A Heart of Stone

Last night, I watched a man of God walk boldly into the streets of Portland, Oregon to evangelize and preach the gospel to a crowd at the Black Live Movement protest. He was sharing the word of God and preaching the message of love.

I watched with anxiety and great sadness on how the people rejected the gospel with such disrespect, anger, rage and disregard. They rejected, scoffed, and mocked him as he continued to preach the gospel.

The people blocked him from going any further into the crowd and told him to leave the area. I actually feared for his safety. As I reflected on what I witnessed through an online video, I’m reminded of how much Jesus had to endure as he walked through crowds of people who rejected his message as he traveled, preached and healed in the midst of persecution.

Unfortunately, not much has changed since then. Since we live in a fallen world, it’s too be expected, but it’s still very upsetting to see others reject a pure, genuine love. It’s an unconditional, agape love that the world is desperately searching so hard to find in people, places or things. I also realize how many people really don’t understand what love really is.

Love is a word thrown around very loosely in society, which has no substance, foundation or value. The world, in general, is void of love. 

Plain and simple, the devil is the master of confusion and the lawlessness experienced in this country is a reflection of the culture which honors and validates acts of disobedience, sin, pride and arrogance.

The world seems to be spinning out of control and erupts in chaos but God is still in control despite how we may think or feel at the present moment.

Sadly enough, society mirrors the disorder, injustice, pain, abuse and hatred that is not a stranger to the history of America.

If you look at a stone, it is unmovable and nothing can penetrate it. Depending on the size, it may be very heavy, but whether it’s a pebble, rock, stone or mountain, it’s made of the same substance. Nothing can pierce it.

After years of pain, anguish, frustration, anger and bitterness, a heart becomes hardened from life experiences, poor choices and decisions and bad situations or circumstances. Things may have happened unwillingly in your life which is not your fault but you’ve suffered the consequences, behaviors or decisions of someone else’s actions. Life is a painful journey and none of us escape life without heartache and pain. The only one who can heal the deep wounds, sickness or disease is Jesus Christ.

Ezk 36:26

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

The Only Answer is Love

Every problem we are facing today relates to love. It’s the dominant force in life and without it humanity cannot survive.

The Lord values family and marriage. There’s a domino effect that starts in the home. The breakdown of the family has disrupted society, our communities and our nation. Whether your home is dysfunctional or operates under oppression, generational curses, domestic violence, teaches racism and bigotry in your household or have a lack of positive role models in your family, it allows children to run astray without discipline or guidance.

Prov 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

The severe neglect or abandonment of a child leads them down a road of mental, emotional or psychological anguish. As young adults, they fall prey into the world and tend to gravitate towards gang membership, crime, cults, corrupt organizations and abusive relationships. They search for anything to fill the void. Alcohol and drugs mask the pain but does not cure the original offense they faced as a child or along the path of adulthood.

The cycle continues as an adult but the devil is a liar. You can break the cycle of abuse, addiction, or rejection. You are not an outcast. You are not a failure. You are worthy. You are treasured. You are valued. You are loved.

The world is starving for love but doesn’t know or understand what love truly is, what it means or if it truly exists. The world has a perverted or distorted view or perspective on the meaning of love.

I Corth 6:19

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

It’s so disheartening to personally experience the love of God and then to witness so many people disregard or reject the truth of the gospel. The only one who saves you from the pain, discouragement, depression, anger or bitterness that you are trying to escape is Jesus. While others thrive in evil thoughts, bondages, and deeds of wickedness. The Lord is gracious and merciful to all those who desire a change of heart and mind.

What Does Love Look Like?

When you have love for yourself and others, you will not mistreat yourself or dishonor others. You will have self-control and walk with the fruits of the spirit.  You will have a desire to please God at all times. You will have integrity, morals and values that represent a Christ-like character. Even when you’re in private, you will have a desire to please the Lord while understanding that your priority is to honor the Lord regardless of your environment or surroundings. You will not be intimidated or influenced by others views or opinions. You will be truly set free from mental chains, bondage’s and worldly mindsets. This can only be accomplished through a heart transformation by the Holy Spirit. No prophet, preacher or teacher has the power to change your heart.

Acts 4:12

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

You must come to terms with your sins and have an honest desire in your heart to open your heart to receive Christ.

Your ego, arrogance, lust of the flesh, pride, and rebellion will continue to lock you out of a relationship with the Lord but Jesus does not discriminate.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matt 7:7-8

Rev 3:20

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

A Nation Divided Will Not Stand

When our society can no longer appreciate and value diversity of races, ethnicity and cultures as well as the opinions, beliefs and values other than our own, we will continue to bandage the lacerations of a culture that magnifies and gratifies sin, arrogance, and injustice.

When we can no longer communicate, listen or understand each other, we will thrive on distasteful behaviors, mentalities and attitudes influenced by the world system that is embedded in our music, entertainment, work culture and social norms.

When everyone has their own agenda and fighting for their own dominance and voices to be heard, we will continue to struggle with greed, power, wealth and fame for our own selfish motives and purposes.

It’s all rooted in fear. The only voice that stands is the voice of Jesus which is the foundation of love, peace and compassion.

When you know better, you do better. Every voice is screaming right now but be watchful and consider your ways and actions. Is it a reflection of love, joy, peace and compassion? We must be able to respect each other’s opinions without judgement, anger, animosity or disrespect.

Get out of your comfort zone. Lend an ear to people who don’t sound like you do. Share your story. Release your fears and negative emotions. Embrace courage and strength and mostly, focus on spreading love and compassion in a hurting, dark world.

Bible References:

Scriptures on Love

I Corth 13

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Scriptures on Salvation

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 10:10

Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy, but God came to give you a life more abundantly.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Scriptures on Communication

Col 4:6

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Luke 19:40

40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Scriptures on Servanthood

Rom 6:18

18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

1 Corth 7:22

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

Matt 5:10

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Beauty for Ashes: A Global Outcry for Justice and Equality

The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever. Isaiah 40:8

Oh, Nation! Do you hear our voices? Do you hear the cries of the people? The people who are constantly shot and killed on the streets and in their homes of America? The people constantly under assault and persecution for the color of their skin? The people striped of their identity and vandalized of their basic human rights to live free on this earth?

Our cities are burning due to the blind eye for justice. For generations, we have been raped of our humanity and dignity. How long do we have to continue on the same cycle of racism, prejudice, bigotry, harassment, discrimination and ignorance?

Oh, stiff-necked nation, repent for the sins against humanity. Turn away from your idols. Change from your wicked ways, devices and weapons of destruction against the people of color. Have you not learned anything from past generations?

This racist spirit; this racist attitude is a condition of the heart. It is a learned behavior that is passed on like a contagious virus. It is a disease of the soul that has infected every political, educational, judicial, and economical system throughout the world.

Do you not understand there is a penalty? That there is a price to pay for injustice? That you are accountable and responsible for your actions or complacency?

Why did it take cities to burn across the nation to the arrest four white men for the death of an innocent man?

Your hands are bloody and unclean. Your hearts are like filthy rags. Your mind is like a cancer.

We are at a crossroad in America for justice. We can’t go back to insanity. The repetitious pattern of hatred has to be extinguished. The time is now!

This moment is a pivotal point in history. The embedded racial coding throughout American culture is exposed and guilty as charged. Do you realize that there are consequences of an unchanged heart filled with arrogance, greed, ignorance and disobedience?

Oh city of Babylon, judgement is upon you. Purge from your evil ways before it’s too late. Its midnight hour in America and in the world. Extreme measures of correction, action and resolution is the torch that will lead the way out of darkness. The wind of change is upon us.

Will we finally have beauty for ashes?

The message is simple. Love.

I Peter 4:8

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”

John 13:34

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.

Jer 50:23-25

How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!

24 I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the Lord.

25 The Lord hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this is the work of the Lord God of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans.

Jer 50:26-29

Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left.

27 Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.

28 The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of his temple.

29 Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her: for she hath been proud against the Lord, against the Holy One of Israel.

Jer 50:38

A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.

Jer 50:43

The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.

Jer 51:7-11

Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.

Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.

We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.

10 The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.

11 Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the Lord hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of his temple.

Jer 51:17-18

Every man is brutish by his knowledge; every founder is confounded by the graven image: for his molten image is falsehood, and there is no breath in them.

18 They are vanity, the work of errors: in the time of their visitation they shall perish.

Jer 51:43

43 Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.

Isaiah 61

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.

And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.

For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.

For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles, and their offspring among the people: all that see them shall acknowledge them, that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.

10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

11 For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Break Free From Bondage

Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Gal 5:1

It was never God’s intention for His people to live in bondage. However, we live in a fallen and sinful world. Without the cross through the sacrifice of Jesus, we would not have the opportunity to receive eternal life through salvation.

Through that one selfless act that Jesus did, we are set free.

Whatever has you wrapped up in bondage, there is a way out through deliverance.

The Lord wants you free from addiction, free from poverty, healed from sickness, released from your mental, emotional or psychological prisons and released from guilt, shame, and condemnation.

You don’t live there anymore. There is a place called grace and mercy. It’s full of compassion and love. You can’t get lost on the way there because Jesus will meet you exactly where you are.

You may have traveled a long, hard road with many detours along the way but God is faithful and just. He waits patiently at the door waiting to embrace you, teach you and bless you with His abundant promises for your life.

The Lord’s ways are sure. His path is straight. Nothing is too hard for Him to handle.

There will be tests of your faith, lessons to be learned and transitions in life that are unexpected. The ultimate plan is in God’s hands. Are you willing to surrender? Are you ready to pick up your cross and follow him?

Just take one step of faith. He is waiting at the door for your arrival.  

What’s the difference between trust, faith and belief?

 

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Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God. Psalm 20:7

Do you wonder if trust, faith or belief means the same thing?

Although they sound the same or at least very similar, these words are not the same. However, they are part of the same family, per say, and weaved together in various ways.

TRUST

  1. A reliance on the integrity, veracity or reliability of a person or thing.
  2. Something committed to one’s care for use or safekeeping.
  3. The state or position of one who has received an important charge.
  4. Confident expectation; hope
  5. In commerce, credit
  6. To rely upon; to commit to the care of another
  7. The property or thing held in trust as in relation subsisting between the holder and the property so held.
  8. A combination of business firms formed to control productions or prices of some commodity.

In the world, people rely on the trust of their spouse, friends, doctors, teachers and other people in their communities. They depend on their opinions, advice, judgments, criticism, and perspectives. They depend on their status, position and intellect.

For the most part, they are self-reliant and value the ideas and opinions of others. Some people may even listen to the instruction or opinion of others before following their own minds.

The problem with trusting others is that they may not always use wisdom and could lean you towards the wrong decision. You may not have clarity on the right answer or correct decision to make (depending on the situation).

When making sound decisions, you should have a peace within which can easily be found through the Holy Spirit. When you put your trust in Him. You will eventually experience change. At times, you will wait endlessly for divine guidance with no answers in sight but you must remain diligent despite the circumstances. There may be a lesson to be learned while waiting for direction.

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Idolatry is another issue that arises by trusting in material things. Money, houses, fame, and fortune are all forms of idolatry. You may even be addicted to your cell phone or the internet. Whatever you put before God, will become a form of idolatry.

As a person strives for more, they become dissatisfied with their life. They begin to compare and judge others. The birth of greed, jealousy, envy, and depression cradles the mind and soul as they continue to pursue fleshy passions or possessions.

The Lord is the only source of real and complete satisfaction. When people fail you or objects become old, lost, stolen or broken, Jesus is the one and only who satisfies and quenches the trust in a dry, parched world.

FAITH

  1. Belief without evidence.
  2. Confident trust
  3. Belief in God; the Bible
  4. A specific religion
  5. Anything given adherence or credence to a man’s political faith
  6. Allegiance

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In the Bible, it states, “Faith is the evidence hoped for the evidence of things not seen. Heb 11:1

In this culture, it seems foolish to believe in something that you cannot see. Have you ever heard the popular saying, “Seeing is believing?” This statement reinforces the belief of the natural realm or physical world while dismissing the reality of the spiritual one.

It’s not easy to believe in something you cannot see but everyone does it every day whether they realize it or not. The act of breathing is a form of faith. This simple yet necessary activity gives us life each and every day. Not one of us has ever seen oxygen but we know it exists.

The closest we ever got to see it is in the middle of winter when a puff of smoke comes out of your mouth or nostrils. The Lord also provides similar ways to reveal himself to us if we acknowledge His presence.

Another example is music. No one has ever seen music yet it exists. Although we hear it, we will never be able to see or touch it. Just like the Father, the Lord speaks to us within our spirit but we must be still enough to listen to the whisper of God.

BELIEF

1 The acceptance of something as true or actual

2. That which is believed true, as a creed

3.  Religious faith

4.  Confidence, trust

5.  An opinion

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The mere definition of belief opens up a Pandora’s box because there are so many belief systems in this world. So many opinions and perspectives of different cultures, ethnicities, races, religions, and regions. This aids in the chaos and confusion because everyone has their own opinions and what they feel is believed to be true.

The Lord loves us so much that He has given us freedom of choice. He does not force us, manipulate us or persuade us to believe in Him. He allows us free reign to seek Him or reject him.

Independence is a beautiful thing. However, when we depend solely on ourselves and the world system, it leads us to misery, deception, confusion, and frustration.

If you allowed a child, complete freedom to do what they wanted, they would self-destruct. They would probably eat all the candy, cookies or ice cream they wanted. Plus, they would watch TV or play video games all day and night and leave a mess in their rooms as well as the whole house.

Well, we are no different. We would choose all the pleasures of this world and ignore the consequences of our actions.

The Lord has defined certain principles and guidelines to abide by for our good. This is not to hurt us but to protect us. The Lord is a loving Father who guides us along life’s journey. There is a multitude of promises that align with the Lord’s instructions waiting for us. He is not waiting for the first chance we mess up so he can punish us if we do something wrong. He is full of compassion, grace, and mercy. However, you must be willing to cleanse your heart of all sin (repent) and walk as an example of Christ. The Lord has many gifts and treasures to enjoy on this earth as well as in heaven.

The Lord asks that you trust Him, walk in faith and believe in Him at all times.  Commit to His ways for His love endures forever.

Prayer

Lord, Thank you for being a loving Father. I honor and worship you in spirit and in truth. Help me to walk in your ways. When I mess up, let me be quick to correct my mistakes. I pray that you will give me a measure of faith that will shift all obstacles blocking my path. I rebuke all fear, self-doubt, addictions, temptation, anxiety or depression. Help me to trust in you alone. Reveal yourself to me in new ways and may I receive a fresh revelation. I believe your promises and I stand on your word in the mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

Count it All Joy

We can count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. James 1:2-4

Life as a Believer

Living your life as a believer in Christ is never easy. We are supposed to resemble a Christ-like nature which consists of walking in the fruits of the spirit. However, living a life of self-control, long-suffering, gentleness, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity and faithfulness (Gal 5:22) takes discipline and your character can be challenged in a selfish, chaotic world.

Without the power of the Holy Spirit, we can never accomplish and fulfill these characteristics and traits of Christ without the guidance and strength of Christ working within us.

As a believer, you may be constantly scrutinized or criticized by the world because you claim to live a so-called “Perfect” life. They may also expect you to be judgmental and point out the faults of others. Far too many believers have a “hypocritical nature.”

Unfortunately, some believers receive a bad rap because of misrepresentation due to other believers who are not walking as a true representative of Christ but walking in a religious spirit rooted in legalism.

With so many denominations and backgrounds, it’s a melting pot or hodgepodge of multiple belief systems which makes it even more confusing for a non-believer to justify why they should even change their life or go to church.

Little do non-believers understand, there is no such thing as a “Perfect Christian.” That’s the reason why Christ paid the penalty of sin on the cross. We are redeemed by faith through Christ. We are called to love each other despite our character flaws, mindsets, beliefs or lifestyles.

You may not feel worthy or you may feel like an outcast when surrounded by a congregation of believers. However, the Lord desires and chooses you. Every one of us is broken or flawed in some way. No one is perfect. Jesus loves you!

People may watch and wait for you to fail, fall or mess up. There is no doubt a lot of pressure to live as a believer in the flesh. In fact, there is no way possible to achieve a life as a believer while living in the flesh. It’s a spiritual journey.

As a believer, once you realize that you’re delivered from people and their opinions, you will no longer appease others but have a stronger desire to please the Lord. You will no longer be controlled or manipulated by peers, teams, groups or audiences because you don’t have an appetite to blend in or be accepted by your associates, friends or even family members.

Come as You Are

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Jesus welcomes the broken-hearted, the sick, the addicted, the poor, and the widowed. Jesus does not discriminate. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.

There is no such thing as guilt or shame. Once you repent of your wrong thoughts, intentions, attitudes, wrong actions and behaviors, it is erased for eternity. The Lord remembers our sin no more. (Heb 8:12) However, that is not an excuse for us to live careless, reckless and carefree lives. When we mess up, we must continuously begin again and make an honest effort to change for the better.

Through the Fire

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The world will pull you in many directions and you will fall into many problems or difficult circumstances.  Just when you feel doubt, fear, insecurity, or discouragement creeping in, the Lord will step in and give you comfort, peace, strength, and reassurance whispering, “I got you!”

You can only achieve this experience and deeper revelation while resting in the secret place of the most high (Psalm 91:1) which starts by building a foundation on His word, persistent prayer, and continual praise and worship.

In the quiet hours, the Lord will reveal himself to you in unspeakable ways. Although you will be thrown into many trials, tribulations, and test, each test is preparing and positioning you for greatness. It strengthens and grows your faith in Him. He may not quickly rescue you from the fire but He is sure to walk with you through the flames just like he did with Shadrach,  Meshasch, and Abednego. (Dan 3)

Spiritual warfare is an opportunity for God to demonstrate his power. The Lord will make the enemy your footstool. (Mark 12:36) Put on the full armor of God and He will fight every battle. (Eph 6:10-34)

For every test is perfectly designed by the master’s hands to shape and mold you into what He wants you to be. There is a specific purpose and assignment He created for you to complete.

No Matter What it Looks like You’re Not Coming Out Smelling Like Smoke

You may feel unqualified. You may feel like Moses who felt like he did not have the skills or abilities to defeat Pharaoh and lead the Israelites through the Red Sea. However, the Lord chose him for a specific purpose and for a specific season. Your insecurities, flaws, quirks, lack of education or experience is not a prerequisite for God’s work.

The Lord chose the most unqualified people to represent his Kingdom to preach the gospel, cast out demons or defeat giants. The one thing that has been the thorn in your side may just happen to be the one thing God uses in your life to promote you.

The Lord calls the weak to confound the wise. (I Corth 1:27)  The same problems, situations, and circumstances that you’ve dealt with or may be dealing with is part of your test, part of your story and the bigger part of who you’ll become.

Despite what you go through, with Jesus, you will come through the fire untouched. You will come through in victory!

Through patience and faith, you will inherit the promises of God. It takes strength, endurance, and courage to walk with faith, hope, and trust. In the meantime, count it all joy!

Related Scriptures

James 1:12

Blessed is the man that endureth temptation for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Heb 8:12

For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.

Mark 12:29-31

29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

James 1:5-8

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord. A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways. 

I Corth 1:27

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

I Chron 16:24

24 Declare his glory among the heathen; his marvellous works among all nations.

Eph 6:10-24

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;

19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,

20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

21 But that ye also may know my affairs, and how I do, Tychicus, a beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, shall make known to you all things:

22 Whom I have sent unto you for the same purpose, that ye might know our affairs, and that he might comfort your hearts.

23 Peace be to the brethren, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Grace be with all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Amen. 

The Ultimate Betrayal

Jesus carrying the Cross
He opened not His mouth.

At one time or another, all of us have experienced some form of betrayal. Betrayal comes in so many forms: Gossip, cheating, lying, and treason to name a few. Whether it was a spouse, friend, co-worker, or family member, the pain can run so deep that it may seem you will never heal again.

The ultimate betrayal was found in the life of Jesus Christ. There are several accounts of betrayal he experienced from the people closest to him; to the absolute stranger who despised him. He was persecuted, betrayed, mocked, and murdered all for the sake of His ultimate purpose and sacrifice to die for our sins and to save the lost.

What should our reaction be when faced with betrayal? We should look to Jesus as the model of forgiveness. One example was in Luke 22:34. “And he said, I tell you, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny thou that knows me.

You may have experienced this situation at one time or another.  You spot someone in a room or familiar place that you know. You could be at the grocery store, shopping mall, or social event and someone you know sees you across the room but instead of a smile or wave, they just turn their head like they don’t even know you. 

This is just a minor example of how you may feel when someone doesn’t acknowledge your presence for whatever reason. Either way, it doesn’t feel good. Can you imagine how Jesus felt? The one closest to him denied him three times! There is nothing worse than a two-faced person. You may also question your relationship with that person even if they are only a co-worker, neighbor, or acquaintance. It’s a breach of faith in hopes of building a friendship or business relationship.

Another prime example was in Luke 22:48. “But, Jesus said unto him, Judas, betrays thou the Son of Man with a kiss?” Flattery is often buried under deceit. Sometimes the sweetest person is disguised as a wolf in sheep’s clothing. You shouldn’t be suspicious of every kind and loving gesture but action speaks louder than words. As the saying goes, “Keep your friends close but your enemies closer.”

The ultimate betrayal was in Mark 10:33-34. “Behold, we go to Jerusalem and the Son of Man shall be delivered unto the chief priests and unto the scribes; and they should condemn him to death and shall deliver him to the Gentiles: And they shall mock him, and shall scourge him and shall spit upon him, and shall kill him and the third day he shall rise again.

Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice for our sins out of his love and forgiveness. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned, but he who does not believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.  For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.John 3: 16-21

There is only one account in the Bible that I’m aware of that God does not forgive. In Mark 3:29 it states, But he who blasphemes or mocks against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation.”

Forgiveness is not easy. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to forgive yourself. It is also a life-long process. The act of forgiveness releases us from the negative emotions that hold us in bondage to the person who hurt us. However, if you happen to be on the other side of forgiveness, a sincere apology is the least you can give to the person you hurt. Empathy, patience, and understanding will have to be worked through in each issue of any relationship.

Forgiveness is not something that can be taught. It is the most difficult thing to overcome in the flesh. Memories play over and over in your mind which makes it hard to let go. However, the quicker you can let go of the pain, the faster you can move on. You may never forget, but you can forgive.

The best thing you can do is to acknowledge your pain, accept what you’ve experienced, and walk in patience because it takes time depending on the level of deception attached to the pain. It’s much like the grieving process of a lost loved one.

Forgiveness also doesn’t mean you have to subject yourself to the same trifling people, situations, or circumstances. It means you can release the animosity, anger, pain, or guilt and open your heart to receive peace, grace, healing, and freedom from every emotion that’s imprisoned you.

The act of forgiveness is the ministry of Jesus. It is the foundation, and cornerstone of the Gospel. It is also found in your heart despite the difficulties, challenges, and disappointments you face in life. You are set free. Don’t let another hour, day, week, month, or year go by. Make the decision to forgive today.

“And whenever you stand to pray, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. Mark 11:25

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Pick up Your Cross

When we reflect upon the Resurrection, we celebrate the triumph of Jesus overcoming the grave and sitting at the right hand of the Father in Heaven. We celebrate His victory and all He has done for our Salvation. He is alive and lives in our hearts and we await for His return. He will reign upon the earth as He did once before.

As followers of Christ, we must remain steadfast knowing that we should walk as Jesus and live as an example.  We should pick up our cross daily and follow Him. Mark 10:21

What exactly does that mean? Jesus requested the apostles to leave all they had to follow Him. In the New Testament, Jesus speaks of giving up everything to follow Him. He commanded to give riches and treasures to the poor and to put Him first in every area of our life. In Mark 10:25, Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus want to know your heart is pure and that you can be content in all circumstances. Nothing should stand in the way of relationship with Him.  Of course, our Father gives us good pleasures, but He wants us to delight in Him. He wants us to honor and obey Him. He does not want us to be persuaded or enticed by glitz, glamour, fame and fortune.  Neither does He desire the church to become a den of thieves.

Picking up your cross also means to be obedient to what the Lord ask you to do.  When we follow and surrender to Jesus, we desire to please Him. He will also fulfill the desires of our heart. “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” John 15:7

Moses answered the call to lead the Israelites through the wilderness to the promise land. Joseph was obedient to endure betrayal and be thrown into a pit, despite the jealousy of his brothers, and still blessed them in spite of their evil ways towards him. Jeremiah was obedient to prophesy over disobedience in the land.

It is not always easy to be obedient to the Lord. In many cases, it can be tough. However, the Lord supplies everything you need to overcome the challenges, obstacles and surprises life brings. God is not looking for perfect people. He calls the misfits, the outsiders, the prideful, the unqualified, and the sinful.  Mark 2:13-17

When we pick up our cross, we are not carrying the burdens of life on our shoulders. This may be a misinterpretation of what the verse means and easily misunderstood. Jesus already paid the price for the penalty of sin for all of us. He carries our burdens. The greatest love of all flows from the heart of Jesus. By no means, we are to believe that we are to carry the cross like Christ did. Our works or deeds on earth does not open the doors to heaven. Salvation does. That is the whole reason Christ died for us. Without the crucifixion of Christ, there would be no sacrifice. Nevertheless, our works will be rewarded once we enter into the Kingdom. “Through faith and patience we will inherit the promises.” Heb 6:12

All that you search for in this world is null and void and does not satisfy. Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: He that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.” John 6:35

Pick up your cross and follow Him daily. Be a disciple of Christ.  Share the Gospel. Uplift and encourage others. Ask for wisdom, discernment and understanding and walk as examples of Christ.

Just a few things to think about…

What can you do to welcome others who have a different lifestyle than you or do not have the same faith or values that you have? How do you react or respond to stress, worry, doubt or fear? How do you act when you’re angry, tired or frustrated? What can you do differently when emotions take over? How do you lead by example in the workplace? How do you share your testimony with others when they don’t know Christ?

You’re welcome to leave your comments. Thanks for your support.

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Additional Scripture References:

Matt 7:9-11

Phil 4:19

Heb 6:10

 John 18  and  John 19

 I Peter 1:3-9

 Romans 3:23-25

 I Corth 15:13-28