Month: April 2014

Focus on Yours

I can’t tell you how many times I didn’t feel like going to church, but when I did, I got something from it, and this past Sunday was no different. Though it was Easter, I did not feel like going to church and I’m not talking about the 11 am service. No, I am talking about the “son”rise 6 am service. And you know the funny thing, people always say, “since Jesus got up, I guess so can I.” Nope, I disagree. He was sleep for three days. I would’ve gotten up early too if I slept that long. (insert laugh here) Anyhow, as you can imagine, it was hard getting up that early, but I did and I am so glad I did. Like I said prior, whenever you go to church, there is always something there that you can take away, whether it’s a song, the message, a conversation, a hug, or a chance to actually pray purposefully. In my case on Sunday, though it was a part of the message, what I took away was not in the message.

The preacher of that lovely early morning hour came spoke on the story of Jesus appearing to his disciples after his resurrection, and had a fish fry with them. The highlight of the sermon was on Jesus confronting and questioning Peter’s love for him, but I decided to read on the rest of the conversation, which wasn’t addressed in the message, and was blown away.

I actually did an article on another site about it, but Jesus was a funny dude. I mean if you really just read the dialogue in the Gospels alone, he will have you lol-ing for real, because he had absolutely no problem keeping it real, which is exactly what he did in this story. After walking along the shore and getting back on good terms, Peter noticed John behind them and asked Jesus what he was going to do with him, and Jesus pretty much told him to mind his business and not to worry about it because it had no consequence to him.

I am pretty sure I had read this passage before, but it had been so long, so it was refreshing to read it again. What Jesus said to Peter is something that he is telling us today, and that is to stop worrying about what God is doing or going to do in someone else life, which is part of the reason Peter sank before, because he lost focus. If you constantly compare yourself to others and get caught up in what they are doing and how the Lord is blessing them, the Lord has little capacity to bless your fruits because you are not focused on the task He has given you. In today’s language, I think Jesus would have said to Peter flat out “mind yours.” It’s so easy to get caught up in other people’s story, especially when they seem to be further along than us or they happen to be doing the same type of ministry or work we are, and we get prideful and jealous. Just considering the story, Jesus was actually reinstating Peter after he had denied him, so I think Peter wanted to get off the hot seat for a minute; same with us.

When the Lord is working on you, don’t start pointing finger or passing blame. There is another lie that is floating around that says “your actions/attitude determine my attitude and my action are up to you.” That is a dangerous philosophy to live by because as just as it sounds, you can’t determine the consequences, and at the end of it all, you are responsible for your own actions; you will be accountable for how you reacted, not how others acted.

Bottom line, focus on yours. Stick to your function and let God do what He wants in that other person’s life. What the Lord has for them is for them and what’s for you is for you – that also goes for God’s time table. Just like the driving analogy, when you drive you can’t keep looking at your past in your rear view mirror, or else you will crash; likewise, you will crash if you keep looking at the person or people in the lane beside you. As Jesus said to Peter, there is no reason for you to question what God is doing in someone’s life, especially if it has no bearing on what He is doing in your life. If by some chance it does, still, focus on being you for the purpose and task set forth for your specific journey, keep it in prayer, and in due time God will work things out and merge you together.

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Be Necessary

The first two verses of Romans chapter 12, are probably two of the most influential verses of the Christian community, but it is the second verse that I want to highlight here.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

That verse is loaded with so many things. Following Christ is all about going against the norm, doing the unexpected, taking risks, and witnessing the unimaginable. God calls His children to be separate, to be different. When you look up the word conform, you get some interesting definitions. Conforming is to accept, be similar, do what is expected, or comply with accepted standard. In this case, we should by no means accept the world’s standards or be similar to its thinking, or do what the world expects you to do. We should be the black sheep; it’s expected that a homosexual cannot be delivered; prove the world wrong. It’s common for people to have sex before marriage; beat the statistics. It is natural for people to live with a “every man for himself mentality” and only the strong survive; the greatest man that ever walked Earth was the greatest servant. It is expected for people to walk away from their marriage or children at the first sign of trouble; seek to fix what is broken. It’s the norm for people to think that alcohol, drugs, and pills are the way to fix or drown a problem; cast your cares on Him. Normalcy says that you can only be worth anything if you have money, a good stable job, and or a college degree; God has done so much more with people who had so much less. The world says you don’t need God; I am nothing without Him and I can do nothing apart from Him.

As a child of the Most High, we should stick out like a soar thumb, and even if no one were to ever hear you say the name Jesus, his influence over your life should scream from the mountain top by how you act, speak, and treat others.

The biggest world changers were and are those that do what is not normal or go against the grain. Lisa Bevere said it this way, “don’t conform or compromise to be included. If you’re just like ‘every one else’ your contribution is unnecessary.” Living a life of purpose means that you are not conforming to the way of the world, rather you are just living in it. By conforming, you seek to be accepted, and thus you do what is necessary to fit in. The danger is that when you fit in, you lose who God created you to be, and ultimately miss out on your destiny, because only your true self can do and handle all that is locked up in the Heavens waiting to be bestowed upon you. When you conform, you become a copy cat, and there is never a need for a copy cat, because copy cats are very easily replaceable, but once you choose not to conform or compromise, refusing to be just like “every one else,” the world will see that what you have to offer what one else can; there is only one you, past, present, or future. The world needs you not a clone of someone else; when you understand your identity in Christ and walk in the very essence of who you are, you will be an irreplaceable necessity to the world.

So, I encourage you to be you for a purpose, because it is you that the world needs, your beauty, your personality, you talents, your strengths, your gifts, your faith, your hope, your style, your thoughts, and your ideas. God took His time and created you perfectly just the way He wanted, and the moment we decide to embrace it, that’s when God can execute and multiply His greatness through us.

The world needs you, so be you and no one else.

Women, Stop Acting Like Men

So I was listening to a message by Lisa Bevere and she made this statement, “Being a confident woman is not acting like a man.” I almost fell over, because that is the truth that so many ladies fail to understand. Furthermore, it picks at the implication of many feminists. Tony Evans put it like this, as far as value is concerned, men and women are equal, but their function is different.

God knew what He was doing when He created man and woman, if they were to be the same, He would have given them the same function, or created two men first or two women. Especially in the Epistles written by Paul, he lays out the function of each. I was actually at the nail salon and they had “The View” on and I was watching it (not a fan) and they brought up a quote from Kirsten Dunst (I believe) about how women need to be more feminine and take more of the female role and how it was a lost art, in a nutshell. So of course they talked about it, but really none of them agreed, and said that there should only be a difference in the bed room, and that a man and woman share responsibilities, and one of them is a lesbian so her view point is already tainted. Pause. I would have to agree with Kirsten Dunst, because feminism is a lost art and being a confident women has become all about being independent, stubborn, self-ambitious, with an “I don’t need a man” mindset. First off, Paul explicitly says that men and women are interdependent on each another, and as my Uncle Jeff put it, you have never heard any man of any sort say, “I don’t need a woman,” but far too often you hear a woman say “I don’t need a man.”

It actually makes me think of the Taraji P. Henson’s character in “Think Like a Man,” when it was hard for her to have a healthy lasting relationship, because she was always acting like the man. Women are called to be women, act like ladies and not be afraid to be feminine, and if you read the last article you will see some qualities that make up a confident woman. But you may be asking, “So what is acting like a man?” From my understanding, it is a matter of seeking to be domineering, too strong-willed, and forcing their independent life on others, while your home life is suffering. We should not be always battling men to try and prove our worth, that disproves our confidence in who we are; being a confident woman is being confident in who it is that God created you to be, a woman, a lady. Now is this to say we are not individuals of different personalities and livelihoods? No, we are each unique with our styles, our own strengths and weaknesses, and we definitely can be independent and be passionate and strong leaders in our communities, and in many cases women and men can share the responsibilities. However, there are certain things that distinguish us from men and praise God for that! The way the culture and mass media sets it up, it’s hard to draw those lines just considering homosexuality that forces women to be men, or the reality shows that my last article discussed. So as you seek to be a confident woman or you seek to find a confident woman, desire to be or find a woman that understands who she is as a woman and finds her identity in Christ, it really is a beautiful thing. It’s okay to be strong but you have to be willing to be soft, it’s okay to be independent but you have to be willing to submit (it’s not a scary word). Men are more confident, able, and happy to be men most when their women are acting like women, not men, that’s when problems begin.

Be Myself Again

It’s been a while since I have done a music piece, but this song by Eric Benét, “Be Myself Again,” I had to post this. It’s such a positive song and the truth is that sometimes we do lose our rhythm, those innate qualities that make us who we are as an individual, priceless and unique. We lose our true identity, whether we were trying to fit in intentionally or we unintentionally conform to the world around us. As a result, many times we wind up unhappy, unsatisfied and discontented, but that moment you decide to play the music of your soul, the melody God composed for us, that’s when our lives change forever. So if your life notes ever sound muffled, dull, off key, just plain sour, or all of the above, give it to the Lord and He can help you find your way again.

It’s an amazing freedom to be yourself without compromise. Listen to the song and rock out to it. Be you for a purpose. Be encouraged.

Unwanted

If you ask me, the Bible is full of some of the greatest love stories ever. With that said, I watched a movie recently based on Hosea and Gomer, and I was really intrigued by the dynamics of the story that I had never picked up on before in reading, so I did some further looking into it and was even more captivated by how it so intensely portrayed our relationship with God.

If you aren’t familiar with the story, Hosea was the prophet God had told to marry the adulterous woman Gomer. Now at first, I was always under the assumption that she was a prostitute, but more than likely she was pure before she got married and developed and the heart of a harlot. I find this very interesting. It wasn’t until after she was married that she started to wander and refused to be satisfied by a man that would do anything for her. It was almost like she didn’t want to be loved, didn’t believe she could be loved and cared for so much, and or didn’t feel worthy to receive the love of a such a man. Thus, it’s almost like she did everything to force Hosea to give up on her. Don’t we do that?

GomerThe love of God is so straightforward, yet it goes beyond comprehension, and many times we feel unworthy or less than fearfully and wonderfully made, and we either we act out, becoming afraid and doubtful of its genuineness and test the love of God, or we just don’t want it, because our pride wants us to be able to live the way we want without boundaries, but I think the latter. Like Gomer, even though God pursues us and reminds us daily of His love, as would Hosea, we decide to live a life that takes that precious love for granted and many times we end up in a far worse situation than we should’ve ever been in. Gomer was no different. As a result of her many escapades, she ended up in bondage waiting to be sold to the highest bidder. But no one wanted her. She had damaged herself so bad that she ranked lower than a slave. No one wanted her.

In spite of his heartbreak, pain, frustration, and sadness Gomer caused, Hosea bought her back and promised to always love her. Woah! What kind of love is that?! That’s God’s heart for us, no matter what we do to Him, He will never stop loving us, because His love for is does not depend on us. Even when we stray, His arms are always open, calling us back home. Now does that mean we can go and act like we ain’t got no sense? Of course not, especially when we know better. Hosea even told her she had to stop doing craziness after he bought her back.

When we get to the point where we realize that God will never abandon us or forsake, no matter who we are or what we do, something in us will want to love Him back and want to have that love with us wherever we go in life. As human, by definition, we do not want God’s love, until we meet Jesus, and even then there are kinks in our lives that we strive to straighten out, but he promises to walk with us and be with us through eternity. Matter of fact, the name Gomer means perfect and complete. That is so mind blowing.

When I read that, it clicked that the story of Hosea and Gomer is a reflection of God’s perfect and complete love and salvation (meaning of Hosea). So what’s the point?

Living a life of purpose, you can’t fight God’s love. He is a gentleman so He won’t force you to accept His love or make you love Him in return, but I mean why wouldn’t you? As Gomer did, and as Hosea prophesied to the Israelites, we try everything and everyone else to satisfy us and make us happy, but sooner or later, at some point we come to understand that the Lord was there the whole time and no one else can love you like He can; no one else has your back like He does. He is all that you need to fulfill His awesome purposes in your life. God thinks you are worth every bit of love He has to offer you, and even if every other person has stopped loving you for one reason or another, even if it was your doing, God will never change His mind about you. You can’t make Him stop loving you. So bask in it on purpose, because if you are like me, even when you are being you for a purpose and living in purpose, sometimes His love is all that is holding you together, the only thing stopping you from giving up.