The Reason For The Season!

The Reason For The Season!

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  Luke 2:1-11 NIV

Those of us who understand that being a Christian means we follow Christ know why we celebrate this season. We are not concerned with saying, Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays (specifically for the secular segment of society) but in knowing that at some point in time, over 2000 years ago, we were given the greatest gift that could ever be given, and it couldn’t be purchased in a mall for any amount of money. The birth of a Savior, God coming in the likeness of sinful flesh, to save all who choose to believe in Him. Though He made the sacrifice–giving His life for ours almost 34 years later–we still celebrate His birth for without it–there would not have been a crucifixion or a Resurrection–paving the way for us to enter into Heaven.

Today, on the eve of the celebration for many of us–I just wanted to remind people that we do indeed have a reason to celebrate this season for it had not been for The Lord, where would we be?

Fortunately, for us–He loves us enough to respect our choices in doing whatever we do–whether He approves our choices or not–He respects our right to choose–both what we do and the consequences. I really wish–we who proclaim to be Christians–followers of Christ–not people–could get to that same place of understanding. We don’t have to agree or approve what others choose to do, but we should respect their right to choose–just as God does.

Personally, I’m thankful that God allowed me to choose some of the paths I’ve taken in life–though I know He didn’t approve–He allowed me to make the choices and deal with the consequences and in dealing with those consequences, I learned just how much He loves me. Who are we to get in the way of those who will learn from the consequences of their choices, no matter what they are?

I encourage all Christians (true Believers) to think about how we can best encourage (not command or make) others to believe in the Savior we know. The best sermon–as many have said before me–is the one we live, not the one we talk about. If I never utter another word about how good God is–I would hope that everything I do–says it much louder than I could ever hope to say and more people would turn to Him–not me, because of who He is!

This is the time of year we should think even more about the plight of others and make a commitment to help those who are simply not in a position to help themselves. Thoughtfulness, consideration of others–is one way we can live The Word, instead of just talking The Word.

For tomorrow–I’m spending time with family–as I prepare our dinner–doing things that families do. I’m praying for peace in the world and joy in the hearts in every person and for those who feel abandoned in shape or form, know that there is someone praying for you and if I knew who you were, I’d invite you to share our dinner because we always find room and food for more.

Enjoy this day doing your last minute shopping! Stay safe and alert for the enemy would love to steal your joy by destroying hope and faith in Jesus by influencing someone to do a dastardly act. And then spend tomorrow loving others and enjoying life while we live. Luv2LuvU!

 

 

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Who Will Enter?

Who Will Enter?

LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain? The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart; whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others; who despises a vile person but honors those who fear the LORD; who keeps an oath even when it hurts, and does not change their mind; who lends money to the poor without interest; who does not accept a bribe against the innocent. Whoever does these things will never be shaken. Psalm 15 NIV

I am so thankful that God loves me–loves us all–for He did not come down to save just me, but all who would accept the gift of salvation through His shed blood.

There’s a song that many churches–especially in the Black Community –sing, “Down through the years, God’s been good to me,” and when I look back over my life, I can sing that song with reverence because He has been so good to me. Not that I’ve been perfect–there are no perfect people–but because I recognize Him for who He is and I try to live according to His Word.

In order for anyone to live according to God’s Word, they must first know it. When we get into The Word–we learn how God wants us to live–and if we’re honest with ourselves–we see The Word as a mirror–reflecting back to us who we are and where we fall short. Even when we fall short–His mercy and grace–sustain us–renewing our determination to get living right for Him. It is because of His mercy and grace–that we can know without doubting, whether we will enter into His presence at the end of our journey on this side of Heaven.

When David wrote the few verses above, He understood–not because he had read a bible as we know it, but because of the teachings from a child–by his family about God’s goodness and what He had always done for the Children of Israel. David was not a perfect man, but he was a man after God’s own heart in that he recognized when he was wrong and repented, seeking God’s forgiveness.

If a person never recognizes when they are wrong and won’t do anything to correct the wrong, they will never enter into God’s presence.

When John–the Baptizer–was on his journey throughout the region, “crying in the wilderness” as we’re told, “Repent, Repent, for the kingdom of the Lord is at hand.” He was the precursor for Jesus–warning people that they must admit being or doing wrong and setting things right. Though John was beheaded for telling the truth–he knew where he would spend eternity.

Do we know? Can we know? I know there’s a mansion in heaven with my name on the door plate and I have determined that nothing and on one is going to impede my arrival–I will enter my promise–as Jesus told it.  “For in my Father’s House are many mansions.”

Now think about this: we who are laborers for The Lord–the little people–the caring people, the benevolent people, the people who given generously to those in need, the people who give of their time and talents to fight injustice and to defend the rights of the poor and needy, we have a right to enter in and know with assurance we have a place for all eternity as a reward for the sacrifices we’ve made to help others out of obedience to God.

Then there are those who have done nothing for anyone, but expect everyone else to do for them. They are self-centered, thin-skinned and think the world revolves around them. They are quick to criticize others, but get angry when others criticize them. In their minds, they are the only ones who are right and everyone else is wrong. And that’s a description of the Tweeter-in-chief who feels like it is “his right” to be president, when all the evidence surfacing reveals he got to that point–by corruption and deception.

He believes he is above the law and in fact thinks laws were not meant for him and unfortunately, the so-called religious, family values group of lawmakers are doing nothing–at this moment–to correct his thinking. What they are doing is allowing him to think, he can change our democracy into a dictatorship ruled by Putin with him as his puppet.

Will they enter into God’s presence at the end of life’s journey? Not according to His Word. I don’t know where they will spend eternity but I do know that liars will be thrown into the lake of fire for eternity.

Where will you spend eternity? I’d love for all I know to spend eternity with me in heaven, but that is not my choice; it is every individual’s choice and all I can do–is to make sure all I know–have been made aware of their options. Jesus is Lord and He loved us–each and everyone–enough to die for us and I am determined to love Him enough to live for Him. Will you join me?

Father, in the name of Jesus, we thank You for loving us enough to come down from heaven, living in the likeness of man, experiencing all that we would experience in life, and yet willing–with all the flaws you saw in us–looking ahead through the years–and yet still decided to hang a cross for our sins. Forgive us for not understanding how much You love and teach us daily how we’re to live and treat others. Encourage and embolden us to always speak truth as You give it to us, no matter what others may think. And for any who have not already accepted You as their personal Savior, move upon their hearts to receive You, now. In Jesus’ name we pray and thank You, Amen!

30 Days of Prayer and Praise–14!

30 Days of Prayer and Praise–14!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

The earth is the LORD’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it; for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the LORD and vindication from God their Savior. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, God of Jacob. Lift up your heads, you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is this King of glory? The LORD strong and mighty, the LORD mighty in battle. Lift up your heads, you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in. Who is he, this King of glory? The LORD Almighty— he is the King of glory. Psalm 24 NIV

Day Fourteen

Lord, Our Lord,

Thank You for allowing us to see another day, to have another opportunity to celebrate Your arrival in the earth, clothed in flesh like man, but always God.

Thank You for looking upon this land and all of Your people–those who call upon You in times of need and praise You no matter what.

Thank You for loving us enough to be willing to join our fate in the earth, being tempted by sin on every side and yet, not caving; being ridiculed and persecuted and yet, not hating; being scorned, beaten and crucified, and yet–ever forgiving those in their ignorance who sullied Your reputation and good works.

God of heaven and earth, our heavenly Father, we praise You for the mercy and grace You keep showering upon us. We praise You for loving us enough to see beyond our faults and taking care of our needs, and keeping us focused upon You.

Help us this day, O God, to become more like You–seeing beyond the surface of skin color and differences in religious affiliation–to just seeing You and conducting ourselves as You do–without constraints–loving one another.

Who is the King of Glory? The Lord–mighty in battle, gentle in spirit, compassionate and loving, merciful in all His ways, and forgiving–of all who repent when they understand wrongdoing and wrong living, according to His Word.

Who is the King of Glory? The Lord–who chose to come into this world as a baby–experiencing life as all humans do, navigating childhood into adulthood, understanding all we must experience and yet not once failing to observe all His Father in Heaven commanded Him to do.

Thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your love and willingness to sacrifice self for all who willingly come to You, receive Your love and accept You as Lord and Savior of their lives.

We give You praise, glory and honor for there is none like You; no one who deserves our unconditional love other than You for You first loved us and then loved us enough to die for us! Hallelujah to the King of Glory! Ride on King Jesus!

For all You have done, are doing and will do in our lives–we thank You and praise You. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

 

ENJOY THIS DAY CELEBRATING WITH LOVED ONES AND REMEMBER THOSE WHO ARE ALONE–CARE ENOUGH TO SHOW THEM SOME LOVE!

Speaking As Approved By God!

Speaking As Approved By God!

For the appeal we make does not spring from error or impure motives, nor are we trying to trick you. On the contrary, we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts. You know we never used flattery, nor did we put on a mask to cover up greed—God is our witness. We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority. Instead, we were like young children among you. Just as a nursing mother cares for her children, so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. I Thessalonians 2:3-8 NIV

As a messenger of God for Gospel of Jesus Christ and a watchman, committed to telling the truth as God shows it to me and warning of impending danger, loving all unconditionally as He has commands, I declare at this moment, I will not ever write to please men, but as God speaks to my heart.

For I have noticed, through observation and actual experience that when we attempt to please men, we fall short for we can never please all the people all the time–nor at the same time. So, I’ve learned to not try pleasing people for it is a futile exercise and time waster. Since I don’t know how much time I have left on the earth, I choose not to waste my time with the silliness and irrelevance of trying to please people. For which person–clothed in flesh covered bones–has heaven or hell for me? Not one person has heaven or hell for me, therefore, I do not have to please people. However, if a person is pleased by what I do or say in my determination to please God–so be it. But my goal–is pleasing God–not people.

A caring mother or father would will always provide the child they love with instructions to keep them safe from harm and directions to keep them on a path of success in life. That’s exactly what the bible does for all who love God and claim Him as our Father and Jesus as Lord of our lives and Savior. Though they are one in purpose, I understand the distinction of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Indeed, I trust my Father to speak to my heart at all times and Holy Spirit to deliver the fully interpreted message in a way I can understand it and share it. For I recognize the way of God and His Holy language is past my understanding and I need Holy Spirit to help me rightly discern what is being said.

With the bible–written by men as God spoke to them–we have the blueprint that should be the guide to how we live. Before men began writing, God was speaking to those He chose to be His messengers and scribes wrote as instructed. Since Jesus returned to heaven after completing His mission on earth, we–everyone who believes–all have access to hearing God through Holy Spirit if we are willing to hear. Understand, when God speaks to our heart, Holy Spirit interprets so our minds will accept what is being spoken to us. Unless Holy Spirit interprets what is said–we veer off the path that God plans for us to travel and when people “think” on their own about what is right, chaos ensues.

Does not The Word remind us that, “in the multitude of counselors there is safety?” And in other passages (in Proverbs) we are warned that those who scorn knowledge will soon provoke destruction and unfortunately, the destruction will not just destroy them, but others.

I’m praying daily, almost hourly when time permits–that in the coming days the electors in our Electoral College will have hearts to hear God speak and vote the voice of the people and acknowledge the popular vote. For the mandate of this election is the voice of the people and the electors should honor their voice. Though there are some who will not agree with what I’ve just said, they’re entitled. I’m looking forward and see nothing but destruction with a president who cares nothing for protocol or dignity, integrity and honor. When the destruction comes, if our electors are not willing to hear God, it will impact all our lives and like those fleeing Aleppo, we might be next–fleeing one city after the other, but the real problem will be–where will we go?

Lord, speak to the hearts of those in position to make a decision that will impact all our lives either positively or negatively. Allow every elector in the Electoral College to see beyond the moment of their vote, so they will understand the importance of our having a future without chaos and more hatred and bigotry, marring the landscape for generations to come. Speak to the heart of every child You claim as Yours, creating in them a desire to please You and not men. I pray that every one of Your children will we willing to hear and act upon all You say so we can enjoy peace in the land–for all mankind. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen!

Redemption

Redemption

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.  They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalms 107:1-9 NIV

Who will do all things for us when we cannot do for ourselves?

The Lord–mighty and loving in all His ways,

Never ceases to counsel, guide and forgive us,

Never willing to let us be defeated by thought or deed,

Always whispering truth and filling our hearts with love,

We have been redeemed through His Son from above.

Giving thanks to The Lord for all He has done and is doing in the lives of all who love Him. For I know that without Him in our lives, we would not be able to accomplish anything worthwhile. And though the immediate future seems uncertain and dark, my complete faith and trust is in Him, not man or woman–for I know whoever is willing to hear Him speak will obey and do all things to His glory.

The glory of The Lord covers us like a veil when we are walking the path He establishes for us and when we stray–even for a moment–we can count on His loving arms to pull us back–so nothing the enemy plans for us will ever prosper.

No, there is not one perfect human being among us, but even though we are flawed, when we are willing to obey His Word and live it on a daily basis as a demonstration of who He is and not who we are, we remain in the shelter of His love.

There is none like Him–none who carries our burdens when we give them to Him; none who loves us even when we are unlovable and none who forgives us for our waywardness, giving us chance after chance to get things right with Him.

If we have never received His love, now would be a good time–to turn to Him and away from all those things that keep us from receiving His many benefits. When we are filled with His love, we don’t have room for hate in our hearts. When we are filled with His love, compassion for others drives us to do whatever we can to help our neighbors and others in need. When we are filled with His love, we do not seek fame and glory or recognition for the things we do for we know whatever we do–He sees and rewards.

There is no need for us to wallow in self-pity or fear or unbelief. We simply need to be reminded that we have a Savior and Redeemer and His name is Jesus. Let the Redeemed of the Lord, say so! I am redeemed!

Don’t Let Fear Mislead!

Don’t Let Fear Mislead!

The LORD has taken away your punishment, he has turned back your enemy. The LORD, the King of Israel, is with you; never again will you fear any harm. On that day they will say to Jerusalem, “Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.” “I will remove from you all who mourn over the loss of your appointed festivals, which is a burden and reproach for you At that time I will deal with all who oppressed you. I will rescue the lame; I will gather the exiles. I will give them praise and honor in every land where they have suffered shame. At that time I will gather you; at that time I will bring you home. I will give you honor and praise among all the peoples of the earth when I restore your fortunes before your very eyes,” says the LORD. Zephaniah 3:15-20 NIV

Our trust and allegiance should be to The Lord only.

It is The Lord who makes a way out of no way.

It is The Lord who knows all about us and it is The Lord who determines the end from the beginning. In the midst of all that is happening around–we who know The Lord, have no need to fear the rumor-mongers, the hate-mongers or the fear-mongers for their job is to create fear and doubt to control those who refuse to hear God.

So why are Believers fearful? When we listen to the wrong sources–those sources who do nothing all day long except create doubt and fear–those who listen, eventually become fearful and all they know to do is to promote fear. This is a trick of the enemy and fear–when allowed to control a person’s thinking–always leads to devastating consequences.

If perfect love–unconditional love–casts fear aside, why are people allowing fear to creep into their hearts and minds and rule? Is their action a result of an absence of love? Or is it that they have believed the enemy and are afraid that their numbers will be diminished by those they hate?

We are in need of a Savior and for those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior–we’re good. We have no need for a man or a woman to save us. But for those who don’t know–salvation does not come through a mere human being and nothing they say will save us from the destruction ignited from people living in fear.

Fear causes people to do stupid things. They kill without thinking for they think everyone is against them. They malign others to deflect attention from themselves. They shriek instead of talking to people because the tone instills fear in others–making them believe the worst is about to befall us. Where fear reigns–Love is absent.

Don’t be mislead by fear–especially the fears that are manufactured by fear-mongers who only want to control your mind and soul. Fill your heart with God’s love to overflowing and allow that overflow to spread like a wildfire so others will know Love.

There’s no need to fear–anyone or anything–when the love of Christ resides in our hearts.

Humility!

Humility!

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. Proverbs 15:33 KJV

Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility. Proverbs 18:12 KJV

In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5 NIV

By definition–humility is not an act–an attempt to fool others, but it is the essence of sincerity demonstrated by what we say or do. Per the dictionary–the quality or condition of being humble; modest opinion or estimate of one’s own importance, rank, etc.

When we are truly sincere–saying or doing–from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks–and we don’t have to tell anyone, we are being sincere, they’ll know it by what they see or hear.

Solomon reminds us that when we have reverential fear–respect–of The Lord, we receive instruction from Him because He is the only wise person and then when we act upon the instructions given, we do not need to boast of anything–bringing attention to ourselves, but we always point people in the direction of Him and He then allows to be honored by mankind. Solomon also tells us that when a person experiences destruction (defeat) it is because of their haughty heart–arrogance in their thinking themselves superior to others. This is especially true of those who think they are a “savior” and promote themselves as such, saying things like, “I’m the only one who can fix all the wrong in the world.”

There is only one Savior and His job has already been completed on the cross. But He has given us power to do all things well through Him. When we acknowledge that it is His grace, mercy and goodness that guided us in all we do that honors Him, He honors us with favor from all we meet. Walking in God’s favor, without drawing attention to self, is the greatest knowledge in the world to me–and I know–without living to please Him, I cannot walk in His favor.

How does God honor us? I cannot speak for others, but I can certainly speak to what He’s done for me. I have obtained jobs–positions for which I did not meet the criteria–initially–but His favor was showered upon me and not only did I get the jobs, but I learned quickly and was promoted into other positions. Instead of bragging about me, I expressed an interest in the job and learning all I could to be a benefit to the place where I worked. At one job, because of my ability to get things done, within the my first year of being with the company, a promotional position was created–just for me–in order for them to adjust my salary based upon my worth to them (so my boss at that time said). That’s God’s favor–not my ability. All I did was what I knew to do.

When we are truly humble–we don’t need to broadcast, “I mean it sincerely, believe me”, rant or rave in order to get attention. God already knows our heart and when we honor Him in what we say and do, He honors us with His favor. We don’t have to beg for it or pray for it–He simply gives.

Humility–is also not a “tone of voice” especially when the words we speak have not changed their tone. We can whisper hateful, spiteful words and that is not a show of humility. True humility considers the words before they are spoken, before they hit the airwaves and are mindful of those who are going to hear them. We can shout our praise for God and demonstrate humility because it’s not about us, but about Him.

Understanding who He is and all He has done for us, ignites humility in all who love Him because our desire is to please Him and not ourselves.