Tuesday, February 26, 2013

AHHH!!!! I Scream You Scream

Get Ready!

Luke 1:57-58 (NKJV)
57 Now Elizabeth’s full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son. 58 When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.

Romans 12:15 (NKJV)
15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.

On a hot summer day, the most exciting sounds a child or child like person can hear are the musical chimes of the ice cream truck. Like a bright light to a moth, the music stops children in mid path and beckons them with extreme force. Despite the fun of their current activity, the echo of “ring around the rosie” bouncing through the neighborhood is like brakes on a semi-truck.

You didn’t have to see the truck to get excited. All you had to hear or know was that the truck was coming.

The old saying, “You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream” is true! Everybody is screaming because everybody is getting something.

I argue that we need to start rejoicing when we recognize God blessing our friends and family. There is no victory in pouting, complaining, or worrying about when will you get what you believe you deserve.  The fact that God is blessing your family is proof positive that He is on your pew, your block, your street, or in your house. Your turn is coming!

In Romans, Paul charges the Roman church to move with compassion. Rejoice and weep with others. As much as misery loves company, so does joy. Stop being a fair-weather friend – be there through it all. Joy is contagious – pass it on! Your turn is coming!

While Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist, I am confident people had their opinions.  After all it was baby John that leaped in Elizabeth’s womb when she met with the then pregnant Mary, the mother of Jesus. In verse 58 of Luke chapter 1 it says that God showed her great mercy. I can only assume that the pregnancy was difficult based on that statement. The moment Elizabeth’s baby was born, it wasn’t just her family that got happy. Family is supposed to smile when good things happen to relatives, but do you see that her neighbors got happy also? It's ok, you can cheer for people you aren’t related to!

Your turn is coming! I hear the sound of blessings and all I can tell you to do is get ready. God is on His way to meet you and He is carrying exactly what you have been looking forward to. Rejoice with others and they will rejoice with you.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A-1 Thick and Hearty!

Bold and Honest

Hebrews 4:16 -  (NKJV)
16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Mark 10:46-52 - (NKJV)
Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus

46 Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.” 50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus. 51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?” The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

If you ever meet my yellow convertible corvette driving, big house in the suburbs living, and generous personality giving aunt then consider yourself blessed! I think God gave her big hands because she is always giving! Every time I get around her I feel like a child at the movies. She is very animated and tells the most amazingly TRUE stories.

Her life was not always glitz and glamour. She struggled through several difficult things that not only placed her in prison but also affected much of her life.

Recently she sat at my living room table with tear filled eyes and said two words to me, “Bold and Honest”. She then told me the story of the day she left prison. When she got out, there were some guards who said, “See you soon!” Then there were other guards and higher-ranking officials who said, “You will never be able to find your way back to this place.”

Not everyone on the front row is there to cheer you on!!

Because of her record it was initially difficult to find employment or a place to live. One Saturday, my aunt had someone take her apartment shopping. Apartment complex after apartment complex turned her down. After several application fees and zero approvals, her faith and momentum became lackluster.

Passing by one last place, prepared to completely give up, she decided to try again. My aunt wiped her face, opened the truck door, and walked inside the leasing office. Her head was held high and her shoulders squared.  The woman behind the office desk stood and politely asked how she could help.

My Aunt said, “I hope you can help me. I have been to several apartments and paid a lot of application fees, this is my last stop. I have been to prison but I have changed, I can’t afford any more application fees and I need a place to stay.”

The woman thought for a moment then said, “I’m going to make sure you get a place to live here and I am going to waive the application fee.” My aunt, intrigued but elated, asked, “Why are you doing this for me?” The leasing representative replied, “Because you were bold and you were honest.” Not only did the leasing representative help my aunt get an apartment, she asked, “Do you have any furniture? I have an apartment full of furniture that I need to move, if you have a truck you can have the furniture also.”

As you are reading this, I believe there is some area in your life that you need a major breakthrough. Blind Bartimaeus was without his physical sight, but spiritually he could see that a miracle work was in town and he needed to meet Him.  Bartimaeus was loud and almost cantankerous in his request for a moment with Jesus. Jesus called for Bartimeus and says, “What do you want Me to do for You?”

Bartimaeus could have made many different requests, but in his moment of boldness he decided to be honest as well. We are encouraged to come BOLDLY before God. He knows what we need but we try to request or hide our real issues. God is not an ATM for our real or un-real requests.  Neither is He on time restraints. God is good and gracious but we must be upfront, honest about our needs, and patient. Bartimaeus didn’t know how long it would take for Jesus to heal him, he just knew Jesus was a healer and he needed to be healed.

Take your request boldly to God. Tell Him what is really on your mind regarding your life. In your honesty with God be prepared for His honesty with you! 

By the way, my aunt still does not know how to get back to the prison where she stayed.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wanna See My Signature?!?!?!?

Luke 10:20
Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather[f] rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”

Psalm 16:11
“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”

The 2013 NBA All-Star Celebrations recently took place in Houston, TX. The city prepared for months anticipating the droves of visitors. New club venues popped up, restaurants were closed for celebrity parties, and the malls were eagerly awaiting the crowds.

It was everyone’s intention to catch a glimpse of a celebrity. This was their opportunity to personally witness individuals they had only seen on television, watched at the movies, or heard on the radio.

Ultimately it was many individual’s intent to obtain some sort of proof to validate their encounter with someone they value. I can admit to being star struck a few times in life. I had to get a picture so that I could post it and impress my friends or a few enemies. Ha!

As fun as it is to get a picture or even an autograph, I am reminded of what Luke wrote in his gospel. Jesus appointed the seventy to go two by two into all of the cities preaching about the proximity of God’s Kingdom.  When the seventy returned, they were elated about all that had transpired. Jesus then turned to them and essentially said – that’s cool and all but what you really should be excited about is the fact that YOUR NAME IS WRITTEN IN HEAVEN. WOW!

It is as if Jesus was saying I could give you my signature and stamp of approval but I would rather show you yours! YOUR NAME IS WRITTEN IN HEAVEN AND THERFORE IT CARRIES A GREAT VALUE. I hope my name is written really big like John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence with stars and exclamation points!!!!!

It is a completely awesome feeling to get in the presence of a celebrity but remember who gives you TRUE JOY and PLEASURE. Get in God’s presence and recognize the strength of your name as well as where it is written!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

*Singing* Computer Loooove!!

The Loch Ness Love Monster

Everyday it seems as if another dating website or program is created to help people find love. Each one is unique in its own way. There are sites for Christians, country-folk, city-folk, the outdoors type, the introverted, and I even saw a site for married couples looking for side action.WOAH!!!!

It is as if everyone is on the dog track of life chasing the proverbial bunny called love or out hunting Bessie the Loch Ness love monster.Any close sightings or attempted catches end up being short lived or false representations of the real thing.

Don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of people who have found their soul mates through websites or dating programs. Nevertheless I, after having a conversation with a friend, believe that the best way to find love is to start with number one.

Michael Jackson sang a popular song in the eighties titled,“Man in the Mirror”. The premise behind the song was that although there are so many people hurting in the world a change cannot be made until we first change ourselves.

Mark 12:30-31
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

We must be completely head over heals in love with God. That should be easy but can take some work! The next part pushes us to love our neighbors as ourselves.

If we truly love God the way we are supposed to, and His spirit lives in us, then through our efforts to LOVE God we will learn how to love ourselves. We are created in His image and I do not believe He created anything He wouldn’t be proud of!

When we grasp the understanding that Loving God helps us Love ourselves – it is only then that we will be able to unconditionally love or allow someone else to love us.

God loves you and every thing that makes you who you are. Don’tallow negative thoughts about your self-image rob you of the reality that you are loved without conditions! Despite your boo-boos, blemishes, and occasional bad attitude you are loved. Love God –learn to accept His ever lasting Love – and you will love yourself and others.

Let’s stop chasing the falsely ballooned intangible idea of love and start chasing the originator of real Love! God loves you so much – He gave his son – Jesus loves you so much – He gave His life. What will you do in return?!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Monuments of Mass Destruction!

Monuments of Mass Destruction!

Joshua 4:5-7

New King James Version (NKJV)
and Joshua said to them: “Cross over before the ark of the Lord your God into the midst of the Jordan, and each one of you take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the children of Israel, that this may be a sign among you when your children ask in time to come, saying, ‘What do these stonesmean to you?’ Then you shall answer them that the waters of the Jordan were cut off before the ark of the covenant of the Lord; when it crossed over the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. And these stones shall be for a memorial to the children of Israel forever.”

Recently my son was reprimanded for attempting to bite someone. Afterward, his mother read a book to him about biting and why we have teeth. Well, I guess her efforts were very effective. As she read the book about biting, every time she read the word bite or pointed to teeth, he broke out crying...

In Houston, there were several significant monuments that sat right off a major highway created by Artist David Adickes. They were giant busts to honor several of our United States Presidents. The monuments were awe-inspiring. They symbolized leadership, greatness, accomplishment, and power! I especially liked the giant bust of current President Barack Obama.  

I believe it is a commendable to create massive edifices to cheer our great deeds. We are excellent at celebrating good deeds. Nonetheless, sometimes we build, collect, or gather monuments to commemorate our downfalls as well. Although they may not be the 60 feet stone or marble type, they are items that remind us of mass destruction. 

What about the gift that reminds you of a bad breakup? What about the dusty garment that reminds you of your glory days? What about those items that detail a tough point in your life? As much as you want to erase the past you are holding on to the evidence.

I understand what it means to remember where you have come from - but let's stop building or maintaining these "objects" of mass destruction. GET RID OF THEM!!!

Joshua told the tribes to grab a stone and build a monument to not only signify what God had done for them but also to serve as a reminder and testament to their children for generations to come. Not only do our monuments remind us of our circumstances/accomplishments, they also teach our children how to record and remember circumstances/accomplishments in their lives!

Put your efforts into praising God for who you have become and where He is taking you. Create reminders of His faithfulness. We don't worship objects - We worship a living God who is CONSTANTLY & CONSISTENTLY at work in our lives!