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.

Seeking God in Solitary Moments

Resting in Gods Promises provides peace, security and strength to overcome life’s challenges.

Seeking God is Solitude Moments

Haven’t Seen It Yet by Danny Gokey

Don’t underestimate the power of words. Words can change the heart, elevate the mind and transform lives. The Lord spoke the world into existence. You have the same power as the Holy Spirit that lives inside of you. Let your words be light, hope and encouragement that strengthens the soul.

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.

 

 

Fear Not

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The definition of fear:  (noun):  An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.

(verb):  Be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.

synonyms: terrorfright, fearfulness, horroralarmpanicagitation, trepidation,dreadconsternationdismaydistress; More

 There are two little words in the Bible that Jesus often reminded his disciples throughout their ministry. It was also embedded in Jesus’s ministry and teachings. “Fear Not,” a statement that is opposite of such a strong emotion that is often hard to control when it strikes and grips your mind and consumes you.

There is a lot of fear going around:  You may fear of a natural disaster, economic collapse, and terrorist attacks. Fear can block your actions. It intimidates. It paralyzes. It stifles. It can stop you from moving forward or taking the next step. It may become a prison in meeting different people than they are accustom to.  There is a fear of success or failure. You can have a fear of the future or fear of dying. You may even have a fear of public speaking or afraid of snakes or spiders.

Fear is disguised in many forms. Fear is a spirit from the enemy. It is ugly but has no power once you confront it. However, it will grow if you do not take control over it.

With so much going on today, it’s hard to ignore that the world is living in fear. The world is in chaos. It is out of control. It’s hard to speak to fear when there is a real presence of harm that threatens lives on so many levels.

On whatever form it may appear in your life, you have authority over fear. Many people are not aware of how to regain control over their feelings and experiences. I cannot promise you instant results, but you can subdue constant fear, anxiety, and worry and replace it with faith, peace, and love.

I’m no expert, but can only share my own experience with how I handle fear. First, you must acknowledge what you’re afraid of. Be specific. Write down every possible thing that could happen that you are fearing. “F-E-A-R” is False Evidence Appearing Real so once you acknowledge why you are afraid and picture the worst-case scenario, you have acknowledged the fear. Confronting fear is liberating and it is the best way to overcome it.

Reading the Bible scriptures is a powerful way to overcome any type of fear you struggle with. Meditate on scriptures related to fear and research stories where people in the Bible faced various obstacles and challenges and focus on how they overcame their plight.

Having a strong relationship with the Lord in prayer and communication is one of the best ways to overcome fear. Seeking His guidance and wisdom in circumstances that are beyond our control will ease our minds.

When you understand and know the character of God, you know that He loves you. You are aware of His promises. You can rest knowing that He is protecting and watching over you.  Psalm 91.

There is an assurance that even though you can’t figure everything out at the time, you know that the Lord is working behind the scenes. While He is working, you need to be in preparation for whatever instruction He provides and follow through without hesitation. Many times we may second guess ourselves which is only having doubt and unbelief. This may steer us off our path or delay the progress due to our actions.

At times, our environment has influence over our specific circumstances or enhancing a fearful mindset as a whole. Unfortunately, we cannot control other people, weather conditions, or other devastating elements that affect our lives, but we have the ability to walk in peace or comfort others who are struggling with fear and anxiety due to loss, grief, and difficult circumstances. We must seek opportunities to comfort one another.

In every season, there is constant change. Being flexible to change is challenging. Obviously, fear plays a big part in unknown present realities, anticipated futures and dangerous environments that the Lord may place around us, but we should rest knowing that whatever state we find ourselves in, we should be content in every circumstance and decision we face and walk in faith knowing that God will protect and rescue us in due season. You can adapt to rapid changes with faith, not fear.

God is not a God of chaos and mass confusion. The world may feel like it’s spiraling out of control, but God is in control. He has a purpose and plan for each of us.  Instead of looking to the world for solutions, we need to seek Him for direction.

Just put your trust in Him. He will lead you beside the still waters. As we enter 2016, seek Him with your whole heart and leave the fear behind.

Peace be unto you.

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.” Romans 8:22

ADDITIONAL SCRIPTURES:

Matt 8-24-26

Psalm 23:4

Psalm 27:1

Psalm 112:7-8

Prov 29:25

Isaiah 41:10

Isaiah 54:14

Luke 12:32

2 Tim 1:7

Heb 13:5-6

I Pet 3:14

I John4:18

 

Hope for the Hopeless

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I created this blog on the foundation of hope. Hope is a powerful word and even more powerful when put to action. When you have hope you have the courage to keep believing, keep going and keep striving. If you are still breathing, you still have hope. Things still have an opportunity to change for the better. It’s a matter of eliminating the negative thoughts and walking by faith despite your circumstances. You have to feed your mind with positive thoughts and surround yourself with people who will uplift your spirits. Sometimes it’s better to be by yourself than to be with someone who will tear you down or speak words of doubt or negativity.

Hope gives you imagination and allows you to work towards your goals. Hope is purpose and inspiration.

“I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans for a hope and a future.” (Jer 29:11)

Hope keeps you moving in the right direction….

As we enter the Fall, lets shake off the negativity of life and prepare for a new season of promises. It starts with your thoughts. Just like the colored leaves and acorns fall off of trees, get rid of the old and prepare for the new things that life has to offer. You may not see the change happen immediately, but with time you will eventually see a transformation.

Live with hope and high expectation.