Thursday, May 28, 2009

House of Pain

Proverbs 7:26-27

Do not stray into her paths; for she has cast down many wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong men, her house is the way to hell, descending to the chambers of death.

In thinking about my series for TNT in June, I thought about Tyler Perry’s hit sitcom, “The House of Payne.” Tyler has a way of blending comic relief with the Pain of family dysfunction. There is always some episode we can identify with because we all have some Pain in our house. The great thing about looking at somebody else’s house is that you can learn from other people’s pain or at least that would be the wise thing to do.

The writer of proverbs was looking through the window of his house at a young man who lacked understanding, he observed him going by the house of an adulteress at night. A lot of us head toward this house of pain by making the fatal mistake of going by there at night. Maybe Whodini was right, “The Freaks come out at night.” Many of the bad decisions we made were made at night and we chose the wrong path at the wrong time. Maybe we would do better staying on our street in our own house at night. Then maybe we would not have brought pain back to our house.

This woman was so smooth with her words. The writer says her lips dripped of Honey. This young man was slowly slipping into a trap. Who is it that has been talking to you and their words are sweet but you know that it is only going to lead to bitterness in the end? This young man was slowly slipping into a trap. She was dragging him to Hell. I saw the crazy preview for that movie, “Drag me to Hell.” There is no way I’m going to see that movie or let anybody drag me to hell. But the reality is that many of us are letting people drag us to hell. The problem is that they don’t look like demons or monsters. They look good, they have nice shapes, they have six packs, they have banging bodies but they are dragging us to hell with their smooth talk. Proverbs 8:18 says, but he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of hell.

How can we avoid this house of pain? Where did this young man mess up?

1. He went to her house at night. Jesus said in John 11:9 - Are there not twelve hours of daylight? A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light.

2. He knew she was married but kept talking. This is what messed David up with Bathsheba. He knew she was married but kept entertaining the thought of being with her. When you know who someone is and you know where it is leading cut it off before you talk yourself into something you can’t get out of.

3. She seduced him with how good it would be but hid how bad it could hurt. The word seduce means to lead astray usually by persuasion or false promises. That’s powerful. How many times have you fallen for false promises? Don’t let them lure you away to hell with promises that they can’t deliver on.

4. He didn’t count the cost. Verse 23 - He did not know it would cost his life. We could avoid a lot of pain if we could just ask ourselves what happens if I get caught? What happens if this gets exposed? It’s not worth it no matter how good it sounds.

5. He thought he was stronger than most men. This is the trick of the enemy; the devil always makes you think that you will be the only man/woman in history to ever get away with it. If we look at the annuls of history, we will discover that every great man has been brought down by three things Power, Money or Sex. What makes you any different?

There are three ways to avoid the house of Pain?

1. Pay attention to God’s wisdom. Proverbs 8:1 - Does not wisdom cry out, and understanding lift up her voice? Make sure you are listening to the right voice.

2. Do not turn aside to her ways. Romans 12:2 - Do not conform to the patterns of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

3. Do not stray into her paths. Matthew 7:13 - Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life and only a few find it.

Dear God, grant me wisdom to stay away from this house of pain. Order my steps in your word, dear Lord, do not let me deceive myself into thinking I’m stronger than all those who have fallen before me. Help me to walk by the light of day and not stumble into the house of pain. Thank you for being the ruler of my house.

In Jesus Name.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You Ain't Seen Nothing Yet!

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the Glory which shall be revealed in us.

Sometimes it is easy to be consumed in your present sufferings that you forget to look forward to your destiny. If you can just make it through the night, Joy has got to come in the morning. One of my favorite movies is the Shawshank Redemption with Morgan Freeman and his friend Andy. Andy goes through insurmountable odds to free himself from a living hell. He is wrongly accused of murder, imprisoned, raped, betrayed, beaten, extorted, used and abused. But he never gives up hope. Morgan Freeman’s Character has given up in his “present suffering” but Andy never stops Hoping. Morgan tells Andy that hope is dangerous but Andy knew what Romans 8:24 said, For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope, for why does one still hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

Andy persevered through his unjust treatment and day in and day out he dug through his wall with a spoon emptying the dust from his pants in the yard. He then crawled 500 yards through raw sewage to get to his freedom. How bad do you want to be free?
We can’t let our present sufferings stop us from our future Glory. Everyday when you struggle tell yourself, “This does not compare with where God is taking me.”

What can we learn from Andy?

1. That which does not kill us makes us stronger. The enemy can throw everything he can at you but when you are purposed by God they can’t kill you. I refuse to die I got too much to live for. My revenge is to live and see my enemy’s face when God takes me where I’m going.

2. Use your gifts to get you out. The bible says your gifts will make room for you and bring you into the presence of great men. It seemed that the warden was using Andy, but Andy was using his gifts to make a way of escape. Everyday you go to work you ought to be using your gifts to get to the next level in spite of who you work for. Get Free!

3. Never give up Hope! Your present sufferings don’t compare to where God is taking you. Get a picture in your mind of where you are going. Put it on your wall. Hang it in your cubicle. Set a goal for your life and don’t stop until you get there.

4. Take your wall out a little at a time. Andy dug through six feet of concrete with a spoon. Time and pressure will even weaken rocks. Whatever is standing between you and your freedom take it out a little at a time. Pay off one bill at a time. After you pay that one off, add your money to snow ball the next one until you are on the other side of debt freedom. Take out that wall.

5. Crawl through other people’s crap if you have to until you get to a place where you don’t have to take no more crap. The race is not given to the swift or to the strong but to those who can make it through a bunch of crap and get to the other side!

6. Start over fresh once you get out and head in a New Direction from the inside out. Andy moved to Mexico and never looked back. He had money, a new identity, and a new start. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and life more abundantly. "When you are in Jesus you are a new creation, old things have passed and all things have become new.

7. Don’t forget those who helped you out. Andy sent for his friend Morgan an invitation. He didn’t go back for him but he left him an invitation. You never go back to prison to get people but if they are ready for where you are they will come and join you if they are meant to. Many are called but few are chosen.

Dear God, what I’ve been going through does not compare with where you are taking me. Eyes haven’t seen, ears haven’t heard, neither has it entered into the hearts of men what you are about to do for me. These present sufferings almost made me lose focus on my destiny. The devil thought he had me but Jesus came and grabbed me. God you held me close and you didn’t let go! Through many dangers, toils, and snares I have already come. I’m excited about my future. I’m ready now! Let me get up now and wash this crap off me, I got places to Go!

In Jesus Name!


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Aroused by the Law

Romans 7:5

For when we were in the flesh, the sinful passions which were aroused by the law were at work in our members to bear fruit to death.

Have you ever been conflicted in your mind/body as to how to live Holy? You know what to do but you cannot carry it out. Being human can be complicated especially when you are trying to live clean in a dirty world. Common sense would tell you that when you breathe in the cultural air of porn, lust, and sensuality from secular sources, nine times out of ten you will cause a reaction contrary to the word of God. But has it ever dawned on you that when you read the word of God that those passions can also be aroused? Many of us are afraid to look at passions and desires that have long since been repressed . Paul said we are aroused by the law because it brings attention to what is already in us. In verse 7 he says, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “you shall not covet.” Reading the bible is good but it’s not enough to kill your desire. We don’t kill our desire, passions by not talking about them. We have to deal with this confliction of the soul.

In verse 23 Paul says, “I see another law in my members warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin…O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? It’s easy to avoid dealing with our issues when we refuse to read the bible especially as it pertains to our certain proclivities that we want to deny that we have. Reading the law (God’s word) is the starting place but it is in relationship with Jesus that we are delivered from the fruit of shame. Apart from Jesus, we are just a bunch of righteous wannabees wrapped in a then garment of worn out clich├ęs. It is only when we wrestle with who we really are in God’s word and allow Jesus to be our righteousness. The word of God reveals to us that we have some issues. Revelation 3:17 you say, I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Underneath our garments, we are all in need of God’s healing and need to deal with our issues. Who then can help us if the law only stirs up what we are trying to avoid?

Romans 8:1 there is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the spirit. Being chaste is not the absence of desire, but it is the constraint of the desire by the Help of the Holy Spirit as a result of our relationship with Jesus.

The Holy Sprit is the equalizer between our fleshly desires and our righteous intentions. The law pulls the cover back on our sinful desires however repressed they might be and the Holy Sprit helps us to manage our mess and to walk in a way that is pleasing to God. It reminds me of the old hymn we used to sing in my little country church:

Just as I am without one plea, but that thy blood was shed for me, and thou bidds’t me come to thee, O Lamb of God I come! I come!

Just as I am tossed about with many a conflict, many a doubt. Fightings and fears within, without. O Lamb of God I come! I come!

We have got to make up our minds that we are going to stop hiding behind our inept coverings of religiosity and come out to face God just as we are. WE can’t be afraid to deal with our passions and desires but to present them to God so that the Holy Spirit can lead us in a way that is pleasing to God and a way that can make us whole, not fractured. The law by itself can only arouse who I am but it is Jesus who makes me whole.

Dear God, reconcile all of who I am by the power of your spirit. Channel all of my passions into positive expressions that give you Glory and Fulfill my life and bless those around me so that I can be clothed and in my right mind.

In Jesus name,


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Who Made You Judge?

Romans 2:1
Therefore, you are inexcusable, O man, whoever you are who judge, for in whatever you judge another you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

It is amazing how people can judge a book by its cover or form an opinion from excerpts of your life. We live in a “Paparazzi” infected world where each person has their own camera and gavels and with our limited evidence and opinions, we have made people guilty who are innocent out of our own insecurities. We judge people by laws we don’t keep ourselves. We hold people to higher standards that we don’t even attempt to reach all because something we see in the other person strikes a cord of discomfort in our own fractured self image.

Paul says that people like this are inexcusable. He said when you judge someone else for whatever reason you have already condemned yourself. The more people put their mouths on someone else the more they condemn themselves. What you condemn in a person is really a reflection of something fractured in yourself.

The key point of this scripture is when Paul says, “For you who judge practice the same things!” Paul asks them in verse 21 “You therefore who teach another, do you teach yourself? You who preach that a man should not steal, do you steal? You who say, Do not commit adultery, Do you commit adultery?

This hypocrisy must stop! When we find ourselves joining the lynch mobs of the ill informed opinionated masses we should back up and look at ourselves and ask, what is it about the person that has me ready to condemn them? Is there anything in me that could stand to be condemned?

It’s like Jesus when they caught the woman in the act of adultery and dragged her in front of Jesus. Jesus wrote in the dirt. I think he was writing the sins of every man in that room. The mob said, “According to the law this woman deserves to die, what do you say?” Jesus said, “He who is without sin cast the first stone.” They all left from the youngest to the oldest. Jesus said to the woman, “Is there anyone left to condemn you?” She said, “NO my Lord.” He said, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

Its not the cover you should judge and not one excerpt from a person’s life but the full content of their character.

Verse 29 but he is a (Christian) who is one inwardly, and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.

Dear God, you are the only one who can judge me. You know my heart and my intentions. May the words of those who judge me be turned against them. If you find anything in me that’s wrong take it away and forgive me. Thank you for not condemning me but instead you saved me from the hands of blood thirsty men. Thank you for the blood of Jesus that covers me and washes away my condemnation.

In Jesus Name.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I Am Not Ashamed

Romans 1:16
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes for the Jew first, and also for the Greek.

If you have a call by God to preach, you can’t be quiet and keep it to yourself. Jeremiah got tired of the ridicule and backlash of being prophetic and said, he wouldn’t prophesy anymore. But when he tried to be quiet he said, “God’s word was like fire shut up in my bones.” Society doesn’t want to hear the truth of god’s word because it always cuts against the grain of what is accepted. When you know the truth, the truth sets you free. Free from what? Free from the need of approval of what other people think about you. When you know something to be true, you can’t be ashamed of it. The gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God, he gave his life for our sins and God raised him from the dead. I’m not ashamed. He came to set the captives free. I’m not ashamed of that. He came for prostitutes, lepers, and sinners. I’m not ashamed of that.

When God sent me 20 years ago to preach his gospel, I remember a key scripture Luke 9:26 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when comes in his glory and in the glory of the father and of the Holy angels. We have a tendency to get ashamed of someone when other people don’t accept who they are. We shy away. We distance ourselves.

Preaching is the ability to stand for truth even when your subject matter is unpopular, radical and counter-cultural. But when you are not ashamed in front of men, Jesus is not ashamed in front of the father. He says, “Daddy that’s my servant, he’s telling the truth!”

I am not ashamed of the gospel because:

1. It is the Power of salvation. When you preach Jesus, souls are saved. When I see lives being transformed, and the lost being found, it really doesn’t bother me when people misunderstand my mission and scandalize my name. I am not ashamed.

2. For everyone who believes…there are so many people hurting, blind and lost. When you see that light come on in their eyes, it’s worth it. When Jesus healed the blind man, the religious people tried to get the healed man to say Jesus was a sinner for healing on the Sabbath. The blind man said, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I do not know, but one thing I do know whereas I once was blind now I see.”

3. The Jews first, but also the Greek…the gospel is for the religious, those who think they know and also for the Greek, those who have not come to know but are looking. As long as there are both groups left, I got to keep on preaching. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Dear God, I can’t shut up. I will not shut up. I know too much about him for folks to make me doubt him. Whatever you tell me to say, I will say it. Whatever you tell me to go, I’ll go. Here I am Lord, send me. May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you. Lord, I pray in Jesus Name!


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Don't Grow Weary

2 Thessalonians 3:13

But as for you brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.

It can be disheartening when you are doing all you can to help people only to be misunderstood and demonized. Like Marvin Gaye said, "Makes you want to holler throw up both my hands the way they do my life.” (who, by the way, was shot by his own father because he was jealous of him). The early Christians faced the same type of challenges that we face in the 21st century. They were caught between two dominant cultures. The established Jewish culture of Judaism and the heathen culture of idol worshippers. In the midst was an emerging Christian culture trying to survive the crushing effects of both. The early Christians were trying to live out the tents of Jesus' teachings under the scrutiny of those who thought they were law breakers because they didn’t keep the traditions of men and then you have the worldly influence of pagans trying to infiltrate the church with things like temple prostitution, people who could work but refused to work, sacrificing to idols, etc. All of these things were draining on the new leaders, but Paul encourages them to not grow weary in doing good.

It can be draining trying to do cutting edge ministry in a “religious town.” Apostolic ministry is pioneering. The early apostles had to blaze a new trail in places that had never received the radical message of Jesus Christ. The early apostles were labeled as blasphemers for teaching about this Jesus who was raised from the dead. While they were trying to reach Gentiles, they were being scrutinized by the old religious guard for their methods and their theology, but Paul says do not grow wear in doing good. It sounds easier than it is because as it says in Isaiah 40:31, Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall, but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. We all get weary and when our good is misunderstood for evil, it makes you want to quit. But this scripture speaks to me this morning and I hear God saying, “Do not grow weary in doing good.” When you are at work and everyone around you is doing enough to get by and you are wondering why should I keep busting my behind. …do not grow weary in doing good. When you are single trying to hold on to your virtue and everyone around you is doing whatever and with whomever…do not grow weary in doing good. When you are trying to help people and people around you criticize your every move…do not grow weary in doing good.

How do you not grow weary when it seems you are fighting against two opposing forces?

1. Remember who you are fighting for. Only what you do for Christ will last. When you are fighting for God, God will fight for you.

2. Remember who you are helping. Matthew 9:11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners’ 12 On hearing this , Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. ..For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners. Even Jesus was misunderstood when he stepped out of the box of tradition to help people who were not otherwise welcomed in church so he went to where they were. If they misunderstood Jesus, they will misunderstand you. When I know who I’m helping it doesn’t matter what the people who are not in my target audience think about me.

3. Remember where all your help comes from. Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the hills where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip, he who watches over you will not let your foot slip.

4. Work with the end in mind. James 1:12 blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who live him.

5. Push "Pause" if you feel faint. I’m working on this P90X workout routine and the trainer reminds me periodically if I ever feel wasted to push pause and take a break. Luke 5:16 But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. When the grind of life gets to you it’s okay to push the pause button and take a break. When you get your wind back, jump back in and finish.

6. Get in his presence. Before Jesus was able to finish his mission he had to go in the garden to pray. There are some hard assignments God gives us and the only way to finish is to get in his presence and get some strength from our father.

7. Take care of your body. I Timothy 4:8 For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. We need to take care of our temples with what we watch, eat, and put in our bodies. We need to exercise physically and spiritually.

8. Laugh, Love and Live. Ecclesiastes 3:4 There is a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Life is short and you should learn how to enjoy every day that God gives you. All work and no play makes you a boring and burnt out person.

9. Update your Status. I don’t understand why some people are on Facebook. They never change their status. The reason some of us don’t finish is that we never update our status. You may be somewhere that God is no longer present. Check your status.

10. Check the company you keep. If you are in the company of draining people, it causes you to fall short of finishing what God tells you to do. Bad company corrupts good morals.

Dear God, it's draining sometimes when you are trying to help people and you feel the crushing force of opposition. But what keeps me going is when I know you are pleased with my service and your people are being helped. Give me the strength to endure, protect my family, mature our church, so that one day we can hear you say, “well done my good and faithful servant, you’ve been faithful over a few things now come on up and I will make you ruler over many.”

In Jesus Name.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Which One Is Telling the Truth?

I Kings 3:27 So the King answered and said, “Give the first woman the living child, and by no means kill him, she is his mother.

It’s hard sometimes to separate the truth from a lie. Lawyers have put together compelling cases to set people free who should have been locked up, and they have also dressed up a lie to look like the truth and sent innocent people to jail. How do you then rightly discern the truth from a lie?

This was Solomon’s dilemma. He was a young king who had taken over his Daddy’s Kingdom. He didn’t know anything about leading a Kingdom but God showed up in his dreams and asked him to name whatever he wanted. He didn’t ask for Riches, he didn’t ask for the death of his enemies, and he didn’t even ask for long life. But he asked for wisdom and knowledge. Wisdom and Knowledge will help you discern the truth from a lie. Wisdom is the God-given insight into complex situations and knowledge is the accumulation of facts, not opinions. When you put the two together you come up with the truth. Someone quoted Jay Z the other day on my FB Page, “Men Lie, Women lie, but numbers don’t.”

Solomon’s first case as a new King was a perplexing dilemma between two prostitutes. They both had babies around the same age. One of them rolled over on her baby in the night and suffocated the baby. Somewhere in the night she switched out babies with her roommate. In the morning, the other woman noticed that her baby was dead but upon further examination she discovered this was not her baby. So they took their argument to the new King.

This was before the days of birth certificates and DNA testing, so it was one woman’s word against another. They went back and forth saying the baby was the others. Solomon said, “Bring me a sword and I will divide the baby in two. “ The one mean spirited prostitute said, “Yeah go on and cut him in half that way neither one of us will have him.” But the other women threw herself at the King and said, “Please don’t take his life, let her have him.” Wisdom and knowledge begin to kick in to Solomon’s spirit. Flesh and blood didn’t reveal this to him. He said,”Give the baby to this woman, she is the real mother.” When he saw the love in this woman who was wiling to give up her baby so that he could live eventhough she couldn’t keep him, he knew then that this was the real mother and she was telling the truth.

How did he know who was telling the truth?

1. The truth never seeks to harm another. You don’t tell the truth to see another person destroyed. The Prostitute who said, “Go ahead and cut him in half.” Only wanted to see the other woman as miserable as she was. Whenever someone has to tear someone else up to absolve their own misery, that person is a liar.

2. The truth doesn’t divide the living. The lying prostitute wanted to divide the living baby just to prove her point out of her own misery. The real mother was willing to concede just to save the baby. Truth tellers don’t keep ripping innocent people apart just to make themselves look right.

3. The truth always expresses the ugliness of the guilty and the compassion of the innocent. The lying prostitute showed how ugly she was on the inside when she told the King to cut an innocent baby in half. What kind of person would want to put innocent children in danger just to prove they are right?

4. The truth always wants what is best for others not just yourself. The real mother made a conscious decision; even if I lose my baby at least he will get to live. The other mother wanted to win at all cost even the life of an innocent baby.

5. Wisdom and knowledge make the final decision not opinions. King Solomon had to use his wisdom in making the final decision. After you have heard what people have to say, you next have to listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to your heart. Above all else pray for Wisdom and knowledge and turn off ignorance and opinions.

Dear God, the devil only comes to steal, kill, and destroy. Give me wisdom and discernment to separate the real from the fake. Help me to stand for truth and righteousness. Let God be true and every man that lies be exposed. Help us to know the truth not opinions, for the truth will set us free!

In Jesus Name.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

You Build the House

I Chronicles 22:11

Now my son, may the lord be with you; and may you prosper, and build the house of the Lord your god, as he has said to you.

There are things that our fathers wanted to do with all their hearts but they were not able to do because of the limitations of their humanity. They had the noblest of intentions but God had to let the next generation fulfill the desire of the previous generation. In 1984, Jesse Jackson ran for President of the United States of America but because he fought so hard for Civil Rights he was not in a place where he could unify all people even though he was a great hero of American History. His son, Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. was able to help elect our first African American President because God used the next generation to build the house.

David wanted to build a magnificent House for the Lord. He gathered up precious stone, iron, timber, workers but he had to pass it to his son because God told David, “You have shed too much blood in my sight, but I will give you a son who will build the house.” David was a man of war but his son Solomon, whose name meant peace, was to build the house.

For decades the United States has been at war with the world and our House has been divided amongst racial and class lines. We now have a “Son” of both races, both the motherland and the “United States” to rebuild the House that our Father’s couldn’t finish. This generation is more prone to fight for Peace than they are to make War. This generation is about making sure that all people have adequate health care and equal opportunity. Dr. Martin Luther King was murdered because of his financial dream that poor people would have access to wealth just as the powerful few. This fear of rebuilding the house caused the government to assassinate its prophet because it threatened their profit. Now a son of the movement has to finish the house.

Our Fathers shed a lot of blood but we are to be sons/daughters of Peace. There are some things our fore-parents wanted to do but it’s up to us to build the house. Our Fathers wanted to build stable homes but because of the dysfunction of broken homes and generational curses they fell short, now we must build the house. Our Fathers wanted to build the House of racial unity but fell short because of the blood of lynching and racial terrorism, now we must build the house. Our Fathers wanted to build a country where every man/woman regardless of race, color, or creed could have the inalienable right to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness but we fell short because of the blood, now we pick up our pieces, roll up our sleeves, put aside our difference and Build this House.

In order for the next generation to build properly they need the blessing David gave Solomon:

1. May the Lord be with you. Notice David didn’t say, “I hope you fail.” Neither did he say, “Solomon talking down to black people…I want to cut his #$# off.” He said, “May God be with you! We must speak life into the next generation. Just as God was with Moses so he will be with Joshua. Whenever we closed in Benediction at my country church we would sing, “May God be with you, May God be with you, until we meet again.” This generation needs to know that God is with them. They need your blessing.

2. May you prosper! David left resources for his son to be in a place of prosperity. David worked hard to make provision for his son. David had to shed blood to establish his Kingdom. What David did disqualified him from building a house for God. Our Parents sacrificed their chance for us to have a chance. There are some parents that had to bust their knuckles in factories so that we could go to college. The best way to honor their blood is to take advantage of the open doors and build the house. The bible says that a righteous man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.

3. Build the House! It’s time for this generation to take action! We have to Build the house. We need to get involved with efforts like Habitat for Humanity and rebuild homes for people who can’t afford them. We need to go to New Orleans, Mississippi, Alabama and help rebuild homes devastated by tornadoes and storms. We need to go into our neighborhoods and help restore dignity and help first time homeowners get the dream of owning their own homes. One of the Principles of Kwanzaa says, we should practice Collective Work & Responsibility to build and maintain our community together and to make our Brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.

Dear God, give us the strength to build the house. Help us to pick up where our father’s left off. It's time to build and restore peace to a world torn by war. Your house shall be called a house of prayer, Lord help us to rid the house of robbers and thieves. Lord, let us build you a house of prayer, peace, and prosperity for all people.

In Jesus Name.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Trouble Don’t Last

Psalm 30:5

For His anger is but for a moment, his favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning

Sometimes it seems that trouble will never end, especially when we’ve done something to cause the trouble. It's one thing to suffer because of something you’ve done right, but it’s a whole other thing to suffer because of something you’ve done wrong. David knew both instances of trouble, but he also knew that God was able to deliver him out of both.

In 2 Samuel 24, David numbers the people, particularly the fighting men. He wanted to see how many soldiers he had. It seemed harmless but it provoked the anger of God because David put his hope in chariots and swords not God’s power and word. This seems to upset God more than David’s adultery with Bathsheba. David starts to rely on his own power, his one million soldiers, than he does God’s sovereign power. God sends an Angel to strike the people with a plague for three days and kills 70,000 people. God looks down and relents. David sees the Angel with a sword dripping with blood suspended between heaven and earth. David builds an altar in the threshing room floor to sacrifice to the Lord to stop the plague. The owner offers to give David the Oxen, the wood instruments for the fire and the wheat. Normally this gesture would have been taken as a compliment. Normally someone of David’s stature could have demanded that the man give him these things. In a National crisis like a plague that killed 70K people, you would have thought David would have said, “Yes give them to me.” But David says, “No I don’t want you to give me anything. I caused this. I will not offer God anything that doesn’t cost me something.” Whatever it is that we caused, we should pay for it not somebody else. Our family, our team, our people should not have to suffer for our bad decisions. We should not sit back and expect other people in church to give while we sit back and eat off of their sacrifices. If we ever needed to make a sacrifice and give, now is the time. Maybe this recession could end a lot sooner if we gave God something that cost us and not put the burden on somebody else to give. After David’s sacrifice, God stops the plague.

When I read Psalm 30:5 it makes sense why David wrote it.

1. His anger is but for a moment. After three days of seeing his people die God relented. God is like a loving father and he doesn’t like to discipline his children and he doesn’t want to see us perish. When we love him, he can’t stay mad at us. That’s why he said, “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and heal their land.

2. Favor is for life. Favor is when God works on your behalf to do for you what he does for nobody else. Just because you have favor doesn’t mean you can do anything without consequences. It just means that because of relationship trouble won’t last always.

3. Weeping may endure for a night. There will be times when things go south because of persecution or disobedience, but the good news is that it won’t last always.

4. But joy comes in the morning. Right now I hear the birds singing outside my window at 6:11 a.m. Last night I was ridiculed by a local DJ but this morning I’m being serenaded by God’s creation. Last night I was threatened by a disgruntled individual, but this morning I’m comforted by his presence. Trouble don’t last always.

Dear God, thank you for not allowing my night to make me mess my morning. Your mercies are new every morning. Great is your faithfulness. Morning by morning, new mercies I see, all I have needed your hand has provided. Trouble don’t last always. If I’ve done anything to disappoint you, forgive me and bring me back into your will. Keep me in your hand I pray.

In Jesus Name.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Mighty Man or Mighty Mouse

2 Samuel 23:16

So the three mighty men broke through the camp of the Philistines drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless he would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord.

Charles Barkley was talking about the toughness of Ron Artest the other night, and said he was one of the few players in the NBA he would put on his "Fox Hole" team. In order to play on Charles’ “Fox Hole” team, you have to be one of those tough, hard nose players who will fight to the end. It’s important to know who you are fighting with and what they are made of before you go to war. Are they mighty men or mighty mice?

David had some mighty men with him:
Adino Killed 800 men at one time. You need somebody on your team that can stand alone and do the work of ten men if they have to.

Eleazar kept fighting the Philistines all day until his sword stuck to his hand. You need somebody on your team who will not quit until the job is done.

Shammah was with a group of men standing in a field of lentils defending it when everybody fled. He stood in the middle of the field to defend it until he defeated every Philistine single handedly. You need some people on your team who will stand their ground even if they have to stand alone.

Then there were the tree men who were coming in at harvest to the stronghold where David was. They overheard their leader longing for home and wanting a drink from the well in Bethlehem. They had a lot of respect for David. They knew how valiant of a leader he was and how he had risked his life for them time after time. They got together and decided we are going to get our leader what his heart desires. It was only three of them but they fought through the front line of the Philistine camp, went to the gate still fighting, lowered the bucket into the well and got a jar of water for their leader, fought their way back to the stronghold and gave it to David. I have to imagine that David was standing there with his mouth open. He couldn’t believe the love, loyalty, and sacrifice these men had made for him. David didn’t demand the water, he just mentioned it in passing. When you have mighty men and women on your team, you never have to demand anything they just know you and do what they have to do to get it done.

What made them mighty?

1. They had the heart of their leader. They knew his heart because they were listening to him.

2. They were with him in the stronghold. They were with him where he was. In order to be a mighty man, you have to be where your leader is physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

3. They went through obstacles to get what their leader desired, not demanded. Once you know what your leader needs, you have to show him/her how committed you are to them.

4. They fought valiantly. Even while they were retrieving the water, I can imagine they were still fighting. Three men against hundreds.

David is a mighty man himself. What I love about him is that he didn’t demand the water and when he thought about how his men risked their lives for the water he wouldn’t drink it but he gave it up as an offering to the Lord. When you have mighty men on your team don’t take them for granted. You must be a mighty man (woman) to draw mighty men (women) to you.

Dear God, make me a mighty man. Help me to walk in integrity, courage, and faith. When others flee, help me to stand. You are a mighty God please make me a mighty man.

In Jesus Name.


Monday, May 11, 2009

Cleaning Up The Camp

Psalm 55:12-13
For it is not an enemy who reproaches me; then I could bear it. Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me; Then I could hide from him. But it was you, a man my equal, my companion and my acquaintance.

Loyalty is so important to keep peace in your camp. Everybody around you needs to be for you or they are against you. When you are in leadership it’s important to know where your people’s hearts are. It’s one thing to fight with the enemy on the outside but it’s a whole other fight when the one who calls himself a friend is doing you harm. Its time to clean up the camp.

This Psalm was written by David at one of the most chaotic moments in his life. His son Absalom had taken over Israel in a rebellion. He had also slept with David’s concubines in a tent in broad daylight. Many of his top officials defected and turned against David, but David fled and let time and consequence take effect. It was a good time for David to see who was with him and who was against him. He was able to quell the rebellion but he gave instruction not to kill his son Absalom. Joab didn’t listen but killed Absalom anyway. When David writes about his friend who exalted himself against him I don’t think he was talking about Absalom but Joab. Joab had killed three people that David told him plainly not to. He started doing things the way he wanted to not the way David told him to.

When the people who are close to you start doing things the opposite from the way you told them to then it's time to clean up your camp. How do you know when to clean up the camp? What are the signs?

1. Because they do not change. Psalm 55:19a. David gave Joab chance after chance to show that he was loyal to David, but somewhere in Joab's mind he knew better than the King did. Everybody can’t handle power. Some of the People in your entourage are not going to change. They can’t handle the power that comes along with rolling with you. Over time they have created a pattern of dysfunction and the more you tell them to change they refuse. They have to go.

2. They do not fear God. Psalm 55:19b. When there is behavior contrary to the will of God in the lives of those closest to you and you have warned them not to do it, you have no choice but to get them out of your camp. The anointing on your life is too important to have people around you that don’t fear God. Fearing God is having reverence for His Word and His Will. If they don’t fear God, they are putting your life in danger.

3. Their words don’t match their hearts. The words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart; His words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords. One of my mentors told me to watch out for people on my team who have false humility. They are sitting down on the outside but standing up on the inside. You can usually tell these people because every time you talk to them there is push back and they do things opposite from the way you discussed. Jesus said, “Your lips say you love me but your heart is far from me.”

David cleaned up his camp by:

1. Replacing Joab in Leadership, (but he killed Amasa his replacement). David had to finally tell Solomon to have Joab killed.

2. Confronting Mephibosheth. You remember Mephibosheth the lame son of Jonathan whom David brought around the table. When David fled,he stayed behind. He stayed behind because Ziba tricked him and to show his support, Mephibosheth didn’t shave, didn’t wash his clothes until David came back. He was Loyal, even though he couldn’t move,he didn’t switch his allegiance. David rewarded him by giving him his land back.

3. Putting his concubines in seclusion for the rest of their lives to live as Widows for having sex with his son. Some of the people you were intimate with and betrayed you need to be secluded. They need to get out of your camp and focus on those who have been faithful to you.

Dear God, give me discernment to know who is with me and who is just pretending. Clean my camp from those who are using smooth words, but war is in their hearts. Surround me with people who fear you and love me unconditionally, but ultimately I will trust in you the most.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How Can I Get Rid of My Shame?

2 Samuel 13:13

Where could I take my shame? And as for you, you would be like one of the fools in Israel. Now therefore, please speak to the King for he will not withhold me from you.

There is something in all of our lives that we tried to avoid and that is shame. Going all the way back to when we were young children, one of the embarrassing things to happen was when an adult caught you doing something wrong and they would say, “Shame on you!” It’s as if someone placed a heavy cloak of condemnation on you. Worse yet was when you were wrong and somebody had to remind you that you should be ashamed because you did it so long you had no shame, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself.”

Whether you were caught in something you regreted or initiated something you should have known was wrong, the question is how do I get rid of my shame?

Amnon was lusting for his half-sister Tamar. He was “In love” with her. He should have had some shame but he had a sly friend named Jonadab who encouraged him in his shameful act. The bible says that Jonadab was very shrewd. Bad company corrupts good morals. Often times what causes us to get into shameful acts is when we allow corrupt people to give us bad advice. Jonadab told Amnon to pretend to be sick so the King would send his sister to cook some food.

When Tamar arrived she cooked bread right outside his bedroom. Amnon was lying in his bed peeping around at his sister, looking at her neck, watching her every move. He didn’t know what was more intoxicating, smelling the fresh bread cooking or watching his sister prepare it. His heart is racing as he is closer to getting the forbidden fruit of sleeping with is sister. There is no shame in his game. Lust has taken over and his spiritual sensibility has been suppressed. Poor Tamar is innocently preparing food trying to help her sick brother, but she doesn’t know how really “sick” he is. Amnon tells all the servants to leave and for Tamar to bring the bread to his bed.

He grabbed her and told her to have sex with him. She reminded him of what he should have been ashamed of.

1) I’m your sister. We could avoid a lot of shame if we treated every woman like our sister instead of a piece of meat.

2) I’m a Virgin. She was trying to save herself for a man who would want her for the rest of her life not just five minutes.

3) Don’t force me to be with you. Stealing Sex is Rape; there is no dignity in rape for victim or perpetrator. There is honor even amongst thieves so much so that when rapists go to jail, they usually end up getting raped. You are not a man if you have to force yourself on a woman, especially a young woman who is a virgin. Lust took over his ability to be rational or moral and he raped his sister.

Both of them were children of the king. She tried to preserve her dignity. His lust didn’t care about what he was about to do to his character or that of his Sister. In desperation she says, “Where can I get rid of my shame?” I won’t be able to get a husband. People will call you a fool and a pervert. People all over town will talk about us. Once you take my virginity I can’t get it back. How can I get rid of my shame?

She says, “Ask the king, my daddy, for my hand in marriage.” There’s a right way of being with someone and a wrong way. He wouldn’t listen and because he was stronger than she, he raped her.

This is how you know it as lust and not love. Verse 15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly so that the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her. And Amnon said to her, “Get out!” After he got what he wanted he literally threw her out and locked the door. She went to her brothers Absalom’s house where she lived a desolate woman.

How do we avoid “Shame on us?”

1. Don’t confuse lust with Love. Lust starts with a fleshly craving; Love starts in the heart and wants the best for the other person.

2. Remember you are a child of the King. Your standard is different from everybody else.

3. It is better to marry than to burn. Tamar said, “Ask my daddy for my hand in marriage.” If you “love” somebody so bad then put a ring on it. IF you can’t that’s lust and not love.

4. Don’t bake bread near his bed. If you want to help somebody, help them somewhere besides the bedroom. Shame usually happens in the bed when you are not married.

5. Don’t internalize your shame when shame is on you. When you mess up get the shame off don’t let it get in you. Repent and ask for forgiveness. Don’t walk around punishing yourself.

6. Don’t hide in your brother’s house. Tamar stayed with Absalom a desolate woman. Sister clean yourself up and take your life back. Men clean yourself up and be reconciled to those you hurt and to God.

7. Go back to the king and ask hem to Restore your dignity. The bible says David was angry but he never went to his daughter or his son. When you are a child of the King you have access 24 hours. Go to him.

Dear God, thank you for taking away my shame. I fought as best I could but lust seems to have won. Now help me to restore my dignity and put me back in the presence of the King. Don’t let me be suffocated by my shame but cleanse me with the blood of Jesus.

In Jesus Name I pray,


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

You Are The Man!

2 Samuel 12:7

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord God of Israel: I anointed you king over Israel and I delivered you from the hand of Saul.

Every brother I know would love to hear his friends say to him, “You are the man!” We live our lives to be appreciated by our peers and esteemed by others and to hear them say, “You are the man.” We try our best to get to the top, whether by hustling in the streets or climbing corporate ladders we all want to be the man. We want to hear our wives say, “Baby you are the man for what we do in the boardroom and in the bedroom, but there is one person I fear that I never want to hear him say, “You are the man,” and that is God.

In every sense of the word, David was a man after God’s own heart. From his humble beginning as a lowly shepherd boy to his meteoric rise to become king of all Israel, David was the man! He defeated Goliath; he was Saul’s top armor bearer, son in law, and top general. He became King after Saul’s death. He had a number of beautiful wives and children, but somewhere between being humble & hungry David became Haughty & Horny.

The Scripture tellingly says in the spring time when Kings go out to battle, David stayed at home. It’s dangerous when we get to the top, we stop having the discipline and drive that go out there in the first place. The higher up you go, the more careful you have to be.

David was careless on his rooftop. He saw Bathsheba taking a bath. He finds out she is married to Uriah. He abuses his power and brings her up for a one night stand that leads to her getting pregnant. David tries to cover it up by bringing her husband home from the war. David gets him drunk, feed him, then tries to send him home to sleep with his wife so it will look like he got her pregnant. Uriah sleeps outside with David’s servants because he has so much discipline and love for God and country. He knows what kind of warrior his King is and he doesn’t want to dishonor his King. Who wouldn’t kill to have a man like that on your staff or your team? Loyal, faithful, disciplined and brave. Instead of recognizing the valor in this brother David is too busy trying to cover his mess and has Uriah killed on the front line. He even gives him the note with instructions to Joab to have him set up. He gives Uriah the note of his own death sentence.

Nathan, the prophet, pays David a visit after he moves Bathsheba in his house. The Prophet begins to tell David a story about a rich man who took a poor man's only little lamb and killed it because he was greedy. Nathan asked, “What do you think of this man?“ David said, “He should pay back four times what he took and somebody should kill that man.” Nathan said, “You are the man.”

God said to David, “I anointed you king, I gave you wives and land. I would have given you more if you had just asked, but now the sword will never leave your house, and the baby you had will die. Your neighbor (his son Absalom) will sleep with your wives on the rooftop in broad daylight. David, you are the man! How do you avoid being that man?

1. Go to war. No matter how successful you become don’t lose the discipline that got you there.

2. Don’t use people to get what you want. When People become Pawns for your own selfish use, you have become that man. Treat people with respect, don’t use them as pawns.

3. Don’t be greedy. David had what he needed and some. Survey what you have and ask yourself, “When is enough ….enough?”

4. Don’t covet your neighbor’s wife or property. When you have an appreciation of what you already have, you won't fall into the trap of lusting for O.P.P. (other people’s Property) You down with OPP….NO!

5. Repent if you become that man. Read Psalm 51

Dear God, I don’t want to be the man! I want to be a man after your own heart. On my way toward success don’t let me forget what got me here. Lead me not into temptation but deliver me from evil. Renew the Right Sprit within me and restore the joy of my salvation.

In Jesus Name.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Naked and Ashamed

2 Samuel 10:5

When they told David, he sent to meet them, because the men were greatly ashamed. And the king said, “Wait at Jericho until your beards have grown and then return.

So many men avoid coming to church because of the shame on their lives. Somewhere in their past they have been exposed to embarrassment and they can’t come back to face the king because of their shame. The shame doesn’t necessarily have to do with anything sexually but men just don’t like to have their butts exposed for everybody to see. Sometime when we are unemployed, arrested, or publicly ridiculed, as many men are in church through male bashing sermons, it makes us not want to come back to face the King because of the shame on our lives.

David had sent some of his dignitaries out to console a neighboring king. He was a new King whose father had died. His father had shown kindness to David when he was on the run from Saul, so David wanted to show kindness to his son. When the men David sent got there, the leaders of Ammon convinced the new King that David was up to no good. They said he was just spying out the land to take it himself. So they took the men David sent and shaved off half their beards and tore their clothes so that their bare butts were exposed. They publicly humiliated these men.

Their beards were a sign of their manhood. It took a man time to grow their beards. Every man during that time had beards. It separated men from boys and men from women. Now these men felt less than men because the enemy took away half of their masculine identity. What is it that the enemy has taken away from you that threatens your identity? For some of us, we use our ability to work as our identity for manhood. For some of us it’s a car. For some it’s money. This recession has made a lot of men feel less than a man. The humiliation these men felt having half their beards shaved is equivalent to us going into a barbershop only to have our enemies forcefully move our barbers out of the way and cut half our hair off and send us back to work. Somebody has taken away half of my identity and I feel Naked.

The thing that was probably worse than the beards was when they tore their garments to expose their buttocks. This had a sexual innuendo. This made them feel less than a man as if they could be violated at any time. There is a saying amongst men that says, I was #$% out like Scout! These men were scouts for the King and the enemy tore away their covering so that they were @#$ out! Now I know that was extreme but the reality is that this is exactly how some men feel during this recession. They are butt out! Some men can’t get back to the king because they are afraid that what is behind them will be exposed. They would rather stay out there than for everybody to see their butts out. When you can’t provide for your family you feel butt out! When your past mistakes are readily accessible to everybody you feel butt out!

Some men are ashamed because of their sexual past, some are ashamed because they have been violated, some are ashamed because they were doing their job and as a reward they were publicly disgraced. Now many of us are stranded between where God sent us and where we need to return but we can’t because of the shame on our lives. How do I get back?

1. Wait on the King. After King David heard about their shame he sent to meet them. When you are butt out and half of who you were is gone, the King will meet you half way. He is not ashamed of you and you don’t need to be ashamed of him.

2. Stay in Jericho until your beard grows back. Jericho was out of the enemy’s territory and not far from Jerusalem. It was a place for the men to recover. Church is your Jericho. Get back there so that you can heal, so that your hair can grow back, so that God can restore some dignity back to you. Your manhood is not your job, your clothes, or what you drive but you still need to come to Jericho so you can be restored.

3. Return to Jerusalem. After you have been restored and dealt with your shame, God wants you to come back and serve the King. God will give you back your job after you return from your shame. We’ve all been butt out before but God is able to cover you and give you back your dignity.

Dear God, thank you for covering me when I felt exposed and ashamed. It was you who came to me when I was too ashamed to come back to you. Thank you for giving me my dignity back. Now I'm ready to serve you with all that I am. Thank you for coming to meet me in my shame.

In Jesus Name.


Monday, May 4, 2009

What R U Bringing To The Table?

2 Samuel 9:13

So Mephibosheth dwelt in Jerusalem, for he ate continually at the king’s table, and he was lame in both his feet.

In order to be on high powered teams, elite organizations, and with people in high places you have to bring something to the table. What gifts, resources, or talents do you possess that make you worthy to sit round the king’s table? Whether it’s the young executives fighting to be the next Apprentice to Donald Trump or the ambitious young entrepreneurs wanting to work for Diddy, at the end of the day, they better be bringing something to the table in order to get a seat.

What do you do when you are talented but lame? What do you do when half of you is royal and the other half can’t move? The other day the practice structure caved in on the Dallas Cowboys injuring several young players but paralyzing their Scout from the waist down. My prayers go out to them all for healing, but I couldn’t help but to wonder as good as this scout is, will Jerry Jones still have room at the table for this young man? Up top, he can still reason, call, recruit, but at the bottom he’s lame for now.

David wanted to now if there was anybody left of the House of Saul he could bring around the table. David had made a promise to Saul’s son Jonathan, his BFF, that he would be kind to his offspring if anything happened to him. So David inquired, ‘Is there anybody left from the house of Saul?’ Sometimes it feels like we are the only ones left from our house who had not been consumed by dysfunction, addiction, and death but barely. Mephibosheth was a son of Jonathan, but when Saul and Jonathan were killed, Mephibosheths nurse held him in her arms as she fled. She fell with him and accidently crippled him for life. Who is it that dropped you while they were carrying you and it is still affecting you?

David called Mephibosheth to his table and Mephibosheth, MO for short, said to him, "Why would you want a dead dog like your servant around the table?” Have you ever wondered how you made it around the table? Have you ever been sitting in staff meeting with everybody else and wondered to yourself, "How did I make it in here???” Sure I studied. Sure I work hard, but if they only know how lame I still am, how much I don’t know, they might not want me at this table.

David never told MO why but we know it was because of David’s relationship with Mo’s father. That’s the only reason he sat at David’s table the rest of his life and he had somebody to work the land, residual income that David gave back to him. David restored the land that belonged to his father back to MO, eventhough he was lame in both feet. Above the table he looked like everybody else below the table, he was lame. What did he bring to the table?

1. His Heritage. He was the son of Jonathan, David’s BFF (Best Friend Forever). Because of the covenant David made with Jonathan, MO was invited to the table even though he was lame. When we have relationship with the Son of God, God invites us to the table in spite of our lameness, our sin.

2. His Hurt. He was lame but he was still allowed to sit at the table. All of us have our issues that should have kept us away from the table, but grace allowed us to come anyway.

3. His humility. Even though he was royal, he knew he didn’t have to sit at the King’s table. David could have killed him as a threat to his new cabinet. MO came in with humility and asked, "why me? Why would you want a dead dog like me?" When we are invited to the table we ought to keep our humility.

4. His Harvest. David restored MO’s inheritance, his father’s land, back to him. And he asked Ziba and his sons to work it for him. The food that MO ate at the king’s table was some of the harvest from his own field. The people had to pay tribute to the king by sharing some of their harvest with him. Mephibosheth might have been lame but he was not broke. He might have been disabled, but he was not delinquent. He didn’t have a welfare mentality. He shared his harvest.

Dear God, thank you for bringing me to the table even though I was lame in some areas. My relationship with your son got me here. I don’t deserve to be here. I’m not talented enough but because Jesus loved me, you invited me to sit around your table for eternity. Thank you for making a banquet table in the presence of my enemies. Thank you for the residual income and for giving me a harvest. Now I give back to you all the gifts you’ve given me to show you how much I appreciate sitting around your table. Thank you for letting me sit down.

In Jesus Name.