Thursday, May 30, 2013

No New Friends

Proverbs 13:20 He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.

Now New friends, man we don’t need that, forget fake friends where my real friends at?—Drake

There is great comfort in knowing that the people around you are authentic and have your best interest at heart. The people you choose to be your friends will determine how far you go in life.

When you have wise and righteous friends in your inner circle, its true you don’t need new friends. There is always room for new associates and business liaisons but friends are those who know the real you and push you to be a better you. However, if you have a bunch of people who are undisciplined, belligerent, unlearned and unwise, you need some new friends. 
Wise companions help you to grow wiser. You know you have the right friends when their counsel helps you to succeed and not fail.

You know you have the wrong friends when they keep putting you in harm’s way. Wisdom is the litmus test for whether you have friends or fools as companions. You might need some new friends if:
  1. You are growing but they are not
  2. You are pushing but they are pulling
  3. You headed in a new direction and they are still doing the same old destructive stuff
  4. You are trying to live for God and they no longer believe
  5. If they can’t handle your success
Dear God,

Help me to discern who’s in my circle. Surround me with authentic people who have my best interest at heart. Thank you most of all for Jesus, for being that friend that sticks closer than any brother and for giving his life for mine. Show me how to be the friend that I want in my life.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Better to Be a Nobody

Proverbs 12:9
Better to be a nobody and yet have a servant than pretend to be somebody and have no food.
Being under the radar is a good thing; you can get more accomplished when the spotlight is not on you. Many people desire to be in the limelight before their work is done and their lack of development is exposed.

The writer of Proverbs said, “It’s better to be an ordinary person and work for a living than act important and starve in the process.” Some people are so busy posing that they never become productive or reach their purpose.

Some of the most famous people in the world have lamented their loss of obscurity. Elvis Presley once said, “I wish I could just walk down the street and get a cheeseburger.”

It’s better to be an ordinary person who has contentment than to be a person seeking attention but starving.

Why is it better to be ordinary?
  1. You have peace of mind when you live a quiet life. 1 Thessalonians 4:11
          Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your
          hands, just as we instructed you before. (NLT)

     2. You have a Balanced life.

          Proverbs 30:8-9
          O God, I beg two favors from you;
           let me have them before I die.

           First, help me never to tell a lie.
           Second, give me neither poverty nor riches!
           Give me just enough to satisfy my needs.

           For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “Who is the Lord?”
           And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.
3. You have a real life

     John 10:10
     The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and 
     satisfying life.

Dear God,

Thank you for my ordinary life. I’m just a nobody trying to tell everybody about somebody who can save anybody.

In Jesus Name,

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

You Can't Help A Hater

Proverbs 9:8-9
It’s a waste of time to try to help people that don’t want to be helped.

I believe it was Jesus who said, “Don’t cast your pearls amongst swine.” Your pearls represent the wisdom of God and there are people whom God wants us to share our wisdom with and there are those that God says we shouldn’t waste our time on.

I was fishing with a young man yesterday who was 23 years old but he had wisdom way beyond his years. He had been through so much early in his life: a mother addicted to drugs, left alone to fending for himself, eating out of garbage cans, left homeless due to Hurricane Katrina, got a scholarship to college, learned many trades to survive. He told my son Jordan who is 13, “Listen to everything your daddy tells you, that’s how you learn.”

I think a precondition to gaining wisdom is brokenness and humility. This young started with nothing but had gained much more than silver and gold, he had wisdom.

The writer of Proverbs warns his son to not give instruction or warning to a mocker. A mocker is a person who causes repeated emotional pain, distress, or annoyance to another. In other words they are foolish! When you try to instruct them they will hate you.

Instead of wasting your time on them look for people who are already open to receive. Look for:
  1. A wise person. A wise man who’s rebuked will love you. They must have a healthy fear of the Lord before they can receive instruction.
  2. They grow from the Instruction you give them. If there is no return from your instruction then stop instructing.
  3. Teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning. The little you give them will be built on by what they go out to get themselves.
Dear God,

Show me today who I should invest my time into and who I should stop wasting my time with. Time is precious and I want to invest it in someone who is hungry for wisdom and knowledge. Don’t let me cast my pearls amongst fools.

In Jesus Name,

Did You Make the Cut?

Romans 2:29
New Living Translation (NLT)
29 No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by God’s Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise[a] from God, not from people.

There are so many competitive shows on TV now; so much so that I can’t keep up with all of them: American’s Next Top Model, the Next Top Chef, American Idol, Survivor, Dancing with the Stars…every week we are watching to see who made the cut based upon their performance.

In life, we too are trying to make the cut through our performances; whether it’s making the team, meeting a deadline, trying to get the job or keep the job, we are all trying to make the cut. Many times we are judged by what we can produce and sometimes if we receive grace we are judged on our potential to produce.

But when it comes to God he judges a little more different than we do. He’s kind of like the judges on the “Voice” where they turn their chairs around to hear the voice before they see the person. God looks at our hearts before he judges our appearance. God told the prophet Samuel when he was looking for the next top King, “Where you mess up is that man looks at the outer appearance and God looks at the heart first.” That’s why lady justice has a blindfold on, because Justice is supposed to be blind, that is we are supposed to look a person’s motives, extenuating circumstances, and the evidence before we come to a verdict and make the cut.

The early Jewish Christians were all about appearances or having a form of godliness which included circumcision. There was a group of them who felt like you were not a legitimate believer if you hadn’t made the cut of circumcision. Some of them had made the physical cut but their hearts were far from being change.

In order to make the cut or to be an authentic believer of Jesus Christ means that:
  1. Your heart has to be right with God. Jesus said, “Many of you say you love God but your heart is far from him.” Jesus also said that it is not what goes in a man that defiles him but what comes out of his heart.
  2. Your heart has to be changed. The Holy Spirit begins to transform your character after you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
  3. You start seeking approval from God instead of looking for people to accept you.
Dear God,

You have my permission to work on my heart. Don’t let me waste energy cutting on my outside when it’s my insides that need attention. Change me from the inside out.

In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Money, Power & Respect

Money, Power, & Respect
See I believe in money, power, & respect
First you get the money
Then you get the power
And after you get the Power
You get people to respect you
--Lil Kim
1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
New Living Translation (NLT)
11 Make it your goal to live a quiet life, minding your own business and working with your hands, just as we instructed you before. 12 Then people who are not Christians will respect the way you live, and you will not need to depend on others.
There was a catchy Hip Hop anthem back in the 90’s that seemed to summarize the mindset of many Gen Xers in how to earn respect of their peers. This song, Money, Power, Respect was the mantra of the “Bling Bling” generation; the only problem was that it was out of order in terms of having a fulfilled life. Instead of seeking God first many of this generation made money God. The love of money is the root of all evil and our pursuit of it as our primary means of fulfillment always leads us to a vapor like subsistence with nothing to show for our efforts.
Money, power, and respect are derivatives of a life lived after God’s pattern not our own self-seeking pleasure laden lives that we pursue in vain. We are to be God chasers and not many chasers.
The Apostle Paul told the young Christians in Thessolnica how to get the Money, Power and Respect the right way.
  1. Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life. There is nothing wrong with ambition, (A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically, requiring determination and hard work.) but our ambition should not lead to selfish pursuits but to a life that is centered in pleasing God. God is not the author of confusion but his way leads to peace. The Bling Bling generation was all about flossing and being seen, when you are truly prosperous it is subtle and quiet. You don’t have to bring a lot of attention to yourself to be successful.
  2. Mind your own business. If we spent more time minding our business instead of gossiping about everybody else we would get a lot more accomplished. Mind our business is about being productive and making sure our house is in order. We have to put in the time with our own endeavors before we can experience the fruit of success.
  3. Work with your hands. We must be artists and producers. We must create something that adds value to the world. If we want to become indispensible we must create something that the world needs and values. Those who used to steal must steal no more. If a man doesn’t work than a man doesn’t eat. A little sleep, a little folding of the hands and scarcity will come upon you like a bandit. 
When we do this we will win the respect of outsiders and not be dependent on others. God’s reward is Money,(provision) and Power (Holy Spirit).
Jesus said it another way. Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you.
Dear God,
Thank you for giving me Power from your Holy Spirit through Righteous living, the respect from those around me who see your Power at work in my life, and for the money that you provide to take care of my needs, some of my wants and to bless others with.
In Jesus Name,


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Something's Missing

I Thessalonians 3:10
Night and day we pray most earnestly that we may see you again and supply what is lacking in your faith.

Have you ever felt like something was missing in your life, your relationship, or your faith? You can be fully functioning while at the same time partially undeveloped. We can be the proverbial “Iron Man or Woman” who goes out to save the world with a cast iron outer self while underneath we are a vulnerable man with a heart surrounded by shrapnel. The Shrapnel is residue from a past traumatic experience that helped shape your destiny but threatens you present. That little light that Iron Man has in the middle of his chest is a magnetic device that prevents the shrapnel from traveling toward his heart. The only thing that keeps us from being destroyed by our shrapnel is our light.

It’s interesting that in Iron man 3, (the holy trinity) that Tony Starks finally consents to surgery to remove the shrapnel so that he can move on to a whole life. What Shrapnel do you need to remove from your life so you can finally see what’s missing?

The Apostle Paul had been checking on his young church in Thessalonica and discovered that they were doing better then he thought. It’s important that we check in on those that are still in development; whether it’s a new church or a budding relationship. Chances are you will discover that something is missing even as something is growing. This young church in Thessalonica was standing strong but Paul longed to see them so he could supply what they lacked, which goes to show that no matter how successful we think we are, we still may lack something.

The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing, and when you stop growing you die.
What’s missing? Noticed what Paul prayed in verse 11, Now may our God and Father himself and our Lord Jesus clear the way for us to come to you. Remove the Shrapnel. You must be open to find out what’s missing. Here’s three possible things:
  1. Relational Maturity. Verse 12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you. Two things that Larry Osborne said are necessary for winning teams. A) The ability to adjust B) the ability to be relational. This can apply to anyone. We must grow up in how we relate to other people.
  2. Emotional immaturity. Verse 13 May he strengthen your hearts… Many sincere followers of Christ, followers who are really passionate for God, join a church, participate weekly in a small group, serve with their gifts, and who are considered "mature," remain stuck at a level of spiritual immaturity—especially when faced with interpersonal conflicts and crises.
  3. Spiritual Maturity. Verse 13. May he strengthen your hearts so that you will be blameless and Holy in the presence of God.
Dear God,

Help me to be complete in my maturity. Search me and if you find anything missing or threatening, please remove, restore, and Revive.

In the Name of Jesus,


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

What Are You Hiding?

Matthew 25:25
So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See here is what I started with.
In the book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell said researchers discovered that the magic number for mastering a talent was 10,000 hours. Ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world class expert in anything.
If we want to be great at anything we must invest time into it. Many of us desire to be great but we don’t want to invest the time to be great. We are sitting on greatness. We are hiding our talents. If you want what other people don’t have you have to do what other people don’t do.

Why are we hiding our talent?

Jesus told a story of three men who were entrusted with talents. One man had 10, another 5, and the third man was given one. One thing is sure, we each have at least one thing we can be great at. The first two men invested their talent and gave the master double of what he had given them when he returned. The third man, however, hid his talent in the ground and gave back what he had received in the beginning. It’s a sad commentary when we give God back the same thing he gave us when we were born, an undeveloped talent.

The man hid his talent because of:
  1. Fear of expectation. The man knew that the master didn’t play around with what he had invested in someone. We have to raise our expectations for ourselves as high as God’s expectations for us. While we were in our Mother’s womb God set expectations for us, plans for us to succeed not to hide.
  2. Afraid to take a risk. The man thought he was doing the master a favor by giving him the same amount he started out with. He didn’t want to risk losing it so he hid it in the ground. The greatest risk in life is to risk nothing. Millionaires don’t cry over the money they lost investing they simply make up their minds to make it back.
  3. Laziness. The man was just trifling. He didn’t even try to increase what the master had given him. We must have a work ethic that is beyond average. We have to push ourselves to new limits to gain mastery. “A nap here, a nap there, a day off here, a day off there,
    sit back, take it easy—do you know what comes next?
    Just this: You can look forward to a dirt-poor life,
    with poverty as your permanent houseguest!” Proverbs 24:34
Dear God,

Help me to grow in my area of talent. Double my potential through my investment of time in what you’ve gifted me to do. There is more in me and I refuse to hide it. Use me and the gifts you’ve entrusted to me.

In Jesus Name,

Monday, May 6, 2013

Spiritual Negligence

Matthew 23: 23 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.
We give the most to what matters the most to us. If you love your child you will make sure that child is loved and provided for, anything less than that would be called neglect. If you love your spouse you will emotionally support financially provide for, and physically satisfy, anything less would be neglect.
When it comes to God there is no difference. We bring our tithes, talents and time to God to show that we love him and we are committed. Jesus talks about how even the Pharisees give their tithe, that is 10% of their income to God. These hardened religious leaders have enough sense to give God a tenth but they are still guilty of Spiritual neglect. Many of us think that tithing is the most important litmus test to spiritual maturity. It’s important but there is something even more important. 
  1. Justice—Social justice focuses on basic causes of oppression, inequity, and disenfranchisement. Charity or giving is essential but in itself is not adequate for meeting the persons need or needs of the group that person represented. (To serve this present age by Danielle L. Ayers and Reginald W. Williams Jr.)
  2. Mercy—Compassionate treatment of those in distress, works of mercy among the poor. 10-11 Give freely and spontaneously. Don’t have a stingy heart. The way you handle matters like this triggers God, your God’s, blessing in everything you do, all your work and ventures. There are always going to be poor and needy people among you. So I command you: Always be generous, open purse and hands, give to your neighbors in trouble, your poor and hurting neighbors. Deuteronomy 15:10-11
  3. Faithfulness. Staying committed to Christ. Your tithe is not something you can pick up and put down. We have to consistently live out our faith in Christ.
Dear God,
Help me to no neglect you by neglecting the least of these. Show me where there is a need to speak up for the poor, stand up for Justice, and help me remain faithful over a few things.
In Jesus Name,

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Let It Go!

Let it Go!

Matthew 18:27 The servant’smaster took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

It’s so easy to hold a grudge against someone especially when you feel they owe you something. It’s something that can eat away at your peace and rob you of your joy if you continue to harbor that resentment. But at some point if you want your peace of mind you are going to have to let go by forgiving them. We always think that we are letting people off the hook by forgiving them but really it’s releasing you.

Jesus tells his disciples a story after Peter asks Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother. Jesus tells Peter he should forgive his brother seventy times seven then he tells him a story about a man that owed a million dollars he couldn’t pay back. They had foreclosed his home and were about to make slaves out of his wife and children. The man begged the master not to do this and the master not only let him go but erased all his debt; a million dollars worth of debt.

On the way out of the courthouse he saw this dude that owed him $100. He walked up to him and started choking him. He told the man to pay him back but the man said he couldn’t so he had him thrown in prison. When the master got wind of how hypocritical this man was, he had him arrested and tortured until he could pay back the million dollars. Jesus said, “this is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”

We have got to let it Go! There are some things that we just have to let go and count our losses because in the great scheme of things we really have been forgiven more than what we are trying to get over from what others have done to us.

Let Go of:

1.    Petty differences. If somebody has done something to you forgive them and move on with your life.
2. Debt owed. Whenever you loan money to friends or relatives never loan them anything that you will not miss if they don’t pay you back. Chances are they are not going to pay you back. If you’ve already made this mistake of loaning money do yourself a favor and forget about it. Forgive them so you can save the relationship.
3. A sense of superiority. When you look at all that God has forgiven you for, you will realize that what you need to forgive others for doesn’t compare to all that God has forgiven you for. Let go and don’t choke your blessing.

Dear God,

Today, I am forgiving from my heart those who owe me money, apologies, and retribution. I know you see everything and you will handle my debt, my pain, and my regret. Thank you for erasing my mistakes and for restoring my future.

In Jesus Name,