Becoming Wise!

“If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.If you reject discipline, you only harm yourself; but if you listen to correction, you grow in understanding.” (Proverbs 15:31,32 NLT)

What is the difference between being harshly critical of someone or things and being able to offer constructive criticism?

There are many people who are harshly critical of other people–they are the “fruit inspectors” who are always seeking flaws and shortcomings in others, but are never able to see their own faults. They are quick to misjudge a situation or a person because their eyes only see what their soul sees–negativity. Their objective is to tear down people or to break them.

Those who are capable of offering constructive criticism only see what is wrong after careful evaluation and attempt to help correct what they see can be better. They see the possibilities and offer the means for the possibilities to become realities. They see areas that need improvement and provide direction to accomplish. Their objective is to build a person to make them stronger and better.

Many people are not able to receive constructive criticism because they have only heard critical harshness. However, for those who do listen to constructive criticism–they grow as they go, empowered to take a reflective look at themselves and make the necessary adjustments and will always find themselves in the midst of wise people.

The unwise are not so. They will not listen to wise counsel and they hate being corrected. They only see things their way and another–wiser person–they will not hear. Life for them is always an uphill struggle because their hearts have been hardened by the harshness of those who sought to criticize every thing they ever did. Their lives are not disciplined and chaos reigns where order should reside. They reject what others have to say and are adamant in their stance. They think they are capable of teaching others when they have not learned what is needed to teach whatever it is–that someone else needs to be taught. They are close-minded, but are often critical of others–projecting what they have been told about themselves onto the unsuspecting masses who venture onto their pathway.

Wise people are always willing to hear what others have to say, assess what was said for its worth, and make necessary changes in order to accomplish a goal. These are the same people who know how to offer constructive criticism in order to help others grow and improve in whatever they choose to do. The wise see with spiritual wisdom rather than fleshly dictates and one can see the light that emanates from their soul.

If we are not willing to be corrected–by God or others who only seek to help us become better, we are often left standing in a rut, wondering what happened, as we watch others continue to grow and excel with the plans for their lives.

What He Sees!

“And so, dear friends, while you are waiting for these things to happen, make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.” (2 Peter 3:14 NLT)

What are those things for which we are waiting? All those promises that God makes to us pertaining to obedience and our eternity. But while we’re waiting–we need to make sure that we are in position to receive all that He has promised.

We stay in position to receive from Him–by obedience to His Word–not selectively, but in accordance to all He has purposed for our lives.

If we are to live our lives in according to His purposes for our lives we could not–consciously change His Word to accommodate our lifestyles.

What we do–in this lifetime is what He sees–and He sees it all.

He sees us when we are doing all that we are supposed to do–according to His Word and He sees when we are not doing what we’re supposed to do.

He sees us when we happy and when we’re sad.

He sees us when we are encouraging others and when we’re criticizing others.

He sees us when we are promoting the Gospel and when we’re promoting political correctness.

He sees us when we are praying for others and when we are preying upon others.

He sees us when we are preparing to preach His Word and when we are procrastinating, hoping a good word will materialize out of nothing.

He sees us when we are faithful–to Him and He sees us when we are faithless–to Him and others.

He sees us when we are patiently waiting to hear from Him and He sees us when we prophelie in His name.

The list could go on for a long time, but the bottom line is–He sees everything we do and He knows the motives of our hearts, so we cannot realistically say–He understands–when we screw things up. Yes, He understands alright–when we screw things up it is because we choose to do things our way rather than His way.

So, dear friends--if we are not willing to live a life that is praiseworthy–to Him–we are wasting our time waiting for the promises to be fulfilled in our lives. We can only receive that which we rightly deserve--especially when we know–how His grace abounds. When we don’t know–we’re not responsible, but when we proclaim that we know–Him and how He wants us to live–we are without excuse and we cannot use His grace–to sin or be disobedient.

Get this–there is nothing we could possibly do that He does not see! He sees it all!

Because They Have Forsaken God!

“Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the curses that are written in the book which they have read before the king of Judah: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched.” (2 Chronicles 34:24,25)

What happens when we forsake God and forget about all He has told us to do? Ugly things happen and continue to happen until people repent–usually after they have been reminded of what God has said.

This was the case with the King (Josiah) who got rid of all the high places where people burned living children in sacrifice to a hand-made God, where they worshipped the works of their own hands and falsely believed those who told them to kill children to appease their hand-made God. Josiah repented after hearing The Words of God that had been forgotten and forsaken. He finally understood and obeyed and his obedience kept him from falling into the judgment of those who refused to repent.

The same God–not made by hands–who is self-existing and needs no one else to counsel Him–who allowed judgment to fall upon entire kingdoms because of their disobedience then, will do the same thing today–if we continue to forsake God’s Word!

Perhaps, the problem is that many refuse to attend places of worship that have made the Word of God of no effect because of their traditions. Perhaps, the problem is because no one is reading The Word, seeking understanding of how God wants us to live. Perhaps, the problem is because many people spend far more time worshipping those things that man’s hands have made and they cannot see or understand the importance of knowing what God has said.

People worship their cars, their jobs, their bank accounts, their homes, their children, their spouses and when people and things become more important than God--we go astray. We forget to read The Word; we forget to hear The Word; we forget to study The Word and seek Him for understanding. With all of this forgetting about The Word–we disobey God and create (in our minds and with our own hands) new rules–that contradict God’s Word. We create laws and statutes that are in total opposition to what God has said and we do it–to be politically correct and inclusive–desiring to please men, more than God!

And when we forsake God–all the ugliness of the world–is exposed to the light and we see the end results–chaos, unrest, and violence, not realizing that sin impacts our environment and the just and unjust suffer the same consequences.

The solution to all the aforenamed problems is simply for everyone to get in The Word, understand what God has said and repent–humbly seeking His forgiveness for all we have done that is not of Him.

When we forsake God and His ways, He forsakes us and allows us to do our own thing–obtaining our own results–without His involvement. God does not cause the problems we have in our society–we do–because we have forsaken God!

Help us, O Lord, to get our priorities right and come back to the place where we can receive The Word and forgiveness for all the wrong we have done. Have mercy on us, O Lord, and lead us to the place You would have us to be–always focused upon You and what You would have us to do so we can achieve greatness to Your glory!

Walking to Crawling!

“Then the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, you are cursed more than all animals, domestic and wild. You will crawl on your belly, groveling in the dust as long as you live.” (Genesis 3:14 NLT)

The curses that fell upon the serpent for manipulating the woman–Eve!

The chain reaction to obedience can be devastating for a number of people–people who often experience the effects of what others have done. This is what happened to the “snake” who dared to interfere with God’s plan for mankind.

Back-tracking a bit–Adam did nothing to help his own case in the disobedience by blaming God for giving him the woman in the first place. And then Eve–who shouldn’t have listened to the serpent in the first place, blamed the serpent rather than accepting responsibility for her role in the fiasco. The serpent “Satan” in disguise had absolutely nothing to say because he knew what he was doing and had succeeded. Now, he had to deal with the consequences of his behavior–this is something he had not considered–what happens to him when he’s found guilty!

Because of what God said to the serpent, we can infer that before the curse–he (the serpent) was walking upright–standing tall among all the other animals. In this state–walking, standing tall–he probably felt superior to some of the other animals as well. Again, this is inference on my part based upon what was said, “more cursed than all the animals, domestic and wild.”

Imagine that! Feelings of superiority and hatred for God has created leading to a fall–from being on top of the world to crawling on one’s belly, trying to avoid being wiped out by those who now stand over you.

We have seen examples of Satan’s influence in the lives of many that are a matter of public record–those who thought they were superior to others and acted out of hatred and that feeling of superior–most of them are no longer with us–having receive their just reward for their actions. The first person who comes to mind is Hitler, and now we can see what is happening to others in their quest to reign over all mankind. “The wages of sin is death.”

There are others–who because of their feelings of superiority–who will find themselves crawling on their bellies, trying to avoid being wiped out by those they attempted to destroy. God is–the same today as He was yesterday, and will be tomorrow-intolerant of disobedience to Him when people try to destroy His plans for mankind.

But just like He did not destroy the serpent (and He could have), He chose to leave the serpent to suffer the consequences of his actions for all generations. God’s Word is true–mankind (men and women) who might fear snakes, have no fear in killing them.

Amazing! When God could have destroyed His creation (the serpent), He didn’t and would have been justified in doing so. Now, if God didn’t destroy the serpent who caused all the uproar in the Garden of Eden, why are people so willing to think that God destroys people? People make choices and their choices will either bring about a positive consequence or a negative one. It is our choice.

Listen to The Lord and obey always and don’t worry about going from walking to crawling for all the world to see!

The Prayer That Found Me!

“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.” (John 17:20 NLT)

Resting extremely tired and cloudy eyes this morning, but I wanted to share this thought and challenge.

Prayer really does change things–and this prayer–the entire chapter–is Jesus praying for all who believe because of those who witnessed Him, during His ministry on earth. This truly is “The Lord’s Prayer” and I challenge all who read it with an open heart to see themselves in verse twenty. This is the prayer that found me and opened my heart to receive who He is–the knowledge of such great love for me–before I was ever thought about–is the love that sustains me, everyday.

God bless your reading and understanding of this chapter and know that I love you and always praying for you–wisdom, enlightenment, and all needs and desires met, in Jesus’ name!

What’s His Name?

“But I will reveal my name to my people, and they will come to know its power. Then at last they will recognize that I am the one who speaks to them.”(Isaiah 52:6 NLT)

“There is power, power wonder-working in the name, in the name,

There is power, power, wonder-working in the precious name of The Lord!”

What’s His name?  JESUS!

What’s His name? JESUS!

What’s His name? JESUS!

No other name I  know!

“There is healing in the name of Jesus!”

“There is deliverance in the name of Jesus!”

“There is salvation in the name of Jesus!”

“There is power in the name of Jesus!”

“He’ll break every chain that shackles people into darkness and bring them into the marvelous light!”

“Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess the name of Jesus!”

“There’s something about the name of Jesus, something about the name Jesus; it is the sweetest name I know!”

“Oh how I love the name Jesus, Oh how I love the name Jesus; it is the sweetest name, I know!”

These are lines from songs that have been written about Jesus and the power of His name.

There is no other name by which man can be saved–Jesus is His name!

The list could go on and on, but the reality is–there is no other name in the whole wide world that can accomplish what the name of Jesus can.

He said, “Whatever you ask the Father in my name, that I will do.” (John 15:16; 16:23) This is why the most effective prayer is not the model prayer that many call the Lord’s Prayer because He did not pray in His name. He gave us a model–a blueprint, but it is the sincere prayer of the heart of man (woman and child), to the Father, asked in His name, that gets results.

Through the prophet Isaiah, the Word was proclaimed–His name has been revealed and those who know Him, know the power of using His name.

For Believers-all over the land--praying in the name of Jesus, collectively and sincerely, will accomplish all that we ask, according to His will and we shall see a difference in the nations in which we live. Unite in prayer–seeking and thanking Him for peace, stability in every country, love in every heart, and healing for all who will receive it in His name.

What I Used To Do!

“I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault. I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done.” (Philippians 3:6,7 NLT)

When we acknowledge where we used to be and what we used to do–without Christ–we begin to understand that our journey becomes our testimony.

Once upon a time–I used to mock anyone who attempted to tell me anything about the bible. I believed in God and that I would go to hell for doing wrong things, and I believed in prayer, but no one–had taught me the value of reading and understanding God’s Word for myself. This is what happens when a person “just goes to church as a child” but nothing is ever really taught or explained–and in my case–probably because those who were teaching could only teach what they knew.

This is the reality we must come to accept–we can only teach people what we know and anything beyond that–is incomprehensible. And Paul acknowledges that with all of his learning–about the law–he lived what he was taught–under the law, but when he comprehended the work on the cross, the law lost its value. Had he not recognized that the law could not do what the work on the cross did, we would not have his written testimony of God’s Grace through Jesus Christ as encouragement for us to live–to please God–not man!

Many of us can sit around boasting about the things, “we used to do” and come away with nothing other than laughter and reflection and often changing thoughts about those who “confessed their faults” and shortcomings. In order to encourage others to live–pleasing God–our boasting should be how we were once blinded to God’s truth and how we were brought into the light of the Jesus Christ. This should be our boast–from coast to coast–across oceans and seas–up the mountains and down in the valleys–that we were once lost, but now we’re found–in the newness of life with Christ Jesus!

So, when I think about how I used to scorn those who tried their best to get me to understand, I understand why there are those who reject what I have to say about God’s Word. If anyone one of those people–who tried to get me to understand the bible had ever asked me if I had read it, I would have shut up and had nothing to say. They didn’t ask me–they just kept pounding away, trying to nail understanding with a flimsy hammer that didn’t have enough weight to sink the nail into my impenetrable heart.

But I’ve learned–from my journey–from what I used to do to what  now do–and I ask the question, “Have you read the Bible for yourself?” No two people can have an intelligent conversation about anything unless they both have some knowledge of the subject being discussed. I am intelligent enough to know this. Had I been asked–my “no” would have ended my mockery because I had no basis on which to intelligently discuss the bible. When people respond with a “no” to me, I suggest they read it first, then we can discuss it–with intelligence–even if we have differing opinions. End of conversation–no mockery, no foundation for intelligent discussion.

Perhaps, one of the problems with us trying to promote the Gospel and encourage others to live according to God’s Word is that we do not know how to acknowledge where we once were and what we used to do–before we read it for ourselves. We cannot continue to try to hammer The Word into people with just our experience; we must encourage them to read The Word (starting with the Gospel of John, hopefully), seek God for themselves and receive His love–developing a right relationship with Him. Then and only then will our “testimony” have meaning and we can be assured that others will walk in the light of Jesus Christ!

What did you used to do–before you found the Light and Truth?

Fear Leads to Hate!

There’s a reason why God didn’t give us a spirit of fear–He know that when we become fearful–we develop hate for that which we hate and that includes–people–for any reason.

I just listened to a very interesting message from Jesse Duplantis on the background of black folks and the song, “Amazing Grace” in which some–had very negative comments to make. Jesse was commending the ability of black people to sing in the midst of all the horrible things that were done to them and the tragedy that befalls many black people today because of “hatred within the race” and violence perpetuated against them.

This is my response to those who think that “the white man” is the problem black people have to overcome. We must overcome our tendency to fear and hate people for no reason other than–they are different.

The “white man” is not the only race or group of people who have been influenced by Satan and his attempt to rid the earth of all mankind.

Some black folks think that it was the “white man’s” greed that started slavery. That’s because they either do not read or cannot read. Slavery was a way of life in Africa, but the slaves were treated more like family than like animals. Their worth was appreciated by those who kept them–fed, and from harm. But the reality is–it was the Africans who sold out those who captured and into a different kind of slavery and then the same ones who thought they were profiting from the sale, also found themselves in captivity.

Some black folks think that the black race is the only race that was ever mistreated–in this country. Historically, we know that the human race began on the continent of Africa and no matter what the actual skin color was–people were not “white” as we know white and could not have been because of the climate of that region. So whether they were “black” or brown or red or yellow–makes no difference–people who were different and are different–from those in positions of power have always been treated badly.

Every tribe of mankind has contributed to mistreatment of others in one way or another. Beheading people is not new–it is ancient form for execution. Raping innocent women and children–nothing new. Lynching people and burning them, tarring and feathering, drowning, crucifying them–nothing new. It has all been done before–to the Jews, the Gentiles, Africans, Native Americans, Black Folks and White Folks, women, children, men, and boys, of every ethnic group–and since we seldom learn from History, we are going to repeat the atrocities committed against those who had no real standing in society, but they were feared because they were different. Fear of them,led people to hate them and for those who were already in positions of power–their fear was not only unfounded, but ludicrous.

Why should anyone fear others when the “others” have no real power?  Satan speaks a word of encouragement to fear–to the hearts of those who are fence-straddlers and easy to influence and then it is game on–he who fears the most, commits the most heinous crimes against those he fears.

We know that fear is a tool of the enemy because God is love and love casts out fear. Remember that one?

If you’re reading this and you’re black, you may resent the implication–the use of the bible that some now say is the “white man’s bible” and black people were told a lie about God all along–especially Jesus. This is why we had a radical movement that promoted a “black Jesus” over a white one. How did that happen? A few radicals went to college and got a little bit of education and decided that everything they had been taught by God was a lie. They ridiculed their mothers and grandmothers, and fathers, and grandfathers for believing a lie and after all–they had to know more than those who were not allowed to read or learn in higher education–they had been to college.

Well, to those who think they know it all, let me give you a clue. You could read every book ever written in every language ever known and still not know it all. The source of all knowledge has escaped you because you’re relying upon your own ability to comprehend what you read, but really do not understand. True wisdom comes from God and understanding His Wisdom only comes with relationship with Him–not books or hatred or fear.

I was not alive when Jesus walked the earth and it really doesn’t matter because no one reading this was either. I’m not going to get into any foolish debate about His race, skin color or anything else because it matters not. What matters is that when He hung on that cross, His blood was shed for me and that settles the matter–for me.

We should all be more concerned with saving the human race than in promoting hatred and fear because in my limited tenure here on earth I’ve discovered a few things: We all bleed when we’re cut open, we all hurt when we lose a loved one, and one day–we will die. While we’re living–we all–every race, ethnicity, nationality–whatever–have stupid, ignorant, vile, hateful people living among us and that is their choice. We do not have to cave to their stupidity and in fact, we should be empowered by their stupidity to really show them the love of Jesus that resides within those of us who know Him.

I know it’s been said before, by many and I will say it again and I know, someone else will say it as well–LET’S GET OVER OURSELVES AND STOP HATING ONE ANOTHER, LYING UPON ONE ANOTHER, AND LIVING IN FEAR OF ONE ANOTHER! We all belong to “one race” no matter what our skin color is and that is–the greatest creation God ever created–His Pride and Joy–the Human Race.

Now, can we stop making Him regret He ever decided to create us and all of our monstrous behaviors towards one another? God is love and He can do nothing but love us–and shake His head in sorrow while He watches us–destroy ourselves out of fear and hate!

Straight From The Throne!

“Now we can see that you know all things and that you do not even need to have anyone ask you questions. This makes us believe that you came from God.”

What happened during this conversation with Jesus? The disciples finally got it–they understood that Jesus came–straight from the throne of God!

Have we figured it out, yet? Do we “know” or are we still debating amongst ourselves who Jesus is?

If we are still debating who Jesus is, perhaps we need to take another stroll through John’s perspective of who Jesus is. I would encourage everyone to re-read the entire Gospel, but if you’re short of time–seek The Lord and at least read this chapter–the entire chapter.

I believe that one of the reasons people have a problem understanding the three distinctive roles of God is because they failed to see Jesus in this Gospel. In this Gospel, we become personally acquainted with Him; He speaks to our hearts and shatters the blinders that keeps us from seeing fully, who He is. In order for us to truly see Him, we must open our hearts and spiritual understanding and He will reveal Himself to all who are willing to receive.

Are you willing to receive Truth–straight from the Throne?

The Word of God contains all we will ever need to know and if we need to seek understanding of The Word, we should seek Him and His wisdom and He will give us all we need to understand Him and how He wants us to live. Relationship2

Father, in the name of Jesus, we ask You to help us today. Help us to open our hearts to You so we will hear You when You speak and know that it is You speaking to us. Help us to see through the bitterness that prevails over the hearts of many who have been hurt by religion and religious people. Open our spiritual eyes–no longer blinded to Truth–and cut away all the doubt in our hearts so we can fully receive the indwelling of Holy Spirit as our guide, counselor, and comforter for the rest of our days. Create in us the boldness needed to direct those who doubt–straight to You, and encourage them to learn at The Throne of Grace and Mercy. Help us to understand there is no need for us to ask questions of anyone other than You because You have all the answers. All this we ask and thank You for giving in His Name, the name that is above all names, Jesus! Amen!

God’s Foolish Plan!

“This foolish plan of God is wiser than the wisest of human plans, and God’s weakness is stronger than the greatest of human strength” (I Corinthians 1:25 NLT).

What is the plan? That no one would be able to understand God with mere “human wisdom” but by the preaching of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Although many unbelieving mocked and scorned those who were preaching and even those who “are” preaching, the message is still the same and so is the intent of God’s plan for man’s salvation.

The Law could not do what was needed because man’s weak flesh would not do what was commanded. Our wise God understood man’s weakness and came down to make the ultimate sacrifice for sin in the person of Jesus Christ, once and for all. There is no other sacrifice to made for the remission of sin.

Our job–mankind’s role–is simply to “repent” and accept the sacrifice made and allow Him to be Lord of our lives. If we acknowledge the wrong-doing in our lives–He is faithful and just to forgive us, but He cannot forgive what we are unwilling to acknowledge. When we turn from what was keeping us from having a right relationship with Him, He forgives and guides us along the path of righteousness that He intended for us to follow from the beginning. Having Him as Lord over our lives, means when we listen to Him, we will not stray from the path and we will receive all the many benefits He has in store for us.

This plan–so simple yet so difficult for many–is foolishness to those who choose to believe their wisdom is superior to God’s. This is why we still have people–refusing to believe Him, mocking those who preach Him, and in their foolishness–leading others astray with their influence. Yes, for them–God’s pan is foolish since they do not believe they need God. They do not understand the power behind the Invisible God who yet made all that was made–visible and they cannot duplicate what God has done and they do not understand why.

They cannot replicate a galaxy that God created. They cannot replicate the blue of the sky that God created. They cannot create the snow-capped mountains or deep oceans–but they think–in their own wisdom–they understand how it all came to be.

No one can understand the depth of God’s love and all He has ever done for His love for humanity without knowing and understanding His purpose for humanity–and that understanding–can only come with belief and acceptance of who He is! Preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ might be foolishness to unbelieving man, but for the believer we know just how precious the gift was and is for all of God’s children.

We who believe and know The Plan, should never allow the foolishness of human wisdom to interfere with God’s plan, no matter how foolish others try to make it. We know--and it is because of God’s foolish plan that we are joint-heirs with Jesus Christ and have a place reserved for us in heaven where we will spend eternity with Him.

Hold onto to your faith in God’s Foolish Plan for all of mankind!