Pause, Ponder, Pray = Power

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I know its been awhile since I’ve last wrote. Let me apologize for that. I know many of you have visited and reread a lot of my posts. Many of you have asked when I will start posting again. Its been a hectic few months. While that is NO excuse, I emphasize..its been a hectic few months with moving my family to Alabama, traveling for 6 non-stop weekends for ministry or family-related things.

Tonight, for the first time as a representative of the Deaf Ministries of Alabama, I got the first chance to experience what the Alabama Baptist State Convention was all about. We met in Daphne, Alabama which is near the southern end of Alabama.

The theme was “P.R.A.Y.” which was inspiring for me because if you don’t already know…I am what most people call a “prayer warrior.” The convention broke it down into four simple areas:

  • Pardon us for our sin
  • Renew a right spirit within us
  • Accept our adoration and praise
  • Yoke us together in sacrifice and service

All of the sessions were focused on prayer and renewal.

Tonight…. was different for me.

As I sat in tonight’s session, Brother Ronnie Floyd released a message that challenged me in a way that I’ve never experienced before in any other non-Deaf conference.

First question out of him was “What is the number one issue that Alabama is experiencing in the ministry field?” My head starting rolling out ideas such as discipleship, willingness to serve, people not giving enough money to the church, accountability, etc.

And then we read from Acts 1. Specifically in Acts 1:4 which says,

“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and your will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea, and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Think about that for a minute….”but you WILL receive POWER…”

How often do we try to do things WITHOUT His power? How do we get this power? Theres a method thats described in Acts 1:14. It says:

“All those with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer…”

If you read before and after that…you will learn that for 10 days straight…with 120 people….with one another….like-minded….they PRAYED

120 people….10 days straight…..1 mission….PRAYER

I am amazed by that…our churches have been missing the point of ministry. We cannot and SHOULD not be doing ministry UNLESS we start with prayer.

God can do more in a moment’s time more that you can do in your whole lifetime!

So…lets pause for a moment….and ponder on that…

If we pray with a heart on fire to serve Him, we will receive His power!

 

And on the 8th day, God says, “I got this!” *patting his chest repeatedly*

I know that scripture doesn’t teach that really happened on the 8th day, we don’t really know what happened on the 8th day except that life went on after the creation of the earth, skies, waters, stars, animals, Adam & Eve, etc.

But I can visualize after the fall of man, God shook His head in disappointment and raised His head back up and said with assurance, “I got this!” while repeatedly patting his chest. Disappointment in our Christian lives sometimes leads to something better.. in this case, Adam was the disappointment and many years later, Jesus came to clean it up (so to speak).

But how often, do we say that to ourselves or to our family & friends…when a problem comes up or a situation seems impossible, we look to the skies and say “I know You are with me…”I got this!”

Have you ever had the thought that sometimes things are just unbearable? I have in my physical mind, but in my spiritual sense, never.

God teaches us in Isaiah 40:10 “Do not fear, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand”

God also teaches us in Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart…”

I often seen people hold their heads down because of decisions in their life. Or financial reasons. Or family issues. Or marriage issues.. How often we we raise our heads high to the skies and say what I normally say “I know You are with me, WE got this!”

  • If God can create a world so vast in 6 days for us, don’t you think He can take care of your problems too?
  • If God can make the Red Sea part and allow His people to cross over into freedom, why should we doubt Him now?
  • If God can become the air and come behind the stone that was flying towards Goliath’s forehead, why doubt Him now?

I often  wonder what this world would be like, if we raise our heads MORE than we drop our heads in doubt… thats a thought to ponder about.

Until next time…may YOU raise your heads to the heavens NOW…no matter what you are going through at this moment…God has got this!

“Time to Rebuild”

brokenfaith-980x735Sunday, September 14th was a milestone in our lives. The Lord blessed us with a new Deaf Ministry to serve at under Highview Baptist Church. While the excitement and joy of serving never leaves me, I was reminded of a few things while I watched the people converse, fellowship, and making discussion during the lesson.

I was reminded that there is always a time to “rebuild”

Think about that for a moment…to rebuild….

Several definitions for this word could be: to build something over again….to strengthen again…to replace with something better….to repair…..

I mentioned and challenged the group several times but am reminded that the word also is a challenge to myself.

What can I rebuild? Of course, my own knowledge and power, I am nothing without God’s assistance. But I began to realize, what does God want me to rebuild?

I know that in the last three years since my last time serving at a local church for Deaf ministry….the community for the Deaf needs to be rebuilt. Through faith in actions. Its not enough to just speak and show them what God’s Words says…..we have to be aggressively showing our actions.

i shared three scriptures with the group that helped me also to consider the best way to rebuild anything that God puts in front of me…

2 Chronicles 7:14 says:  and if my people who are called by my name become humble and pray, and look for me, and turn away from their evil ways, then I will hear them from heaven. I will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

Isaiah 40:31 says: But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired.”

Matthew 15:8 says: “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me..”

Those verses help me to realize that the best and ONLY way Jesus expects me to rebuild anything is by humbling myself, praying, seeking Him, and turning away from my sinful ways as it mentions in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Jesus also expects me to TRUST in Him so that He will give me strength to continue working on my relationship with Him and with others as it mentions in Isaiah 40:31.

But the most important thing that Jesus desires is for me to make sure my heart and my actions line up. In order to rebuild something the way that Jesus wants, I must have show my faith, not just talk about it. My heart and my talking about it must produce actions….faith in action.

So…challenge to you…how and what do you need to rebuild in your life?  Relationships with friends? family? Maybe you need to rebuild your trust and faith in Jesus…why not start today? May the Lord bless you as you humble yourself, pray, seek after Him, and TRUST in Him always.

How to Be a Godly Example? – Listen to Warning Signs

You know when I was 18 years old, I bought my first car. It was a 1986 Chevrolet Eurosport. Black and silver with red trim. Now the car wasn’t all that great, but to me it represented freedom! I was 18 years old, with a car, and no limits. I was excited. I drove around for the first few months and then BAM…it happened. “A blinking light” Have you ever had those before? Especially the one that says “SERVICE ENGINE SOON” That’s the one that I got. For days, I tried to see what was wrong but didn’t find anything. So I got to thinking, ‘it’s a malfunction that triggered the light to remain on. So in trying to not be annoyed by the light, I got a piece of electric tape….and covered the light on my dashboard. Mission accomplished. I have ignored the annoying issue and I can be on my way. Awesome!  But evidently, that didn’t work. My car would need a major repair later on. All because why? I ignored the warning signs.

You know, in our Christian lives….in our daily walk with God….God gives us “warning signs” as well. Now they not be a “SERVICE ENGINE SOON” light but these warning signs are brought before you for a reason. The real reasons for the signs may not be revealed until later but they do ask you to do something, rather than ignore it. God may be asking you to do several things: (1) Its time to make a change (2) Its time to seek for help in your situation (3) Its time to ACT before it’s too late.

One of the first earliest warning signs that God gave to us was from Adam & Eve’s time. Where the Lord warned them both not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge (Genesis 2:16-17)…but while they knew of the warning, they ignored it which led to “sin”.

The next example was used through their children, Cain & Abel in Genesis 4:2-8.

2 “Now Abel kept flocks, and Cain worked the soil. 3 “In the course of time, Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord.”4 “But Abel brought fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering”5  “but on Cain and his offering, He did not look with favor. So Cain was angry and his face was down.”6  “The the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry?” Why is your face so down”7  If you do what is right, you will be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is
waiting for you..it WANTS to have you to do wrong, but you must control it”

And we all know how that story ended up…

8  “Now Cain said to his brother Abel, “Lets go out to the field.” And while they were in the field Cain attacked and killed his brother Abel”

God sent a warning in Verse 7. He said “Cain, if you do not do what is right, SIN is waiting for you and it wants you to do wrong..you must control it”… But Cain missed the warning…he didnt control himself, and eventually it led to sin…Cain had put some “electrical tape” on God’s voice, so to speak.

  • This is why marriages a destroyed….God warns us about something….and we ignore it
  • This is why friendships are destroyed….either one or both miss the warning signs
  • This is why families are broken up….we do not pay attention to the “blinking lights” to warn us

The lights and the warnings are recognized AFTER its too late….

So how do we as Christians listen and recognize our “warning signs?” There are several ways:

(1) Gods Word at the right time

Have you ever noticed sometimes when you go to church, you had just experienced something bad and you are seeking a way to get over it. And when you get into church, the pastor preaches a sermon that felt like it was exactly designed for YOU? God speaks to us at the right time, when we need it.

Or sometimes, when we are around friends or family…who do not know what we are going through at the moment. And a conversation pops up that is exactly the same as your situation and God uses the people in that room to give you the answer you need. God speaks through people to speak to us at the right time, when we need it.

(2) Example of Others around us

It is interesting. Long after Cain had murdered his brother, Abel. Long after Cain himself had passed away. People in the New Testament were warning people NOT to be like Cain. In 1 John 3:12, “Do not be like Cain who belonged to evil and murdered his brother”

People were warning others not to follow Cain’s way.  Sort of like today, “Dont do things your way, do it the way God would want you to”  Have you ever had friends who did something and it turned out to be a big mess? And when it was your turn to do the exact same thing, you started to do the same routine that your friend did UNTIL someone warned you, don’t go that way…go a different way.  We learn from the mistakes of other people and follow the examples of the ones who do right in God’s eyes.

(3) Positive Words from Others

Many of our friends sometimes see the “warnings” before you see them yourselves. For example, a relationship that is starting to become serious, your friend finds out that your date is misusing you for wrong reasons. Should we value the feedback of our friends? Sometimes they hurt, sometimes they help. But God uses people to share positive words with us to help us improve something.

Or maybe God uses people to give you the right words at the right time. Or maybe God uses people to help you to realize whats more important at that time.

When I was 9 years old, I had written my father a letter that was for Father’s Day. While I was at church with my mother, my dad would stay home and had no interest in church. In Sunday School, the kids were asked to write a letter to our fathers.  Here is what mine said:

“Happy Father’s Day, Dad”

“I want you to know that Jesus loves you”

“I want you to go to heaven with me because if you don’t I will miss you”

“All the other’s kids dads go to church, why can’t you come too?”

“I love you so much”

“Love, Steven”

God had used me to give a warning sign to my dad. To invite him to church, to witness to him, and to show love. later on that year, my dad had come to church and he had accepted Jesus as his personal Savior.

Sometimes God will send a pastor to help or a friend. But sometimes God will send a child too. Maybe your own children.

What are some of the “warning signs” that your friends KNOW about and has warned you about but you have continued to ignored?

  • Drinking problems that is coming in between your relationship with people?
  • Gambling problems that is causing financial stress on your family?
  • Bitterness and anger towards a person that is causing you health problems?
  • Having no accountable partner for your porn addiction problems?
  • Marriage problems that is causing you to be more distant from each other?

Many early warning signs are there and easy to recognize, do you have some “electric tape” on it to ignore it?

(4) Bad Experiences that God allows to Happen

This is something that no one wants to experience but unfortunately, it has to happen sometimes.  Ignoring the warning signs , we will end up experiencing something bad and God tells us, “this is only a small part of what it will be like if you continue to ignore me”

For example, you have a great job…..It takes all of your time, you are always tired…never having time for family, friends, church….your wife/husband is always upset about you working more hours…and then it happens…you lose the job. While you may be upset at God for the moment…maybe we need to understand that maybe God allowed it to happen before it got worse for you… God gave you early warning signs when you was not at home as much as you should have been…your family missing you, your kids missing you….your responsibilities at church were not being done because you was too tired or had to work that day. God knows whats best for you and allowed you to not go any further in that direction. He took you out and brought you into a new path.

Proverbs 20:30 says it all…”Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways”

Sometimes God allows small damage to happen before the BIG damage happens..

here are some questions for you to ask yourself today to help you think maybe you are ignoring some “warning signs”

  1. Is your life so busy, that you need to slow down?
  2. What is the top priority in your life now?
  3. When’s the last time you had a real one-on-one time with God?
  4.  Are the friends you hang out with, are they “godly” people?
  5. Do the friends you hang out improve you as a Christian?
  6. Are you spending your money the way God wants you to?
  7. Do your friends know that you are a Christian? or are you like them?
  8. Parents…are your kids hungry for your attention?
  9. Are your kids missing you at home?
  10. Whats preventing you from spending more times with your kids?
  11. Are you teaching your kids about the Bible?
  12. Are you praying with your family?
  13. Marriages…is your relationship stressing?
  14. What is causing that stress in your relationship?
  15. Have you sought help for your situation?
  16. Are you ignoring your problems to make each other happy?

Friends…God is speaking to you now….

“But if you do not do what is right, sin is waiting for you..it WANTS to have you to do wrong. but you must control it” (Genesis 4:7)

How do you control it? How do you get past your feelings? How do you relieve all of that stress?

This can be done in two simple steps:

  1. TRUST IN GOD
  2. Remove your “electric tape” off of God’s warnings.

Ready….Set…..Go….  may you be blessed in your next step….

Life Lessons from a Pencil

Often times Jesus used common place things to teach great biblical truths.

In Luke 12, Jesus uses the Birds of the air to teach that God is in control and that he will take care of his children.
With that in mind I would like us to consider tonight the lessons that we can learn from an everyday object.

I want you to go and find a pencil…right now. At first glance it seems not important, but I believe that it has more to do with our Spiritual life than we may know.

(1)  The first thing that I notice is that it was designed for a purpose.
A. The purpose of the pencil is for writing down information.
B. We were also designed for a purpose. God has a purpose for me

Romans 12:1-2 says:                                                                                                                                                                                         “I urge you to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

(2)  The next thing I notice is that it was purchased with a price.
A. Just as I spent money to give this pencil to you A price was paid for you.
B. We were purchased through the blood of a sinless Savior

I Corinthians 6 19-20 says:                                                                                                                                                                            “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.

(3)  Has a trademark that identifies it from all other Companies
A. Just like you can look at this pencil and know that it came from Office Depot,
B. There are things that mark us as Christians that show that we are possessions of our creator.

1. Love John 13:35 says:                                                                                                                                                                        “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

C. We impress people of the one whose mark we use.
1. Just like if we were to sharpen these pencils and try to write with them only to have the lead break every time we put it on the paper, or the pencil will not be sharpened we would get a bad impression of Office Depot and their products.
2. People will look at us, our actions and reactions and get an impression of our master.

(4)  As it performs its task it is used up.

2 Corinthians 12:15 says:                                                                                                                                                                                   “So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.”

(5)  It leaves a mark
A. As you move the pencil across your paper or your hand it will leave a mark.                                                                                   B. We do the same

The people we come in contact with on a daily basis weather casual or a prolonged meeting will leave us a different person.
They will either be upset or mad because we treated them unfairly or they will leave us better because we showed them the Love of God.

The question is the world a better place because of our lives?

(6)  It’s the inside of the pencil that is most important
A. No matter how attractive it is a pencil is useless unless it will write.
B. God tells us often that He is interested in our hearts, that is important.

1 Corinthians 13: 1-3 says:                                                                                                                                                                         “I may speak in different languages of people or even angels. But if I do not have love, I am only a noisy bell or a crashing cymbal. I may have the gift of prophecy. I may understand all the secret things of God and have all knowledge, and I may have faith so great I can move mountains. But even with all these things, if I do not have love, then I am nothing. I may give away everything I have, and I may even give my body as an offering to be burned. But I gain nothing if I do not have love.”

(7)   It can only erase it’s mistakes by bowing it’s head low.

Luke 18: 14 says:                                                                                                                                                                                “All who make themselves great will be made humble, but all who make themselves humble will be made great.”

Conclusion:

There are many similarities but there is also a ONE great difference.

(1)         The pencil must do whatever the owner decided.
(2)          God has given us a choice

Romans 12:1-2 says:                                                                                                                                                                             I urge you to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

 Difference is YOU have a SOUL…..The question is…. what will you do with your soul?

Heading out….

Next week, I will be heading out of town to my parents for a couple of days to meditate, study, and spend some time with the Lord as I prepare for traveling to Knoxville, Tennessee to preach a revival on August 5-7. I also will be practicing music for my upcoming 212jam concert on August 7 too. If you happen to be in the Knoxville area or know of some deaf people or interpreters who live in that area, please pass the word on to people about the 212jam concert. If you are not familiar with my ministry, please go look at the website www.212jam.org.

In the meantime, here is a small glimpse of what the revival theme will be. I will not reveal anything more about it until AFTER the revival weekend.

Thoughts for today

Today will be a busy day for me and I thought to do a post on here first before I get started with my day.

Just a few days ago was our 3 year anniversary of the Deaf Church (March 22, 2008). And while I felt like celebrating, instead….I went to God’s Word to have an extra devotion time. The scripture that I got stuck on was this:

Ecclesiastes 9:10 “whatever you hands finds to do, do it with all of your might…”

To tell you the truth…this is true for many people. I cannot remember the last time that I had “idle hands”.  My hands have constantly been doing something for God for the past 13 years. Whether its ministering to my family, ministering to a deaf person, ministering to my parents, ministering to my children, singing worship songs for a revival, teaching a workshop at a conference, praying with people, preaching, teaching, leading, whatever… I wouldn’t know what a person is like with “idle hands” …

God gives us the ability to do “something” for Him…. in each of us after we have received salvation through Him, is a gift. And that gift or ability is to be used to enhance, enthrone, and embrace Him more in every possible way.

Another scripture that I recall from a few weeks ago related to this is: James 1:22 which says…“Be doers of the Word, not just listeners” Rather than listening what God says….take it and use it and DO something….

Idle hands or a better word, hands that do not commit fully are not effective because Jesus is clear in Luke 9:62

“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God”

So today…I want you, who is reading this now, ask yourself this question…..

  1. What are my hands doing now for God?
  2. What is my level of commitment?
  3. What is causing me to “look back” while I am using my hands for God?

May your hands do good…may you do it with all of your might….may you be doers, not listeners only… and may you “plow” with your eyes forward, never looking back….

Devotion from Friday’s Deaf Social @ Graceland

Gas Mileage?

Graceland Baptist Church                                                                                                                                        Deaf Social Message                                                                                                                                                March 18th, 2011

Good evening…. Good to be here with you guys. I was asked to share a short devotion tonight with you. Some of you knowing me, I don’t know the meaning of a “short message”…we ministers tend to not think of time.

But usually when I do something short like this…I go into something that I use for my facebook videos which is a three part:

STORY / BIBLE VERSE / CHALLENGE

STORY:

  1. How many of you have a car?
  2. How many of you drive a lot?

Now the big question…it is an embarrassing question….

How many of you have ever ran out of gas in your car?

  • I remember one time, I was helping with Vacation Bible School.
  • I was a leader for the Kindergarten class. I had 8 boys to myself.
  • Monday…II had to drive 30 minutes to the church….I checked the gas…”oh plenty of gas!”
  • Tuesday…I check the gas….”Oh plenty of gas”
  • But the next day, I did not even bother to look…I was so busy
  • And then it happened….I ran out of gas.
  • Imagine how I felt…calling for help….I was embarrassed!

SCRIPTURE:

The scripture that I want to use here is Romans 12:2:

2: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

CHALLENGE:

  • As I was sitting in my car waiting for a friend to bring me some gas, I was thinking
  • I was thinking of ways to AVOID running out of gas again….you know what the easiest way is?  TO NEVER DRIVE MY CAR AGAIN.
  • It would be full all the time, right?
  • Its easy for the car to run out of gas if we don’t think about it
  • It is the same with SPIRITUAL feeding…
  • If you do not take care of your spiritual “gas”…it will run out.
  • If you just stay home, not go to church, not go to bible studies at your church, not pray, not read your Bibles…. Your gas will be run out.
  • When you go to church…you have plenty of gas
  • When you get up Monday…check your gas…
  • When you get up Tuesday…check your gas
  • When you get up wed…check your gas
  • When you get up Thursday, check your gas
  • When you get up Friday, check your gas

Do not forget about it….

That verse teaches us to “RENEW” everyday…

If we want to grow more in our spirit and faith, we need to keep our “GAS” tank full

When we stop thinking about it or checking it, we end up in trouble.

Neglecting Our Weeds

There’s a story that I learned about a few years ago from a conference I went to…the story was about a young lady who had arrived at her home late one day and noticed a few bees flying around in the attic area outside her home. She didn’t think nothing about it so she just let it go, didn’t care about it. Over the next few weeks, she still noticed the bees coming in and out of her attic area outside of her home. But you know what? Her attic in her home became a live home for the bees and there was honey building up. So what happened? The ceiling floor collapsed and the bees became angry. The woman was fine and had no serious injuries but the repairs for the attic were more than she could handle.

That is a good example for some of us here tonight. When we are faced with a problem or situation that we just do not want to handle at the moment, we LET IT GO, we put it off, we ignore the situation until it becomes too late…when our “repairs become too much to handle in the end”

Neglect is a strong word and is used in many situations. Husband or wife neglect, children neglect, responsibilities neglected, opportunities neglected. Homes neglected for not taking care of it or outside of the homes too. What about a garden? (How many of you have gardens?) My parents had one when they were living here before they retired and moved to Bowling Green. Taking care of gardens is pretty hard work. I remember when I used to help them pick green beans, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, watermelons, and then we also had “weeds”

Weeds are a pain in the butt. They never stop growing. No matter how many times we went out to that garden, it seemed like everyday, we had to pull them out. And I never understood at first, why was it so important to remove the weeds? I mean it looked just like a normal piece of grass and why all the extra work for a few pieces of grass? So as I learned that weeds can do damage to your garden, I was reminded of a parable that Jesus told in Matthew 13: 24 – 29.

24 “The Jesus used another story to teach them. Jesus said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man that planted good seed in his field. 25 That night, all the people were asleep. The man’s enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat. Then the enemy went away. 26 Later the wheat grew and the also the weed plants grew too. 27 Then the man’s servant came to him and said, “You planted good seed in your field. Where did the weeds come from?” 28 The man said, “An enemy planted weeds” “The servants asked, ‘ do you want us to go pull the weeds out now?” 29 the man answered, “No, because when you pull up the weeds, you might also pull up the good wheat. 30 Let the weeds and the wheat grow together until the harvest time. At the harvest time, I will tell the workers this: first gather up the weeds and tie them together to be burned. Then gather the wheat and bring it to my barn”

Jesus was emphasizing a few things in this story that is related to our own individual lives..

#1 We all have a good seed in ourselves (which is Jesus no matter how it was done)
#2 We all have weeds (your situation, grief, problems with family, friends, job, financial, etc)

#3 We all have a decision to make…Pull the weeds at the right time or never pull the weeds

You know back then they didn’t have electricity, which was before my time, they had oil lamps to light up a room. If it was really clean, one oil lamp had a great potential to light up an entire room very good. But if it was dirty or wasn’t cleaned up well, it wouldn’t light up as well.

That is the same concept as WEEDS….

If you continue to NEGLECT your WEEDS, your WEEDS will hurt you someday. And you will not be able to light up a room as Jesus would want you to. I struggle with my “weeds” everyday on something new whether it is financial, handling a problem related to my kids, house issues, car issues, problems with friends, problems with my wife…but I do know for sure..I have one set of weeds that I do not have to handle anymore, because I have already picked them out and Jesus took care of the rest for me. You know its interesting…sometimes in our deepest and hardest struggles, we turn our situations into our own sanctuary. We cry out for help and the weeds begin to be picked little by little.

In front of this computer now, I want to think for yourself of your own evaluation of your weeds. The question is: “What weeds am I neglecting today?” …meaning what weed do I need to take care of now….maybe is it a person you need to solve a problem with, maybe it is something that you are struggling with from your past like I was, or maybe you have weeds in your relationship with God but I challenge you to make a wise decision to pull your weeds out and let Jesus take care of the rest. Your weeds are never too much for Him. He planted that good seed and He did not intend for them weeds to damage that good seed.

New Year…New Goals…Taking it Serious!

Last week, we talked about the word “TAKING”. We also talked about GOALS… Every New Years Eve, we talk about GOALS…”RESOLUTIONS” to help us improve ourselves for the next year. Such as:

(1) Losing weight. We watch what we eat and then we go to the YMCA to work out, but then after a few weeks, we give up and go to McDOnalds because noone is looking! The goal becomes NO GOOD, because we quit.

(2) Promotion at work. When the boss is around, we work harder to impress them. But when the boss is not around, we become lazy and use excuses to not do the work. The goal to get a promotion becomes no good, because we dont keep up with what we plan to do.

(3) Marriages to improve. The husband or the wife agrees to spend more time with each other. But eventually their talk becomes cheap because we dont stick to what we agree to do. Its easy to TALK…but its not easy to ACT. The goal to spend more time together gets easily distracted because of work, or friends…and then it becomes NO GOOD.

I want to share with you FOUR ways that you can COMMIT to stick to your GOALS and TAKING IT SERIOUS…HOW?

(1) COMMIT TO FORGETING YOUR PAST MISTAKES

Many years ago, Paul told his people “Forgetting what is behind and looking foward to future, I press forward to the goal for what God has called me to in Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:13-14)

All of us are used to looking to the past…. you know…when we look in the past….sometimes its hard to move forward. We tend to use our past to blame people. God doesnt want us blaming people. How do we forget our past mistakes? LET IT GO…. If we are going to be serious in our GOALS…..we need to start by making our past mistakes become our past…do not carry them to NOW or into the future…LET IT GO

Maybe you need to LET IT GO with your parents? or friends? Start the new year off the right way!

(2) COMMIT TO GIVE UP GRUDGES (dwelling on what people hurt you)

Pay attention to this verse: ” Bear with each other and forgive each other whatever happens to you. Forgive as the Lord forgives you” (Colossians 3:13)

Notice it says “forgive as the Lord forgives you” that means …you have no choice. You have to forgive others because God forgived you. what is a grudge? It is an “unforgiving spirit” that causes unforgiving attitudes that leads to unforgiving actions. It is almsost like facebook….when you see something you like…you sometimes click “LIKE” but with people, sometimes we see something we do not like….we pick “DISLIKE” about that person…. that is almost same as a grudge.

But let me tell you: grudges destroy marriages…..grudges destroy families…..grudges destroy friendships…..and…are you paying attention? GRUDGES DIVIDES A CHURCH……hmmmmmm thats true…. we have people in our church and people in other churches that have “grudges” against people INSIDE the church… is that good?

NO GRUDGES are Satan’s work….not God’s GRUDGES do not help us in our life….it causes health problems, it causes bitterness, and it causes us to have a bad attitude towards other……and then it causes us to DISOBEY God in many areas. If you are holding a grudge against anyone in your church….you need to LET IT GO…when you LET IT GO….you will have peace and feel better…trust me, I know becasue I have experienced it myself

(3) COMMIT TO HEAL YOUR RELATIONSHIPS (friends & family)

Look at this verse: “If it is possible, depending on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18)

You notice the middle of the verse says “depending on you” How hard is it for you to tell someone “I am sorry” ?

Its tough sometimes… What if YOU are right….do you still swallow your pride and say I am sorry anyway? What would Jesus do? Some of your friendships and your relationships with people have been destroyed why? sometimes it is something that YOU do to them…. you borrowed money and didnt pay it back? Did you gossip about them? Did you hurt them and never asked them for forgive? Did someone hurt you and you refused to forgive them? Will you be the bigger person and do what God expects of you?

(4) COMMIT TO TURN AWAY FROM SIN

 “Do not let sin control the way that you live..” (Romans 6:2)

often….when we are involved in sin and our own wordly pleasures…we do not recognize God or His Word. We dont really THINK about God and what He thinks about what we are doing.

In the Army….we tend to see the general or captain frequently yelling out orders when people are marching. there is one command that we need to remember…its called “ABOUT FACE”

ABOUT FACE actually means to look the opposite direction of where you WAS facing…. In other words, if God yells “ABOUT FACE” to you…. He demands us to turn away from SIN and look TO HIM Like what, you ask?

  • Are you secretly looking at porn XXX on computer? ABOUT FACE!
  • Are you abusing your wife? ABOUT FACE!
  • Are you involved in sexual sin? ABOUT FACE!
  • Are you involved in something that God would not approve? ABOUT FACE!

the challenge is….we need to do things GOD’s WAY…. when we set goals for this year….we need to do things GOd’s way…not our way.

So….our challenge today is:

  1. Will you commit to forget your past mistakes?
  2. Will you commit to let go of your “grudges”?
  3. Will you commit to heal your relationships / friendships?
  4. Will you commit to turning ABOUT FACE from sin…and face God more?