Posts

Showing posts from March, 2013

Showing the Character of Christ in the Face of Opposition

In my experience, it is easy to show godly character when things are going well.  Loving people is effortless when people are nice and kind.  But, the true test comes in the face of adversity.  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”  When I first read this quote I thought it was inspirational.  However, when faced with adversity it can be a bit challenging. 
I find it challenging for several reasons.  First, when we feel we have been treated unjustly, we feel justified in fighting back.  In fact, we feel we are weak if we don’t.  We know the bible says that vengeance is God’s, but truth is, we want vengeance now!  And, we want it done our way!  Why can’t we fight back?  Why can’t we “put our religion on the shelf?”  Why can’t we allow are flesh to rule, if only for a moment?  And, on top of that Jesus, you want us to love our enemies?…

My Reflections for Passion Week

Passion Week consists of the days leading up to the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.Many times we focus on Easter Sunday without reflecting on the events that led to this horrific, but wonderful event.We celebrate Palm Sunday and then fast forward to the Crucifixion and Resurrection.This year I’ve been thinking about how this week can play out in our lives.
The Passion Week has taught me 5 things:
1.Seasonal People:I often read that some people are only in your life for a season.This concept is sometimes hard to accept because if we love and care for someone we anticipate them being present in our lives forever.Sometimes people move on due to life circumstances and others may simply change.The truth is…some people will love you today and hurt you tomorrow.It is apart of life.If Jesus who is perfect in every way had people praise him one day and yell crucify him the next week…surely we, who are imperfect, will have similar experiences.Did this stop Jesus from fulfilling his …

Tears of Joy and Appreciating Good Friends

I’m in love with Faith Evans’ new song “Tears of Joy”.  I first heard her sing it on television recently and I was touched.  Since that time, I’ve heard it played faithfully on the radio everyday.  The song reminds me of the new love and new found freedom in my life.  It touches my heart, soul and mind when I think about how certain people can impact your emotions for good or evil.  It made me grateful for the new found friendships in my life.  It made me even more appreciative of the friends who have been there over the years.  It made me think of Marlena Graves, Christine Fulmer, LeAnn Hill, Sandy Ellies, Cheryl Bynum, my Aunt Doris Stewart, Kim Willis, and Toni Jenkins.  Each of these amazing women have played such an amazing role in my life.  They are caring, gifted, intelligent, funny, and most importantly, faithful!  They have been there for me through it all.  They have no motive, but to love.  They ask nothing of me, but friendship.  To the ladies…if I haven’t expressed my app…

Broken, but stronger…Injured, but closer…Scarred, but still alive!!

I once heard a story of a wandering sheep.  Every time he was walking with the other sheep, he always seemed to stray away.  Every time he would stray, his loving shepherd would use his rod and guide him back on the path.  The sheep strayed so many times, but each time the shepherd would guide him back.  At some point, the shepherd felt he had to do more…so he broke the sheep’s legs.  The sheep could no longer walk.  He was injured.  He had to rely on the shepherd for everything.  The shepherd had to feed him and carry him.  After being cared for by the shepherd during this broken state, the sheep became utterly dependent on the shepherd.  He became closer than he had ever been before.  He became so close, he never wanted to stray again. 
How does this apply to us?  Many times we are sheep who stray away.  We live in a busy world with so many obligations and distractions; sometimes we don’t have time for God.  Sometimes the temptations of the flesh can lead us away from God.  Many ti…

Is Publicly Criticizing Other Christians Okay?

I have pondered this question for a long time, but I’m still searching for the answer.  In this new age of technology, you see constant criticisms of ministers on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.  In fact, you don’t have to even turn on a computer; we hear it from the pulpit or in conversations with friends.  But, is it okay? I admit I’m a little discouraged at seeing other Christians tear apart other Christians on the internet.  Most criticisms stem from not agreeing with their theology, so we criticize them.  I’ve even seen many go so far as to call them false prophets and the anti-Christ.  Will we always agree with every minister?  No.  Should we?  Absolutely not!  But, for the sake of the Church, do we publicly slaughter them?
When I read comments and articles, it doesn’t come from one denomination or another.  I see attacks on all sides of the aisle.  I realize that we may disagree with the teachings of the pastor, but does that give grounds to slaughter them with our words?  The iss…

Gratitude

My friend asked me to prepare a word of encouragement a few months ago and she gave me the topic Gratitude.I must admit at the time, I wasn’t feeling too grateful.I was having a self imposed pity party and I felt justified.However, she told me the Holy Spirit directed her to ask me.I first thought yea…yea, the Holy Spirit didn’t say anything, but that was far from the truth.
I have found that anytime I teach something, God teaches me in the process.He uses my study time to minister to me first.The scripture says that the word of God is “living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”Hebrews 4:12I can personally attest to feeling sliced and diced when reading the scriptures!!
So, when my friend asked me to prepare a message, I said the good Christian thing…let me pray about it.Now, some of us pray and some of us, well…let’s face it…use it as…

Why is this Happening to Me?

In the African-American church, we often hear the phrase, “Your current test is just a set up for your testimony.”When this is said, the church erupts in a shout.However, when you leave church and you’re in the midst of your circumstance, you find yourself asking “why”?You want to know why God is allowing you to go through this difficult situation.We often know the scriptures and cite them, but our hearts still ache.We secretly worry.We say “we live by faith and not by sight.”Yet, we don’t see a breakthrough anywhere in sight.We say “all things will work together for my good.”Yet, we can’t imagine this working for our good.We say that we’ve “given it over to the Lord”, but we continue to fret over the situation and discuss it with whomever will listen.We say that joy comes in the morning…yet, we cry all night and still feel sad in the morning. Well, my Bishop always says, “everything is either God sent or God allowed.”This phrase has helped me to realize that if God is in control, I’m …

What Do I Believe?

I recently read a quote by Oswald Chambers that read, “Re-state to yourself what you believe, then do away with as much of it as possible, and get back to the bedrock of the Cross of Christ.”  When I read this quote, it challenged me to rediscover the basics of Christianity.  For the last few years, I’ve been inundated with books, articles, conversations, and debates about what it means to be a true Christian.  I’ve been torn between the liberals and conservatives, the Baptists and Pentecostals, the Democrats and Republicans.  When you are constantly trying to keep up with latest shift in Christian culture, Jesus can get lost in the shuffle. 
So, I decided to go back to what I learned in my old country church growing up in Blair, SC.  I know that Jesus loves me.   I know that He died on the cross for my sins.  I know I’m a sinner saved by grace.  I know Jesus was raised from the dead.  I know that He’s coming back again.  I know that He commands me to love God with all of my heart, so…