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Monday, June 29, 2015

Practicing Forgiveness

I received two tweets back to back and I thought it was a perfect word.

#Forgiveness isn't for the other person; it's for you. #ExploreGod @exploregod

At some point it has to go from being highlighted in your Bible to being written on your heart @DeannaFarley

True forgiveness means there is no bitterness in your heart for the other person.  We are asked to be the salt of the earth. The value of salt value back in the day could be used as currency.  It was also a method for healing and soothing.  If you add a pinch of salt to many desserts, the salt both heightens flavor and creates contrast.  My in laws being true coffee drinkers know just as well, salt will also eliminate coffee’s bitterness.

At some point we must start to truly practice forgiveness. When we truly practice love, we have the opportunity to change the flavor of our bitter situations.  Be the salt of the Earth.

Keeping Honesty and Integrity

"Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us." (Titus 2:6-8)

This passage gives some practical reasons and ways to live out our faith. Though these words were written to Titus (a leader in the early church) they apply to anyone! We should: be self controlled; serious about life, do good deeds as often as possible to set an example for others, love the truth, think before we speak!!! Why should we do these things?! Because we represent God, who is HOLY! We are an example to others! OUR behavior will SILENCE our critics!! “God, let your light shine through us, let it not be our own words, God, that stream from our mouths, Lord, but yours!”

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Don't Hide Your Scars.

It is understandable to hide all of your scars in life,  but let me encourage you to be comfortable sharing them. It is important to change your perspective of your scars because they are proof to you and everyone else that GOD HEALS! Your overcoming testimony is what provides hope in n the natural to those that don't have a spiritual relationship with the Father.


Inspired by Todd Adkins @ToddAdkins

Friday, June 26, 2015

Who is God to YOU?

We almost have 6 months in the books and God has shown me so much grace it is unbelievable. My faith, love,  and passion for Christ have grown. I can say the way I feel now is the fruit of the seedlings that were planted.

In the beginning of the year I spoke about personal relationships with God the Father. Just as your physical father may have played a certain role in your life, the same exists for Jehovah.

This year He has been Jehovah Shalom ( God as our COMFORTER) when RJ was always sick and couldn't hear or speak well.  I was so mad at myself for RJ's struggles, but I prayed and God consoled me.  Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).  It's actually amazing how it all works, because in consoling me, my faith rose. Philippians 4:19 says, And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah! Jehovah Jireh (God as our PROVIDER).  I put my burdens on the one who actually controls the changing of things and he made it happen. 

We have to stop carrying around all of this weight. I'm not talking physical. Life is not meant to be sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves or others. At some point you need to let The COMFORTER,  ease your pains and soothe your worries.  Let God be your security blanket! He, as a loving father, provides of His children! God as our HEALER (Jehovah Rapha) of Mind, Body & Soul! God will COMFORT, PROVIDE & HEAL His children!!! Call Him by Name!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Loving the Irresponsible

The bible says life is like a vapor, a mist.  It is short, and you never know the time or hour when you will pass. Life is all about love. Galatians 5:14 says For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 

One of the toughest things to do is love someone who is irresponsible, or not responsible with the love you give them. Let me explain. I love my wife, obviously. I continously am in love with my wife because she has been responsible with receiving my love. She hasn't told me she doesn't love me or cheated on me. She has infact shown me love in return.  Now that's the easy part. Loving someone when everything is all good. What am I going to do if she is no longer being responsible with my love?  

If I am made in God's image I am created to act like God, therefore I must display God's agape love and love UNCONDITIONALLY.  We all have those types of people in our lives that take advantage of our friendship, or love.

I want to encourage you if there is something holding you back from Christ, life is too short, forgive now. Especially if you have children, because children learn grace and its meaning from their parents.  We all know this world needs nothing more than Jesus and his love.Learn to extend grace, as Jesus extended his grace to you. Let's be more loving today.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Do you need a heart transplant?

Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. Another version says Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. 24 Put  away from you a deceitful mouth And put devious speech far from you.…

Above all things that have to be guarded, keep or guard your heart. In Hebrew, for it determines the course is translated totsaah (to-tsaw-aw'), which means exit, geographical boundary, or deliverance, source. In other words, as is a man's heart, so is his state of mind. The matters, or issues of life that you let eat at you will consume you, and eventually become your outward expression.

What we think in our heart and mind, we eventually say to others. He is telling us to constantly guard our heart and watch it closely with what we allow to enter into it, because it is the source of life for one's being, both physically and spiritually. The heart is the place - the spiritual soil in which a seed or seeds are planted in. They then sprout and grow until they produce fruit, whether it is good or bad. This is why you must guard your heart. If the heart is pure, your life will be pure; if the heart is corrupt, your life will be corrupt. In comparison, Mathew 15:19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts--murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. The thoughts of sin are evil and are to be hated. All wicked imaginations, carnal reasoning, lustful desires, and malicious schemes, are included. It is clearly written, these acts of sinful behavior begin and are constructed in the heart of a corrupted being. Every time the Bible defines what it means to be an authentic Christian, it speaks in the language of heart. It's about the heart!

The heart in the first verse is compared with a fountain. If you were to supply that fountain filthy, murky water, that is what comes out. Conversely, if you were to provide purified spring water, your output would be the same pure water. It is similar to the phrase garbage in = garbage out. The key here is to put your mind on the things of God and His scripture will act as a filter, not allowing any wounds or hurts and anything else to cause a seed to plant. Keep focused on the things above not giving anything a chance or a place to grow to create any physical or spiritual problems in our lives.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Who's Authority?

The other night our Youth Pastor taught briefly on authority. Unfortunately he's a New England Patriots fan, so he gave a life example of the Seattle Seahawks' running back Marshawn Lynch and how he has so much power he is known as Beast Mode. He breaks through tackles like running through paper. However with all that power, he truly has no authority. The NFL has not assigned the power to him,  but to the referee.  The league will stand behind the referee and regardless of what Marshawn Lynch does, he must submit to the referee's calls.

This is similar to our walking Christ. Regardless of the power, if it does not have God's ultimate authority it is rendered useless. If you are not under His authority, then who's authority are you operating under?  The way I see it, if you are not submitted under God then your authority lies with the devil and we know he lives defeated.

Regardless of how you feel the important thing is to have a heart attitude that says "Lord, I give you my life. I will do what you want me to do.  I will go where you want me to go.  I will say what you want me to say."

This is submission to the Lord's authority.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Love in You Will Gravitate People

I always feel like, Somebody's watching me...
And I have no privacy, I always feel like...
Somebody's watching me, Tell me is it just a dream...

- Michael Jackson, Rockwell - Somebody's Watching Me (1984)

From the mouth of the legend himself, we must remember someone is always watching. A couple examples I would like to share, when I call our dog in from the yard I tend to whistle and our 1 yr old will mimic my whistling. It's the cutest thing. Let me get this out as well, what you approve in your life, should cause you to consider what message are you sending. Continuing with my examples, if I am disrespectful to my wife, our daughter and son will grow up understanding it is OK to be disrespectful or disrespected. If I am honorable and loving to my wife, our daughter and son will grow to understand and acknowledge how a female should be treated. It is in the message I am sending, and the behavior my wife is approving.

In biblical context, WE tend to forget our goal is to spread the Gospel. Whether you are an athlete, CEO, manager, cook, teacher, stay-at-home parent, the platform is irrelevant. The message of the Lord God must still be spread. The easiest way to do this is to "Love on Another" (John 13:34-35).  In Ephesians, Paul's prayer was that the church of Ephesus would be able to grasp the complete understanding of the love of Christ so they would be filled with the fullness of God.  In other words, the knowledge of Christ's love, is an inward personal experience that provides a fulfillment of freedom, tenderness, depth, and patience.  It must consume you. If you are always angry, or have a bad attitude, people are not to going to be to interested in hearing about the love of Jesus. If you are walking in love they will be more curious of how you do it and this opens the door for evangelism. The love in you will gravitate people to you. This love will spill over to those around you in a world that has too much hate.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Talk About God

"Then those who feared the Lord spoke with each other, and the Lord listened to what they said. In his presence, a scroll of remembrance was written to record the names of those who feared Him and loved to think about Him." (Malachi 3:16)  The chapter continues,  "They will be Mine," says the LORD of hosts, "on the day that I prepare My own possession, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him."  

They embraced the Messiah and professed his name.  Having fear of God speaks of having a reverence and awe as motivating factor for us to surrender to the Creator of the Universe. In the second verse, They will be Mine etc. ... speaks of the day of judgment.  God is always preparing for his visitation of His people.  One version says, on the day when I [am] make up my jewels. This is the same "I" in Gen 9:9 "Now behold, I Myself do establish My covenant with you, and with your descendants after you;."  The word "jewels" can be translated as a peculiar treasure, the Hebrew word segullah, which God prizes as his special possession. Lastly, God says, "I will spare them." When God comes to punish sinners, these people will be spared on two grounds, because they are His sons, and because they serve Him like obedient children (Psalm 103:13). 

So, what am I saying? Don't make the assumption that the only place holy and sacred is within the walls of a church.  These verses explain every time we talk about God with another believer, God is paying close attention. Amen! What an incredible thought! God deeply desires that we spend time with other believers, discussing Him, His attributes, and what He is doing in OUR lives! The next time you talk with believers (or even with those who aren’t) make GOD a central part of the conversation, because He’s listening!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Ps 145:3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.

Ps 145:3 Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.

The greatness of God's nature and the perfections of it, DESPITE our past, allows Him who sits on the throne to still offer up His riches of grace.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A little encouragement for today.

Make up your mind that you're not going to quit until you see the fruit of what God has placed within you.

Don’t let your own narrative poison you! If you change what you say to yourself you can change your situation.

People may not ever understand you but God is cheering you on! YOU are so important to Him & He celebrates you! SHINE BRIGHTLY my friends!

Happy Friday.

Monday, June 8, 2015

El Roi

You may just want Jesus to change your CIRCUMSTANCES but He wants to change your whole LIFE. We must understand that God is not a vending machine.

The Hebrew word Roi (roe-EE) can be spoken
  1. Yahweh Roi, can be translated Lord is my shepherd, or 
  2. El Roi, the God who watches over me 
Abel, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, and David were all Shepherds. Their job was to protect their sheep from dangers. We're not talking about protecting sheep in a wide open green pasture you would find in England somewhere. We are talking about dusty, barren mountains and hills.  The requires much movement as well as risks of predators, thieves, and taking potential risks to find good ground.

GOD'S WORD® Translation says I will look for those that are lost, bring back those that have strayed away, bandage those that are injured, and strengthen those that are sick. I will destroy those that are fat and strong. I will take care of my sheep fairly. Ezekiel 34:16

To properly embrace these truths about God, we have to come face to face  with the truth within ourselves. Like the sheep, we can be stubborn, oblivious to danger, and yes ... foolish. Let our prayer be of thanks and appreciation.  Thank Him for his grace and patience. Be committed to let Him lead and put your trust in Him, especially in the areas of struggle. 

God Issued

1 Kings 18 Elijah was face to face with King Ahab, the worst of the Kings of Israel. Led by the Lord (1 Kings 18:36), Elijah posed a challenge to King Ahab, all the 850 prophets of the false gods, and all the Israelites. Elijah went there and stood in front of the people and asked, "How long will it take you to make up your minds? If the Lord is the one and only God, follow Him. But if Baal is the one and only God, follow him." - 1 Kings 18:21.  Baal represent money, power, self worth, and all of other ideas people used for self worship. This worship was taking over the Northern Kingdom and the prophets were gaining ground because of the backing of the kings.

When Elijah asked for King Ahab's prophets and worshippers to meet on Mt. Carmel, it had to take great bravery. It was Elijah against them all, and he would ultimately face the evil Queen Jezebel, who was killing off all of the Lord God's prophets.  Think back, when was the last time you had to take a stand for Christ?  This is not me challenging you, but instead encouraging you. If we do not look for opportunities to stand for Christ when we meet opposition. Elijah was one man, but it was more than that. You can have all the power in the world, but if you do not have the power of the living God your power is useless. Elijah's power was God Issued. So is ours. Amen.

God used Elijah to turn the people back to God and reunite the 12 tribes.  No matter what people believe, He is the Lord God. God will make the resources available to us in creative ways to accomplish his purpose.  He will give us the wisdom to raise a family, the courage to take a stand for truth, or the means to help provide for someone. You can have faith that whatever God commands us to do he will provide. Stand Firm! Take Heart and be of good courage. Yahweh Yireh! The Lord will provide.  Yahweh Yireh!

Friday, June 5, 2015

Take heart! Jesus has overcome.

Real simple today. Pity-pat off of yesterday's blog.

" I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” -Jesus (John 16:33) #ExploreGod

Jesus is our Overcomer!  Amen! Overcomer of cancer, death, heartache, loneliness, pornography, high blood pressure,  anxiety,  anger,  etc. There is nothing too much, or too little. Life's trials may seem like mountains, but when you have the overcomer of the world on your side, you must take a different perspective. Jesus is a live, ready and willing to have a relationship that will give life and the fulness there of (John 10:10)!

Knowing who The Overcomer is will help you overcome your trials, struggles, and help set your ship sailing in the correct direction. Just as important, knowing what The Overcomer overcame for you will set your life free from bondage.

Keep it 100 (💯) with your faith in God till there is nothing left in you. Be poured out (Philippians 2:18)!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Be alert and stand in the faith; be valiant; be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13)

When you know the right thing to do, there is almost always some kind of opposition. Never give up.

Following Jesus was never meant to be easy. The devil will always deter you, your will have family and friends that don't understand, and society will always try to disapprove God exists or Jesus.

Be alert and stand in the faith; be valiant; be strong (1 Corinthians 16:13). Those road blocks, temptations, wrongful opportunities, though dangerous, are only temporary.  What has helped me get past some of my sinful ways, is changing how I see my adversity. It's perception.  What the devil meant for bad, God is teaching me how to use it for good. I see it as a challenge, or motivation to press forward towards a stronger relationship with Jesus. By not doing 'this' or 'that' I build upon my relationship with Jesus.  I will always have  grace,  but for me when I sin, I have to deal with the regrets, heartaches, and emotional baggage. Not falling for the trap keeps me more focused and hungry. Another small victory over the devil.

Moreover, you have to be cognizant. Unwatchfulness exposes you to many evils, temptations, and traps.  Watchfulness, removes or brings clarity to the uncertainties so you can see the traps and temptations coming. Stand in the faith! If we are sleep we cannot stand well.