Basic Math

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It's been awhile since I posted to my blog. The main reason I haven't posted in awhile, is because I wanted to make sure that I had something meaningful to say. I didn't start out blogging to get a following or likes . I really just wanted to express my humble veiw of what God was showing me, as I read his word.

Since my last blog post, I have become a happily married man. I'm thankful that God allowed my wife Amy and I to meet when we did. We both live in Nebraska but met at a show in Kansas City. Through that unlikely meeting through mutual friends, months later we were inseparable and she has become my best friend.

Now that we have briefly covered what's been going on in my life the last few months,  I would like to talk today about the concept that, Jesus plus nothing equals everything. It's a concept that explores the idea,  that in many ways, we have made Christianity too complicated through man made rules or Jewish mosaic laws that don't apply to us today. 

 I was reading my daily devotional and it came from Colossians 2. There were two sections that jumped out to me. The first one was, Colossians‬ ‭2:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬ “Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath.  

I did some research of the context of this scripture and  I learned that back in the day when Paul wrote this letter, there were religious people who were looking at the Colossians who were new non Jew Christian's and were trying to get them to follow all the old testament religious rules that the Jews had. Those rules included deitary restrictions according to the mosaic law, The annual religious celebrations of the Jewish calendar such as Passover and Pentecost. They also wanted them to follow the new moon monthly sacrifice offered on the first day of each month.

As a young christian in the island of Antigua which is a very religious country, I remember there was much debate about if you should eat pork or shell fish, mainly because it was forbidden in the old testament. That is just one example of many things dealing with food and drink that we put so much emphasis on because of religious beliefs.

Romans 14:5-6  ESV says,  One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.  

This shows that what is important is that we reverence God and are thankful. As Christian's, if you worship on the Sabbath,  that is good and if you worship on Sunday, it's also good. If you eat pork, it's ok and if you choose not to, that is also ok. The focus should be on Jesus and nothing else. Through Jesus’s sacrifice on the cross he eliminated the debates and made it easy to serve him.

The second scripture that stood out to me was  Colossians‬ ‭2:20-23‬ ‭ESV‬‬ “If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— "Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch" (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.” I looked up the word asceticism, because I had no idea what that meant. I found out that it means severe self-discipline and avoidance of all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.

ThIs passage highlights the point that severe or extreme self discipline and or avoiding food and drink that perishes though maybe knobel. Rules and regulations maybe helpful but ultimately it's really not going to help curb your sinul nature and appetite. This passage also helps drive home the truth that it’s not about what we do it’s about what Jesus already did. Jesus is the main component for true change in our lives.

These verses point out the  ineffectiveness of asceticism, which is the attempt to achieve holiness by rigorous self-neglect (v. 23), self-denial (v. 21), and even self-infliction.  It shows that even living a life of self denial from a religious place through methods such as  asceticism is powerless to restrain sin or bring one to God.

We have seen many instances where people have taken vows of abstinence and self denial. They have the outward appearance of holiness and spirituality,  but through their actions behind closed doors, that's not the case.

Studying this scripture has brought me to the realization that Jesus plus nothing equals everything. It's not about works or what we can do to earn salvation or to keep it. It’s not about what we eat and what day we worship God. Our focus should be resting and abiding in him and his love and leading others to know that same love.

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Purpose over Plans

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I will be the first to admit that there have been many times in my life that had a great idea that was not a God idea. how to plan that had nothing to do with the purpose of my life. What I've learned is that there's nothing wrong with great ideas but if it doesn't line up but the purpose of God for my life, I either waste time trying to accomplish it or never comes to pass. Sometimes opportunities that arise are nothing more than a distraction. It's important to have the ability to discern if the opportunity that presented itself is actually what we should be doing.

We all have giftings & we all have dreams. It's important to find out purpose for those giftings. Even if we become rich or famous, if we truly didn't accomplish what we were born to do what does it profit? Life is really short and I can't afford to waste anymore time chasing anything but the purpose of the Lord.for my life.

I get it this may not be for you so I'll speak to myself. I say Lord let your dreams be my dreams, let your desires be my desires. I repent for the time wasted pursuing goals that had nothing to do with your purpose for my life. Jesus help me to clearly see the difference between my plans in your purpose, because ultimately your purpose is what will prevail.

I just wanted to take the time to thank anyone who took the time to read this. I end with the encouragement you that it's never too late for you to choose the Lord's purpose for your life over your plans.

God bless

Stay Salty

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 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

Matthew 5:13 NLT

Jesus commands us to "Stay Salty" . But what does that even mean bro ? I did some research on the context of the time that Jesus said this, and I found some interesting information.

Salt has always been valuable in human society, often much more so than it is today. During a period of ancient Greek history, it was called theon, which means divine. The Romans held that, except for the sun, nothing was more valuable than salt. Often Roman soldiers were paid in salt, and it was from that practice that the expression “not worth his salt” originated. 

There is a sense in which salt cannot really become unsalty. But contamination can cause it to lose its value as salt. If that happen, it's saltiness can no longer function.

If we’re going to have any preserving influence in the world at all, we must first be distinct from it. We cannot live the same way as non believers do without losing our saltiness. 

The motto of my jr high school was "to whom much is given much is required". This motto has stuck with me for life. We, as followers of Christ, have been given much! It's our responsibility to live according to God's word,  and through the obedience of the Holy Spirit,  be a preserving salt to the world .

We are to use our influence to show people the love of God and live in a way that points them to Jesus. We cannot reflect the world’s corruption back to it. Nor can we simply withdraw from society altogether. 

Stay Salty my friends, God bless. 

The New Addiction

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Could social media be the new addiction of our generation ? What is the price we pay for an     Insta-gram addiction ? For many people,  the price  they pay is their peace, hope, and happiness. It's very easy for a focus to be on what is constantly going on in social media.  The truth of the matter is,  people seldomly show you everything that's going on in their lives.  We often only get to see the good things that are happening in someone's life via social media. This often tricks us into having perception that we are the only ones that are struggling or having a bad day. By no means am I saying that social media is bad. However, it may be a good idea to assess the content that you are paying attention to,  on social media, on a regular basis. The Bible says in Philippians 4:8 (NLT ).   "And  now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise." This is a great guide to follow when assessing what captures our attention and thoughts via social media. If the majority of the content does not line up with the things the bible admonishes us to fix our thoughts on, then it might be time to consider changing the content. Ultimately, God has given us these guidelines out of love and not because he wants to control us. The more we live the word of God and not just read it,  the more we will be able to live out our purpose and find true happiness.

Timing

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The consciousness of who we are, our roles and seasons in life determines our effectiveness. One’s effectiveness is tied to the quality of one’s preparation, which is tied to time management. Scripture says let everything be done decency and order (Read 1 Corinth 14:40). One of the principles here is that the “wisdom of timing” demands much patience or else a chaotic or un-useful life will result. Think of it, the toast that you burnt became un-useful only because the “wisdom of timing” was not applied. To often we are tempted by the voices of people, the voice of our reasoning and voice of the devil to step out of the wisdom of God’s timing. Therefore, it is imperative that we learn to wait on God for our time of unveiling and shining. The Bible says arise and shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord is upon you (Read Isaiah 60:1). This is The Spirit call to the spirit of those who are ready. A light bulb although built and equipped to shine is not ready to shine until connected. If we are not connected with the seasons and times of Holy Spirit who is our power source, then we will miss the timing of illumination. I encourage you to continue investing time in preparation for the establishment and furtherance of your spiritual and natural assignments. And receive God’s grace for patience in the process, in Jesus Mighty Name.

The Power of Words

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One of the scriptures in the Bible that is always stood out me it's Proverbs 18:21.  The New Living Translation phrases it like  this "The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. "  Isn't it interesting how the right or wrong words could make or break the moment? Even in this social media age there are many people who have lost their jobs or have impacted the ability to advance their careers based on a comment they made on Facebook or Twitter. Our own words can shape our world. When we are faced with life challenges often how we feel and react to the situation will impact the outcome. I remember when I was diagnosed with kidney failure. I felt overwhelmed and I could have had a negitive outlook on life. If I would have taken that approach, I would not have done the necessary things to be able to be on the transplant list and hopefully be a recipient of a kidney in the future. I followed the doctor's orders. I chose to speak positively about the situation and to have a positive mindset. I prayed and put my trust in God. God has used this situation to bring me closer to him and surrounded me with people in my life that have encouraged me through this difficult time.  I encourage you to never take for granted the words that you say because what you say could either hurt or help you.

212 the extra degree

S.L Parker once said  at 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. And with boiling water, comes steam. And with steam, you can power a train. The main difference is only one degree. Can one degree really make that big of a difference? There are many times in life that for whatever reason we may hold back. I have realized that when we dont give it the extra effort, it's  just like the difference between 211 degrees and 212 degrees. Imagine what a life would be like, what the world would be like if we gave the extra effort everytime. My prayer today is that Jesus would help us to remove all limits. Limitations from fear, doubt, the past, the present. Limitations from people and the limitations that we put on ourselves. Its time to put in the work, let's turn it up a notch ! Live life at 212 degrees and be the difference this world needs.  

 

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The Greatest

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The greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted. (Matthew23:11‭-‬12 ESV )W

Our culture has taught us not to see the connection between greatness and serving .We live in a culture where everyone wants to be king. A lot of people want to be in charge and considered as great. I heard Devon Franklin say you have to learn to carry a crown for someone else before you can wear your own. Unfortunately,  some people have the talent to open the door but don't have the character to keep them in the room. Many years ago I learned the importance of having a heart to serve instead of a heart to be seen.  My motives were not about putting my abilities on display and more about using my abilities to serve the mission. Some of my best opportunities to follow my dreams have come from me being faithful in serving. Many of you who have been chasing your dreams may be praying, working hard,  and putting in all the necessary work. However,  you might feel frustrated because you're not getting the results that you were hoping for.  I encourage you to begin serving, if it isn't something that you normally do. You should start immediately. It just might make the difference!  Find an organization to volunteer and serve. Whether it be at church, community center, or an internship. For those of you who have been serving,  but know deep down that you haven't been doing it with the right motives, heart, and attitude,  today is the day to turn it around and find greatness through serving with your all.

Balance

Balance can be defined as an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady.  This week I cleaned my bathroom floor. After I was finished and  thought it dry, I went to shower. There was still a wet spot on the floor and I slipped.  Thankfully I didn't fall because I was able to keep my balance. I immediately thanked God for balance. In that moment,  it was very clear to me the importance of having balance in life. In hindsight,  the times that I didn't practice balance, ended up being the times I fell the most. We shouldn't be too much of anything in life . The ability to balance everything is an art. There is beauty in balance. I encourage you to pray for the wisdom of God to be able to be balanced

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James 1:19

There is an important difference between hearing and listening. Listening describes an intentional activity. ... In contrast, hearing is something that happens without any intentional effort. There have been many times that I have been guilty of hearing instead of listening, or listening with the intention to respond, instead listening to understand. The bible admonishes us to be slow to speak and slow to get angry. Isn't it funny how often when we get angry we are quick to speak about it. Sometimes it's not even to the person that we are angry with! We may vent to a friend or Facebook & Instagram. Also sometimes if I communicate when I'm angry,  I might not be able to articulate the best and I might end up saying things that are not necessary or are hurtful. The truth is being mad is usually a byproduct of being hurt. Hurt people hurt people but  Luke 6:28 says Bless those who curse you. Pray for those who hurt you. It's my prayer that moving forward instead of being quick to speak out of anger that I am quick to recognize that I am just hurt and I would be quick to pray. James 1:26 says If you claim to be religious but don’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and your religion is worthless.  I don't want to fool myself because I can't control my tongue by being more concerned about being right instead of being Christ like. 

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The Power of Forgiveness

The word forgive can be defined as to cease to feel resentment against (an offender) :pardon forgive one's enemies.  I wanted to speak on this subject because I had a situation arise with another person I was working with that left me feeling resentful. Even though the situation has been over for almost a year, every time the person's name came up,  I would feel the resentment in my heart. A wise person once told me that sometimes the reason  people act mad is because they are really hurt. The root of my resentment was due to being hurt and feeling taken for granted.  I have learned through this,  it's better to go where you are celebrated,  rather than tolerated. Even though I no longer  have much interaction with that person, I prayed and asked God to remove the resentment from my heart. Resentment and bitterness are feelings that we shouldn't allow to stay in our hearts.  It only hurts us and hinders us from being the best possible versions of ourselves. I am at peace knowing it's better to let go and forgive those who sin against us as Jesus has forgiven us. (Matthew 6:12) There is power in forgiveness.🙏

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It's all for good.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone spread a rumor about you, or was being malicious? Or has someone tried to harm you physically or emotionally? I recently had one of those situations arise. Of course I wanted to take it into my own hands & confront the person spreading the rumor. As I began to pray about it the scripture that came to mind was Genesis 50 verse 20. Joseph said "You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people." Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery however, God was able to use that unfortunate circumstance to save a whole nation.   I now realize that God was using this whole situation to work together for my benefit and not just my benefit but the benefit of others.  

 

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Pride

Pride is defined as a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired. From my personal experiences I've realized that pride could also be the thing that keeps you from being vulnerable enough to say that you're struggling in different areas in your life. A few days ago I came to grips that pride was holding me back from being free in certain areas in my life. I decided to take the mask off, be vulnerable and ask one of my brothers in Christ to pray for me concerning the areas I was struggling with. After I did that and he prayed, I went to sleep and woke up feeling like a burden was lifted. I encourage all who are afraid, to be vunurable, to open up instead of trying to carry that burden on your own. It's way better to let go of pride and become vulnerable and honest to someone who can lift you up in prayer and won't judge you. 

Boss Ambrose

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Blessings 🙏