Friday, January 31, 2014

No Island Of Second Chance!

Children's children are the crown of old men; and the glory of children is their fathers. (Prov. 17:6) 

We cannot change the past. . . and that includes the way we reared our children. All of us---yes, every parent I have ever met---would love to step into the time tunnel and return to the Island of Second Chance. We would give anything to relive those years and correct the failures and mistakes we committed the first time around. All such fantasy wishes need to be erased. They can never be fulfilled! The parenting process offers only one try per child, one day at a time, never again to be repeated. 

Someone once said, "Life is like a coin; you can spend it any way you wish, but you spend it only once." That is never more true than with rearing children. About the time we get fairly good at it, our kids are all young adults and gone. Having come closer than ever to perfecting the process, we suddenly realize nobody is listening! Which means we're qualified for one major role: grandparenting (when it becomes our right to break all the rules and spoil those darlings!). It's a funny world. 

Growing Wise in Family Life 

I will openly admit that I am neither a parent nor grandparent, but over the course of my short lifetime I have come to know a very wonderful parent and a couple of truly amazing grandparents. My mom and grandparents have played a critical role in both my personal development and spiritual development. To be honest, it has not always been easy since I have had moments where I would display a rebellious streak. 

Nevertheless, the seeds that have been planted into me by my mom and grandparents have grown in such a manner that leaves no doubt that God has had a plan for me even during those moments when I would be defiant and outright rude and ignorant. Over the course of all those years and to this day, God has essentially taken me as His own. God has become the Father that has never left me nor forsaken me. 

My dear friends, I would never be the man that I am today without the involvement of God Himself, my mom, and my grandparents. My hope and prayer is that I will one day get married and become the biological father that I never had (presently without me). I never want to look back with regret and try to find that "Island of Second Chance" when it comes to rearing a child or children. A specific verse comes to mind as I write this: 

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Prov. 22:6) 

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! My hope and prayer is that this devotional and short thought will encourage you and inspire you to be the godly parent (or aspiring godly parent) to that child or children. May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Free Of Stress!

Trust in him at all times; you people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. (Psalm 62:8) 

You and I could name things, specific things that we've gone through in the last several years that make no logical sense whatsoever. . . . but that's okay. We can't figure them out. But let me assure you, God is at work doing His mysterious plan (mysterious to us), which defies human logic. So quit trying to make it humanly logical. Trust Him. . . . 

Do you realize what a peaceful life you can live if you decide to live like this? Do you realize how relaxed you can be, how free of stress? Honestly. It's so helpful for me to remind myself: He is the One who is unfathomable. He is unsearchable. I'm neither.

The Mystery of God's Will 

Let's be honest with God and ourselves. Life is stressful. With so many things that vie for our attention, good and bad, it's very easy to go stir crazy. Everything from work to life at home is capable of causing a great deal of stress in our lives. Stress has the ability to either make us or break us. How we choose to deal with stress can be the difference maker. 

As Christians, the solution to dealing with stress is not going away on a vacation or taking a "time out" from a relationship that has gotten sour. To the contrary, we need to get before God in prayer and ask Him to help us learn how to deal with whatever or whoever it is that is contributing to the stress in our lives. One thing I have learned in all my years since accepting Jesus into my life is that God has never promised me that I will avoid problems (stressful situations), He has only promised me that He will help me to walk through them. My dear friends, I strongly encourage you to let go of anything and anyone that has contributed stress into your life and let God either deal with it directly or allow Him to enable you with the wisdom to learn how to deal with the source of the stress. 

Thank you so much for reading this far my friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

True Love Dates!

Love suffers long, and is kind; love envies not; love vaunts not itself, is not puffed up, Does not behave itself rudely, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, keeps no record of evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Cor. 13:4-7) 

Date inward. Date outward. Date upward. 

Those three short phrases will forever be entrenched in my being. This amazing book written by Debra Fileta is by far the most impressive book I have read on dating to date and as a single Christian I have had my fair share of dating books in the past. While many of the books I have previously read were insightful in their own way, True Love Dates is an amazing revelation in the fact that the book is riddled with real life illustrations of the experiences she had with her own clients in her counseling practice. 

I strongly recommend this book to ALL SINGLE CHRISTIANS! As a minister that truly cares about of God's people, especially Christian singles, this is the kind of book that will awaken us to the realities of what it looks like to not only find, but also experience true love in our lives. This book has only reinforced what I have known and experienced in my life. What makes this book so special is the fact that it actually gives you the feel that you are being counseled by Debra herself. In my mind, that's really cool! As a result of my experience in reading this book, my own personal outlook on the world of dating has made a paradigm shift. 

Instead of focusing exclusively on dating "outwardly", I made the conscious decision with God's help and grace to date "inwardly and upwardly". The greatest decision anyone who is in Christ can make is to date "inward" and "upward" simultaneously so that when the opportunity to date "outward" presents itself (and I'm confident in the Lord it will), you can look back at all of the experiences God has allowed you to go through and come out in victory! God is indeed gracious to all of us! 

Last, but not least, I want to leave you with what REAL TRUE LOVE looks like. Here we go! 

Oh the deep, deep love of Jesus
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free
Rolling as a mighty ocean
In it's fullness over me

Underneath me, all around me
Is the current of Your love
Leading onward, leading homeward
To Your glorious rest above

--- Samuel Trevor Francis,
"Oh, the Deep Love of Jesus" 

My dear friends, that is what I call REAL TRUE LOVE

May God continue to bless you and keep you in your search now and always! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

P.S. To really get to know Debra and her ministry, I strongly recommend visiting her website True Love Dates at

Here's mine...

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Sweet Taste Of Success?!

He that trusts in his riches shall fall: but the righteous shall flourish as a branch. (Prov. 11:28) 

Our society has gorged itself on the sweet taste of success. We've filled our plates from a buffet of books that range from dressing for success to investing for success. . . . We've gobbled down stacks of notebooks, cassette albums, and video tapes in our hunger for greater success. 

The irony of all this is that. . . . instead of fulfillment, we experience the bloated sensation of being full of ourselves---our dreams, our goals, our plans, our projects, our accomplishments. The result of this all-you-can-eat appetite is not contentment. It's nausea. 

Hope Again 

Don't get me wrong friends. I'm all for success. But at what cost? Is the cost of your relationship with God worth the price of success? Is the cost of your friends and loved ones worth the sweet taste of success? Now is a good time as any to really start facing the music about the real worth of the "sweet taste of success". I have seen how success has gotten off to a sweet start only to experience the sourness of it as we begin to take for granted everything and everyone that God has surrounded us with is taken for granted. Is it really worth it? 

To be very honest, no, it's not worth it at all. Success has its benefits, for sure. The major problem with being successful these days is that we instantly forget where God has taken us out from and begin to place to much emphasis (or stock) on the success we have achieved instead of giving all the glory to God in not only allowing you, but enabled you to be successful to begin with. My dear friends, don't let the "sweet taste of success" get into your head. God's definition of success is extremely different that the worldly standard of success. It's extremely important to know the difference friends!

Thank you so much for reading this far! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Give God Your Worries!

Who is among you that fears the LORD, that obeys the voice of his servant, that walks in darkness, and has no light? let him trust in the name of the LORD, and rely upon his God. (Isaiah 50:10) 

Let's get six words clearly fixed in our minds. These six words form the foundation of God's therapeutic process for all worrywarts. 


What qualifies as a worry? Anything that drains your tank of joy---something you cannot change, something you are not responsible for, something you are unable to control, something (or someone) that frightens and torments you, agitates you, keeps you awake when you should be asleep. All of that now needs to be switched from your worry list to your prayer list. Give each worry---one by one---to God. . . . Tell Him you will no longer keep your anxiety to yourself. . . . 

The more you practice giving your mental burdens to the Lord, the more exciting it gets to see how God will handle the things that are impossible for you to do anything about. 

Laughing Again

One of my favorite animated movies of all-time is Lion King. There was a phrase used in that movie that caught on to mainstream living. It's called "Hakuna Matata". It means "No worries for the rest of our days". The above devotional is absolutely true in every sense of the word. When we are able to give all of our cares to the Lord, He will see us through to the very end. One of my mentors once told me that I can only control 15% of things that happen in my life while I have absolutely no control over the other 85%. Those words have forever stayed inside me as I have learned over the years to simply do the following:

Let Go...Let God 

Can I encourage you in the Lord to do the same regardless of whatever it is that concerns or worries you? None of us are immune to life's hardships. My dear friends, God has a wonderful plan for your life (Jeremiah 29:11). God has already prepared your future. All you need to do is give all your cares to Him. Accept where you are today and start there as you totally surrender your life to Him with reckless abandon. Trust God with all your cares and He will see you through in His perfect timing. 

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you always as you make every effort to give God ALL your worries and concerns to Him. JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Thursday, January 23, 2014

God's Instruction Book!

And we know that the Son of God is come, and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.  (1 John 5:20) 

God offers instruction, but then it's our move. We must accept His instruction and apply it to our lives. Then, and only then, can we expect to cash in on the benefits of His instruction. So you see, application is the essential link between instruction and change. . . . 

God has sent us His instruction. He has preserved every word of it in a book, the Bible. It's all there, just as He communicated it to us. When He returns for His own, He isn't going to ask how much we memorized or how often we met for study. No, He will want to know, "What did you do about my instructions?" 

Living Above the Level of Mediocrity 

Here's an acronym for you! 


The above acronym stands for Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth. The first time I found out what the above acronym meant, I could not help but a that typical small grin on my face. The grin on my face was not in any way defiant, but actually inviting. I used to be the type of person that would approach reading the bible as if it were some type of a fictional book. 

Even though I no longer approach God's Word in the way I would approach any other book or publication, it has taken me many years to be able to learn (and still am learning) how to read His Word in such a manner that I will be able to retain as many verses in my memory as possible as well as be able to live out those verses in my life. I remember a time when my grand-mom taught me how to not only memorize Psalms 4, but also incorporate the verses in that chapter into my life in the form of a prayer. Now I'm in the process of learning how to memorize The Lord's Prayer. 

When we are able to not only memorize, but also pray some portions of Scripture, the Bible comes alive in our lives as we begin the process of applying God's Word in both the reading of His Word, but also pray His Word. The Lord's Prayer is a good place to start in regards to acknowledging God's will in your life. Psalms 4 is a great chapter to read at the end of your day. The Bible is the greatest book ever written! It is loaded with subject matter that enables us to learn how to live a life that is pleasing to the Lord and that will benefit everyone that God places in our lives.

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you as you make every effort possible to dig into God's Word and gradually grow in godly wisdom as you get to know (not just know about) God more intimately! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Celebrate Life!

So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. (Psalms 90:12) 

The Hebrew texts suggests that we correctly "account" for our days. I find it interesting that we are to view life by the days, not the years. We are to live those days in such a way that when they draw to a close, we have gained "a heart of wisdom." With the Lord God occupying first place in our lives we accept and live each day enthusiastically for Him. The result will be that "heart of wisdom" the psalmist mentions. . . . 

Because we cannot alter the inevitable, we adjust to it. And we do that not a year at a time, but a day at a time. Instead of eating our heart out because of a few more aches and pains have attached themselves to our bodies, we determine to celebrate life rather than endure it. Aging isn't a choice. But our response to it is. In so many ways we ourselves determine how we shall grow old. 

Strengthening Your Grip 

I just turned 40 years old December of last year. The BIG 4-O! Isn't it funny how as we get older we have the tendency to look at life through an entirely different lens. Our minds have the tendency to think in not-so-rosey ways. Gray hair begins to slowly creep into our lives as we stare ourselves in the mirror and try to come up with ways to do away with it. Obviously, the gray hair is just one example of numerous other one that we may deal with as we age. I will openly admit, I used to be one of those people that had a pretty bad outlook on aging. Then. . . . 

That all changed when God decided to surround me with godly men that God has chosen to be my mentors to this day. The youngest of my mentors is in his late 40's. The oldest is in his late 70's. The most amazing part is that the mentor that is in his late 70's just so happens to live in Japan. Anyone that has a basic understanding of Japanese culture will know that Japan holds the record for the highest number of people that have been able to reach 100 years or older. Of all the mentors that I have been blessed to connect with and get to know, my Japanese mentor qualifies as one to share with me how to approach the aging process. He has given me tons of advice about almost everything that can be spoken about under the sun. The one piece of advice that he gave me that will stay with me forever is that God has waited "many years" to use some of the Bible's "most popular" characters. Everyone ranging from Abraham to the last person that was able to live well beyond 100 years were in some way, shape, or form able to experience God in their lives well into 100's. There's no doubt in my mind that they were able to celebrate their lives while aging and continuing to obtain and cherish godly wisdom.

My dear friends, don't make the same mistake I made about the aging process. As we age while at the same time maintaining our intimacy with God Himself, we will not only be able to enjoy life, we'll be able to celebrate and embrace the life God has given to us. 

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!....:-).    

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Moral Character!

A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favor rather than silver and gold. (Prov. 22:1) 

Unfortunately, we have grown accustomed to shrugging off lapses in moral character, manifested in secretive and deceptive lifestyles. We are frequently told that trying to find people who value honesty and model responsibility, who promote fairness, accountability, loyalty, respect for others, and who hold to strong, upright convictions is not at all realistic. 

"Such people don't exist. . . . we need to stop requiring personal purity," we are told. Or, as one air-headed soul said during one recent presidential campaign, "We're voting for president, not pope." 

To such an analogy, I reply "Nonsense!" That kind of logic (or rather, lack of logic) gives me the jitters. 

Day by Day with Charles Swindoll 

Wow! If I don't get any "Amens" from this post, then I will totally understand. This post is as close to repulsive as it gets when it comes to the moral decay of the society we live in today, especially here in the United States. The decay of moral character today has immensely impacted all societies in all countries around the world. There are very few countries on this planet that still have a government that vouches for strong family and spiritual values. 

The sad reality of the lack of moral character in our societies today is largely in part because of sin. Those of us who (by God's grace) strongly advocate godly living are definitely in the minority. This should in no way, shape, or form imply that we discontinue advocating godly living. Quite the opposite, we have a mandate before God Himself to continue to press forward in advocating godly moral character. That is why I chose to blog! I have a responsibility before the Lord to admonish, encourage, challenge, and if need be, rebuke to get the world at large to wake up from their spiritual and moral slumber. Am I going to sit here and tell you that everything will be peaches and cream? No! What I will tell you is this....

If we don't get our act together and fall in line within the biblical guidelines of what God has outlined for us through His Word, then we will be in deep trouble and find ourselves left behind when Jesus comes back for His Bride in His second return. Want to find God's grace and share His grace with those around you? Especially those who have yet to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior? Walk them through God's moral law first. Explain the Ten Commandments to those who have very little to no idea about what it's about. Once that person has at least a basic understanding of the Ten Commandments, then feel free to share the grace of Jesus Christ with that person. What you are looking for between the topic of the Ten Commandments and sharing Jesus with that person is repentance. It will be very difficult for anyone you talk to to be able to understand what Jesus has done for us and more importantly why He has done it for us. 

Thank you so much for reading this lengthy post friends! Every single post will always be important, but this particular should resonate your spirit in such a way that there will be a strong sense of urgency to win as many souls for Christ as possible given the day we are living in today. Tomorrow is never promised to anyone. My hope and prayer is that God will strongly encourage you to make that step of faith and boldness to encourage, challenge, and if need be, rebuke the people around you to spur them on to godly moral character and living. God bless you and keep you friends! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Friday, January 17, 2014

Checking Up On Your Job!

The soul of the sluggard desires, and has nothing: but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich. (Prov. 13:4) 

A young fellow rushed into a gas station to use the pay phone. The manager overheard his telephone conversation as he asked: "Sir, could you use a hardworking, honest young man to work for you?" [pause] "Oh. . . you've already got a hardworking, honest young man? Well, thanks anyway!" 

The boy hung up the phone with a smile. Humming to himself, he began to walk away, obviously happy. 

"How can you be so cheery?" asked the eavesdropping manager. "I thought the man you talked to already had someone and didn't want to hire you."

The young fellow answered, "Well, you see I am the hardworking young man. I was just checking up on my job!" 

If you called your Boss, disguised your voice, and asked about your job, what do you think would be His answer?

Living Beyond the Daily Grind 

I love this short story! The young fellow in the above story is a classic example of what a servant leader is like without all the hype. Diligence and follow-up is critically needed in Christian circles today. If we fail to "check up on our job", we run the immense risk of losing credibility in the eyes of those we attempt to serve. A man's word outta (and I mean outta) be his bond....right? Due diligence is key here! Once we have "lost face" with someone, it's usually pretty difficult to recover that relationship because at least one of the people involved have lost credibility when there may have been greater expectations on behalf of the person that was hopeful of the outcome.

With that said, it's extremely important that we are able to "check up on our job" as consistently as we possible can. In my honest opinion, it's always better to be honest with someone about your present situation and keep that person in the know, that to totally disregard the situation or the person with very little to no regard about the weight of our words and actions. My dear friends, let us do what the young fellow shows us in the above short story. I also strongly recommend that we are able to follow up with the ultimate Servant Leader, Jesus. Amen?

Thank you very much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you as you make every effort to "check up on your job" in a manner that will bring glory to God, please Him in the process, and be a blessing to everyone you come into contact with! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Heavenly Hindsight!

You are my hiding place; you shall preserve me from trouble; you shall surround me about with songs of deliverance. (Psalms 32:7) 

Providence. We toss the word around. But have you ever analyzed it? It comes from the Latin, providentia. Pro means "before" or "ahead of time"; videntia is from videre, meaning "to see.". . . . Put them together and you have "seeing ahead of time," which is what Almighty God does. He sees the events of life ahead of time---something that we of course never do. 

We're great at history. Our hindsight is almost always 20/20. But we're lousy at prophesy, that is, the specifics of the future. Stop and think. We've no clue as to what will happen one minute from now, no idea what's going to happen next. But our invisible God, in His providentia, is continually, constantly, and confidently at work. . . . 

He never changes. He knows what He is about, and He pursues it with relentless determination. 

Esther: A Woman of Strength and Dignity 

I often reflect back at my life. Not because I want to be reminded of the good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of my life, but because I want to learn from those experiences while at the same time recognize God's sovereignty and providence over my life. In hindsight, God has often pulled me out of situations and relationships that were going to be detrimental to my overall well-being. Whenever I experienced a sense of uneasiness, I would often pull myself out of a situation or relationship. Little did I know that when I made that decision, it was usually done under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit. After I have gotten out of that situation or relationship, God has often been able to position me in such a way that I would be able to have a better vantage point to better exam the situation or relationship I was mired in. 

With that said, HEAVENLY HINDSIGHT is always the best vantage point any Christian man or woman will ever have. It is only through God's providence that we will ever be able to delivered from any situation. God is all-seeing and all-knowing. No one will ever have a better vantage point into any given situation than God Himself. That is why whenever we are confronted with a decision to make regardless of the situation and/or relationship you find yourself in, always go to God in prayer and listen intently to what He has to share with us. He is the ultimate surveillance and intelligence officer. Always keep your eyes out for His guidance!

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you as you seek out His insight in order to have a "heavenly hindsight". JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).          

Monday, January 13, 2014

Dangerous Disillusionment!

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you. (Isa. 26:3) 

Disillusionment is a dangerous, slippery slope. First we become disillusioned about our fellow man. Then we move on to cynicism. Before long, we trust no one, not even God. We've been burned. We've been taken advantage of; we've been mistreated. . . . 

The cause of disillusionment and the cure for it can be expressed in almost the sample simple words. The cause of disillusionment is putting one's complete hope and trust in people. Putting people on a pedestal, focusing on them, finding our security in them. . . .And when the feet of clay crumble (as they surely will) total disillusionment sets in. 

What's the cure? Putting our complete hope and trust in the living Lord. When we do that, the simplest messages from God calm our spirits.

Joseph: A Man of Integrity and Forgiveness 

Disillusionment is definitely a very dangerous place to be in. I personally have had my fair share of disillusionment. I have come to accept the reality that the closer I grow in my relationship with God, the greater the reality that I will experience disappointment, betrayal, and rejection. I have always thought that being in the "safety net" of church fellowship was always going to be a place where I would never experience disappointment, much less betrayal and rejection. Evidently, I was being totally naive and in denial of those possibilities happening in my church. 

As time passed by, those exact things have eventually happened to me and as a result disillusionment eventually settled in. Little did I know that I placed too much stock on people and very little stock on God. The disappointments, betrayals, and rejections have taken a toll on so many different areas of my life. Spiritually, my relationship with God was shaken. Emotionally, there was a strong mix of anger,resentment, and bitterness. Mentally, the enemy began to place thoughts of doubt about God's role in all of this. Physically, my health went on a steady decline. My health took such a bad turn that I had to resign from the work that I was doing a security officer. 

The struggles of disillusionment have forced me to practically abandon everything and everyone that I knew and spend tons of time alone with God. As a result of that time spent alone with God, God continuously reinforced my thinking in such a manner that I had no other choice but to be totally dependent on Him. Am I totally out of the woods yet? No. But I have been able to find comfort in the fact that my relationship with God is more solid than ever. Mentally and emotionally, I have continuously fed myself with God's Word and have eventually come around to forgive those that have transgressed against me. God's grace is truly amazing!

My dear friends, if any of you are currently in the state of disillusionment, I implore you to get before God and ask Him to give you the grace, strength, humility, and resolve to seek His forgiveness as well as be able to forgive those that may have transgressed against you. When you are able to overcome your state of disillusionment by the grace and mercies of God, you, my dear friend, will become an invaluable vessel not only called by God, but chosen for the specific task of providing healing and encouragement to those in your life and so many others around you. 

Thank you so much for reading this far my friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Secret Is Acceptance!

And again, I will put my trust in him. (Heb. 2:13) 

Helen Roseveare was a British medical missionary in the Congo years ago during an uprising. Her faith was strong and her trust was confident, yet she was raped and assaulted and treated brutally. Commenting later, she said, "I must ask myself a question as if it came directly from the Lord. " Can you thank Me for trusting you with this experience even if I never tell you why?"

What a profound thought. God has trusted each of us with our own set of unfair circumstances and unexplained experiences to deal with. Can we still trust in Him even if He never tells us why?

The secret to responsible trust is acceptance. Acceptance is taking from God's hand absolutely anything He gives, looking into His face in trust and thanksgiving, knowing that the confinement of the hedge we're in is good and for His glory.

Perfect Trust 

To be honest, life can oftentimes be more difficult to figure out than usual. I have often been asked why "good" people suffer. To be honest again, that is a very fair question and a question that is more difficult to answer than one might think. In my personal experience, I have developed the belief that God allows people to suffer (including His children) to gauge the character of that individual and how that person will not only respond to the suffering, but how they develop from a spiritual and personal standpoint. 

In the example of Helen Roseveare, it's astonishing how God allows bad things to happen to His children. I absolutely don't imagine that God takes any pleasure whatsoever in the suffering of His children. Quite the opposite. There is no doubt that He is saddened when His children suffer inhumane acts. The most encouraging part is Helen's maturity and confidence that she was able to maintain in her relationship with God in spite of what happened to her. 

My dear friends, there is so much we can learn from Helen's response to the adversity she confronted. She accepted her situation with a great deal of humility, courage, and strength. Her confidence in the Lord was unwavering as it revealed to me how incredibly intimate her relationship with God was in the face of adversity. It's one thing to sing songs of praise and be thankful to God when things are going well. It's another thing altogether to be able to do the same things to God when our world is turned upside down or inside out. I encourage every single one of us (including myself) to follow the example that Helen showed us in how to respond to suffering and adversity. 

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).

Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Well-Chosen Word!

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. (Prov. 25:11) 

Like Jell-O, concepts assume the mold of the words into which they are poured. Who has not been stabbed awake by the use of a particular word. . . . or combination of words? Who has not found relief from a well-timed word spoken at the precise moment of need? Who has not been crushed beneath the weight of an ill-chosen word? And who has not gathered fresh courage because a word of hope penetrated the fog of self-doubt? The term word remains the most powerful of all four-letter words. 

Colors fade.

Shorelines erode.

Temples crumble. Empires fall. But "a word fitly spoken" endures. 

Simple Faith 

"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me."

I could not even begin to count how many times I have heard this phrase. Yet, the same people that I hear these words from are the same people that fall victim to verbal abuse and find their lives turned inside out or upside down. I personally know of many people that have experienced physical abuse and emotional abuse, but most people tell me that the worse kind of abuse is usually verbal abuse. Between verbal abuse and emotional abuse (which usually go hand in hand), they are very capable of rendering scars for someone's entire lifetime resulting in unwholesome relationships and impaired social skills. 

Being verbally abusive is one extreme, but most people will result to offering destructive criticism instead of constructive criticism. An "ill-chosen" word in contrast to a "well-chosen" word does not belong under any circumstances in the Christian community. The words we choose to speak will make or break the relationships we have in our lives regardless of what kind of relationships we have with the people around us. An encouraging word or an offer of prayer support will go a long way in our character development and the kind of impact and reach we will be able to have in positively impacting the lives of those that God brings into our lives.

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! My hope and prayer is that every word spoken from this day on will be well-chosen, edifying, inspirational, and uplifting in every sense of the word. May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Honest To The Core!

Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of your eye. (Prov. 7:2) 

What is God looking for? He is looking for men and women whose hearts are completely His----completely. . . . 

God is not looking for magnificent specimens of humanity. He's looking for deep spiritual, genuinely humble, honest-to-the-core servants who have integrity. . . . 

Today, we live in a world that says, in many ways, "If you just make a good impression, that's all that matters." But you will never be a man or woman of God if that's your philosophy. Never. You cannot fake it with the Almighty. He is not impressed with externals. He always focuses on the inward . . . those things that take time and discipline to cultivate.  

David: A Man of Passion and Destiny 

"Honesty is the best policy." 

I have heard this line numerous times in my short lifetime, yet I have heard those same words dishonored by the same people who use this phrase. Why is it so difficult for people to remain honest? In the eyes of most people, it's a whole lot easier to be dishonest than to be truthful. Dishonesty often plays a huge role in how people get ahead in life (or so it seems). To remain honest in today's society takes a great deal of courage, strength, and transparency. 

There were moments in my life when I often became to dishonest out of fear of losing face with those around me or out of fear of being rejected or not accepted into that particular group. Those years of dishonesty are far behind me now. I have learned to hold myself accountable to God, to myself, to the close circle of mentors and those who I consider "family".  Over the course of the majority of my life, I have had my fair share of rebuke, correction, and encouragement whenever I was confronted with defeat as well as victory. Without all those experiences, I would not be the man that I am today. I would be lying to you if I told you that I have finally arrived because I haven't. Far from it! What I do take comfort in is in knowing very well that God has taken a vested interest in my life and has surrounded me with individuals that take the same vested interest in what happens in my life as well. I will forever be grateful and will never take for granted the wonderful people that God has surrounded me with. 

Honesty is a crucial element if we are going to be successful in every single area of our lives, especially in the area of relationships. I strongly encourage you friends to be as honest and transparent as possible with those that God has surrounded you with. Ask God to provide you with the courage, strength, and the ability to be transparent in all of your affairs as I'm confident in Him that He will be more than happy to fulfill that prayer request. 

Thank you so much for reading this far my amazing friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you in Jesus' mighty name! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).   

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Two Are Better Than One!

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labor. (Eccl. 4:9) 

Independence is our watchword and "Think for Yourself" is our motto. Declaring a need is a sign of weakness, an open admission of failure and lack of character. Furthermore, we are on the move so much, who has the time to share and to care? It has been my observation that we Christians are not immune from this hurry-up, hassle-hustle mentality. . . . 

Even though it is easy to buy into the selfish lifestyle and opt for isolationism instead of involvement, the consequences are bitter and inescapable. . . . Swimming with the current of today's me-ism mindset has a way of eclipsing the contrasting light of Scripture.
"Two are better than one. . ." because: 

- they have a good return for their labor----mutual effort 
- one will lift up his companion----mutual support 
- they keep (each other) warm----mutual encouragement
- they can resist an attack----mutual strength

Dropping Your Guard  

This particular devotional touches my heart strings in a very profound way. I have often quoted the above verse because I have often used it in the context of relationships ranging everywhere from intimate relationships to ministry partnerships. There is an immense of truth when it relates to "strength in numbers". In an intimate relationship, it is imperative that the two individuals involved are able to see eye to eye on the most essential issues to keep the cohesion in the relationship. In business relationships, it's imperative that all people involved are able to have like-mindedness in both the approach and model of the business endeavor. In ministry partnerships, we must all be grounded in Christ and be as biblically sound in our approach to those we minister to and as discerning in the Spirit as possible. The bottom line in all the scenarios is that there will always be a need of getting more than two people involved because one person maybe be able to see something in the situation that the other person may end up overlooking. 

Thank you so much for reading this far friends! May God continue to bless you and keep you as God continues to surround you with other like-minded individuals from various cultures and ways of life as God uses them to build godly character in you and those around you! JESUS LOVES YOU AND SO DO I!!!...:-).