Beyond The 4 Walls
May these words encourage your life...
|Posted on January 25, 2017 at 9:35 AM||comments (21)|
How are you doing on this wonderful day? With all of me, I pray that you are having a great day. Also, I hope that your 2017 has been positive and productive so far. Many events have occurred this year - both good and bad! Nonetheless, I really hope that you are encouraged to press on!
The topic of this current blog relates to the mental and verbal stance of the Christian believer - specifically surrounding politics. We live in a world where things are constantly moving and changing. Some of those changes may benefit our life and some may be a heavy burden to our current situation. Regardless of what changes have occurred, the Christian community must resolve to stand solely on the Word of God.
Too often, I find the body of Believers in the physical church shouting the praises of God. Heralding God’s name and His greatness with our voices, we read passages of scripture with such conviction, awe, and authority. We shout Amen when we hear that God’s word is the authoritative voice declaring the beginning and the end. We find a sense of peace in agreeing that God’s word is infallible. What a unified approach to understanding our position as being created in God’s image - beings meant to serve and worship their Creator.
The very presence of God invokes action! “God is a spirit and they that worship Him, must worship in spirit and in truth”. (John 4:24). The life of a believer is a life of service, self-denial, and sacrifice. Understanding this is crucial to being a fruitful believer. Of course, coming into this understanding and practically applying this to one’s life is a process, but at some point there should be evidence of the verbal confession lining up with the actions and choices of the individual. Jesus perfectly illustrates this in Luke 13:6-9. Jesus shows the relationship of time, purpose, identity, and mercy, with the parable of the fig tree. The fig tree was given three years to produce fruit, but it didn’t produce. It was not fruitful. The “dresser” requested of Jesus to give it one more year after Jesus said to cut it down. Jesus said, “Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.”
The emotionally driven Christian is similar to this tree. Christians have time, purpose, identity, and mercy. In addition, we have God’s word, the Holy Spirit, and fellow Christians to encourage us while we are yet living. We do not know when our life will end, but (Colossians 3:17) God’s word encourages us to “do ALL in the name of the Lord”. The fig tree did not have such encouragement. It was created to produce figs.
Christians have purpose! I speak extensively about the purpose for men, women, and children in my American Society and Never Quit books, but the short version is that our purpose is to Glorify our Creator. Exodus 20:3 declares “Thou shalt have no other gods before me”. Christians are to serve God and have Him as number one in our lives. Our identity is also found in Christ! 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirt, which are God’s”. Your mind and your body belongs to God when you accept Christ as your personal savior. How does this verse reflect identity? It reflects identity because it establishes “whose” you are. We then go to Romans 12:2 where we are instructed to not conform to the worlds mode of operation, but to be transformed and align with the will of God. Because of the price that Christ paid, believers have to take on the identity of God. This is not a random choice. Neither is it open for negotiation.
I see and hear many believers that feel as they can do any and everything they want and still be an acceptable child of the King. Unfortunately, there is not a passage of scripture in Gods infallible word that supports this type of thinking. In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” This tells us that this is an expectation of how we conduct ourselves as Christians - aka “Followers of Christ”.
I have been saddened by the bold and public display of the Christian community surrounding the latest presidential campaign and final election results. There is always some type of dramatic controversy within the political arena, and the last presidential election was no exception. The point here is not to dissect the two candidates, but to look at the response of the people.
Again, I want to remind you that the body of Christian believers acknowledge God’s word to be infallible! Some of the actions that were noted during this election season include:
Praying against an individual candidate.
Prophesying that it is God’s will for a particular candidate to win.
Instructing people to leave the country if a particular candidate won.
Instructing people to boycott a particular individual line of products/services.
Encouraging believers to boycott the inauguration.
This course of action from a believer doesn’t seem to line up with biblical teaching. Complaining about circumstances and promoting an atmosphere of discord is contrary to the infallible word of God. Another theme that this type of thinking is in direct contrast to is the adamant disregard and disrespect of authority. Leadership is a theme that flows throughout scripture and the examples we have in God’s word should serve as examples for our lives - especially the life of Jesus Christ. Being a believer in Christ and the member of the Christian community means that you honor God’s word and its AUTHORITY!
Here are a few examples of scriptures that dismiss the course of actions previously mentioned.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.”
Romans 13:1-2 - “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
Colossians 3:23 - “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men”
There is an underlying theme of a focus to the Lord here and a respect for His will. This cannot be ignored by anyone of us. This means that even our thoughts and desires must submit to the authority of God. If not, then we cannot confidently and honestly say that we are doing the will of God. As we think about our feelings and emotions and how we respond to life, consider Isaiah 55:9. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Also, consider 2 Corinthians 10:5 that says, “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to OBEY Christ”. As we pointed out earlier, John 14:15 says, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”.
I know that it can be challenging to acknowledge God in all you do, but it is imperative that you make this a habit in your life. God wants to be a part of everything you experience. He wants to be welcomed into your life. This requires you to focus and be intentional about what you are thinking about, what you are saying, and how you feel like you should respond to the circumstances of life. God loves you!
Revelation 4:11 - “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”
|Posted on September 15, 2016 at 5:25 PM||comments (2)|
The word snitch is a word that is associated with very strong feelings. The associated feelings around this term can and has led to death - at least that is a reality in poor black communities. I would love to learn if the term snitch has such negativity associated with it in other communities. The term snitch is defined as one who is an informer or a thief. This actually is quite humorous considering the context in which is it used. Even without knowing the “definition” of the word you can tell what people mean when they use it. It is usually delivered with some level of disapproval and sarcasm. I did not know that there was a second meaning to this word. Discovering that snitch is also defined as a “thief” is actually right on point with what I see in the black community.
People are called snitches because they report on an injustice that they previously witnessed or experienced personally. This injustice can be in the form of drug dealing, rape, theft, or even murder. Without knowing it, they are actually utilizing the term in both contexts correctly. Those who hate “snitches” label an individual, or group of individuals, who inform others of wrongdoing and they are stealing from their own community by prohibiting those “snitches” to identify the injustice, or evil, they witnessed. There is this warped sense of perceived honor in not exposing laws that have been broken. It’s funny how the “black” community (generally speaking) wants to call on the government to provide them with food, finances, and shelter, but they refuse to call upon the government to handle issues where the laws are broken.
Please hear my heart here! I understand that there is a trust issue between the “system”, which includes the police, but what long term benefit is there to keeping silent about something illegal? We are living in real time, not a fantasyland void of consequences to our actions. Taking the law into your own hands is a choice you could make, but how many times will you be able to do that before that is no longer and option?
As a community of black people, we must do better! If you want to rise above the pressure of society and the “system”, you must seek to educate yourself! By no means have I arrived, but I have an understanding of the bigger picture and I adjust according to what this society deals me – without compromising my character and integrity. This was a process for me to get accustomed to! I use to complain about the injustices that I experienced first hand. I spent more time contemplating on the injustices than ways to move beyond them. I learned that if I wanted something different, then I had to do something different.
I believe that God created the heavens, the earth, and man! Everything that God created was created with a beneficial purpose in mind – INCLUDING YOU! You do have purpose to your life and part of your purpose is learning to do things in order! Doing what is right does not minimize your character, but adds to it. Doing want is right does not make you weaker, but in fact, it makes you stronger. The more you do the right thing, the easier it becomes! Do not allow the pressures of society to prohibit you from doing the right thing.
|Posted on September 1, 2016 at 6:10 PM||comments (5)|
It has been sometime since my last blog, but it has not been a long period of time where I have shared with others. I have experienced the love and protection by God my savior in so many ways since my last entry. I felt that it was important to share with those whom I interact with online.
Wherever you find yourself at this point in life, I want to encourage you to thank God for life! You may not have everything that you want or even need, but you are in the land of the living and there is an opportunity for the voids in your life to be realized. You may be thinking that there is so much going on that it makes anything positive seem like an impossiblity. Trust me, I know that struggles are real because I have been through them and find myself in some challenging times even as I type this blog. Despite those realities, it simply boils down to your ability to refocus and redirect your thinking.
What you focus on most becomes the clearest to you. When the balance of the bills exceed your total take home pay, you can find yourself searching for ways to bridge that gap. When you experience more stress at home than you do at work, you may find yourself looking for ways to stay away from home. When you feel like you are undervalued and unappreciated, you may feel like this is all you can expect from life and it does not seem worth living any longer. If you find yourself married to a unfaithful husband or a controlling wife, you feel divorce is the only option. These are just a few examples of things that you may be experiencing. If these experiences seem to dominate your life, then you are focusing the majority of your attention on these things. Don't get me wrong, it is understandable to see why and how these experiences could dominate your thought life, but they DON'T HAVE TO!
There is a way to peace and that is through Jesus Christ. This may sound so cliche and I would have to agree with you - if this was the end. I believe one of the best gifts we have from God is the ability to choose. Let's say that you are experiencing everything I aforementioned, you can choose to FIND something positive in those experiences. This not easy, especially if you have made a habit of focusing on the negative.
Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."
When you seek the fastest way out of a difficult situation, you do not learn as much as you could about you. We humans are able to endure much more than we think we can. I am not promoting staying in bad situations, but I am promoting that we TRUST GOD as He uses the challenges in our lives to shape us into a person that reflects Godly character. If you have time, take a few minutes and read James chapter 1, verses 2 through 5.
I want you know that GOD WILL PROVIDE!!! I want you to know that you are able to endure challenges that make you uncomfortable! You are able to endure things that makes you sad or angry. If you want to make it, FOCUS ON GOD, find good in others, and see if there is ANYWAY that you can help improve the situation. Sometimes, that may look like you lowering your voice or being honest or saying or doing nothing at all. Each situation is different and you have to TRUST GOD to know what response will benefit the situation!
I love you with the LOVE OF GOD because God is love! I want to see you succeed in the big things of life and the little things of life! If it is important to you, then it is important to me that you are able to successfully navigate through the situations and come out on the other side with peace!
|Posted on January 15, 2016 at 1:00 AM||comments (2)|
We are fourteen days into 2016. How are you doing? Did you write a long list of resolutions that you vowed to complete for this year? If so, I want to encourage you to do your best to keep your word. If you did not make any resolutions, I want to encourage you to continue to grow and develop in whatever you are putting your hands to. We must move forward in what we are doing in life – if we want to be effective. If we aren’t moving forward then we aren’t growing.
Let me clarify what it means to grow and move forward in this life (at least to me anyway). I know that we all have different dreams, desires, victories, and defeats, but I believe we all have that innate desire to move forward in common. Moving forward and growing doesn’t necessarily mean stacking loads of cash. Moving forward doesn’t necessarily mean becoming the best at whatever your job or craft is. Moving forward; however, does mean that you are willing to give your individual best effort to do whatever is before you – without finding it necessary to compare yourself to others.
Competition is okay and can be healthy, but the constant comparing to others leads down the road of never being satisfied or content with what you have to offer and are capable of. If you are reading this, you have made it to another January. You have made it to another New Years celebration. You may be in the same place now that you were last year. So, what is the one thing that you can change that no one but you can control? What is the greatest area of challenge for most of us? It is the battle in our mind to do what we need to do. The battle is to do what we desire to do. The battle is to do what we said we would do. You control your thoughts – unless you have given someone else control over you (and that would be a grave misfortune). If there is one resolution to have, let it be this one – to keep your word.
|Posted on May 18, 2015 at 6:15 PM||comments (2)|
How are your listening skills? Do you find yourself in the same situation and circumstance over and over? For those who are married, are you constantly arguing about the same issue? If you answered yes, then you are not listening! Even if you believe to be right, you are not listening.
We all have disagreements at times, but I’m referring to the constant level of chaos and mental frustration in your life. I challenge you to do the following for the next week and see if you don’t notice a difference in the level of peace in your life.
The consequences of being a poor listener vary from little significance to destruction. An example of not listening that has a small impact would be to not listen regarding your choice of shoes or shorts to a casual weekend event. No one really cares about your choice of clothing because the focus will be on the event itself. On the contrary, exercising poor listening skills during an important discussion with your professor, concerning your final grade may result in you maintaining the grade that current grade versus the one you were petitioning for.
Part of learning to listen includes discerning when your full attention is required. It is important to note that your full attention is NOT ONLY needed when the benefits are in your favor. Listening from that perspective only is selfish. It is a good thing to make sure your affairs are in order, but it is a greater thing to consider the needs of others and that can only be accomplished if you are an effective listener. The following are three ways in which you should know how to listen:
1. With your mind
2. With your heart
3. With spiritual understanding
Let’s clarify how you effectively listen in these three ways using the husband and wife as our model. First, when you listen with your mind, your aim is to understand the logical component of what the situation calls for. I abhor using the term “guilty”, but we (men) are guilty for utilizing this method far too often. We are naturally created to be logical in our thinking, so I do understand that; however, we are not to be one dimensional in our approach to life – especially concerning our wives and family. We are to be as flexible as the Lord needs us to be for any given situation. Thinking with our mind all the time prohibits us from appreciating the matter for everything that it includes. Men, when we deal with our wives, it cannot be all LOGIC because our wives are coming from an EMOTIONAL position. Emotion and logic do not mix all the time because logic is cut and dry. Emotion is involved, understanding, and considerate. Learning to listen with your mind is important, but one dimensional in relating with your spouse. Our wives need us to listen with our hearts, in addition to listening with our mind.
Secondly, listening with your heart enables you to feel or empathize with the emotions of your spouse. When your spouse is having trouble with their boss or having trouble with a co-worker, or anyone, listening with your mind helps you to start the process of understanding the situation. You must move to listening with your heart, so that you can appreciate how this issue is impacting the person. It is from here that you can begin to decipher what some of the underlying issues may be. It also allows you to see where the individual is in their understanding of their current circumstance. Listening with your heart is a key listening skill that you must understand WHEN to implement. If you listen only with you heart, you could miss out on the logical reasoning that come with listening with your mind.
Lastly, the third way to effectively listen is to listen with spiritual understanding. What does that mean? Listening with a spiritual understanding means that you capture all of the logic and emotion of a situation and you submit that through the filter of God’s word. What does God say about the circumstance? How can we find the sovereignty of God’s grace and mercy in the situation? Listening with the intent of hearing the heart of God is the most effective method of listening because it allows you to respond in a manner that is consistent with the character of God. After all, according to Genesis 1:26, we were created in his image.
In a world where so many things are clamoring for our attention, learning to listen is an invaluable skill that we need to develop, if our desire is to be effective workers for God’s kingdom. Make it your personal objective to become a better listener. Improving your listening skills will improve your communication skills.
|Posted on April 8, 2015 at 1:50 PM||comments (2)|
It's been a while since I posted a blog and I have to do better. I am so full right now. There are so many things that need to be written on, so I will start with something that we all need - ACCOUNTABILITY!
American History is full of great events, ideas, and procedures. American History is also filled with even more FOOLISHNESS. When I think about the history of this nation and where we are, I am quickly reminded of the biblical account of the children of Israel. What started out as a promising journey turned into years of self-inflicted rebellion.
I know that if we line up these two examples (America and the children of Israel), we will see that there are numerous differences. With that said, I would like to focus on this fact. As the children of Israel continued to fail test after test, similarly America continues to go through the same mistakes – seemingly not learning from any of them – as did the children of Israel.
The early Americans of this country were supposed believers of God and from what I’ve read, they believed in the “good book”. Along with this noble respect for the Bible, were character traits like elitism and racism that may not have adequately represented Christian values. Despite the advances in education and the perceived victories in basic human rights, we continue to struggle with many of the same old issues. They are simply masked with a new face.
Victories often seemed short lived because opposition and self-gratification are always lurking around for its opportunity to cause confusion. This comes in the form of people wanting to promote an agenda that satisfies their flesh. How else can you explain racism? Racism is one disliking another because of their skin color. Elitism is thinking that you are better than others because of your social status, material worth, or intellect.
In current events, we have another killing by a cop. Granted this is definitely nothing NEW, but it seems to be becoming more frequent. Personally, I am really tired of seeing this and if it wasn’t due to the FLOOD of media coverage, I would not have known about this event so soon. This is why I typically don’t watch the news because it is 99% negativity. At this point, we are beyond race! We have to be beyond race and be at the place of accountability.
Accountability is not allowing you to think and do whatever you want, but is more like a filter. When you are accountable, you have someone to check in with to help you stay on course - when and if you start to deviate from the straight path. We have to hold people (of all ethnic backgrounds) to their actions and judge accordingly. This society we live in is so afraid of judgment because we want to REMAIN in the error of our ways! We like the sin that we allow in our lives and get extremely OFFENDED when someone calls us on it. If you are wrong, then you are wrong. We give children passes because they are immature. Let’s stop giving adults passes due to their own REFUSAL TO HEED TO WISE COUNSEL. Proverbs 12:15 says, “The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that heakeneth unto counsel is wise.”
I’m charging those in LEADERSHIP to be leaders and not “jelly back” individuals holding a TITLE. If that’s all you want to do is hold a title, then I pray that God replaces you with someone who understands the magnitude of holding a positions of power, authority, and influence. We all have a part to play in bringing about positive change and it STARTS with where you are. Be a person of consistency and transparency now. Be a person who does what they say they will do. Be a person that speaks up in the face of foolishness. Forgot about how you FEEL. Feelings get you into trouble if not filtered properly. If you don’t know what to say or do, then let me tell you what to do. DO and SAY what God says!
|Posted on December 31, 2014 at 11:40 PM||comments (0)|
This truly has been a blessed year! I think I must say that every year has been a blessed year because God has kept me. He has kept my family through the ups and downs and I’m sure he has kept yours. I wanted to encourage you to not quit. If you are thinking about quitting DON’T. You will get another chance to right the wrongs, reconsider the decisions, and consider the effect of the consequences. Trust me, people may not want to give you a second chance, but God wants to. Whatever you have faced this year, take solace in knowing that you are here and able to recount those things – favorable or not.
I want to challenge you to not make “resolutions” for 2015. Statistics say that only 8% of those who make resolutions actually achieve them. Resolution is defined as a firm decision to do something. We are all familiar with the typical resolutions of weight loss and increased fitness. Those are good desires to have and I’m by no means discouraging you from exercising and healthy eating. I do want to encourage you to GIVE YOUR BEST and leave the rest up to God! If you can do that, I am confident that you will find a greater level of peace!
God loves you and He has nothing but the best in mind for you. Don’t beat yourself up about not getting the promotion, not getting the house, or not being the most liked. Appreciate what you have and appreciate the process of getting to where you desire to be!
Apply these actions to your life for success!
1. Accept Christ into your life and live for HIM.
2. Do everything unto the Lord!
3. Give without expectation!
4. Love without limits!
I wish the best for you and your family!
Courtney Alexander Harris, PhD
|Posted on December 22, 2014 at 9:05 AM||comments (0)|
Blessings to you and yours! If you an individual who participates in the “holiday season” or not, there is this one thing that remains true for us all. This one constant is the fact that the holiday season can be one of great joy or one of great sorrow. If all your family is present, you have loads of time off from work, and you’re in the position to give gifts to any and all you choose – may you continue to experience the joys of life.
If you don’t anticipate experiencing many (or any) of those joys, this letter is dedicated to you! I have talked with many, and know others personally, who experience sadness and depression during the holidays because of loved one’s who have passed away. When you love someone so dearly and experience life’s ups and downs with them, it’s hard to continue experiencing those joyful times of life without them, especially during the time of year that most people are giving and loving on one another!
I know that it is a hard thing to live without someone you love. I lost my father at a very young age and I often wonder who and where I might be if he were present in my life today. Fortunately, because of God’s love for me, I’ve learned to manage those concerns by having a close relationship with Christ. So, for those that are in that position of loss, I want to encourage you with the following:
1. Acknowledge your loss and go through the process of the pain associated with your loss.
2. Know that although someone is gone from your life that YOU still have worth and purpose!
3. Give all of your hurt and pain to Christ, so that He can be your source of strength.
The last thing I want to do is to make light of anyone’s personal experiences, but I know that you can make! I am confident in this, that if you “keep your mind stayed on God, he will keep you in perfect peace” and that “when you are weak, He becomes strong”. These truths can only become realities in your life, IF you have FAITH to believe God’s word. You won’t just “make it” through because just making it through implies that there may or may not have been victory through the process! You will be VICTORIOUS with the Lord on your side as you continue to live without those loved ones that you lost.
I personally couldn’t encourage you with something that I was unsure of it worked or not! I experienced the loss, I shed the tears, I asked the question of “why”, and I looked envious at others who had what I didn’t and none of that brought me any solace. What brought me comfort was discovering what God said about my circumstance, discovering that He loved me, and that He had a plan for my life. When my MIND was able to comprehend that, I began to become who I needed to be! Again, this is not something that will happen over night! It is natural for humans to grieve with the loss of a loved one. Just know that you cannot stay in a grieving posture forever!
“You can do ALL things through Christ who gives you strength!” Phil 4:13
|Posted on December 19, 2014 at 8:00 PM||comments (5)|
Life can be a very complex experience at times and other times it can be hilariously simple. As adults, we are faced with many decisions that will impact our immediate and future responsibilities. Depending upon where you find yourself in life, some of those decisions may be deemed less important to others and utterly catastrophic to others. The one constant that remains, regardless of one’s viewpoint on the severity of the circumstances, are that decisions need to be made that will bring you peace.
The most important variable of life’s equation is “How will you respond?” When people ask me how am I doing or how are things going, I typically respond with “Great! I can’t complain and even if I did it wouldn't change the situation.” I realize that complaining doesn’t change things. Complaining is simply an opportunity for you to express your dislike or disappointment for what you are going through. If you have the ability to change something, it will require action from you. If a situation is beyond the point of change, even with action on your part, you must accept what the results will be or have become. As hard as it may be, be grateful for the experience and learn from it.
James 1:2 encourages us to “Count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations”. There is a lot of discussion (if you’re listening) today about religion, free choice, atheism, Gnosticism, etc… Many are declaring that religion is a fairy tale and that this god that people are professing (referring to Christians), is nothing to put your hope and trust into. If you are an unbeliever, the purpose of this is not to convince you, but for you to challenge yourself with the experience. I have found that there has been extreme accuracy in the teachings of God’s inspired word. So much so, that it has changed how I respond to even the most challenging situations in life.
THIS IS THE CHALLENGE THAT I POSE TO YOU! If you don’t have a person relationship with Christ, God’s son, then start today by doing the following:
1. Confessing that Jesus Christ is Lord
2. Believing that He was raised from the dead
3. Turn away from the sinful ways in your life
In this world, people want something solid, something tangible that validates their actions or lack thereof. The truth is that the evidence in favor of the validity of God’s word is OVERWHELMING! Too often, we simply take the words of others without doing any research on our own. We want to stay babies and be spoon fed everything necessary to survive in this complex, but simple life. Sadly, that approach to life leaves us extremely limited in our growth and understanding of what really is! I don’t know you, but the following are true statements about YOUR life:
1. YOU cannot number the hairs on your head, but God can.
2. YOU cannot tell anyone when you will breathe your last breath.
3. YOUR life has purpose.
4. The same God who created the heavens and the earth created YOU.
5. I guarantee YOU that a PASSIONATE pursuit after the Lord will bring peace to your life.
A relationship with Christ will greatly effect how you react to situations and respond to people in life. Our society is moving in so many directions right now and MANY people don’t seem to find them favorable. We are seeing the middle class disappear, which has been in discussion for some time. We are continuing to experience economic hardships, bold immorality on all fronts, and an increase in racial injustice. This is the reality of our American Society and there is nothing that you can do to change what the world likes; however, you can be a source of stability in a whirlwind of confusion.
I’m not advocating that you don’t have an opinion and that you don’t have any feeling about what’s going on around you, but I am asking that you be able to stand consistently, transparently, and honestly in the face of it all. This may seem impossible and it is without Christ. “For with God nothing shall be impossible.” Luke 1:37
Having a relationship with Christ makes this all possible. Working a job that pays minimum wage, when you possess multiple advances degrees – POSSIBLE! Feeding your family when your cupboards aren’t as full as they used to be – POSSIBLE! Maintaining your integrity while on a job, at school, in your home, or even at church, while carnality, immorality, and even racism are present – POSSIBLE! “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14. If you can maintain your FOCUS on God and seek to please him alone by being obedient to his word, your Christian walk will greatly effect your Interactions and you will have peace.
|Posted on November 28, 2014 at 11:30 AM||comments (24)|
We are in the “holiday season” according to our Gregorian Calendar system. During this time, I would like to encourage you with the following:
1. Don’t fall into the trap for frivolous spending - If you can’t afford it.
2. Don’t lose sight of what’s important.
3. Give Time Time
I know that most people like to look at new things, buy new things, and generally, have a good time when it comes to material things. I’m not the cloud in your holiday parade, but I am endeavoring to be the ray of shine in your dark room. I have struggles and concerns like everyone else, but I’m forcing my “flesh” to submit to the will of the Lord. “Walk by the Spirit, and you will not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Galatians 5:16. There’s an undertone in the walk of Christian believers that implies that there is a lack of fun and enjoyment in our lives. This is not true! It is the denial of the flesh that is dominant in our lives of believers desiring to live holy.
During this time of year, I believe people let their guards down more than any other time during the year. We experience an increased amount of consideration for family, friends, and even associates. We smile, laugh, and talk a little bit more than usual and that is just wonderful. Sadly, after the season fades, we see a substantial decrease in this activity. What is important in our lives? Are the early morning sales, late night shopping, and holiday lattes at our local coffee shops important, or is it the time and interaction that we spend with those dear to us of greater importance? Based upon the bigger picture of what we experience, it may be hard to get a definitive answer. It is true that our actions speak louder than our words.
As I conclude this edition of my blog, I want to encourage you to give time time. Life goes by so fast, so spend the majority of your time on things that are of greater lasting importance. It doesn’t seem like long ago, but I remember being in high school talking to my band director about being a great trumpet player like Mr Wynton Marsalis. Fast forward fifteen years later and I’m no where near the caliber musician as he is. I am involved quite a bit with music, but am I where I thought I would be - no. Guess what, life is still moving and I’m still working towards my goals, although they have changed some. I have since learned that only what I do for Christ has the greatest and lasting value. I have learned to be patient with people and am learning to be more patient with myself. Some of life’s greatest enjoyments and some of life’s greatest disappointments come from the interaction and engagement with other humans. Accept people where they are, even if it could be a let down to you. Don’t penalize them for it. What you must learn is how to deal with YOU. Trust me when I say that some people probably has issues with how you are OR how you were. Give time time! If they grow - PRAY! If they don’t - PRAY!
ENJOY THE REMAINDER OF 2014!