It Is Time

I don’t know about you, but I am to the point where I can hardly listen to the news anymore. The chaos and evilness that is occurring in America, let alone the whole world, is overwhelming at times. Reports of wars, innocent blood shed, bullying, brink of a financial collapse, prices increasing, propaganda, healthcare being shoved down our throats, IRS scandals, VA scandals, lying, deception, murders…it is enough to make someone want to go hide under a rock! I have come to the point of limiting my news consumption and to focus on other things. However, among the chaos, my question is: where is the Church? Where are the Christians?

In Revelation, it talks about the seven churches. Each church received a warning and urged to repent. One church that was mentioned: the Lukewarm Church. Revelation 3:14-22 is directed to the Church in Laodicea, but I believe it is so relevant for the Church in America today. Jesus said, “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”-Revelation 3:15-16 [NIV]. There are too many Christians and too many churches in America that are lukewarm. They are neither cold or hot. You are either for Christ or not. You are either grateful for what He did on the cross for you, or not. You either love Him sincerely or you don’t. It can’t be both ways. What I don’t understand is how some pastors and Christians can be only “Sunday” Christians and not Christians 24/7. IF you boldly profess to be a Christ follower, yet contradict everything you preach…how is that even possible? There are too many pastors and Christians who willingly compromise their convictions to be loved by the world. Therefore, they steer away from preaching about sin and the power of salvation, that Jesus dying on the cross for the world will free them from their bondage of sin, addiction, fear, doubt, anxiety, depression, loneliness, etc. That is too controversial, I guess. No wonder America is messed up!

I truly believe that Jesus’ return is so near and closer than we think. It Is Time for the Church to be the Church. It Is Time for Christians to take their relationship with Jesus Christ seriously. It Is Time for Churches to STOP being so focused on fame and fortune, and get outside their four walls and help America. Something that just absolutely cooks my grits, is when pastors and Christians in churches think they are “too good” to approach other people who may not be in the same “league”, “socioeconomic”, “status” as them. Did Jesus ever do that? OF COURSE NOT!! He was right there with the humble. Jesus reached out to those hurting. He healed the blind, caused the lame to walk, walked among the lepers…Jesus was never “too good” to be around those who were in need of help. I want to ask some of these pastors and Christians, “Who do you think you are? You didn’t get where you are at by your own works. You got where you are at because of God. Don’t forget it!” I wouldn’t actually say that to them, but you get my point. James 2:1-4 [AMP] says, “My brethren, pay no servile regard to people [show no prejudice, no partiality]. Do not [attempt to] hold and practice the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ [the Lord] of glory [together with snobbery]! For if a person comes into your congregation whose hands are adorned with gold rings and who is wearing splendid apparel, and also a poor [man] in shabby clothes comes in, and you pay special attention to the one who wears the splendid clothes and say to him, “Sit here in this preferable seat!” while you tell the poor [man], “Stand there!” or, “Sit there on the floor at my feet!” Are you not discriminating among your own and becoming critics and judges with wrong motives?”

It Is Time for Christians to be Christians. This whole “I will be holy on Sunday” and act like the world Monday-Saturday is sad. People who are not Christians are looking. Those who are trying to make a decision whether or not to be a Christian, watch too. They look to see if Christianity is real. Those who profess Christianity, they are walking testimonies and it would be a shame if their message became tainted and discredited because they were seen at a bar kicking back 5 shots of whiskey, 3 shots of rum, and 2 large glasses of beer, cussing profusely. Or, what is worse…is when you see the worship leader at a church buying a variety of cases of beer. If I didn’t know he was a worship leader, I would have thought no big deal. But, because I knew he was the worship leader, it changed my views of him (I actually saw this happen). You never know who is watching.

As Christians, we are ambassadors of Jesus Christ. When people see us, they should be seeing Jesus. We are called to be light in this dark world. We are called to be the hands and feet of Jesus-not just saying it but doing it. America needs help! If the Church would just stand on the Word of God and do what God commanded, to love one another…oh my gosh, can you imagine!?! Pastors need to stop being afraid of mentioning Jesus, sin, or America because they don’t want to “offend” people. Jesus said in John 12:32 [NIV] “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” When we honor Him, He will honor us. Christians can help America by electing politicians who uphold values, morals…better yet, Godly principles. Christians can help America by feeding the poor, help clothe the less fortunate, help the widows and orphans. Christians can help guide the youth in America by helping them reach their fullest potential and encourage them that God has a purpose for their life. Christians can stop bullying in the church by helping the bully and the victim. The Church can be a safe haven for those who are lost, scared, or have no hope. When people walk into church, they should be able to experience the love that the Father has for them, not judgment.

The good news: there is hope! It is not too late and it starts with you and me. Together, lets be the change the Church needs. We can start by showing kindness and God’s love to those around us. We can start by sharing words of kindness to those we come in contact with. We can start by encouraging our friends and family. We can start by posting encouraging tweets on Twitter and statuses on Facebook that are uplifting to the Father. I challenge you today to make a difference. Each day, purpose to make a difference in the life of someone else. Like I mentioned before, there is so much evil in this world. But, let us not be shaken and share hope. As hate increases, let our love increase. Together, we can share the faith, hope, and love that we have in Jesus Christ. Jesus said that when we lift Him up, He will draw all men near to Him. Jesus’ return is so near and there is no time to waste. Together, we can be the change and show the world that we are Christians who mean what we say and do.

It Is Time!

 

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Show Compassion Will You?

I know that I haven’t written any blogs in a while, but now I am playing catch up. I meant to write this a few weeks ago, but life was so busy I forgot to. So, here I am today just sharing what has been on my heart lately.

A few weeks ago, I was in my room reading my Bible before my mom and I left to go shopping. As I was sitting there on my bed, I happened to flip over to Luke chapter 7. There were so many things that really stood out in that whole passage, it blew me away. But, what amazed me the most was the compassion Jesus Christ showed toward others. In Luke 7:11-17, it talks about this widow who lost her son. As her son (her only son) was being carried out in his casket, the widow began weeping and a large crowd was with her. Jesus saw what was going on and Luke 7:13-15 says, “When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Then He came and touched the open coffin, and those who carried him stood still. And He said, “Young man, I say to you, arise.” So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother.” Jesus saw the pain and hurt the mother was in, and He was moved with compassion. What does compassion mean? According to Webster Dictionary, compassion means: deep sympathy. Jesus had deep sympathy for the widow.

Or what about the woman who was a sinner and washed Jesus’ feet with extravagant oil? Jesus showed great compassion toward her. Luke 7:36-50 talks about how Simon (a Pharisee) asked Jesus over to his house to eat. When Jesus was over at Simon’s place, it says in verse 37-38, “And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.” This passage goes on to say how Simon, a Pharisee-a religious person, chastised the woman and couldn’t believe that a so called “Prophet” would allow a sinner of all people, to touch His feet. However, I love what Jesus said. He didn’t just stand there and let Simon put both of them down. As Jesus turned toward the woman, He told Simon, ““Do you see this woman? I entered into your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Then He said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”” Luke 7:44-48 [NKJV]. Jesus saw the heart of the woman and had compassion toward her. He saw her intentions which were pure, not trying to gain anything from her actions.

It amazes me how compassionate Jesus is, yet it is hard to find Christians these days who are. I mean think about it, Jesus had compassion on you too, to the point He went to the cross for your sins and shame. He bore your sins so that you could have a relationship with God and spend eternity with Him. Jesus took on your guilt on the cross, so you can be presented faultless before God when you see Him face to face. How mind blowing is that?

I know we are all human, and there is no perfect person (or Christian). Please know I am not here to bash Christianity because I too, believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. However, I have seen so often “Christians” act religious and treat others just like the way Simon treated the woman who washed Jesus’ feet. I have seen “Christians” who say things because they feel like it’s the right thing to say, but not do what they say they are going to do. I have seen “Christians” not show compassion toward others, rather they are stuck on themselves. Jesus wasn’t focused on Himself, He was focused on others. He didn’t make life all about Him, but rather about His Heavenly Father. As Christians, we are ambassadors of Christ…why then is hard to find “Christians” who are compassionate like Him?

I want to challenge you today to go beyond yourself and reach out to others. Show compassion. Everyone has a story, and you never know what someone else may be going through. And, if you are going to profess to be a Christ follower but then don’t act like Christ…you make Christ lose all credibility to outsiders looking in. I want to challenge you to pray and ask God to show you how you can be blessing to others, not so you can gain something from it…but to truly show the love of God to others. Don’t be like those “Christians” who just give lip service but no actions follow. Religion is mere talk. Christianity isn’t religion, but relationship. Show others the difference. Show compassion will you?

 

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Faith in The Storm

The past couple weeks, I have not blogged due to life. However, there is a topic that has been on my heart lately that I would like to share with you. It is about having faith in the storm. I believe more people need to be encouraged that regardless of the circumstances we face, God is for us. He is always there and even when it seems quiet, God is there. He promises us in His word that He will never leave us or forsake us, Hebrews 13:5-6.

In college, I majored in Communication and Government. I find government/politics very interesting, but I cannot stand how dirty it is. Why can’t the people we elect to represent us on Capitol Hill walk out integrity, honesty, and leadership? Sometimes listening to the news can be overwhelming, to the point, I have to turn the channel. All of the nonsense that is occurring and how “We The People” are losing our freedoms, liberty, and privacy…it is scary! America is not like what it used to be and I don’t think we will ever be the same. However, this is not the point of my blog.

In spite of a shaky economy, broken healthcare system, unstable government, and financial hardships…always remember that God is with you. I love how in Psalm 37: 25-26, King David said, “I have been young and now am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his descendants begging for bread. He is ever merciful and lends; and his descendants are blessed.” God promises that He will take care of you. Jesus said in Luke, if God cares about the sparrows, how much more of value are you to the Father? If you are concerned about your future, don’t be! I know it is easier said than done, believe me, I know. But, one of the greatest things we can do is trust and have faith that the Lord is working out all things for our good. We may not see the results we want right away; but, one thing I learned, God doesn’t operate on our time frame. God is working behind the scenes, so to speak, on your behalf. He is perfecting those things that concern you, Psalm 138:8.

If you are facing circumstances or issues that you cannot control, and you are troubled by it, God will be there to help you through. In Psalm 107, King David talked about how we should be grateful and show thanks to the Lord for His goodness. But, he also goes on to share examples of God’s goodness and mercy. A perfect example of God’s support, mercy, and grace in the time of trouble is Psalm 107:23-31. Many people are familiar with the story in the New Testament of how Jesus and his disciples were in a boat when a storm hit. The storm came, the winds blew, and the disciples were panicking asking Jesus for help. Jesus calmed the storm by saying, “Peace be still” and told the disciples, “Oh you of little faith.” However, did you know that there is a similar story mentioned in Psalm 107? I was reading Psalm 107 the other day and found this to be interesting.

“Those who go down to the sea in ships, who do business on great waters, they see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep. For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves to the heavens, they go down again to the depths; their soul melts because of trouble. They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end. Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, and He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still. Then they are glad because they are quiet; so He guides them to their desired haven. Oh, that men would give thanks to the Lord for His goodness, and for His wonderful works to the children of men!” ~Psalm 107:23-31

The fishermen were troubled by the storm, yet they cried out to God for help. God not only calmed the storm, but He guided them to their destination. Often times in life, we face challenges that are like “storms.” We face circumstances that hit us hard and unexpectedly; the winds of life appear drastic and shake us up. Are you facing a “storm” right now? I love how in these verses you see compassion from the Lord, “…He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that its waves are still…He guides them to their desired haven.” God did three things: brought them out of distress, calmed the storm, and guided them to their destination.

I believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forevermore. Just like the fishermen, I believe that God can pull you out of your distress, calm the storms of life around you, and guide you to where you need to be. However, one of the greatest things you can do is pray…pray and ask the Lord for help. Invite Him in to your circumstances and believe, trust, have faith that God will work all things out on your behalf. Jeremiah 33:3 says, “Call unto Me and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” Stay focused on what God has done for you and be excited for what God has in store for you. God is a good God. He is faithful, and I know that He has a purpose for you. How do I know that? Jeremiah 29:11 says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Have faith in the time of trouble. I have heard this quote many times, “Don’t tell God how big your problem is. Tell your problem how big your God is.” God is a great God. The same God who parted the Red Sea for Moses… is the same God who is there for you. The same God who helped David overcome a giant… is the same God who is there for you. The same God who saved Daniel’s three friends from the fiery furnace…is the same God who is there for you. The same God who loves the world so much that He gave His one and only Son to die for us and our sins…is the same God who is there for you.

Be encouraged today, to not let what is going on around you personally or in the United States to steal your joy. Don’t focus on the circumstances, rather keep your focus on the Lord and give thanks. Greater things are to come and the storm you are facing is only temporary. I believe your break through is on the way, and the sun is fixing to burst through those storm clouds.

Have Faith in The Storm!

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God Is For You

Have there been times in your life where you might feel inadequate to do something? Have you ever been told that you are not good enough to fulfill your dreams, talk to a certain someone, share your story, or achieve your goals? Well today, we are going to change that! If you have not bought into those lies, good for you! However, those of you who have listened to the voices that have put you down…listen up!

Awhile ago, I attended a conference that was a “Christian” conference. There were some powerful speakers; their message really blessed me. Then, there were some speakers who are involved in ministry that were cocky and haughty to the point they appeared unapproachable. As I sat there in my seat observing their behavior, I felt so inadequate. There were speakers that I wanted to meet because I wanted to share with them my book and ask for advice on what it was like to be a first time author/speaker. However, the way they behaved, it made me feel like I was not worthy enough to talk to them. I had thoughts like “You are not good enough to talk to those individuals.” I tried really hard to switch the negative thoughts to positive ones like, “I am important! I am a child of the Most High God. I am worthy. I am victorious. God loves me so much. I am important to Jesus.” I didn’t get to talk to any of the speakers but I learned two important lessons:

  1.  1. Actions speak louder than words.
  2. 2. We are worthy. So, I am going to break down these two points:

1. Actions Speak Louder

The conference was talking about how the Church needs to be the Church; yet, it was ironic how some of the speakers were not reflecting Jesus Christ! They contradicted the very thing they were speaking about. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not here to try and wound the Church. I am not here to bash Christianity. But, enough is enough. I am tired of seeing speakers that profess to be Christ followers to appear opposite of Christ like when they snub people in the audience, acting like they are too good to be in your presence. People (not all) in the Church need to get off their high horse and remember that it is not themselves who got them there–it was God who promoted them. In John 3:30 it says that He must increase while I must decrease. Seeing the speakers’ behavior, it made me realize that I NEVER want to be that way. It showed me to truly be Christ like, loving and approaching others. Whenever I am asked to speak someday, I don’t want to come across as them. Knowing how I felt about them, I would be devastated if people felt like they could not approach me. I would want people to approach me and ask any question. There is a saying that actions speak louder than words. It is so true. Any one can talk, but until their actions meet up with their words, it sends a whole other message. Think about this, will you show love to others today? Can you go beyond the barrier of pride and approach people? What can you do to make a difference each day?

2. We Are Worthy

After the conference, I went home and reflected on the messages; but, also on what I saw. I was disappointed in some of the people’s behavior. As I was sitting on my bed reflecting, God reminded me of Moses. When God approached Moses as the burning bush, He told Moses to go to Pharaoh and demand him to let His people go. Moses went through a moment of feeling inadequate. He was nervous about his speech, “why would Pharaoh listen to me?” he probably thought. He probably felt unworthy and nervous to talk to someone of status, let alone telling Pharaoh what to do. Yet, Moses found favor with God. God gave him the strength to talk to Pharaoh. Moses was so worthy and precious to God. He used an ordinary man to do extraordinary things. God used Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to go to the Promise Land. Moses not only stood up to Pharaoh, but he led a multitude. How extraordinary is that!! Never think you are unworthy. You are so worthy and precious to God. God turns the ordinary into extraordinary. You are just as important to God as any pastor/speaker/minister or even the richest person on planet earth. God loves you so deeply. You are a child of God, you are victorious, you are worthy, you are blessed, you are a part of the unshakeable Kingdom, and you are redeemed.

Go this day knowing that you are worthy. You can do all things through Christ who gives you strength. Don’t think one moment you are not important because you are!