Monday, November 30, 2009

Empire State of Mind

Romans 1:28
And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind and to things that should not be done.

In his song Empire State of Mind, “Jay Hova” (self proclaimed god) exclaims: Jesus can’t save you and life begins when the church ends.” As gifted a lyricist as Sean Carter is he is also dangerous to the minds of young believers and even God seekers. It all begins with his moniker “Jay Hova.” Jehovah is the Hebrew name for God. Jehovah is the English transliteration of Hebrew text’s current reading of divine name Yahweh. Hebrew text however, represents scribes efforts to prevent people from pronouncing the divine name by combining consonants of Yahweh and vowels of Hebrew word ‘Adonai (Lord) so readers would pronounce ‘Adonai rather than risk blasphemy by improperly pronouncing the divine name. In other words, God's name was so Holy they made up a name to protect people from saying it with disregard to God’s Holiness and suffer his wrath. Now young people are at huge secular worship events called concerts waving their hands and giving Glory to a man who calls himself “Jay Hova.” They chant “Hova, Hova, Hova or God, God, God.”

Romans 1:24
God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts…because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator, who is blessed forever.

In his song, empire state of mind, Jay Z says, “Jesus can’t save you and that life begins when the church ends.

There are two antichrist sentiments here:

1) Jesus has no power to save you.
2) The church should be destroyed. Life begins when the church ends.

I John 2:22
Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ (Savior). Such a man is the AntiChrist he denies the father and the Son.

When we worship a man and deny Jesus Christ and wish death upon his Bride, the church, we are in danger of having a satanic state of mind. The bible calls it a debased mind. Debased means to lower in character, quality or value. We exchange natural functions of our sexuality for unnatural relations because our state of mind has been corrupted with the exchange of the truth for a lie and put it to a Hip Hop beat. The danger in that is that we are dancing our way to hell oblivious to the fact that we are being entertained away from God.

The devil is the father of lies and in the beginning he was the minister of music in heaven before God kicked him out for wanting to take God’s glory. Now on earth he still uses music to influence humans to worship him. In Revelation, he’s described as the beast whose number is 666. The other day someone described Jay Z as a “Sexy Beast” at a concert in Nashville. The Spirit of seduction is crafty when we are lulled away to worship the creature rather than the creator.

I’ve listened to Jay Z for years but this is the first time I heard him and I don’t like what I’m hearing. Read Romans chapter one in it’s entirety to see what happens when you have Satan’s Empire State of mind. It ain’t good Yo!

Dear God, open our eyes to the truth of your Word and stop the deduction of our youth. I bind up Satan’s empire and I loose a Kingdom mindset to set the captives free, give sight to the blind, preach good news to the poor, and proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Jesus saves to the utmost. There is still power in the blood of the Lamb. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that God raised him from the dead. I believe that He died for my sins and that He will come back soon for His church. We are the church those who have been saved by grace and the dead in Christ shall be raised first, and those of us who are still alive will be caught up with Him. I believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth, and the life, no man or woman can come into God’s kingdom unless they come through Him. This I believe in the mighty name of Jesus the Christ, the one who was, who is, and who is to come.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

You Get It All Back!

Matthew 19:29
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name's sake will receive a hundred fold and will inherit eternal life.

We’ve lost a lot this year with an economy that has tanked. The good news is that we are in recovery mode now. It is only a matter of time before we start seeing evidence of a turn around with people getting back on their feet, becoming employed, and folks getting back the things they had to walk away from. Many have walked away form jobs, homes, and even relatives because they had to go find employment in cities away from home.

Along with this hardship comes what Walter Bruggeman calls a “moral incongruity.” When something goes wrong we want to conclude that we did something wrong for those turn of events to happen, but when you go through “Exile” moments, there does not have to be anything that you’ve done wrong individually just because there is an experience of corporate suffering. There is not just one person responsible for this global recession, it is a global epidemic that affects us all.

Like Peter many of us are asking Jesus, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” When we choose to follow Jesus that means we also choose to walk away from certain things. We are taking the road less traveled. Sometimes we choose to do without because doing wrong to get what I need is not an option.

Jesus' promise to those who have followed Him are:
1. We will have heavenly authority when Jesus sits on the throne at the renewal of all things. To the Apostles that meant they would help Jesus judge the nations, to us it means that we walk in Kingdom authority until the renewal of all things.

2. We will inherit a hundred fold return in this life and the life to come including:
a. Homes. God will supply us with homes in this life and with a mansion in the life to come.
b. Land & fields. In Jesus' time, Land ownership was a sign of wealth with the owner being able to raise livestock or produce a harvest. For us today, owning real-estate or business helps us to provide for our families and pass on an inheritance to our children’s children. When God restores all things this time around you will be owning instead of renting.

c. Family. Many times when we follow Jesus that means we lose some family and friends, but when Jesus makes all things new he also gives you new family, the family of faith.

Dear God, I’m waiting on your return so that all have lost will be found in you. Nothing is lost when I exchange it for following you. You have been so good to me so that even in times like this you have provided all that I have needed. I pray for others who have lost jobs, homes, family that you would return a hundred fold upon those who have decided to follow Jesus. Jesus saves to the utmost and I am confident that he will restore all things.

In his Name,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Your Friend Is The Devil?!

Matthew 16:23
He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me, for you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.”

No one in their right mind would be-friend Satan. There is no way in the world we would knowingly be in fellowship with Satan but unbeknownst to us some of us are friends with the devil. Satan is the father of lies and he tells you half the truth which always leads to a whole lie. If you are not spiritually alert that lying sprit can get on your friends and they can be used of the devil to change your direction. This is his most dangerous method. He will advise you through the people closest to you.

Peter was one of Jesus’ closest disciples. When Jesus plainly told His disciples He had to die and be raised on the third day, Peter strongly objected and said, “That ain’t going to happen!” Now, in the natural, that sounds like loving advice from a concerned friend but Jesus strongly rebukes Peter by saying, “Get behind me Satan!” This sounds pretty rough for a friend, but He wasn’t talking to Peter, He was talking to Satan. Peter who was emotionally vulnerable was allowing Satan to try to discourage Jesus for his own selfish reasons. Jesus recognized this and spoke directly to the source of this selfishness, “Satan get thee behind me!”

Whenever you have a friend or close companion whose mind is set on human things over divine things then they could be used by Satan and not even know it until you say something in opposition to their selfish request. As sweet as it may sound, you better recognize who’s really talking. You have a destiny that transcends comfort and convenience. Whenever anybody tries to talk you out of your God given assignment they are being used by Satan and your friend is influenced by the devil.

Now you don’t have to kill the friendship but you do want to kill the spirit of demonic influence by rebuking them right away.

1. Discern God’s voice over Satan’s voice. This can be tricky because the devil knows the Word too. You always have to know the Word yourself so that you can bring it back to remembrance to confirm what God has spoken to you over against what your “friend” is saying.

2. Rebuke Satan’s voice without condemning your friend. Everybody is capable of getting “besides” themselves in a moment of human culpability.

3. Point your friend in the Right direction. Even after Jesus told Peter that he had to die and rebuked Satan’s advice through him, Peter still tried to stop Jesus arrest by cutting off the ear of the guard. Jesus had to point His friend in the right direction as He was getting ready to fulfill His destiny, “put away your sword Peter, those who live by the sword will die by the sword.” This ain’t that type of fight. We fight not against flesh and blood but against dark powers and principalities in high places.

Dear God, help me to hear your voice above all others today. Let me speak truth in love to my friends when they speak the opposite of Your will for my life. Jesus is my friend that sticks closer than any brother. I will trust in the Lord till I die! Thank you Jesus for speaking truth in my life. Speak Lord for your servant is listening to you!

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, November 19, 2009

He Didn't Expose Me

Matthew 1:19 Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.

So many great men and women of God have been exposed to an open shame in years past. Even politicians, actors, rappers and the like have not been immune from the shame of exposure to some mistake, indiscretion, or bad decision. The higher up you are or the wider your sphere of influence the greater the risk of exposure.

The world is more forgiving than the church when it comes to exposure. Worldly people are entertained by exposure until it is no longer sensational but religious people use exposure as a death sentence for someone’s calling or career. One of the most embarrassing ways to be exposed when I was growing up was to get pregnant before you got married. It was a young person’s worst nightmare. Especially if you grew up in a small town and went to a small church. In my mother’s generation, the shame was even more intense. Folks had “shot gun” weddings. If you got a girl pregnant her daddy had a shot gun and you were going to marry her to take away the shame.

If you are in Korea in the army you can go to Prison for getting a girl pregnant without marrying her. Maybe we should make that a law in the United States that would help a lot of young men think about abstinence until marriage.

Joseph was engaged to Mary but he found out she was pregnant before the wedding and they hadn’t had sex yet. The law said she should have been stoned to death, but because Joseph loved Mary and was Righteous he was unwilling to put her on blast and expose her to a public disgrace.

Joseph was a lot like God is to us, how many times has God covered your mess and not exposed you even though the law said you should have been exposed?

The only difference between us and Mary is that she was pregnant by God and the mess we were in should not have been conceived in the first place. James 1:14-15 Each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. But God!

Thank God for not exposing our mess. Some may think I’m taking liberty to say God covers or blesses our mess but if you look at the lineage of Jesus you will see where God covered unholy pregnancies by his grace:

David and Bathsheba gave birth to Solomon. David killed Bathsheba’s husband to marry her because he got her pregnant.

Judah and Tamar gave birth to Perez and Zirah after she dressed up like a prostitute to get pregnant by her Father-in-law.

Salmon and Rahab gave birth to Boaz; she was the prostitute that hid Joshua and Caleb in Jericho.

Don’t forget you and me and the mess we have conceived that should have led to death, but God!

It is because of his mercies that we are not exposed to an open shame but instead God turns our mess into a miracle by declaring that which is in Mary is born of the Holy Spirit. God transforms us through repentance to give birth to Jesus. Matthew 3:8 says bear fruit worthy of Repentance. Now is the time to get yourself together before you are exposed. Warning comes before destruction.

Dear God, thank you for covering my mess and not exposing my foolishness. Help them to give birth to Righteousness and move forward to obedience. Thank you for your grace!

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

If It Had Not Been For The Lord Who Was On My Side

Psalm 124

As we near the end of another year we can look back and say with the old saints, “If it had not been for the Lord who was on our side tell me where would I be, where would I be?” Sometimes it’s easier to see God looking back than it is looking forward. Hindsight is always 20/20. Some people may say it’s not good to look back but the people of Ghana would disagree. They believe that we should be like the Sankofa bird, who looks back to get an egg which represents the future. You must reach back to go forward. In our case, we must reach back for inspiration to go forward.

If it had not been for the Lord who was on our side we would not have made it through the atrocities of slavery, we would not have made it through the grueling poverty of the great depression, we would not have made it through the murderous injustices of Jim Crow laws, we would not have made it through the bloody streets of the civil rights struggle, we would not have made it through the horrific assassinations of our leaders President John F. Kennedy, our prophets Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. If God can bring us through all of that and be able to see us through the election of our first African-American President surely He will see us through a trillion dollar deficit and a global Recession.

God is able to do just what He said He would do, don’t give up on God, because He won't give up on you. He’s able!

If God were not on our side then:

1. Our enemies would have swallowed us up. Verse 3. Look back over your life at all the people who were against you and how God blocked the plans of your enemies. In fact, what they meant for evil God worked it out for your good.

2. The storm would have swept us away. Verse 4. God has been a shelter in the time of storm and a bridge over troubled water.

3. The enemy would have caught us in his trap. There was a story of a little boy that had some birds trapped in a cage. He had a sharp stick just poking at the birds. A man passed by and saw the boy and asked him what he was going to do with the birds in the cage. He said I’m going to take them in the woods and kill them. The man asked, “If I give you some money for the birds will you let me have them?” the boys asked, “these old birds? Sure!” He took the money and the man took the birds. The man opened the door of the cage and said, “Go free little birds I paid for you to go free.” That’s what Jesus did for us when the devil had us in his trap. We were on our way to hell to be killed and Jesus paid the price with His blood and He opened the doors of hell to set the captives free.

Verse 7 says we have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers, the snare is broken, and we have escaped.

God, I thank you for I am like one who has escaped with my life still intact. You kept me from dangers seen and unseen. Thank you for seeing me through. Father, give us the strength to make it through our present trials so that we may come forth as pure gold. Thank you for being on our side and for opening doors that no man could have opened.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

God Will Supply All Your Needs For Thanksgiving

2 Corinthians 9:10-11 (New International Version)
10Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. 11You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.

It is encouraging to know that God will supply all our needs. The only thing that gives me comfort through these trying times is knowing that God supplies my see. But, it’s what I do with my seed that determines if it meets my need. My seed is for me to develop my harvest. Paul says he gives me seed for sowing and bread for eating.

There are two things God gives us at once, 1) seed and 2) bread. You don’t eat seed you eat bread. In fact, Jesus taught his disciples to thank God for daily bread, “give us this day our daily bread.” It was nothing extravagant just bread, but they were to ask God for “daily bread.” Isn’t it amazing how God gives us “daily bread?” He didn’t say “daily Red Lobster” or “daily Olive Garden” but “Daily Bread.” In other words God promised that He would sustain us at the least and give us overflow at the most.

When the children of Israel were going through the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, God gave them each day, “daily bread.” He sent them manna from heaven which they could only keep enough to get them through the day. If they got greedy and tried to keep it over night it would spoil and get maggots in it. 2 Cor 8:15 the one who had much didn’t have too much, and the one who had little didn’t have too little. They had enough bread for their family that day. We are living in a “Daily Bread” season but we are on our way to the Promised Land. Thank him in advance!

The seed was for sowing. God will supply the seed but He will also multiply the seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your Righteousness. When you sow your seed in helping other people through generosity, you produce Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is not a dinner you put together for your family once a year. Thanksgiving is what you do to God after He blesses you with your harvest as a result of your sowing.

Thanksgiving is what happens when poor people who didn’t have any food all of a sudden get food because of your sowing. Thanksgiving is what happens when a single mother’s lights get turned back on because somebody at the church sowed a check to help with emergency assistance. That is thanksgiving! And God is ready for you to produce a Thanksgiving with your seed even as you sit down with your family to break your “daily bread!”

This Thanksgiving while you are sitting at the table with your family breaking bread, get some seed in your hand and:

1. Give your tithes and offering to your local church.
2. If you don’t have a church give to a local charity.
3. If you don’t have any money give your time to help feed the homeless.
4. Share your meal with a family that doesn’t have anything this Thanksgiving.

Dear God, thank You for my seed and my bread. I’m ready to produce multiple Thanksgiving so that other people may know Your goodness and give You Thanks Giving all over my city.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, November 16, 2009

This is Temporary

2 Corinthians 4:18 We look not at what can be seen but at what cannot be seen; for what can be seen is temporary, but what cannot be seen is eternal.

It's sometimes frustrating to pull up to your favorite ATM or even Gas station, get ready to retrieve what you need when you are on empty and read “temporarily out of order.” Why today? why me? When are they going to get this fixed? We don’t live in a perfect world. Things break down, and need to be fixed. WE cannot lose heart when things break because what we see is just temporary. Instead, we should focus on what is eternal.

This world we live in is temporarily out of order. The global economy is out of whack; there are wars and rumors of wars, no universal healthcare, and poverty and world hunger. TI’s out of order! On a personal note many people find their own lives “temporarily out of order.” What used to work ain't working no more and it is frustrating especially when you can’t fix it yourself, but the good news is God can fix it!

Verse 17 is the answer: For this slight momentary affliction is preparing us for an eternal weight of Glory beyond all measure. This ain’t it! Don’t get stuck on what you see! God is preparing you for something you can’t handle right now. Oftentimes, when we hear that, we think of something foreboding that God is preparing us for but actually it’s something good, the “weight of God’s Glory.”

Our afflictions are making us stronger to be able to hold the weight of God’s Glory. Every day we are being transformed into God’s image from one degree of Glory to another for this comes from the Lord the Spirit. (I Cor 3:18). So don’t be dismayed by what you see but be encouraged by what you do not see for your latter shall be greater. This is just temporary!

Dear God, keep me focused on things eternal so that I will hold to your unchanging hand. I will build my hopes on things eternal and quit focusing on the temporary. Thank you for restoring order back to my life.

In Jesus Name,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

You Are Indispensable

I Corinthians 12:22 On the contrary the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.

There are times in our lives where we all feel insignificant, like we don’t matter. We wonder if we really are important to the body or if anyone will even notice if I’m not here. We sit back and see other people leading in the spotlight and we feel like there is no use of me being here because I’m dispensable due to the false thinking that my gifting is not like someone else’s. One of the biggest lies from Satan is that “you don’t matter,” but one of the greatest truths is that the weaker members of the body are indispensable.

Paul uses the analogy of the body for the church. He talks about the smaller member of the body, the ears, the foot and the eyes. They are smaller parts of the body but they play an important part. Each of these parts are important to the rest of the body.

I was at Western Kentucky University’s homecoming this past weekend. I was excited to see Every-body. The only problem was that my Body was tired. I’d been traveling all night from San Diego but it was our 40th year anniversary for Kappa Alpha Psi, Epsilon Rho chapter and I had not been back to campus for 10 years. I had to go! I pushed myself and was running off of adrenaline, but somewhere along the way one of my members of my body started talking to me, “my feet.” As good as I looked, as much as I wanted to continue, I had to yield to my feet. They were talking to me, “Go Sit Down!” I couldn’t ignore my feet they are an important part of the body. When your feet hurt everything shuts down! LOL

You too play an important part of the body. You may not be as visible as the rest of the body but you play an important role. You are indispensable.

Paul lists about five different areas where you can get involved as a member of the body:

1. Apostles. This word means sent. This is where the head of the church should be operating. The Apostle is the visionary, the pioneer, planting churches, and equipping the leaders.

2. Prophets. The prophet helps the apostle by being able to hear from God and share with the apostle what God is saying to the church. Prophecy is not simply forecasting but it is instructional speech.

3. Teaching. Teachers are those who help build up the body through Christian education.

4. Forms of assistance or helpful deeds. You don’t need a degree to be helpful. This is where each and every member can get in. There is ALWAYS something that you could do at your church. Simply call the church right now and ask them is there any volunteer work that they need done.

5. Forms of Leadership. Leaders in the church are those who work in various ways to advance the gospel. Whether you are leading a little league football team in the community or leading the children’s choir, leaders are needed.

No matter where you are in the body you are indispensable. NO matter how small you think you are we can’t make it without you.

Dear God, help us to know today that we matter. Somewhere in the body I fit and I matter. Today, I will consciously use my gifts to help the body function at optimal level. If I sit down and do nothing I become the tired feet that will not let the body advance. Strengthen my feet so the body can move.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Just Beat It!

I Corinthians 9:26-27
I do not run aimlessly nor do I box as though beating the air, but I beat my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be disqualified.

Just Beat It, Beat It, Beat It, Beat It
No One Wants To Be Defeated
Showin' How Funky Strong Is Your Fight
It Doesn't Matter Who's Wrong Or Right
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It
Just Beat It, Beat It

Everyday I woke up fighting with myself, “It’s time to workout.” "I don’t want to workout!" "We are going to workout whether you feel like it or not.” I have to take control of the conversation with myself or else my body will get out of shape. What is true in the natural is also true in the supernatural. Everyday is a struggle to keep control over your body. There is a tug of war between your flesh and your spirit. Your body wants to do what is contrary to the sprit but you have to take control before your life gets out of whack.

We are in a race called life, but in a race all the runners run but only one gets the prize. Run in such a way that you may win it. Whenever people compete in a race they have to get in shape. If you are going to have any chance of winning you have got to train your body or as Michael said, “Just Beat it, no one wants to be defeated!”

1. Beat my body is not some self-affliction or masochistic abuse of your body, but it is a discipline of the body to bring it under submission to God’s Holy Will. Even in weight training you have to break the muscle to build new muscle. “Beating your body” is breaking your body’s desire for what is contrary to the Will of God.

2. Enslaving your body, you have to put restrictions on your body. You have to put boundaries up for your body to keep you from going too far. Like Paul said, “all things are lawful for me but not all tings are beneficial.” Just because it’s legal for you to do it doesn’t mean that it’s good for you. When boxers are training it’s legal for them to go to Krispy Kreme but its not beneficial because it can ruin their efforts for training and get them knocked out!

3. Avoid disqualification. One of the saddest things is to see great athletes disqualified for steroid use or for academic violations. The University of Memphis’ basketball team lost its record breaking title last year because of academic violations. We have to study to show ourselves approved.
There is no wrong way to do the right thing.
Just Beat it; no one wants to be defeated!

Dear God, give me the strength, the will, and the discipline to beat my body into submission. I want to finish strong so I can hear you say well done. Nothing else matters. What does it profit a man to win the race but be disqualified for cheating? Help me to just beat it, no one wants to be defeated, especially me. Don’t let me be disqualified after having preached to other people. Let me walk the walk and not just talk the talk. I’m ready to Beat it so I can finish this race and Win!

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How Are You Affecting the People Around You?

Job 35:8 Your wickedness affects others like you, and your righteousness, other human beings.

I Corinthians 8:12 But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ

How we live our lives impacts other people. Some would argue that it makes no difference to God how we live. One young preacher asked the question, “Why would a big ole God even worry about what a little ole man like me does?” When we “sin” does God even care when in the grand scope of things man only appears as a microscopic dust particle under the divine microscope of the God of the universe? Elihu, Job’s friend, was arguing with him because he thought Job was being self-righteous and he asked, in Job 35:6 “If you have sinned, what do you accomplish against him? And if your transgressions are multiplied what do you do to him?”

His answer is that it really is about the people around you more than it is about God making a “naughty or nice” list for Judgment Day. In the New Testament, Paul admonishes the Corinthians on how to live their lives so they will be a blessing and not a hindrance to those “weaker in the faith.” Paul’s argument is that, yes, we have freedom as believers in Jesus. We have been freed from being slaves to the Law but it does not give us the liberty to live reckless lives that hurt the people around us. He talked about three different categories:

1. Married couples. He talked to them about not hurting one another by not denying each other of sex. I Cor. 7:3

2. Single people practicing self-control and using that passion to serve the Lord. If they could not control themselves his advice was for them to get married. I Cor 7:8,9

3. Christians participating in secular events (eating food sacrificed to idols) not offending weaker Christians. I Cor 7:7-12.

Paul was lifting up the practice of Christians purchasing meat that may have been used in the sacrifice to idols. They would bring the meat in the butcher shop on sale after an idol worship service. If a new Christian saw you walking out of the butcher shop with a stamp on your bag saying “idol meat” they might think you worshipped idols even though you didn’t, you just wanted to catch a good sale. Mature Christians know that just because I purchase food from a store that is owned by an atheist doesn’t make me atheist, but if it offends a new believer to see me then I’ll shop at the store down the street even though it inconveniences me. It’s not a “Convenient store” if it offends those weaker in the faith. It’s not about our convenience it’s about their conscience.

How we live our lives is more about the people around us than it is in how right we think we are. When we live right before God, God gets he glory and the people around us are benefited. When we abuse our freedom and wound the conscience of weaker people we sin against Christ. Jesus warns us not to abuse the “little ones” and cause them to stumble. He said it would be better for us had we not been born if we cause some of these little ones to stumble. We need to live in such a way that we are stepping stones and not stumbling blocks. As a parent there are certain activities that are okay for me to do but because my children are around me, I don’t do it in front of them because they are too immature to be exposed to it. As Christians, we must be careful that we don’t flaunt our freedom and hurt those who are not where we are. We should live our lives in a way that helps people grow and not stunt them. We shouldn’t be “Self-Righteous” because it only benefits the Self, but instead, our right-ness ought to lead others to a deeper relationship with God. If it doesn’t, our rightness can still be wicked in God’s sight.

Your question today: How am I affecting other people around me with the way I live my life?

Dear God, help me to live a life that pleases You and does not offend those closest to me. Let me live with confidence knowing I’m not causing others to stumble but instead use me as a stepping stone so others may mature and get closer to You.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, November 9, 2009

That's Who I Used To Be

I Corinthians 6:11
And this is what some of you used to be. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.

People are quick to remind you of your past. They become fixated with your past moral failings and try to tie them with your current status. It can almost feel unshakeable when it is that you have some past grievances you are trying to get out of your system, but the good news is that is who you used to be.

The reality is that God has a standard of holiness. We cannot do what everybody else is doing and expect to enter the Kingdom of God. In verses 9 & 10, Paul tells the Corinthians the kinds of people who cannot get into heaven. In a large part, it has to do with the fact that the Corinthian church was rocked by a sex scandal where a man had married his father’s wife and everybody in church was cool with it. Paul challenges the young church that there are some sexual sins that we ought not to be cool with. When you read verses 9 & 10, I’m sure you will find some sins that you have practiced in the past or are participating in presently. It’s a disturbing truth that those who hold onto these lifestyles will not enter the Kingdom of God. It’s sad but true. That is if you stop reading at verse 10, but when you read verse 11, you are reminded that is who you used to be when you were slaves to your flesh but since you’ve been changed through the death & resurrection of Jesus you can proclaim, that’s who I used to be! Even in the midst of still struggling with the desire to capitulate to these vices. The good news is “That’s who I used to be.” This verse should become a faith statement for those of us who still feel the cultural pull to come back and revisit where we used to live. Today, you should speak this verse out loud. You should put it on your status. You should text it to your friends, “That is who I used to be!”

How can we proclaim this? Because of three things:

1. We were washed by the blood of Jesus. There are some stains that bleach can’t get out but there is no sin that Jesus' blood cannot cleanse. When we are faithful to confess our sins, he is faithful to forgive us of our sins. When we repent of our sins and ask God to forgive us, he will cleanse us of our sins and send us in a new direction.

2. We were sanctified. To be sanctified means that we were set apart for God’s higher and holier purposes. We cannot be used for common purposes like we have in the past, we have been set apart for God’s purposes. I can’t do what I used to do because it no longer fits my purpose.

3. We were justified. Justified means “Just as if I didn’t do it.” Our record is wiped clean. We are not who we used to be. When Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery he asked her, “is there no one here to condemn you?” She said, “No Sir, no one is here.” Jesus told her, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.”

Dear God, I can’t go back to what almost killed me. Thank you for cleansing me and allowing me to remain in your favor. I may not be all that I should be but I thank god I ain’t what I use to be!”

In Jesus Name,


Friday, November 6, 2009

Don't Waste Your Time

Galatians 4:11 I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.

There was a story of a young man that was drowning in a raging sea. A man was passing by and saw the young man struggling for life. Without thought for his own life the man jumped in the sea and swam against the current to save the young man. Somehow, they both made it to shore where the young man gasping for air said, “Thank you.” The man, exhausted, looked at the young man and said, “I just hope you were worth it.”

When you have poured yourself out trying to help people, put yourself “out there”, your only hope is that it is not a waste of time.

The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Galatia “I fear for you, that somehow I have wasted my efforts on you.” Paul was concerned that, “Judiazers”, religious zealots had gotten to his new Christians with some corrupt teachings that if they wanted to be “authentic” they had to be circumcised. Paul spent all this time preaching, ministering, and risking his life only to have people turn away to the tradition of believing they had to be like the religious folks in order to be saved. Paul said, “You are saved by faith not by works.” In essence Paul was saying, “I didn’t mind laboring for you or teaching you but I just hope that all that I poured out for you was not a waste.

When we minister to people, we don’t do it for the applause. We don’t do it for people to see how great we are. We do it because we see somebody flailing in the sea of life and it’s worth the risk of ridicule, it’s worth the endangerment of public antagonism as long as the people we are saving don’t waste the grace they’ve been given.

How do you make sure your salvation is not wasted?

1. Don’t turn back. Jesus said, “He who turns back after having experienced the grace of God is not fit for the Kingdom.” When I accepted my call to preach one of the old mothers of the church came up to me and said, “Son, Don’t turn back.” That’s all she said then she sat down.

2. Make something of the life you’ve been given. I saw a young man in Sudan who was kidnapped by Soldiers to be murdered later. He lay on the floor praying that he might fulfill his purpose in life. The captain came in and saw him tied up and asked the soldiers who he was. They said, “Just some guy.” He shot the men and took the man back to his home, gave him food, and apologized. He’s now ministering to Women and orphans. What did you do with your second chance?

3. Save somebody else. Whatever God delivered you from, he did because you now have the empathy to save somebody else that went through the same thing you did. You have been saved now go and do likewise. Don’t waste it.

Dear God, thank you for saving me. I was sinking deep in sin far from the distant shore, but the master of the sea heard my despairing cry, his love lifted me now safe am I. Now help me to do the same, so that my life will not be a waste. Let me live out my purpose.

In Jesus Name,


Thursday, November 5, 2009

This Is Not My Life

Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

One of the saddest songs a person could sing at the end of their lives is the song Elvis & Frank sang, “I did it my way.” When we start our lives each one of us live our lives in a way we think is right. The bibles says that there is a way that seems right to a man and then there is the Lord’s way. When we reach understanding and wisdom we turn our lives over to God. Job 28:28 states, “the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom and to shun evil is understanding.”

The life I live now is not my life; I have been crucified with Christ. The old me is dead and gone. Each of us at some point should have a new song that says, “This is not my Life.”

How do we change our tune or as Jay Z says, experience the “death of the Auto-Tune?” Because of our humanity we are automatically tuned toward sin, but to change the tune there must be divine intervention so that our lives line up with God’s will. That happens when:

1. We are crucified with Christ. When Jesus died on the cross, he took our sins upon himself and they were nailed to the cross. There was an exchange that took place on the cross, a universal exchange. Mankind’s sins were taken away and we were given the opportunity to live our lives as they were meant to be lived...Holy and acceptable to God.

2. Christ must live in you. Galatians 5:16 So I say, live by the Sprit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. When Jesus lives in us then we are able to live out God’s noblest intentions for our lives. Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.

3. Live by faith. We walk by faith and not by sight. Jesus said, if we have faith the size of a mustard seed nothing would be impossible for us. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is believing that God will do what he said he would do. It is impossible to please God without faith.

Dear God, I surrender my way of doing things to your way of doing things. This is not my life anymore. You saved me from my recklessness now I owe you my life. I owe you me. All I do it is for you.

In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Keep Awake!

Mark 14:38
Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial the spirit indeed is willing but the flesh is weak.

My brother and I used to play a game when we were younger on New Year's Eve. My parents would be gone out and we were at Grandmama’s house. We would stay up and try to watch Dick Clark drop the ball in Time’s Square, but I had a hard time keeping him awake. I would kick him, put water on his face, put hot sauce in his mouth, LOL, trying to keep him awake. I didn’t want him to miss the New Year coming in.

There is something new coming your way but you are in danger of missing it because you chose to go to sleep. God is shifting us into a new direction but many of us are in danger of missing it if we don’t Keep Awake! The world we live in has a hypnotizing effect on us and we are slipping into sleepiness without knowing that time is winding up. We are slowly drifting into a cultural pull upon our God consciences. We are falling asleep not knowing that the enemy has slipped in at night and sown weeds amongst our harvest. It’s time to keep awake.

Jesus was getting ready to go through the hardest transition of his life. He was going to be arrested and crucified. All he wanted was for his friends to watch, pray, and keep awake. Instead, he came and found them sleeping. It’s natural for us to get sleepy but there are times when we have to fight against natural tendencies. This is the time to keep awake. It’s time for the body of Christ to wake up and strengthen those things that remain. Time ain’t long. This is the time to keep awake through:

1. Prayer. Pray that you may not enter into temptation. Temptation is the process by which we are drawn away from God. Like Ty Tribett said the other night, what draws us away is not a sin. The sin is the action on what has been drawing us and the action leads to death. When we fall asleep, we start sleep walking into what can kill us. Prayer keeps us sober. Prayer keeps our “spirit man” alert and watching out for the enemy. This is the season to wake up and start praying.

2. The Spirit is willing. There is not a Christian out there who doesn’t want to be caught sleeping when Jesus comes back. Our Spirit is willing. We want to stay up and pray but being willing is only half the battle. It’s not enough to be willing if you don’t follow it up with action.

3. The flesh is weak. All of Jesus' disciples had good intentions to stay awake and be with him, but when Jesus was arrested they all fled. When we read the scripture where it says that in the last days, many will fall away from believing in Jesus. We always say, “That ain’t going to be me!” But what we don’t know is that some of us have already fallen asleep and are drifting fast. Keep awake!
How do I stay awake?

A. Find a time when you are most alert to read your bible and pray everyday. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. How can they hear without a preacher? Quit sleeping in on Sunday, get up and come to church. Time ain’t long.

B. Don’t get caught sleeping. Use your discernment so you can distinguish what is from God and what is a distraction from the enemy. Keep awake!

C. Watch out for the enemy, and watch out for Jesus. Staying awake means you are looking for two things. You are making sure the enemy doesn’t come in to stop Jesus from accomplishing his purpose and you have to be watching for Jesus to come back to tell you it’s time. Keep awake!

Dear God, Keep me awake! I know that you are coming back soon. Don’t let me drift into a sleepy state and be oblivious to the shift. I want to be awake and helpful to you when the enemy tries to stop your movement and help you fulfill your purpose. Keep me awake so I can be ready when you come.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, November 2, 2009

It's Test Time!

Job 23:8-10 (Amplified Bible)
8 Behold, I go forward [and to the east], but He is not there; I go backward [and to the west], but I cannot perceive Him;
9 On the left hand [and to the north] where He works [I seek Him], but I cannot behold Him; He turns Himself to the right hand [and to the south], but I cannot see Him.
10 But He knows the way that I take [He has concern for it, appreciates, and pays attention to it]. When He has tried me, I shall come forth as refined gold [pure and luminous].(A)

One thing I don’t miss about school is tests. I can remember staying up all night studying for finals, cramming information in my head so I could remember what I needed to know to pass the test the next day. I was studying to show myself approved. I did my best when I was paying attention everyday in class to what my teacher was saying and the night before was just a review. When it came test time the teacher became quiet and left us to take the test.

During this time in our lives it would seem that we are all going through a test. For some of us we were prepared, for others we are trying to cram scriptures in because we weren’t ready for this crisis. What you have to do during a test is remember what was the last thing the teacher told me. Because sometimes the teacher leaves the room during the test.

For some of us this is the quietest God has ever been in our lives. It seems like God is not present. It’s not that God is no longer there it’s just that it is test time. The teacher doesn’t talk during the test.

Job was tested. God allowed the devil to test Job. Job was a righteous man who lost everything. His ten children died in a natural disaster. His livestock and property were destroyed. His body wracked with pain and disease. His marriage was in shambles. During this test Job didn’t feel God’s presence.

Job said, “If I go forward he’s not there. Many of us are trying to go forward but we don’t experience God in our forward momentum, and when we look back we don’t see him. When David felt his presence he saw grace and mercy on his life and right. Job said, “God was hiding and couldn’t be found on his left or his right."

What do you do when you can’t find God or feel God? You got to go through the test!
Job is confident about his test, he said, “When I am tested I shall come forth like pure gold.” He uses the image of gold going through the furnace to extract the negative impurities. When we are tested God is removing everything that’s not like him.

Here is what kept Job through his test:

1. V. 11 my foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. There was a little boy and his father caught in a snow storm. The father left his son in the car to go get help. By the time the father got to the Ranger’s headquarters, the storm had intensified and the ranger said they had to wait 'til morning to go back and get his son. The father was outraged and saddened to leave his son in the car. Just then, there was a knock at the door. It was the man’s son. The father said, “How did you get here?” He said, "I put my foot wherever I saw your foot steps."

2. V.12 I Have not departed from the commandments of his lips. Whatever God told you in his Word or through his messengers hold on those words. Remember the last thing he told you until he tells you something else.

3. V.12 I have treasured in my bosom the words of his mouth. David said, “I have hidden his words in my heart that I might not sin against him.

When you are tested remember the tings he told you and put them in your spirit.

Dear God, keep me during this test. Don’t let me fall off. I will come forth like pure gold. I’m going to be better after this! You are my strength and my redeemer and I know my redeemer lives. Don’t turn your face from us but be with us while we are taking our test. This too shall pass.

Thank you Jesus!