Sunday, November 29, 2015

True Joy-God's Persepective

There is a distinct difference between true joy and happiness.   Happiness is experiential, often based on external circumstances and fleeting.  Circumstances can shift us away from a sense of happiness, but a true joy is indicative of God's presence within us.  

Focusing our every day on God's presence within our lives, enables us to experience a true sense of joy.  It prevails in spite of the daily circumstances we face; we understand the truth of His words which call on us to "rejoice and be exceedingly glad for great is your reward in heaven...".  We are reminded to focus on today when his word tells us, "this is the day that the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it".  Yes, true joy is recognizing that each and every day is God's gift to us, a gift worthy of joy come what may.  True joy sustains us even in those moments when happiness may escape us, we simply have to remember to stay rooted in our creator's words to experience it.  Just a little advice to go! 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Let the Blessings of the Past Prepare You for Today's Challenges!

If I have learned anything from my walk with Christ, it is to hold on to the many blessings He has provided.  I was blessed to meet Christ at the age of 14, a time when I wanted my life to end and even contemplated ending it.  The storms in my life at that time led me to a church where I answered Christ's call to surrender my life to Him.  That was the beginning of a new me and the first of many blessings to come.

Christ has since helped me through mental, physical, emotional, familial, marital, educational and financial challenges.  Looking back to each of these past challenges, I can recall an answer to prayer and the blessings that followed. Those answers serve as reminders that Christ will never leave or forsake me.  When we see challenges in our lives as opportunities for Christ to move, we learn to trust Him and to rejoice in spite of our circumstances.  Let the blessings of the past prepare you for today’s challenges!  Just a little advice to go! 

Sunday, October 25, 2015

A2G: When Second Place Beats First!

Imagine yourself ready to run a race for the gold medal.  You know you are the fastest person on the track and that the next fastest runner will have a tough time beating you.  The race is already won in your mind, but then the next fastest runner comes to you and asks you to let him win.  Imagine your reaction; perhaps you might respond with no way, are you nuts, what drugs are you on, or why in the world would I let you win?  It seems irrational to have someone ask you to be second when you know you can be first, but that is precisely what Christ is asking each of us to do.  

When we surrender ourselves to Christ, we take a step of faith conceding He needs to be first and we need to be second.  His word teaches us that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, that it is not by our will but by his will, that we are to surrender to the Lord and wait patiently on him, and that we can trust his purpose without understanding the circumstances.  When we put him in the first place we confidently believe that regardless of what may come, we will be victorious.  The trick is to step out of first place and into second, recognizing that in Christ second place is first!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

How Much Is Too Much?

How much is too much?  How much can any one person bear?  When trouble comes your way do you find yourself asking the question, how much more can I take?  If you do, let me provide a synopsis of the troubles Job faced.  Job was a blessed man with all that one could desire.  He had wealth, a healthy family, and a wonderful relationship with the Lord.  Life was good.  Satan took particular note of this and declared to God that Job's faithfulness was due to the many blessings God bestowed on him.  God took the opportunity to honor Job and his faithfulness by allowing Satan to take away all the blessing so long as he did not take his life.

Satan, proceeded to cause Job to lose his wealth, his workers, his loved ones, and all he possessed. Job's world was turned upside down for no apparent reason and he struggled to understand why God would allow this.  He battled the same as much of us; through self doubt, self pity, the "why me" syndrome, and the fear that can overcome us when bad news comes.  He quickly learned his friends were more interested in blaming him for his misfortune than supporting him, finding himself challenged to dismiss their input and not allow them to cause him to turn away from God.

In the end, Job learned trusting God was all he had to do.  His willingness to stand up for God and to remain faithful enabled him to exit from his misfortunes into God's renewed blessings.  He learned what we all all need to learn; there is never too much for us to bear so long as we remain stedfast in our faith and love for God.  He will never leave us or forsake us, all we need to do is stay the course and he will multiply our blessing beyond what we can imagine much as he did for Job.  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Faith Always Trumps Works!

This morning as I read and caught up on some of my devotional readings, God reminded me that it is not how hard I work at applying His teachings to my daily living practices that matters most.  It is my commitment to simply believe, without evidence of his existence that He is truly God!  Wow!

How often do we pray for God to reveal himself to us in some way and often He does.  But the reality is this request is without merit as he does not have to reveal Himself, we simply need to practice faith.  The bible tells us in Hebrews 11:1 the following:  Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  It goes on in the same chapeter, verse 6 to say: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

In the end, it is our commitment to believe in God's existence regardless of any evidence of it, that truly defines us as believers.  If you are like me, someone who has always been taught to find the evidence and proof of the truth; to get the facts (my law enforcement training), then you need to remember this does not apply to our faith in God.  When it comes to Him, we simply believe!  Just a little advice to go!  

Sunday, September 13, 2015

God is Love: What Does That Mean?

1 Corinthians 13:4
The bible teaches me that God is love; it goes on to explain what this means in 1 Corinthians 13. We cannot love God, be of God's love and forget how the word defines His love. 

Love is patient, yes it means:

1 : bearing pains or trials calmly or without complaint
2 : manifesting forbearance under provocation or strain
3 : not hasty or impetuous
4 : steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity
5 a : able or willing to bear — used with of
b : susceptible, admitting
(Webster's Definition of Patience)

How many of us actually bear the pain of another person's ill will towards us with calm or without complaint? When bad things happen to us do we react without haste or impetuousness?  Do we remain steadfast in God's direction despite opposition, difficulty or adversity? Are we willing to bear all for His name's sake? Are we forbearing under provocation or strain? 

Love is also defined as kindness, without boasting, humble and not proud, never dishonoring of others, not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeps no record of wrongs, rejoicing in truth, always protecting, always trusting, always hopeful, always persevering, and NEVER FAILING. God's love is amazing and provides overwhelming blessings and gifts; all we simply have to do is integrate his love into our being. His love in us makes us capable of being a person who truly knows how to practice real love; God's love. I do not know about you, but I am far from being the lover God called me to be and today I am re-committing to being the type of lover defined in God's word.  Each day, I commit to practice loving others according to how God calls me to love, will you make the same commitment? Join me! Just a little advice to go.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

From First Class to Coach

In some of my travels abroad, I have been blessed to have my seating upgraded to first class.  Cannot tell you how many times I've been called to the ticket counter and told my ticket has been upgreaded without any real explanation other than God was looking out for me.  First class provides a number of services to include a full meal and much more.  It is a pretty amazing experience which everyone should have the opportunity to experience.  Can you imagine receiving such a blessing only to turn around and give it up to someone else.  Would you do it?  Christ did it for us, he was in a first class place called heaven but he gave it up for you and me.  He came to earth, the coach section and endured a great deal of pain so that by his grace, you and I could be blessed.  Is that amazing or what?  Perhaps the next time you or I have an upgrade, we will find someone on that plane to tap on the shoulder and bless as Christ blessed us.  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

A2G: Who Programmed You?

As I listened to a message this morning, the Lord placed this question in my mind, "Who programmed you?".  It brought to mind the many challenges I've experienced in life and how many could be attributed to the negative behavior modeled for me by significant others.  Those negative behaviors impacted my self esteem, my moods, how I dealt with problems, how I responded to being challenged by others, and so forth.  Surrounded by this negativity for the most critical years of development, my early childhood, ensured many were integrated into who I became.  It did not matter how much I may have despised this behavior, I became much of what I despised.  Most difficult of all, was realizing I disliked who I became and believing it was impossible to change. 

When things in my life became unbearably painful, I began to think life was not worth living and entertaining thoughts of suicide.  In the midst of this depression, I came to find myself at church and on my knees asking Christ to come into my life.  That day, a depressed teenager began a change process that continues today.  Little by little, God began to change and teach me the truth of his word which states "if any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation.  The things of the pass are gone away, behold ALL things are made new."  Today I continue to become a better me, a better father, a better husband, a better friend, a better worker, a better supervisor, a better teacher, a better student, a better unconditional lover of all, and most important of all a better servant of Christ.  Becoming this better person is possible because of His world, His love, and His Spirit.  They guide me and teach me daily how to stay confident, hopeful, forgiving, and loving.  How awesome is that!  God's word provides the foundation enabling me to continuously grow into the person he intends me to be.  Hold on to His word and become who He intended you to be!  Just a little advice to go!  

1. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
2. If any man be in Christ Jesus….  2 Corinthians 5:17
3. Ask and you shall receive…  Luke 11:9
4. More than conquerors……Romans 8:37
5. Spiritually controlled….. Romans 8:6
6. Refuge and Strength….. Psalms 46:1
7. Fruits of the Spirit….. Galatians 5:22-26
8. Never leave you….. Deuteronomy 31:6
9. Peace and No fear…. John 14:27
10. No more pain…… Revelation 21:4

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Righteous Life Leads to Good!

The desire of the righteous ends only in good, but the hope of the wicked only in wrath.  Proverbs 11:23

How do we live a righteous life?  We can only do so by living God's word each and every day.  His word assures us we can rejoice in the midst of the storm as He never fails us.  Each day we strive to live a sinless life willing to repent and start fresh no matter how many tries it takes.  Our righteousness does not stem from perfection but from the commitment to work towards His perfection without growing weary or faint.

Victory is promised to believers who are willing to forsake their sinful desires to live righteously before the Lord.  His word tells us our righteous desires will end only in good!  Amen!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Escaping the Unescapable!

Acts 12:7, 8
 7And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and woke him up, saying, "Get up quickly." And his chains fell off his hands. 8And the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so. And he said to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me."…

Have you ever found yourself in an unescapable situation; trapped by a problem or storm with no inkling of how to escape from it.  There is nothing worse than finding yourself trapped wondering how you came to be there in the first place.  You feel hopeless and without any sense of how you are going to get through the situation.  You need only go through a few of these as a believer to know there is a light at the end of the storm's darkness, a light the Lord provides to guide you back into his grace. His grace can loosen the chains that bind you, guiding you to a place of freedom where you are no longer enduring the suffering of that moment.  

When all seems impossible remember that your Lord and Savior can make the impossible happen. 
He sets you free and redirects you back to a place of victory turning your sorrows into joy!  All you have to do is believe!  Just a little advice to go! 

Friday, April 3, 2015

What Do You Treasure?

Matthew 19: 21-22
Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven:and come and follow me. But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowfully... 

Most of us have read the story of the rich man who loved God but when challenged to sell his possessions, donate the proceeds to the poor and follow Jesus, he could not do it.  Perhaps you believe this teaching does not apply to you because you are not rich or you are broker than broke.  But it is not just about financial treasures,  but anything you treasure more than God.  

Have you pondered the question, what do you treasure?  Perhaps there are things you treasure more than the Lord, things hindering your ability to walk in alignment with his word.  Perhaps, like the rich man, you would rather walk away from God rather than surrender those treasures.  Christ calls us to surrender all and to value him above all.  Whatever your treasure, make sure you treasure your heavenly father more.   Be prepared to surrender all and follow him.  Your faith in Christ will garner you the treasures of heaven, treasures superseding all this world has to offer.  Just a little advice to go!  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Lord Help Me In My Unbelief!

Jesus Heals a Boy with an Unclean Spirit-Mark 9
Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.

It is so easy to claim we believe, but it takes a great deal of courage to admit our unbelief.  Yes, we publicly proclaim our faith in Christ and our belief in God's word as truth.  But for many of us if the truth be known, we are like this boy's father, we believe but we also doubt.  The doubt we feel becomes like a wall obstructing our ability to see God's miracle come to fruition in our lives.

From the most simplest of challenges to the most complicated, we believe but we don't believe with the certainty Christ calls us to have.  Like his most dedicated disciples we fail in our belief because of a lack of deep prayer, the kind of intense prayer that builds our belief to the point of certainty required for His miracles to take place.  God I believe, but help me overcome my unbelief so that your miracles become a permanent reality in my every day walk with you!  Amen!  Just a little advice to go!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Do You Love Me?

Do you love me?  Have you ever been asked this question?  Has your parent, child, spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or other person asked you this question?  Today's world makes it so easy for people to say I love you, but the sincerity and depth of those three words often lack the intensity and conviction they should carry.

In the scriptures, Jesus asks Peter, do you love me three times?  Yes the same Peter who denied him three times because fear overcame his love.  Christ teaches us that a genuine and sincere love overcomes fear not the opposite.  Peter is now emphatic in his responses to Christ, culminating with his last response, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”  Peter was certain of his love and commitment to Christ!

Where do you stand?  What would be your response if asked the same question?  Do you love Christ and if the answer is yes, is it obvious by the way you think, speak, and live.  Loving and caring for those around us despite their worthiness of love speaks to the sincerity and commitment of our love for Christ.  Every aspect of our day should center around following Christ and caring for others. Love him the way He loved you, fearlessly and unconditionally.  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

God I Need You Always!

After more than a week of feeling ill an experiencing pain throughout my body, I found myself on my knees asking for God’s healing.  Suddenly my mind went to the constant pain so many experience day after day.  I cried before God and had to pray for his mercy and compassion for the many that are hurting.  Many are hungry, trapped by addiction, disenfranchised from their families, suffering the loss of a loved one, battling a terminal illness, and so much more.  

My illness and the pain I have felt reminds me that God’s word assures us he is our comforter, our healer, our deliverer, our light in the middle of the darkness, our peace, and our everything.  It is in the midst of the pain and the hurt that we often awaken to the realization that we need His presence with us every single minute of the day.  

God I pray you wrap your arms around each of us, holding us tightly, squeezing the pain out of us and embracing us with your love and peace.  Help us to remind each other of the urgent need to have you embrace us each and every moment of the day.  Just a little advice to go! 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

A2G: Never Give Up!

Who is Wilma Rudolph?  Most folks would not easily recognize the name and would have to look it up to learn who she is.  Wilma was born in 1941 as the 20th of 22 siblings.  She was born premature and would go on to be diagnosed with polio affecting her right leg to the point she would have to wear a special brace and shoe through the age of 9 years old.  What makes her special is her determination never to settle and never give up.  Despite her handicap, she fought to walk and use her right leg despite the leg brace and special shoe she wore.  Her parents though poor did all they could to help her stay determined and encouraged.  Wilma would go on to develop her leg to the point of being able to walk and run without the need of a brace,  She would go on to become a high school basketball star and go on to win medals in two olympics.  Her "never give up" attitude reflects the perspective we all need to take when presented with an obstacle in life seemingly impossible to overcome.

Christ teaches  us that all things are possible for those who love the Lord; that greater is He that is in us, then he that is in the world; and that we abide in Him and His word abides in us, we can ask for the desires of our heart and He will provide them.  If we are abiding by His word, we will be in the right state of mind to know that nothing is impossible for our heavenly father and thus we will Never Give Up!  Just a little advice to go!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Be Vulnerable in Christ!

Christ proclaims that the truth will set us free in John 8:32, yet for many believers the truth is kept buried in our hearts.  We fear the truth because it means being vulnerable.  Researcher Brene Brown defines vulnerability as "being honest with how we feel, about our fears, about what we need, and, asking for what we need. Vulnerability is a glue that holds intimate relationships together."
What more intimate relationship than the one we have with Christ.  Yes, Christ is all knowing but this doesn't preclude our being vulnerable with him.  Practicing vulnerability with him will ensure our communication is an open one and we are both asking the right questions and carefully listening for His responses.

Vulnerability in Christ starts with Him and then continues with those we love.  For many parents, children, husbands, and wives vulnerability is exactly what is lacking.  The ability to speak openly from the heart admitting our weaknesses, hurts, and pains is critical for those whom we love to understand why we behave the way we do and why those behaviors are often hampered by the pains of the past.  We often feel a sense of shame which prevents us from being open and honest; for many of us this type of vulnerability is a sign of weakness.  However the opposite is true.  When we have the courage in Christ to admit our mistakes and confront our hurts, we grow in strength and confidence.  We begin to overcome the pains of the past and recognize Christ provides a way for overcoming them.  Confessing those pains, understanding how they impact our behavior, and owning our mistakes are critical if healing is to take place.  It all starts with the truth; owning it, being vulnerable about it, and knowing Christ will help you through it.  Just a little advice to go!

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown

Saturday, January 31, 2015

No Pain, No Gain!

Physical fitness trainers will teach you improved fitness is often accompanied by some type of physical pain.  As you begin to develop and work out your various muscles, you will often feel muscle soreness.  This type of muscle soreness is most frequently associated with the start of a new exercise program, changes in your exercise routine, or a dramatic increase in the duration or intensity of your exercise routine.  While it may seem alarming at first, like you may have injured yourself; it is simply a normal physiological response.  Your muscles are healing and becoming stronger with each workout, providing for greater stamina and strength.

As believers in Christ, we often experience pain as part of our spiritual growth.  This pain can be the result of a new experience, challenges or trigger taking us back to a previous pain or hurt.  We can find ourselves torn down by this pain, disenchanted and even discouraged.  But if we take the time to draw nearer to our heavenly father, this pain can be part of our spiritual growth.  He can use this pain to strengthen our relationship with Him, to make us spiritually stronger.

Christ doesn't promise us there will be no pain, but he does assure us that our faith will see us through the pain, enabling us to overcome it through His love and peace.  The pain of the past or the present becomes an opportunity for us to adapt and develop spiritually providing greater stamina and strength in our walk with Christ!  Just a little advice 2 go!

Scriptural Insights:
Psalm 18:2 The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

Psalm 34:18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.

1 Peter 5:9-10   Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace,who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Quotes to remember:
I am not a theologian or a scholar, but I am very aware of the fact that pain is necessary to all of us. In my own life, I think I can honestly say that out of the deepest pain has come the strongest conviction of the presence of God and the love of God.  ~ Elizabeth Elliot

God never allows pain without a purpose in the lives of His children. He never allows Satan, nor circumstances, nor any ill-intending person to afflict us unless He uses that affliction for our good. God never wastes pain. He always causes it to work together for our ultimate good, the good of conforming us more to the likeness of His Son (see Romans 8:28-29).  ~ Jerry Bridges

Pain removes the veil; it plants the flag of truth within the fortress of a rebel soul.  ~ C.S. Lewis

Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015-New Beginnings In Christ!

2 Corinthians 5:17King James Version (KJV)

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
This is one of my favorite verses because it reminds me of God's willingness to renew me, to make me whole.  His forgiveness is neverending; his willingness to make me a new creation everlasting.  He is a god of chances, willing to give you as many chances as you need to get it right.  His mercy endureth forever.  Blame is not the issue, as He is not a god of blame.  In Him, there is no condemnation and thus we must move from self condemnation to receiving his forgiveness.  His forgiveness is the key that enables us to open the door leading to renewal, enlightenment, and the newness of a fresh path towards the destiny He has for us.  

A new year is about new beginnings, a fresh start down the path God has established for us.  Be resolved to becoming a new creation in Christ, to letting go of the old things and letting them pass away, and to believing that all things will be made new.  Begin your transformation by the renewing of your mind in Christ.  Make your new year's resolution about a new spiritual diet; one in which you are committed to nourishing yoursself daily with His word, committing it not only to your memory but to how you live every day of your life!  Then you will begin your journey towards becoming the new creation God has intended you to be!  Take a step of faith and God will ensure he carries you the rest of the way!  Just a little advice to go!