Out of the the few, to whom I've exposed my entire heart, I must admit that only One can truly understand the make up of me. Only One knows and understands my pain, my joy and what causes it all. Only One can decipher my heart, my every thought. I find comfort in the One; and in the One, there is a love for me that no one else has. There is a constant longing in my chest for the One. Though the One cannot be with me physically. I feel the One in my heart, every day. I love the one, and the one loves me. My soul is forever connected to the one.......
Be the man you want to see your sons become. Be the man you want your daughters to marry. Only God can lead you in being THAT man.......
Humility is easy to come by, but a hard to implement at the times it is needed most. To be able to forgive the one you feel does not deserve it; to be able to apologize when you know you were right in saying or doing whatever you did that another took offense to; to be able to allow yourself to be trampled for the greater good are all ways in which we are called to be humble. For, this life is NOT about us, our feelings, and PERSONAL issues. Life is about Love, the Love of God in particular. We are to live, to the best of our abilities, by the example of Love that God has given us through Jesus Christ. To me, this is plain and simple. Nothing shall "separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:39)." Believe it or not, even your feelings SHOULD NOT separate you from this Love. So, when you refuse forgiveness, whether giving it or asking it, you are personally separating yourself from this love...................
It always amazes me how so many people are blind to their blessings because of their need and desire to always be mindful and expressive of all the negative things in their lives..... Yes, it's storming outside, but LOOK at the fact that you have shelter, shared with a family who loves you!! Yes, times are tough, but be grateful that you are alive and able to experience ANYTHING at all!! Be grateful for what you HAVE!! And worry about the things you don't have, when you finally HAVE them!!
In all that we do in life, 100% should be the minimum that we put into it.
Think about it:
In a marriage of 50 years, 99% would mean that there were at least six
months of neglect, unfelt or unexpressed love, infidelity, abuse, or just
plain "IGNANCE" in the marriage. Such things are killing young marriages
nowadays and most of them don't last 10 years. 99% JUST WON'T DO!!!
In a friendship of 20 years, 99% would mean that there two tenths of a year
(roughly a little over two months) of that friendship where good advice was
missed, a listening ear was unavailable, a friend lacked love and attention
in an extreme time of need. In such times as these, many people, even
children take their own lives or choose the wrong path in life. 99% JUST
Finally, if one million people are ministered to each year, and only 99% are
saved and give their lives to the Lord; then that means 10,000 people each
year are still living in darkness. Does God not want all His children home
one day?? I plan on being on the porch waaaaaaaaay before the street light
of that LAKE OF FIRE comes on. But, I cannot just run off without telling
my brothers, sisters, cousins, and friends that the darkness is closing in.
99% JUST WON'T DO!!
Some of us are content with being in the 99% percent, but the true ministry
of Christ is to seek out and enlighten the 1%.
"But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I
have not come to call the righteous, but sinners." - Matthew 9:13 -
Our journey does not end with our salvation. There is constant work to be
done for the LORD. JESUS SERVED!! Are we too good to serve others, when our
Lord and Savior was the most humble man on the face of the earth?? ARE WE
BETTER THAN JESUS??? His Ministry did not stop with His death on the cross.
HE ROSE AGAIN, to continue His work!! He continues His work through us, HIS
99% JUST WON'T DO, DAMMIT!!! I am not perfect but I am sick of all TALK
with no action!! I am sick of MILLION DOLLAR CHURCHES whose surrounding
communities know not the Pastor or the people in it!! I am sick of hearing
about foreign ministries, which we never receive reports or letters from,
but money is being "sent to them!!" It is funny how we hear the financial
reports of all the money that has gone to this and that, but the family in
need, right next door to the church, struggles to pay the light bill and put
food on the table. It is funny how the money goes to places we never see or
hear from. For the foreign ministries, send a clergy member over at least
once a year to witness and give report of the blessings we are sending every
Sunday!! Naw, as a matter of fact, send one of the common folk from the
congregation!! Building Funds are great, but is each and every one of them
truly necessary?? Jesus stood outside on hills and boats to minister to the
multitudes. We have gotten too comfortable in the A.C.!!! When was the last
time you saw the Word being delivered out in the streets of a
neighborhood??? I guess we have gotten too good for that.
99% JUST WON'T DO!! God desires and gives 100% Who are we to give any
We all know that February is "Black History" month, when we honor all those who did great things for the black race in effort that all blacks be recognized as people. I had a few thoughts on the whole "black" and "white" issue in America over the weekend. Some people may take offense to what I have to say, but I pray that we all think long and hard on the matter. Martin Luther King's dream was that all men, black and white, live in peace and harmony amongst one another, AS MEN!! The line was drawn many, many years ago, but King wanted to erase that line. He wanted equal rights to be given to all men. This is how it should be. God did not draw the line. Man did!! Today, we honor King and all others like him who believed the same thing, yet we constantly hold on to the lines and titles of "black and white." There may no longer be signs on bathrooms, water fountains, and such that say, "colored" or "whites only;" but the lines still exist in our minds.
God created "man." Is there anyone out there ready and willing to argue otherwise??
For years of my own short life, I based my doings, deeds, likes, and dislikes on my "race." I wanted to be and do all that was "black." As God worked with me at times I did not even know it, I began to know other races and cultures and understand that people are people regardless to their skin tone or ethnic origins. During these times, I became "other." To this day, when filling out applications and paperwork that ask for race, I check "other." I have become the man that Martin Luther King, Jr wanted to see; a man who is just a man; a man who is not living in the constraints of race or color. I am the man God created me to be, A MAN OF GOD!!! God's Word is color blind. So, why can't I be color blind?? True enough, society labels me as a "black man," or an "African American." Sorry, but I refuse these titles!! I have to, if I want to be what God wants me to be. Besides, it would be unfair to the Native American in my blood and to the French in my blood, and who knows what else is there of which I am unaware. Who am I to choose my Heritage?? God gave me a heritage, and if I am to celebrate it, then I must be fair and recognize it ALL!! None of us are "pure" anything when it comes to race!! But we all are pure MEN and WOMEN!! God created MAN and WOMAN.
"Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all." -Proverbs 22:2-
You can substitute "rich" and "poor" in this scripture for "black" and "white, and it will still speak TRUTH! If God has created us all, then why do we constantly draw our own lines. You know, I think back to the movie, "Malcolm X," and remember the scene where there is a debate on the race and color of Jesus according to scripture. If we go back through history and find that Jesus was of the "darker persuasion," then what does that do for your soul?? The focus, when it comes to Jesus, should not be, what race can claim Him, but what His life means to us. Just as God created all, Jesus died for all.
I know I may be rambling with this message, but to sum it all up, I stopped being "black" a long time ago. I stop seeing men as "black" and "white" a long time ago. I am a man!! Furthermore, I AM A MAN of GOD!! Life is too short to focus on anything outside of God's Will for my life. If He says, "Bryan, don't waste time on such issues. My work is greater than that!!" then I have to let it be.
Please don't think that I am belittling anything done or achieved through bloodshed and tough times of those who fought diligently for civil rights and equal treatment. I thank God for them. It is now time to take mankind to another level, above race. Let that be our focus for the future generations. Our world needs help, and maintaining lines and barriers that have done nothing but keep men separated, does us no good!! Let us all be men and women under God. God does not care for the color of His servants. He cares for their deeds and works for Him. We are all just people in the eyes of God. The "Dream" is still alive and we can still bring it to reality with the renewing of our minds and a clear view of God's mission for our individual lives.
As I stated before, God's Word is color blind. It must be our focus. His Word is good for all, and if we truly apply it to our lives to the fullest, then we will see that the barriers and lines of our world are all in our own minds and are all our own doings.
Is there such a thing as an expiration date for grits or rice?? There are things we think about often, things we think about seldom, and things we think about never. This is one of those things we NEVER think about.
How many of you have ever considered whether a grit or a grain of rice, which you are about to prepare, is actually stale or fresh?? After reading this, some of you may go to Wal-Mart Super Center to see if there are expiration dates on Mr. Quaker or Uncle Ben. When this thought did come to me, I did stop by the Super Center to see. But, by the time I got there and grabbed a few other groceries, I forgot to check out the grits and rice aisles. Maybe that was God's design, that I not search for and expiration date on two of our most common staples.
My point with this is, our Faith in God should be as strong as the "no doubt," "no second thought," "given," solid, and natural faith we have in our grits and rice, never questioning the goodness or freshness of it. I have never in my life thought to sniff a grit or a grain of rice before cooking it. I have never in my life eaten a plate of rice or grits that tasted old or stale.
Another reason to put such Faith in God is that just like grits and rice, God is always there and it costs little to nothing to have a good relationship with them. God requires minimal sacrifice and the last price I paid for some grits was like a dollar and some change. We don't even think about how our grits are going to turn out because we KNOW that they will just be good by the time they are done cooking; and the same with rice. We NEED to believe in God in this same manner. We may not be able to see as far down the road as He does, but we should KNOW that something good lies ahead for us. God is just that GOOD!!! I don't doubt anything He does or says. I love Him and I trust Him, just as I love and trust that my grits will always be the bomb and quite delicious.
In times of adversity and in times of trial, we tend to run around frantic, trying to find a way out. We feel that it is ultimately up to us to create our solutions leading to happiness. But what if there is no true way out, other than being still and waiting for the LORD to show you what to do?? Folks don't believe to much in such nowadays. Why?? I have no idea. Well, I have several ideas, but not many folks want to hear. So, we won't get too deep into the reasons we choose not to shut up, sit down, and listen to what the Lord has to say instead of listening to FOLKS.
Anyway, this thought hit me sometime over the last weekend I believe.
Jesus is about the only Man I know of who stood still, willingly, for His whipping. It takes a lot for a grown man to stand still and allow another man to beat Him, knowing all He as ever represented in His life is the TRUTH. As children, what did we do when it came to spanking time, whipping time, switch time, extension cord time, fly swatter time, paint stick time??? We ran, we hid, we jumped around, we blamed others, we lied, we squirmed, we did everything we could to avoid the discipline and if we could not avoid it, we did all we could to avoid a "direct hit." Even as adults, we do what we can to avoid confrontations and fights, but if we cannot avoid them, we fight back, bobbing and weaving.
Who, of you, is willing to do as Jesus did?? Who, of you, is willing to suffer by the hands of others, having done nothing wrong?? Who, of you, is willing to stand firm during persecutions of ALL sorts for what you believe??
Not many of us are. As you look at the example that Jesus has set, you see a Man, our Lord and Savior, living out the Will of GOD. You see the TRUTH as it is and as it will always be. The TRUTH, as Jesus did, ALWAYS stands FIRM and ALWAYS stands ALONE!!
It truly takes the POWER OF GOD to cause a man to stand still and take a beating that he does not even deserve. God's WILL is GOD'S WILL and all of it shall come to pass, whether we like it or not. As His Will unfolds, wouldn't you all rather be on the "Blessings Side," than be on the "Wrath Side??"
HAVE FAITH IN YOUR TIMES OF TRIAL!! GOD WILL SEE YOU THROUGH!! THE BLESSINGS THAT ARE TO FOLLOW WILL ERASE THE ADVERSITY FROM YOUR LIFE AND FROM YOUR MIND!!
I’d like to share a brief story about simply doing what God calls us to do, as ministers and as His servants. In 2006, during a period of unemployment, I volunteered to work in the office of the church of which I was a member. On one particular day, I received a call from a young lady here in Atlanta. She was calling on behalf of her mother, who needed someone to accompany her to the DMV so that she could take her driving test to get an Alabama license. Being that we were the church that her parents attended, she felt we were her best option of getting help for her mother. When I passed the need up the chain of command to the appropriate minister, I was told, “We don’t do that! We’re not a taxi service!” He chuckled and went on his way. WOW!! I thought to myself. Immediately, I knew I had to call the young lady back. When I did, I asked her for her parents’ contact information. Mr. and Mrs. Springer were their names, and they were elderly. I contacted them and set a time to meet them at the DMV the next day, where we waited for about 4 hours, only for a thunderstorm to hit and have all driving tests canceled for the day. We went again the very next day and were able to get Mrs. Springer’s license. Mr. and Mrs. Springer, to this day, have no clue that the church denied them any help.
Now, I pose this question, Why are we here? At this time, and in this classroom, why are we here? Maybe we all say, “The Ministry.” At least I’d like to believe that we do. So, let’s go with that. Let’s agree that we are all here for ministry. Whether it is preaching, music, counseling, or whatever aspect we’ve been called to, we are here for ministry. Where does it all begin? To help us understand where we begin, I’d like for us to look at John 13:34-35, where Jesus states, “A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” So, I ask where do we begin? We begin with Love. Love is the beginning of ministry. We cannot be of true value to the will of God, if we have not love for one another. Jesus speaks several scriptures on love throughout His ministry to us, and in particular, to His disciples.
A disciple, according to dictionary.com, is “a person who is a pupil or an adherent to the doctrines of another; a follower.” If we profess to be Disciples of Christ, just as the original 12, then we take on His teachings and doctrines, and fashion our lives accordingly. We become like Him, ministers, to the best of our imperfect abilities. Jesus, through His life and His deeds showed us and taught us love. In John 13:34, He commands it. How can we go forward and minister to people, without first taking on the Love of Christ?
God’s love is what motivated Him to minister to us through Jesus Christ. For we are all familiar with John 3:16 which begins with “For God so loved the world…” Thinking of mankind’s track record of turning away, falling short, and rebellion, how could God still have this type of love for us that He would sacrifice His son? This absolute and unconditional type of love is the love that we, as ministers must have for our congregations, our co-workers, our families, our children, clients, and whoever else God sees fit to place on our paths. Jesus had no bias when it came to His love and neither should we.
Think about it, at the time Jesus spoke this “new command,” it was not too long after He predicted His own death and betrayal, and just before He predicted Peter’s denial of Him. He was facing certain death, betrayal, and his closest friend’s denial of even knowing Him. Yet His love remained. He was truthful and He was honest with His disciples concerning the things to come. Now, look at your lives today. I am sure that we all are facing trials, drama, exclusion, criticism, and persecution on a daily basis. Can you love that person on the job who is full of gossip and lies? How about your family members who just can’t seem to get it right? Are you able to council, coach, and correct them with the same love that Christ did for you? Over and over again? We face such issue as simple followers of Jesus Christ. Imagine what more will be heaped upon us as ministers, preachers, pastors, and counselors; when the world fully identifies us as a threat. Jesus goes as far as to tell us, “Everyone will hate you because of me. But the one who stands firm to the end will be saved.” (Mark 13:13).
The people we minister and preach to, those we pastor and counsel, watch us closely to see our responses to worldly attacks and issues. Who or what do they see? Will they “know that we are Jesus’ disciples?” How so? By His love working through us, or by the lack thereof, is how they will know whether or not we are His.
We cannot be effective ministers without genuine love in our hearts for the world. In terms of the importance of love in ministry, I turn to Paul in 1 Corinthians 13, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.” Then he goes on to tell us a bit about what love is and does in verses 4 through 7: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ”
This is the love that Jesus commands of us. If, I am coming to see, to hear, or to learn Jesus Christ, what good is someone standing over me with a clanging symbol? I am more inclined to distance myself from the individual or the location that is causing the racket!! It should not be our eloquence, our sharp suits, our nice cars, total membership, or possessions that draw in lost souls, members, or those seeking a better way. The light that draws people in is the love of Christ, evident in our eyes, evident in our hearts, in our words, and in our actions. Again, this love is unconditional, fully knowing and understanding that there is not one soul in existence that is out of the reach of our God. Accepting the truth of God’s love, given us through the Ministry and life of Jesus Christ frees us to be and do what God wants of us, whenever and wherever He chooses.
Open your minds and hearts to the acceptance and application of the love of Christ. No ministry can effectively function without it. Neither can a mind or a life.
“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” The beginning of Ministry is love.
-Bryan H. Williams-
Bryan Hollomon Williams