What Am I Doing Wrong?

1 Corinthians 13:1-13 English Standard Version (ESV)

The Way of Love

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned,[a] but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;[b] it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Ever come across a situation where someone is trying to share something with you and it just isn’t working? In life we will always come across people trying to sell us things, convince us that this is the right thing to do or that we couldn’t possibly be happy without such and such. I find it funny because in almost every situation the people are almost always aggressive. To the point that it feels like they are judging and condemning  me. I mean lets be honest, why would I want to sit down and listen to someone when it feels like within the next five minutes they’re gonna let a few punches loose? I’m sure all of us can think of different times in our lives where we have felt this way. Now let me ask you something, have you ever felt this way while listening to someone talk about God?

Romans 12:9-13

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit,[g] serve the Lord. 12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. 13 Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

As strange as it may seem there are a lot of people who could nearly get their blocks knocked off by the way they approach things, even in the Christian realm or should I say especially in the Christian realm of things. The point is that these days people lack love. Who would want to listen to an evangelist that speaks without love? That’s completely contradicting to the faith and I say that because the very core to Christianity, our faith is love. Without love the good news becomes a believer (if I can even call such individual as such) preaching nothing, but hate. No longer is it the simple “love the sinner, hate the sin” mentality, rather it becomes “hate the sinner, and the sin”.

When we preach with such a hate driven spirit we do nothing but turn people away from God. When we preach hate we do nothing but destroy God’s name and image in the eyes of the unbeliever. When we preach hate we do nothing but install hate in the lives of others and ourselves. A perfect example would be the West Bureau Baptist Church. Yes God does hate the sin of homosexuality (he hates every sin really), but nowhere does it say that God hates the people and yet we have people who are so I guess caught up in their flesh that the word of God becomes distorted. No longer is it (Leviticus 18:22) “You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.” instead it is now “You shall not lie with a man as with a woman; you are an abomination.” All of these crazy picketing and protests with wild claims such as “GOD HATES FAGS!!” won’t benefit the kingdom in anyway. Maybe we’ll attract other wackos, but those few aren’t in the right either so what’s the use?

People like the West Bureau Baptist group drive me nuts with how much hate they spew out. It’s nothing but a distortion of what was once biblical, but through their mouths it becomes no better than the words of Satan himself. We are supposed to display love to one another not hate. Not to change the course of this message, but let’s not be seeker friendly either. That’s a whole other topic and I’m sure I’ll speak about it soon.

To drive this blog/word whatever you’d like to call it home I’m going to wrap it up with this, when you spread the good news do it with God’s love, be an example onto others what God shows you daily. Don’t make someone want to knock your block off.

Be Blessed

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Masks, What’s Below the Surface?

1 John 4:1-3

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already.

Something that I have noticed over the years is that we as a people don’t question things anymore. We accept things for face value and don’t care to explore any deeper than that. The things we watch on tv, the people we spend time with, the music we listen to and the inspirational leaders/role models that we know. But why is it that we stop after we find out such unimportant information?

Commonly if you look up any music artist on the internet one of the first things that will pop up as a suggestion is “are/is such and such Christian?”. It’s good that we have enough curiosity to look of that kind of information, but why are we asking the internet? Unless the artist has come right out and shared their beliefs you’ll get nothing but argumentative opinions. I find it silly that we need to know whether or not an artist/group is christian and yet we don’t take the time to check out what they stand for. We don’t bother reading the lyrics along with the song to pick up the meaning that’s being conveyed. We don’t try to find out what it is that they truly stand for. We just take it for what it is, catchy music. If you want to know what that artist is about the simplest thing as said above is to read their music, plain text. After that you will find out to the very core who they are and what they stand for.

Funny thing is that along with music artists we take the same approach with everyone we encounter in life. If we are even the least bit curious as to what their belief is we might ask and we might not. When it comes to other people we like to keep our distance and only know them for face value as well. We don’t care to dig deep and invest in others, we don’t care to find out who people really are because it might change our opinions of them, we don’t want to get to know them for fear of exposing who we really are and what we stand for. As a people we are wrapped up in fear and closed in by self erected walls of solitary.

“If people only knew what I thought, what I stand for would their opinions change? Would they still accept me?” That’ts the exact kind of mentality that so many people harbor because of past hurts. These past hurts come from exposure and being true to themselves and yet being let down by others. The reality is we are fragile beings (believe it or not) and we get hurt/offended by every little thing. Simply disagreeing with what another believes will cause a shift in a relationship, it will cause a stint in a person’s relationship. If we knew the truth things would change.

Personally I find this to be pretty harmful to so many people and to those around them. Reason being if all it takes is face value information for the gates to be opened, we will never know what truly walks through those doors. We recognize characters of stature by their title and never question what they believe. Because we don’t think about what is taught we soak everything up like a sponge and could likely be hurt for it in the end. We see someone go to church every once in a while or make status posts on Facebook that might say something here and there about God and we are blown away. “My gosh they go to church they even talk about it on social media. That person has got it right.” Right?

Wrong just like the pharisees did in biblical times people can as well in modern times. Anyone can say they stand for one thing and then have nothing to back that statement up with. Because we don’t take the time to truly get to know someone and quiz them on their stance or watch the actions that they take we accept things for what we see. Now I know that I keep repeating myself here, but when we can’t be true to ourselves with others then we no longer stand for what we once did. There are a lot of people whose moral character shifts based on the company that is present. In the end it spawns from the fear of acceptance and whatever past hurts we may have been exposed to.

I could keep going however I think I’m going to stop here and for the last time drive home some of my key points. What is it that you stand for? What is it that is stopping you from being true to yourself and those around you? What do your peers stand for? What is it that the people of influence over your life stand for? Are you taking the steps to find these things out or are you sticking with the face value?

Out With The Old and In With The New

2 Corinthians 5:15-17

15 He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them.

16 So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! 17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

As Christians we tend to get caught up in the past a lot and judge ourselves based on that past. Whenever things come up we look to our past and because we did such and such back then. This however becomes a huge limitation on who we are and what we can do for the Kingdom of God.

Personally I know that feeling all to well. Whenever I feel as though I have fallen short whether it be in the past, the last few days or even few hours I feel dirty before God. How can he love me after the things Iv’e done!? I am such a disgusting person and yet He still loves me despite my past, despite my flaws. I’m bewildered by that. Most people these days would toss anyone aside once they learned their past and if they haven’t they become judgmental.

The point is if God decides to forgive us for the things we have done in the past then so should we. It’s because of our fear of failure that we hesitate to move forward. It’s because of our past failures that we are afraid to fail again. For whatever reason we tend to get the idea that it isn’t okay to make mistakes. I know, I’m one of those people. God’s been speaking to me lately to take a risk, it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay to fail. All that needs to be done is take that step of faith.

Whatever has been holding you back, work it out. Our past mistakes are left in the past and as long as you have come to God about them, it’s done with you have a new slate now. Press on and look to the future for when we trust in God, he shall direct us.

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

What’s Your Driving Force?

Proverbs 20:24

The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?

Something that I have come to learn over the years is a common struggle for the believer is not having control. It makes sense though, we live in a world where our every action and step can and will impact our future. Whether it be when we pass up an opportunity or jump the gun on anything and everything that comes our way, as believers we commonly struggle to follow the path before us.

For whatever reason there may be, I have noticed at least for myself that my path hasn’t been the straightest of sorts. There comes times of fear, distraction, confusion and just simply being burnt out. I know I don’t just speak for myself in this regard, Everyone has fallen under this category and begun to walk a bit shaky at some point or another. In my opinion the reason falls back to how we carry ourselves in our walk. Where do we place ourselves, who do we surround ourselves with, what influences us, and most importantly what is our driving force?

We are not to serve God for selfish reasons and yet we do have our moments to say the least. This past Sunday the sermon was on fulfilling our calling versus forcing our calling and one thing that I took out of that message was the lack of patience that we all have. The moment we learn or have an idea of what our calling may be, we jump on it. Now it’s not a problem to pursue our calling, however there is a problem if we try to fulfill it before our time.

God tends to do a funny little thing and treat life like a game of some sort at times. He is the creator/developer and we are the new players. We start at level 1 and are given hints and objectives to follow/complete before we can move on. The problem is something we all try to do is plug in our little cheat codes and jump form the beginning and make to the end in a matter of minutes. No matter how we try nobody can hack this game. God thought ahead of everyone and everything. He took cautious measures to prevent us from moving beyond our time by placing pillars and stumbling blocks down in our path from the beginning until the end. But what is the purpose?

The purpose of this plan is so that we can use and appreciate our gifts, talents and callings to the fullest. Let’s face it, no one ever appreciates anything that is just simply given to them. We will abuse the gifts God gives us and burn out quicker than the match needed to light the candle. If a man steps into pastoral-ship before even laying his own foundation, what would become of his flock? What would become of himself?

God sets these roadblocks, pillars and checkpoints along the path to keep us in check. The reason is so that he can test our metal and show us what truly is our driving force. The surest way to find out anyone’s driving force is by watching how they develop in God. Like I heard on the Mars Hill radio station on my way to work this morning, “It isn’t about how strong they start, but instead what matters is how strong they finish.” If we can’t finish our walk with God head strong then we can’t fulfill our calling to it’s fullest. We will only hurt ourselves and those around us in the end.

Remember those stumbling blocks we come across are to keep us in check, to make sure we are ready for what comes next. We are only given a glimpse of our future when God speaks to us rather than the full picture that we don’t misuse and abuse what He has for us. Be blessed and encouraged.

Proverbs 3:6

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp unto my feet and a light to my path.

Galatians 6:9

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.

Clash of Powers

Deuteronomy 18:9-14

A Call to Holy Living

“When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, be very careful not to imitate the detestable customs of the nations living there. 10 For example, never sacrifice your son or daughter as a burnt offering.[a] And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft, 11 or cast spells, or function as mediums or psychics, or call forth the spirits of the dead. 12 Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord. It is because the other nations have done these detestable things that the Lord your God will drive them out ahead of you. 13 But you must be blameless before the Lord your God. 14 The nations you are about to displace consult sorcerers and fortune-tellers, but the Lord your God forbids you to do such things.”

Two weeks ago I had just started my job working as a before and after school teacher’s aide in my local school district. I’ve come to love the job as well as the kids that I am responsible for. Since starting this job I have strongly felt a clash in the supernatural. Every time I enter my work site a heaviness falls upon me and clings tightly on my chest. I arrive early every afternoon (2nd shift) to both make sure I make it on time and find time to pray and clear the atmosphere.

I work in an elementary school which means the children are K-5 and the things that I have found them exposed to is fairly disheartening. I’ve heard songs play on the radio during their gym classes about drinking and Katy Perry’s Dark Horse which frequently refers to the use of black magic and in my opinion control/captivity of those who play with it. The song is upbeat and gets people excited. This past week I have watched kids dance and play to this song oblivious to the powers behind it. As I said before my work site has a distinct heaviness that I sense when I walk through the doors everyday, but what is it that causes this heaviness in the atmosphere?

Well the reason is because I have God and I carry his presence with me everywhere I go and when I step into this school his presence clashes with a demonic presence. There is a lot that I have seen take place and change since I have started working my new job and I feel that this is the “land” God has called me to for a time. There is a belief in the separation of church and state that is held within the school system making this place I walk into every morning and every afternoon in a sense “no mans land”. God has called me here for a reason what that reason may be I’m not fully aware of yet, but I believe that I am meant to have an impact on this place. I doubt that I will change the entire school system around and cause a district wide impact, but who knows except God. All that I do know for sure is that since I have begun praying before and after and between each shift I have seen and felt changes in the atmosphere. Dark powers that typically challenge and taunt me haven’t been surfacing as frequently, behaviors have been improving and God has been dropping specific individuals into my heart to keep in prayer. There have been individuals in which God has allowed me to have an influence upon and beginning to create opportunities in which I can share about God. However I do have to use caution and wisdom considering my position.

1 Kings 3:9

Give me an understanding heart so that I can govern your people well and know the difference between right and wrong. For who by himself is able to govern this great people of yours?”

So my prayer is that as I continue this journey and walk with God I will be blessed with wisdom and courage as well as a discerning heart.

Be Blessed!

To Know God or Know of God

Galatians 5:22-23 New Living Translation (NLT)

22 But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

Today we live in a lost world, confused of what is right and what is wrong. This stands true even in the Christian realm of things. Just like in the past there are many of us who don’t truly know God. We have all the head knowledge of him that we possibly could, however not a lick of it speaks to us. There are many of us today who are modern day Pharisees or as I like to call them James 1:22 Christians, those who hear the word of God, but don’t allow it to breathe life into them.

So why am I bringing this up? Well I’m not doing it to condemn anyone, rather I’m doing this to simply pointing out something that I have noticed around me. Now it’s not my place to question another’s relationship with God for in actuality I wouldn’t know. That is between that individual and God. So in light the message today would be a self reflection, where do we see ourselves in our walk with God?

A sure answer would be are the fruits of the spirit evidently present in your life? Now we may not be the best candidate to speak for ourselves, but we should have a general idea. To know God and have a relationship with him will bring birth/growth of love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. If we lack these things then it’s safe to say we are lacking in the relationship category. It’s okay to know all that there is to know of the lord, but as said in James 2:19 “even the demons believe in God”. Simply knowing of him isn’t good enough, we need to get to know him. 

An example could easily be stalking someone on social media. You can learn everything about them, the type of clothes they wear, music they listen to, where they go and who they spend their time with, but that doesn’t mean you know the person. Just about anyone can do that.

In light of things how about we get beyond this face value relationship with God, step beyond the books, beyond the social media knowledge and build a relationship with him. Once we do that our lives will change and it will be evident not only to you, but to those around you as well. Wake up out of this place of dormancy and get your feet wet.

Be Blessed!