Bible

Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

No. I’m not going to talk about Nike, nor am I going to talk about Colin Kaeperinck. Though, I will admit, as a childhood athlete, a football fan, and a former military dependent I could say plenty. I’m going to do what I wish many would do – NOT make this about me.

Believe in something.

My first problem is with “something.” So…just any ol’ thing? Can I believe in unicorns? Leprechauns? What if we get serious here… Can I believe in racial supremacy? A one-world government? I mean “something” is a very general term when you’re talking about a message that is going around the entire planet!

Something, by definition, means “a thing that is unspecified or unknown.” If this world needs anything right now it’s certainly to know what, or WHO, they should believe in.

We live in a world where people are believing in themselves, politicians, governments, celebrities, and more to literally solve all of their problems.

You cannot solve all of life’s problems.

Your president can not solve all of life’s problems.

Your government causes more problems than it solves.

Celebrities don’t know or even understand most things you would consider a problem!

Now, you want to believe in equality? That’s great! You want to believe in peace? Awesome idea. You want to believe in others’ beliefs not being forced upon you? Me, too! You want to stand up for taking care of your fellow man? Most of us would probably agree.

Guess what? All of those things Christ would agree with too!

“What?! No! Jesus hates different people! He wants to make me into something I’m not and unhappy!” you may say.

You couldn’t be more wrong. Jesus talked to a woman at a well that would normally be treated like a dog. Not only did he partake of water from her paws…hands but He went on to offer her a solution to her life’s problems that included self-respect and love.

Peace? When Christ was about to be dragged away and punished for crimes He had not committed, His friend cut off the ear of one of the oppressors and Christ said, “Yeah! We can take’em!” No. Christ replaced the soldier’s ear, healed him, and chastened his friend.

“But…He wants to shove Christianity down my throat!” No. Actually He doesn’t.

See? His idea was to just keep going until you find someone receptive.

“Well, I’m more about worrying about others rather than myself.” Well, settle down Sanctimonious Sally because so was Jesus. Don’t believe me?

John 13:34

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

1 John 4:19-21

We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

Philippians 2:3-4

Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

1 John 4:7-21

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. …

1 John 4:11

Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Matthew 5:43-48

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? …

I think you see where I’m going with this. The whole Bible is about love because God IS love!

Remember…

So, now that I’ve strategically shot down all of that, let’s talk about the rest.

Even if it means sacrificing everything.

Really?

I can’t.🤦🏻‍♀️ No, wait. I can. I actually, really, can.

Sacrificing everything?!

Sacrificing friends is part of life. It’s sad but true. As you change, many will fall by the wayside.

Sacrificing endorsements? How about never able to get anyone in earthly power to endorse you.

Sacrificing your career? How about sacrificing YOUR LIFE?!

How far have we fallen when we really think that a guy who makes millions and then millions more in endorsements is “sacrificing” ANYTHING?!

Jesus Christ was and is sinless yet He heaped upon Himself the sins of the entire world, was persecuted and made fun of, sneered at by His own hometown, and still He healed and delivered those that would crucify Him. He didn’t stop there, though! He took the ultimate punishment doled out. He had His flesh shredded, thorns shoved into the crown of His head. He was spat on, kicked. He was bruised, beaten, and had a spear shoved in his side. He had nails hammered into his wrists and feet.

He had His clothes ripped from Him and a mocking sign put above a His head. He died with no dignity whatsoever though He died for us!

How dare we think we know anything about sacrifice?!

So…

If you want to believe…believe in the One who has always believed in you – Jesus.

Even if it means sacrificing everything, because it very well could.

…and the list goes on.

I don’t care about shoes. I don’t care about headbands, shirts, basketball shorts, or Jordans. I believe in Jesus. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

http://youtu.be/wWl27j3V-rA

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Bible, Life, Ministry, Uncategorized

Understanding the Bible

Understanding the Bible can be challenging at best and discouraging at the worst. It’s frustrating when you want to know more about God, be a better person, have a better life, and yet you can’t understand the manual. If you feel that way – or know someone that may feel that way – this post is for you!

First off, don’t feel like a freak. Everyone – at some point in their journey – has read the Word and gone, “Huh?”

Most people simply don’t announce that but it’s common place. Even myself, even the elders that I know, sometimes spend days or weeks on one passage trying to understand it by delving through concordances and Hebrew translations.

Reading the Bible is truly a journey. You’ll read a passage and it will mean one thing to you. Many years later, it will be more complex and mean something even deeper to you. That’s one of the most amazing things about the Word of God to me – that the Word never changes yet somehow it always adapts and becomes what you need in your very personal season because it’s alive.

Secondly, God wants you to understand and know Him so He wouldn’t give you a book that you couldn’t understand. He loves you and He want you to succeed.

So, here’s a sort of game plan for you…

1️⃣ Call on God

Don’t just open up the Word and expect it to make perfect sense to you. Don’t open up the Word and expect it to pertain to your moment. Instead of expecting the word of God to apply to what you think you need, go to God and ask him to open your heart and open your mind to what he would have that passage teach you no matter what’s going on in your life right now.

2️⃣Never give up

Often times, when something is difficult, we just want to give up. Reading the Bible is one of those things that, once you get going, you can’t seem to put it down. Unfortunately common too often, it’s that “once you get going” part that’s the challenge. As crazy as this may sound, the devil doesn’t want you to read the Bible. If you believe in God, you must believe in the devil. He knows that if you read the word of God you will become stronger and you will be armed for battle. So, you will find that distractions will occur, confusion will happen, exhaustion will come against you,… and it’s your job to stick to it and not give up.

3️⃣Trust God

You may feel like, “What does this have anything to do with?” when you are reading the Bible. That’s OK. Just trust God. Usually you will find that the information that you’re receiving, that your etching upon your heart, will be there when you need it though that time may not be right now.

4️⃣Not sure? Test it!

Don’t know if that passage was for you? Test it!

Ask your elders that are more wise than you, those that God has placed in your life!

5️⃣You were meant to understand His Word

As insulting as this may sound to some of you, the Word was written even for the most simplest of minds. Christ spoke in parables so that anyone and everyone could understand. We do not teach children in Sunday School for no reason. If they are capable of understanding the word of God so is any adult that so desires!

6️⃣Understand that you may understand His words, but may not understand all

Sometimes God reveals His words to us just when we need to understand them the most. Sometimes we hide a word in our hearts and at just the right moment the Holy Spirit reminds us of that word and it all suddenly makes sense. Then there are other things such as the idea that God is God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit… How can one God be three entities yet one God? If we could all answer these questions, we would have no need for God. All of these things will be understood once we’re with Him. Until then, we have to come to terms with the fact that on this plane we will not understand it all.

7️⃣ Taste and see…

Challenge yourself. Give yourself a deadline. Test Him. Say to yourself, “I’m going to try this Bible reading thing for one year.” In my life, and all the people that I’ve met from around the world, I have yet to meet a person that has told me that the Bible returned void.

8️⃣ Testify

When you see that the Word is good and that it has changed your life for the better, remember where you were before the Word touched your life. Don’t just bury that. Go out and share your testimony so that someone else can have their life changed.

Bible

The Good Samaritan Challenge

Luke 10:30-37 The Good Samaritan
This poor guy was left on the side of the road beaten, half dead. How many times have you felt half-dead? Physically, spiritually, emotionally, mentally? 


This priest sees him. The priest looked the other way because he can’t get caught up in that. He can’t get dirty. He’s got a sermon to prepare. He ain’t got time for drama. That’s what other people are for: police, counselors, associate pastors. 

Then a Levite comes by, a neighbor. He even takes time to look at the carnage on the side of the road but then “keeps driving” so to speak. He hopes the guy is okay, maybe, but he’s got some place to be. He’s got his own problems. 


Then…a Samaritan comes by, someone seen as lesser than the man beaten, an outsider, possibly even an interloper. 


This Samaritan doesn’t just see the beaten down guy. He actually bandaged his wounds. He didn’t call someone and say, “Hey, could you…uh. Could you take care of this?” He poured oil and wine on his wounds. He even gave him a ride on his own ride. He then took him to an hotel. It doesn’t end there, though. He went in and took care of him. Then, when the Samaritan left…he paid the hotel manager and said, “Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.”

So, today…I challenge you: be a Good Samaritan. Stop right now and think: Who hasn’t been around? Who do I know is going through something? Who might be hurting?

Then…


1. Go to them: Don’t just call or text. You can do those first but then physically GO TO THEM. 

2. Attend their wounds: This may mean literally. This may mean saying, “Lets look in the Bible together, right now.” This may mean bringing them food, talking with them, and praying with them. 

3. Then “come again”: That means follow up. Go back and check and see if they’re healing.

4. Challenge someone else to do this. Can you imagine if a Good Samaritan Challenge went viral?! How insanely awesome would that be?!

But it starts with you.


You could change someone’s life. You could SAVE someone’s life

This isn’t merely a suggestion nor a trite challenge made by yours truly. This was a tactfully directed commandment made by the Son of God.
“Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.””

‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:30-37‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

Bible, family, Uncategorized

It’s time: Put your big boy britches on!

In Joshua Chapter 1 it says, “After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to pass that the Lord spoke to Joshua, saying: “Moses My servant is dead….” How many feel that way right now? Moses was not merely a man but a ministry. He was a vessel, used by God – a man that was broken and rebuilt. So many of us feel that way about our country right now – we built something, a nation under God, and now that…the idea…the plan is dead. 


GOD DIDN’T STOP THERE. He went on to say to Joseph, “…Now therefore, arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them—the children of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given you, as I said to Moses…” 


God’s all, “Look, he’s dead but I’m not! You’re fretting over a person, a thing, an idea. I’M STILL HERE. I’M THE THING, THE PERSON, THE IDEA. Focus! Put your big boy pants on because it’s time to keep on with the plan I already gave you.”


That needs to speak to our hearts, today – we have the same job today that we had yesterday, last week, last year. You think missionaries in other countries stop their objective when they realize the government they’re in promotes idol worship and slavery? No! They become more adamant! They become so desperate to rid themselves, their flock, their country of the sin that they humbly devour God and His word like ravenous dogs. Are you sitting there like a bump on a log or are you even hungrier for God and to do His works more today than ever before?!


God goes on to assure Joseph that he carries the SAME PROMISES that He had given to Moses,”…No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life; as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and of good courage…that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you;” Stick to the game plan! One of the greatest attributes a Christian can have is steadfastness. Do you have it? Of course you do! 

God is careful to remind Joseph and us, “…do not turn from it (His law) to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.” Don’t try and make your life easier by going along with the world. Don’t try and explain away what God “really” meant in His word. It’s plain. It’s clear to all that are filled with His Holy Spirit and it is a right, good, and perfect word. We need not add to it nor subtract from it.

He instructs, “…This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it.” He says it clearly here – mediate (to calm and empty the mind in order to concentrate on one specific thing) on His word so that you will naturally observe It! It will be second nature for you to do what His word says if you’re daily meditating on it!

(Sidebar: For those of you thinking, “…but New Covenant! Jesus!” Remember this: Christ said, ““Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”)


“For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” THIS is how you do it. THIS is how you find prosperity, peace, success – to simply follow His word! And, then again, He reminds, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:1-9 NKJV)

I assure you that when the pilgrims set out to start new lives unhindered by their government and religious chains, to have a real relationship with God through His word alone, they didn’t stop their plight halfway through. The Israelites, even through their grumbling, didn’t pitch permanent tents in the dessert though many began worshiping golden idols in the middle of a pilgrimage. We might pause to remind ourselves, however, that losing their focus on who would bring them out and looking at each other, their situation, and “stuff” caused them to be in that desert an entire generation longer than they should’ve been! Oh, God, help us not to pitch a tent in the desert but to run through that sucker on ATVs!

Finally, when Christ himself appeared to have died, to have left this world, His followers got three days. They got THREE days to feel sorry for themselves, to mourn, to question, and to worry. BUT THEN CHRIST GOT UP

If you are followers of Christ then hear this: 

YOU HAVE HAD YOUR THREE DAYS! NOW GET UP!!

Life won’t get easier. It’ll be hard and messy! Life didn’t get easier for the apostles! God didn’t promise easy! He promised life eternal, love, peace, and so much more than we could ever imagine…IF WE WOULD FOLLOW HIM! 

It’s money where your mouth is time, ladies and gentlemen. It’s time to love them like He loved us when we all are so undeserving.

It’s time for us to be filled with the Holy Spirit, to change the world, starting at home so that our children will change the world. 

It’s time to flip this planet on its axis like Christ did. Christ said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and GREATER a works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. (John 14:12 NKJV)”

So…what greater works are you striving for? Or, are you content sitting on the sidelines?

photo credit: Baptist Courier