pray forgiveness once more, whether by thought, speech, or deed. And Lord, if you have room for one more blessing, I pray that you continue to show mercy upon my family, oh God.  We give you all the honor, and all the praise!  You are the power and Glory, oh God, and we thank you in the name of your son Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of our faith.  Amen!  Amen! Amen!

There is something about the word bondage that does not rest well with me.  There is something about being restricted that just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  At this stage in society, the word bondage is sort of obsolete.  It is a word that really have no place right now.  That would be wishful thinking.  Unfortunately, bondage is well present, and affects each and every one of us in one way or another.  The word bondage can be defined as the state of being bound by or subjected to some external power or control or the state or practice of being physically restrained, as by being tied up, chained, or put in handcuffs.  Somebody reading this may be in bondage.  Somebody reading this has been subjected to some external power or is in a state of being restrained.  If you allow someone to speak to you in any way and are afraid to say something because you depend on them for something, you are in bondage.  If you feel like nothing you do can bring you out of a financial mess, you have been metaphorically restrained.  It is an intangible form of involuntary servitude.  It feels like you are forced to be stagnant.  Are you feeling me on this?  There is no need for me to list a bunch of scenarios to see which one you fall into.  You know what you fall into, and I am here to tell you it is time to free yourself.

The bible states “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”  (Jn 8:36)  I was tired of doing things my way.  I was tired of making decisions based on how it will make me feel.  I was tired of behaving in a manner that was inappropriate.  My actions were not of God, but of the devil, and because I was unaware, I continued to advocate for the devil.  I was now deep in sin instead of righteousness.  I got comfortable accepting the circumstances around me.  I did not see anything wrong with spending $200 a weekend to look good going to the club.  I did not see anything wrong living from pay check to pay check.  As long as I was receiving a check, I was good.  I did not see anything wrong renting for the rest of my life.  I did not see anything wrong carrying steal or busting them off either.  As long as I felt good, that was all that mattered.  In the end, I was a slave.  I was in bondage.  My life was stagnant and it was the norm.  DEVIL, YOU ARE A LIAR!!!!!!!!  This is what happens when we engage in sin too long.  We are blinded from the truth, and wallow in error.  This is what is meant by “And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (Jn 1:5)  I saw the end results of Christians operating in order and seen their blessings, but said to myself, they are just lucky.  This is what is meant by “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1Co 1:18)  Time and time again someone was trying to preach salvation to me, and it sounded absurd to me, because I was slowly dying.  The bible states“All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.” (1Co 6:12) Look what I did with God given freedom.  I made poor decisions and forfeited my freedom to be in bondage of the devil instead.

I told myself no more.  That was my first step.  Once I said that, the Lord saw my heart was in the right place now, and He reached out for me.  I reached toward Him, and he grabbed my hand.  I did, then He did.  I reached, then He reached.  We have to make that first step if we want to be free.  We have to give our lives to Christ, so He can remove the distractions.  Once I did this, the things that I thought kept me in bondage, was mere stepping stones.  Slavery of the mind is a terrible thing.  It can cause you to see things that are not really there.  Ever tell yourself, you will never make, it?  The devil is a liar!!!!  You are not only going to make it, you are going to be a conqueror! (Rom 8:37)  Ever tell yourself, that you just can’t do it?  The devil is a liar!!!!  You can do all things in Christ who strengthens you.  (Philp 4:13)

Family.  Friends.  I was so tired of being a slave.   I was so tired of being restricted.  I was so tired of not making it.   I was so tired of seeing everybody exceed, and I remain stagnant.  The thing that hurt me the most was seeing my wife stand behind me while I was in my error.  My choices not only put me in bondage, but my family in bondage as well.  Once I made the choice by saying “no more”!!!!  My freedom was in sight, and it was in the form of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, the Author and Finisher of my faith.  Free yourselves also.  Amen!