To those who still believe that the devil can literally make you do things, humor me this:
My son, Davyd, wants to go out an play in the back yard. I agree, but warn him not to eat the pears off of the tree at the edge of the yard. So, Davyd goes out and plays and explores his way to the pear tree. He looks up and thinks, "Those are some mighty good lookin pears!" At that moment, the neighbor next door pops his head over the fence, and says, "They look good, don't they?" Davyd replies, "Yes, but my Dad told me not to eat the pears." The neighbor says, "Did he mean for you not to eat the pair, as there are only two?" "Huh?", Davyd says. "Oh, so you didn't know that 'pair' means two?" Davyd says, "No sir." The neighbor continues, "Well, you should be fine, eating only one and not the pair." Davyd partakes, and needless to say, he got in trouble when he came back into the house with pear breath. He pled his case and told me about the neighbor. I simply asked him, "Who am I?" "My Father," he replied. "What did I say?" "You said not to eat the pears."
Often times we feel pressured into responses or decisions, concerning various things, including things concerning our souls. It's okay to pray on it. It's okay to ask for time to sleep on it. NEVER feel rushed. ALWAYS take time to think, consult, and seek God when it comes to decisions. ALWAYS consider praying or asking God what He thinks about a proposal or proposition lain before you, ESPECIALLY when it contradicts His Word or things you KNOW to be true. It is absolutely okay to run back into the house and say, "Daddy, him said I could!" Then, sit back and observe how Daddy handles the matter! He will remind you of His Word, first. Then, he will address the neighbor. It's not that the neighbor will leave you alone and stop offering perspectives, but just as Daddy reminded you of His Word, He will do the same to the neighbor. This is the example by which you should proceed in your future days of playing in the yard. Remind the neighbor of your Father's Word and let Him know that you will NOT divert. Whether it's a pear or pair, I WILL NOT EAT OF EITHER!!!
The devil doesn't "make" us do anything. He simply offers distraction, via new perspective. Often times the perspective is accompanied by imaginations of all things OTHER than what Daddy said.......
Those who have ears, let them hear.......
I think about the conversations I've had with my children, in the times they've gotten in trouble at school. I always remind them, that I have no concern for the other kids involved. For they are not my responsibility. My concern is for my own kids and how they behave, respond, and carry themselves under certain circumstances. It's the same with God. He is FULLY aware of what's going on among us, His people, His Creation. Yet, He still fixes His eyes on us, individually. Like I do with my kids, He focuses on OUR responses, behaviors, and how we carry ourselves under certain circumstances.
The year, 2016 alone, was a testing of faith for many of us. It tested our ability to live and love, as Jesus loves us. It tested our ability to love one another as we love ourselves. It TRULY tested our ability to love our enemies. Many of our enemies, we didn't know we had until last year. It was an even greater test for those of us who have, for years, loved these newly identified covert enemies of the states of our hearts. Man, I pray that this year is better! Regardless to what the world did to us last year; regardless to the evil, ignorance, and malice, freely displayed and spewed upon us by our neighbors; and regardless to the hate shown to so many of us for simply being who we are, God looks at US, individually to see how we are minding Him! I mean, who else is accountable for what we do and how we do?
Bitter pill? Yes! Human nature is human nature, and too often we are ruled by emotion, lack of knowledge and education, tradition, inherited ignorance, and much more. All these things seem to influence us quicker and easier than the Word of God. Why? Ignorance, lack of accountability, evil, and the low roads are easy. Simply put, they are always the paths of least resistance. There are truths to the world that many of us don't want to reckon with; that a dark spirit rules over this place. The worldly system is one that operates against morals and righteousness. Therefore, the wrong things will always be easier than the right. I believe in the whole Word of God! Teaching and living by only the bits that suit selfish desires is utter corruption.
I feel I'm going off task here. Each of you, look over your lives in the past 365.25 days. Bring to your remembrance all that you may have said or done, in response to what America has experienced since January 1, 2016. Were you a decent person, or were you sub-par to God's expectation of you? Were you compassionate and unconditionally loving or were you racist, "classist", sexist, homophobic, holier than thou, or downright satanic? Now, imagine today is THAT day. God, comes by and sits with you. He says, "Bryan, I've got a deal for ya! I'm gonna wipe out your history, from September 22nd, 1976, up to December 31st, 2015. I'm only gonna judge you from January 2016, up til now. It's a Heaven of a deal right? One year vs. forty?" If this were you, would you fear? Would you be nervous? How would you respond? Would you sit up in your seat, proud and confident, like the child with all "A's" on his/her report card? Or would you go ahead and take a seat in your hand basket?
Folks, God is REAL, and He Will be passing judgment on us all, according to our deeds, one fine and glorious day! He will bring to your recollection various situations of your life, concerning your thoughts, feelings, and actions toward your fellow man/woman. "Remember," He asks, "that black guy you attacked and called a nigger? That was Me! Remember that white guy you harassed and mistreated in front of his children? That was Me! Remember that lady you degraded and treated with the utmost disrespect? That was Me! Remember your behavior toward those who refer to Me by 'Allah'? That's Me too! Remember your prayer for all the homosexuals, that died in that night club, to go to hell? Yes, I was there! I will remind you of this, which my Son (YOUR SAVIOR) told you all long ago, whatsoever you do to the least of MY people, MY children, My brethren, THAT, you do unto Me! You've treated me like garbage!"
Again, bitter is the pill. Conviction capsules are always enough to make your lips pucker and even make you gag a bit, just to keep you from saying further dumb stuff. If there is one who could say that God's love is conditional, my ears are open. If Jesus provided conditions, along with His statements found in Matthew 22:37-40 or John 13:34, please tell me and show me where they may be found! Jesus is our way into a better place, once this world comes to an end. His life and His love are the examples by which we should live, not by the evil that runs rampant in our society today. Not one of us is perfect, but we all have the choice and ability to act better toward one another. You never know when God is gonna pull an "undercover boss" on you!! "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it (Hebrews 13:2)." When God judges us, it will be according to US, not American politics, not by familial or societal histories of racism and sexism, or by any of what "they" do. He will look at us, the same way we look at our kids in disciplinary situations, and ask, "What did YOU do amidst it all?"
One World, under God is what we are and how we should be.......
Those who have ears, let them hear.......
Okay, I may have mentioned in previous posts that I wake up every morning with a song in my mind. It's a different song each day. Usually, it's something motivational. Often times, it's Gospel or Contemporary Christian. This morning was different and a bit odd. Jimmy Buffet's "Margaritaville" is STILL, to this very moment, reverberating through my skull. "What could possibly be the message hidden inside this song?", I asked myself. So, while fixing my coffee this morning and chatting with my woman before she left for work, it hit me. Thinking of the three times Jimmy visits his hook, you see slight differences at the end. He goes from "it's nobody's fault", to "hell, it could be my fault", to "it's my own damn fault!" Jimmy went three times to the hook, before the recognition of Truth.
From there, my mind went to Peter and a couple of situations where "three times" is relevant, or at least relevant to me. In John, 13;38, Jesus tells Peter, "Really dude? You're gonna lay your life down for Me? Pete, by the time the rooster crows, you will have denied me three whole times, Bro! THREE WHOLE TIMES!" Later on, in the Awesome Word of God, we see the Word itself, come to pass. In chapter 18, verses 17 through 27, Jesus' prediction of Peter's denial comes to life. Just as Peter denies knowing Jesus for the third time, the roosters crows out, "Jesus told you soooooooooo!" At that moment, I'm sure Peter's heart sank. Truth had been confirmed and recognized in his third trip to the hook of his denial. One of the lessons here is that God's Word is Truth and it shall always come to pass. Now, how many times have certain truths, shared by your parents years ago, come about in different situations or even out of the mouths of your children?
Does it have to take three trips to the hook, in order for us to accept, admit, or acknowledge certain truths? For some of us, it only takes once or twice. For others of us, we're on our 103rd trip to the hook, and STILL plotting our next excuse. The sooner we make honesty with ourselves and about ourselves a natural habit and way of life, the sooner we make ourselves available to God's will. Again, His Word and Will shall always come to pass. Think about it! Jesus did not condemn Peter to hell, disavow him as a disciple, or ugly up his face as a permanent sign of infidelity. He simply moved on, knowing the plan for Peter. He did not call Peter to die for Him at the time of his crucifixion, as Peter might have, had he stood around that campfire, responding, "Yeah, I know Him! So what?" Again, it was not the Will of God, that Peter should die that night.
God's Will for Peter was revealed in a later instance of "three times." In John, chapter 21, verses 15 through 19, Jesus asked Peter three times, "Do you love me?" Peter answered, "Yes", each time. After each "yes", Jesus told Him, "Feed My lambs, take care of My sheep, and feed My sheep," respectively. This was the mission, to which Peter was called. He had work to do, and it was not work of grand standing or self-righteousness. He simply had to go out, into the fields, and care for God's flock. Once we've accepted the truth concerning ourselves, our lives, our mentalities and actions, we are able to look to God and ask, "What's Your plan for me, Lord? I am no longer making this about me. I am no longer claiming to know it all. Lord, God, lead the way."
Those who have ears, let them hear.......
The very first devotional I ever purchased, was suggested by my Aunt Stella while visiting Bread of Life Bookstore in Creola, Alabama in August of 1998. Almost 19 years later, I still read it. Anyway, below you will find words from the Author, Oswald Chambers. Today, I feel that these words are not to be preached, but pondered. Take a gander, give a ponder:
"Jesus said to her, ‘Give Me a drink’ ” (John 4:7). How many of us are expecting Jesus Christ to quench our thirst when we should be satisfying Him! We should be pouring out our lives, investing our total beings, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. “You shall be witnesses to Me…” (Acts 1:8). That means lives of pure, uncompromising, and unrestrained devotion to the Lord Jesus, which will be satisfying to Him wherever He may send us.
Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself?"
More from this man can be found at https://utmost.org/
In today's devotional found in "My Utmost For His Highest", Oswald Chambers says, "When God gets us alone through suffering, heartbreak, temptation, disappointment, sickness, or by thwarted desires, a broken friendship, or a new friendship— when He gets us absolutely alone, and we are totally speechless, unable to ask even one question, then He begins to teach us." As I was reading the entire devotion, I could not help but think about the times I've been depressed or just down, feeling alone and left out. There are times I've felt that everyone around me is escaping this deep pit of danger, but my climbing ability is simply not there. As I look up at the last friend make it out, darkness falls. Why is it that everyone can see the light of day, but me?? Why can I not climb out of this pit?? My mind automatically goes to a place of dwelling on all that's going wrong in my life or in the world. Depression's grip tightens.
"I am hear," says the voice of God, "I am always here!" In that moment, I am reminded of God, Him, His power, and all of His workings in my life and in my times of need. "I needed you to Myself, at this point in your life, Bryan," He continues. Suddenly, I see an open Bible, glowing in the darkness of this pit, which now feels less like a prison and more like an opportunity. I read His Word. I am strengthened! As my focus remains steadfast on Holy Scripture, I do not even realize that He's lifting me out of this hole in my heart. Over time, my feet are back on elevated ground, basking in our Lord's marvelous light!!
I've learned, through so many situations in my life, that the lifting of my spirit often begins with the lifting of my head to God. His Word harbors the might ships of Scripture that are built and designed to transcend all rough and stormy seas. None have ever sank. If rocks could float, then this is how I'd describe the Word of God; unsinkable, indestructible ships of stone! Amen? Be not afraid of the down and alone times of your life! God is with you, and sometimes He must corner you before He can teach you, lead you, and guide you through your life. God is never to be counted out, so neither are you! You are NEVER down and out!! YOU HEAR ME??!!
HAPPY FRIDAY!! GOD BLESS, LIFT, AND GUIDE EVERY LAST ONE OF YOU, INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT OF TRUTH!!!
This morning I looked down at my insulin pump to see one up-arrow above my blood sugar reading. I said to myself, "it's on the incline." Then, I thought, "Let me rephrase that because being on the incline means nothing to movement. It's on the rise!" So, now we have this thought:
One can be on an incline, yet not rising. Simply, being on the hiking trail means nothing to the summit. My Baby can attest to this after our ziplining trip a couple years ago. Being a good person is more about doing than being, as many of us believe that "Faith without works is dead." In this world, there seems to be more saying than doing, and the doing that's out there waiting to be done outweighs and outnumbers the saying by millions. This is simply my opinion. Legwork is what it takes to rise on an incline. Uphill is always harder than downhill, but the decline only leads to lower levels of life and living. The easy route or path of least resistance is what we call it. Conforming to that which God has not called you to be leads to contentment with the lesser life, yet internal warfare between your heart and mind. "Easy peasy, lemon squeezy", many of us prefer.
One thing I like about good character and the action it dictates, promotes, and shows, is that it cuts through any smoke or fog caused by slander and rumor, revealing the truth of one's heart and nature. None of us is perfect, but the actions to do and be better are readily available in every waking moment of life.
HAPPY HUMP DAY EVERYONE!!!
Imagine me handing the keys to my truck over to my son, saying, "Be safe." He leaves, and just a little ways down the road, he gets stuck in the mud. He calls out to me, and I go. I use my vehicle to pull him out, so that he can continue on his way. Later on, in his travels, he calls out again, and I go. He's stuck in the mud again. This time, after pulling him out, I give clear instruction and direction on how to avoid this in his future. It's simple. The mud is always off to the sides of the road. Stay on the road, son! The road is wisdom and truth. It will take you far in life.
Unfortunately, it happens again and again. Now, I'm reaching out to people with whom I have favor, living in the areas closer to him than I, to assist my knuckle-head. These folks never hesitate to help or to even go as far as feed him, get him gas, and provide shelter; not because of him, but because of their relationship with me. They know me, my heart. Does this not sound familiar, to those of you who've studied or understand the cycle of sin and salvation. We stray into sin, we find ourselves stuck or oppressed, we cry out to God, and God saves us and restores us........and we do it all over again. This has been evident of mankind for centuries, well before us and our orchestrated testimonies. It's human nature, but God wants us to operate in a greater nature; His.
We are all familiar with that annual, semi-annual, quarterly, bi-monthly, monthly, and even weekly testifier of this repeated cycle, in our churches. There is never anything new of which they testify, in terms of growth and lessons learned. God keeps pulling them out of the exact same trap, over and over. I, myself, have been there and done it. In such a way of living, we are like my son, spinning his wheels in the mud, going nowhere and growing in no way. I love giving God all the praise and glory, I truly do, but something in me says that He's grieved by my lack of growth, my lack of applying His wisdom to my life. Not only that, but there may be a person, a people, a family or community whom He intends to bless through me, waiting a little further down the road. If that is what's meant for me, then I can't keep delaying in these self-imposed trials, plotting my next praise report, testimony, or shout.
Praise is praise and testimonies are testimonies, but I think I'd like to see or hear more testimonies of how God has kept us out of the mud and in our proper lanes of life travel. What good does a repeated past and it's related testimonies do for the ones, patiently awaiting you in your future. God tells us, "Hey, that's a rettlesnake!" as soon as we hear the rattle or maybe a little before. THAT is the point where we should keep it moving, and thank God, and praise God! Yet, there are many of us whose legs and hands are riddled with fang marks. One day, that damn rattlesnake is going to kill you!! It won't be because God let you down, but because you've gone so deep into a place of darkness, where none of His people dwell or exist. Those who have ears, let them hear.......
"Knowledge is power.......ignorance is a choice" is a quote I saw on a friend's page this morning on Facebook.
I've got you! I.......I.......I, have you!
Yours Truly, Always and Forever,
Your prayers for me are awesome, great, and very much appreciated; all of you who have ever lifted your voices and eyes to God in my behalf. God is GOOD and AMAZING!! I am grateful for every one of you, whom He has seen fit to be a part of my life. Thank you all, but your prayers will not be effective, if I, myself, am not vigilant, determined, persistent and active. So, I want you all to know that I will not disrespect your prayers, by sitting idle and waiting for it all to be done for me. Nor will I be a brick wall to your words of encouragement. Know that every prayer, consideration, and word of inspiration, I carry in my heart.
"Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means "son of encouragement"), sold a field he owned and brought the money and put it at the apostles' feet."
Right now, I want to recognize, thank and hearten three sons of encouragemt:
Kelvin Lee Gorman, Son of Encouragment, my Brother, THANK YOU for not turning me down or away, back in 2014. I am grateful for how you went to bat for me, when the time called for it. THANK YOU for ALWAYS having an embolding word and inspiring prayer for me, my family, and my circumstances. THANK YOU for the considerations, and THANK YOU for every opportunity! Our journey is still only just beginning, and an amazing one, it shall be. What you've accomplished in the past year is meant for you and has been a true blessing to more than you'll ever know. Keep it up my Brother!
Richard Atkinson, Jr, Son of Encouragement, Son of a Preacher Man, my Brother, THANK YOU for ALWAYS checking in on me and never passing our house by. Bro, you have no idea, how much your brief visits lift me up and motivate me. THANK YOU, for ALWAYS giving encouragement when you know, sense, or feel something not so bright stirring in my spirit. You are a true man of God, dedicated to the ministry in ways I've longed to see, in young ministers. STAY STRONG in your mission and continue allowing God to move you to where He desires you to be!
Marcus Nettles, Son of Encouragement, and Son of one of God's most beloved Angels, THANK YOU for always getting a call in to me when needed the most. THANK YOU for simply allowing the Spirit to move through you, to reach me, reminding me of my gifts and abilities. For me, you have picked up where Aunt Stella left off. It is much needed and appreciated! Know, that every conversation between us is stored deep within my heart. Continue to be the encouragement and reminder that we all need in this day and age of distraction. I love you Brother!!
For everyone else, BE ENCOURAGED!! Be and do whatever it is that God desires and wills of you! You will never know the impact that you, your life, your gifts will have on this world unless you share, show, and express them to others, your brothers and sisters. There is NOTHING on this Earth or in this life that is greater than God. Let your Faith in and KNOWING of God be greater, in your minds, than any thought of trial, any thought of failure, any thought of war, any thought of struggle!! God is greater than them all!! True, every day can't be a sunny, happy day, but such days and times are but a second on God's watch. NOTHING COMPARES TO GOD'S GOODNESS!!! MY GOOD DAYS FAR OUTNUMBER MY BAD ONES!!! AMEN!!
I'm gonna leave you all with this classic that just dropped into my soul:
Complexity of thought, or is it truly simple? While watching "Solomon Kane" Sunday morning, thoughts and ideas of death were brought to mind. My mind wandered back to a time when my job was to sell cemetery plots and funeral arrangements. My Woman often picks with me about the many lines of business, in which I've worked, in my 40 years of breathing. Anyway, I would always found it interesting that the leads by which we operated, took us only into the projects and low income neighborhoods. I will let you all stew on that, as it is not the point of this post.
Connecting the dots in my mental mapping, I think of death and how it will ultimately become us all; physically, that is. I bring to rememberance the many minority mortals who ended our meetings abruptly because it was too much to talk about death. They struggled with the burden of thoughts concerning their own deaths, let alone the deaths of their "at risk" youth. Again, death becomes us all at some point or another. Like the milk, we find at Kroger, Publix, Wal-Mart, and in any other grocery store, we have expiration dates. The sooner we, as human, expendable beings, come to grips with this, the sooner we begin to value life for what it truly is.
Now, let's continue with this imagination of us all having expiration dates. Yet, we are never made privy to them. God, the Giver of life, is the only One who knows these tid bits of helpful information. Now fathom, that you've not been bought by your expiration date. You're taken off the shelf of life, and discarded as dross, an impurity rather than the gold you were meant to be. In the matters of our souls, we are not reliant on the Shopper to reach us before these dates do. We are totally reliant on our own free will and spiritual discernement to take a leap of faith off that milk cooler shelf to say, "Savior, here am I!!"
Jesus is constantly, consistently making rounds, up and down the aisles of this market of life. Selling out to Him, gets you closer to understanding your calling, your purpose for existing. God did not create one thing that He found not to be good. Bad, is a choice. A bad choice is what brought death upon us to start with. If there is anything to be known about life, I choose to consult, study, and pray to the Creator and Giver of it. Too often, we take our lives for granted, thinking that soul and salvation procrastination is power in itself. It's like passing Jesus a note which states, "I.O.U."! The Will and Word of God are active, and ever in motion. Never stagnant, are they. Like the "eternal engine" in the movie, "Snowpiercer", it stops for no one.
A calling, unanswered, is synonymous with GM building the most amazing vehicle ever, but without an engine. God has created THE most amazing vehicles, in us, but it is up to us to approach Him to have the calling installed. We all are on a stage, solo. Facing every stage, there is an audience. Why is that particular audience sitting before your particular stage? For they are meant to be there. What message, insight, or wisdom are they foreordained to gain from sitting amid the crowd in front of your stage? Only God holds the true answer, but I'm sure He's shared a bit of it with some of those closest to you. These small bits are to be bread crumbs, leading you to Him, the big picture, the answer, your calling.
Time is ticking on all of us. The expiration date tattooed on my flesh may be pernmanent, but I want the expiration date scrubbed off of my soul, and I know that my heart and soul must be placed in the hands of Jesus Christ in order for that to happen. Then, I must perform, on my stage, what God chooses to pass through my vessel, on to you, my audience. I choose not to be discarded as chunky and putrid, spoiled milk.
From thoughts of death, come desires for life; life abundant.
Bryan Hollomon Williams