Life’s Litter Box! Prov. 11:3-6

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Our study this week brings us to the 11th Chapter of Proverbs.  Verses 3 to 6 lead us to a powerful discussion.

3. The integrity of the upright guides them,
but the crookedness of the unfaithful destroys them.
4. Wealth does not profit in the day of wrath,
but the righteousness delivers from mortal danger.
5. The righteousness of the blameless will make
straight their way, but the wicked person
will fall by his own wickedness.  Proverbs 11:3-6

To dive into this portion of the passage, we weighed the benefits of righteous living verses wicked living.  In the discussion, the illustration of the Little Box was introduced.

A “Litter Box” is an invention most associated with cats.  One of our guest shared that the litter box she provides for her can serves as a place where waste is made.  Then further spoke that the box can get to a point of capacity if not cleaned out.  When this occurs, the box can get to a place where the smell of the box makes it unbearable for the cat to perform the duties in which the box was designed to handle.

For discussion, the “Litter Box” was equated to our Living Space or Life Span.  Through our existence, we encounter life’s situations and circumstances.  They can not be avoided, but must be faced and handled.  We must be cognoscente in our encounters that our actions reap a harvest, and leave significant marks on our lives and the lives of those we encounter.  And each encounter has the potential to become a mess.

How is your Box?

The scripture reveals to us a truth about the wages of wickedness.  He will suffer from his/her own mess.  This person will be forced to live in a box filled with the mess that they have created!  How is your Box?  Is your box once that is so congested tkittylitterbox.pnghat each step is a challenge?  Is your life’s challenge to avoid the foolishness of the decisions you have made and the people you have wronged?  As spoke, many of us have lives that just stink!  We have accumulated such mess from mishandled situations and circumstances, that we have become overpowered by the stench of our own existence.

The cat is blessed in that he can mess up the box, and when the smell becomes overpowering, he can find another place to leave the waste.  The shame of this is unlike the cat, we can not avoid our box.  We are forced to live in this box called life.  We do not have the ability to separate our existence.

I asked myself, “What’s in my Box?”  Thus I ask you the same!

“What’s in your Box?”

Are you a desperate cat scratching and clawing to find a place that you have not created a mess in, and now feeling the burden and weight of your actions?  Is the stress in your life a result of your wicked living and loose morals?  If so’ It’s time to clean up your box!  And once clean, we must Keep our Box Clean! 

Keeping your box clean means properly managing relationships from the present point on.  It also means you might be required to seek out strained relationships and to repair and restore them to something that reflects Christ.  This also might require humility and also forgiveness.  Humility could be found in accepting acts of kindness, even for those whom you swore you would never take a sip of water from.  Forgiveness might be your narrative if approached from one who has wronged you.  You might be required to release one from their past actions, and to propel them towards a Clean Box of Freedom.

A Clean Box requires discipline and change.  We must allow the Word of God to change us, and the Holy Spirit to direct us.   Most of us cant live in peace because we refuse to apply God’s Word to our lives, choosing to memorize it, and or find its value in applying its truths towards other, while living a fictional existence of perfection. The Word takes no root in our lives!  Though it is broken down and consumed, it is not digested.  In essence, we are bulimic believers!  We stuff ourselves with The Word, but do not digest and distribute its nutrients to our body. 

Lastly, keeping a Clean Box means being obedient to the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is to be our teacher and our guide, as well as the power we need to control our flesh.   Yielding to the Holy Spirit will allow us to keep our boxes clean because its will is to please God in every way.  The Holy Spirit gives wisdom on when to walk away and how to respond.  It points us towards the mark of Christ, and serves as a counselor while going through, giving you not only God’s perspective, but helping you keep a proper perspective on yourself and other bringing about deeper understanding.

 

#PastorJDO3

 

 

 

 

 

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Life by The Bee (Flawless)

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Tuesday, we continued the Life by The Bee Series. Last week, we looked at her song “Hold Up” which challenged each member in our Discipleship Group to reconsider the depth of Love God has for us. This week we looked further into the Lemonade Album of 2016 with “Flawless!”

beyonce16Flawless was a powerful song that captured a bold confidence from Beyonce. Her declaration in the chorus of “flawless” presented a bliss and level of satisfaction and peace far above the standard that many before her had been able to articulate or capture.

She listed her many acquisitions that support her claim, leading us to ask the question?

Are we flawless too?
What makes us flawless?
Is it tangible things?
Are our possessions our confidence?

Is flawless simply being satisfied, proud or having the best of something? It is taking care of the things you possess? Is it carefully selecting and purchasing or being gifted things that are beyond the financial reach of others?

We looked at Philippians 1:6 for our lesson:

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hatch begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ. Philippians 1:6

While Beyonce focused on outward beauty, God desires to develop an inner beauty. As discussed, one of the dangers of the song is that it encourages us to place much attention on things, displaying wealth, or meeting and or surpassing the worlds standard of beauty. We have long defined beauty by accessories and feature, as opposed to character and behavior. Jesus became our mark, and His Word stood as our instruction manual. Helping us to live life to the full on this earth, accomplishing things through Him whom is our strength.

beyonceflawless
One thing is for sure:

 

Growth Takes Time

 

Paul said as he looked upon his brothers and sisters. even after hearing about struggles and failures. Even having experienced them himself, he reaffirmed that he was confident in the ability of Christ to change them as he too had been changed. He realized that growth took time! Paul said, “…he (God) which hath begun…” The patience that God has shown with him, had taught him by modeling that we are all unfinished and imperfect. Upon saving us, God begins the work of cleaning us, determined to present us before God without spot or wrinkle.

Don’t Get Discouraged!

Facing failure and stumbling is not only humbling, but it can be debilitating! One can question their progress or even the start from a failure of a struggle, but Paul wrote as a big brother and boldly stated he is “confident!” Confident not in yourself, but confident in Him! He begun the work. It’s His job to complete, but our job to comply!

As exciting as it is to know that God will complete the work He begun, it was even more exciting to know, “….will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ!” Yes, Beyonce has one thing right! One day, we will all be able to say, “I woke up like this!”
innerbeauty

You will Be Flawless!

Though we are the process of being made perfect, we live with the knowledge that perfection will only be achieved on the day of Christ. When He returns for us, we will be removed from these jars of clay and live in our new bodies with will be Flawless! We will live eternity with him, singing His praise, and standing beside Him in victory. Though perfection is close to some and far away for others, we must all be on the same plan of growth, becoming better disciples or soldiers in the army. We must continue to submit our will to Him, that we might be able to meet His approval and bring about His Kingdom on earth.

#PastorJDO3

No Lives Matter

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What is a life worth?

Nothing by the response it seems.

I cringed at how many plays videos have received and cried at the comments they received.  Watching the blood of humans (both citizen and officers) spilled as people justified and found agreement with the offender.  Be it innocent or guilty, lives were taken, and the audience seems to cry out for more.

Comments like:
He was a Criminal!
Obey the officer and this wont happen!
This was bound to happen!
It’s not fun when the rabbit has the fun!
….have flooded our screen, causing further anger and frustration.

Its as though they have taken one of my child hood shows to the next level.  Yes, American Gladiators.  We have the Red Team and the Blue Team; but this time, they have real weapons, and lives are lost.  Each side is racking up points and in the end, the only winner is the ones benefiting from the ratings, and maybe those at home smiling as lucid individuals carry out their anger and hatred which mirrors their viewing public sitting at home.  AmGladiators_BattleBgns

Soon the show went off the air because people stopped watching it.  The story line was the same, and the competition was bland.  People needed more.

And we have more.  Facebook Live and Periscope serve as Go-Cams, giving blood thirsty fans a front row seat to violence.  This allows them to live out their frustrations through a screen, satisfying their hunger, finding peace in the midst of what should cause outrage.

As though we are back in Rome!  Watching Ancient Gladiators fight.  Taking Criminals and pitting them against the Warriors  and Animals.  People watched, many cheering for the Criminal and others Rooting for the Warrior as the fought to the death for the amusement of the wealthy elite who could care less which made it out of the arena alive.

After a grueling battle, the with life on the line, the Gladiator with the upper hand would wait for a signal from above to either take the life or to spare it.  He would listen to the demands of the crowd, and upon crescendo, give the signal.  For years now, we have been watching the signal.  The signal has been a thumbs down!

black_ops_by_thyrring-d325v1uYes, we have crescendo people!  And our viewership have lead to ratings, and for that, we will continue seeing the justification of the taking of life of both Civilian and Officer.  Our culture views videos as though they are watching a Black Ops Battle, critiquing the techniques of those in battle, oblivious to the blood that has been spilled, and def to the last breaths of a human beings life.  Media has served as an Anesthesiologist.  We are sleep.  We are unaware.  We justify evil.  We okay law breakers.  We support wickedness.  We are entertained by foolishness.

We can only imagine what’s next. Soon we will have virtual tours of crime scenes. Able to put on our Virtual Glasses and our IPhone or Samsung Devices and download the Crime Scene Investigator App to get a closer look at the carnage. Maybe if we could touch the blood, and not mute the sounds of the mother, wife of child crying?  Maybe kicking a stiff body like an old tire laying on the street will jump start us?

Nah, No Lives Matter!    People would simply wait for the next upload and tour it.  Maybe even take selfies on the set standing next to the deceased and post it as their Profile Picture.  We would make songs from the last breaths of the victim.  Poke fun at the clothes they are wearing.  Further tarnish their reputation by casting judgment from what is exposed from their life.

 

 

#PastorJDO3

Where It’s Safe….

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A Popular Progressive Insurance commercial has a set the bar of humor with its character Flo, and her portrait of their company. By watching her, one understand the company to be one that thinks ahead, uses creativity, offers the best price possible, is not bogged by traditional rules, and protects is customers. The current add, “I’ll Stand By You”, features an amazingly off key performance by both Flo and a separate salesman, which displays the companies commitment to the customer and the extreme levels they will go to provide the insurance and the security one needs to sign with their company and trust their products. Truly, I love this commercial! It brings a smile each time. maxresdefault

Today, while changing the fuse in the dryer, my 5 year old daughter came into the laundry room and looked over my shoulder. “Stay back” I exclaimed. “It’s dangerous in here, and I don’t want you to get hurt!” She replied, “I know its dangerous dad. That’s why I stayed behind you where it was safe.”

I continued working on the dryer. Smiling first because she had no idea that I was scared and working on a complex machine after watching several youtube videos, but inspired as I worked, thinking, what if we took this approach towards our Heavenly Father?

In her few words was displayed the complete the trust and faith that she has in me. There was no doubt in her mind that she would be safe as long as she was positioned behind the one that could protect her. I focused in on my walk with the Lord, and life her as we travel. There are moments where it seems the pace of the Lord is too slow for my own liking. It has been tempting to break rank, and run ahead towards the goal.

Oddly, God gives us a vision of our future, and then helps us journey towards what He has revealed to us. I wish If I could put into words the frustration of seeing the flag on the hill! Seeing the flag gives us a point of reference, and often makes us desire to take a straight line towards the prize. Our desire to conquer and to obtain what God has for us, has a tendency to take us off the path God has designed to get us there. God’s path rarely seems to be a straight line. It is more like an obstacle course that takes us around and through many challenges, in an effort to build and train us not just to obtain the flag, but to take the flag, and have the strength and character to be able to conquer more land and plant that same flag in new territories!

In many cases, we can obtain the flag without following Him, thus we have to be leery of those things that come to easy or without struggle. God is a God that develops, and takes us through processes that help us understand the territory being conquered and not just feeling the joy of holding the flag in our hand. God knows that the flag we see, is just the first of many. Thus getting out of line, might avail us to obtain the flag we see, but disqualify us from obtaining the flags we don’t see.

This just in: He is loyal! He is Faithful! He will do just what He said! If you let Him. If you stay with Him. If you maintain stride with Him. If you allow Him to complete you. If you allow Him to prepare you! All things are truly possible.

In conclusion, standing behind the Lord is not a long distance and neighbor is standing behind us as parents. Standing behind is much like my 5 year old. She was literally looking over my shoulder. We must stick close to God.  We must be peering over His shoulder watching what is being done, and being obedient to what the command is to do! This will being glory and honor to the Lord! Let us live our lives behind, but in stride with God. Feeling the full trust and protection He provides, as we keep stride with Him.

Give me Legs, or Give me Life……

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Today, I had the pleasure of ministering at a Senior Complex. It was a simple message (Matthew 28:20) encouraging the residents and ensuring them that the Lord was with them. Though I was there to minister, a resident ministered to me.  There was a gentleman, 72, who had both of his legs amputated. He shared with me his story and confirmed the message that was shared.  He shared 2 nuggets with me:

1. He said when he was on the operating table, having his legs removed to stop the spread of Gangrene, he saw standing beside the doctor an angel of the Lord.  He said he was overcome with peace because he knew that things would go well and that he would make it through.  He was encouraged by the presence of the Lord because it confirmed that the Lord was confirming His Word to “Keep Him.”  I thought about how my grannies and grandpa’s would speak that same language.  We throw things away these days as they loose value and effectiveness and are quick to replace and cast aside, but our forefathers knew what it was to “Keep” something, thus their understanding of “Keep” far surpasses our understanding.   Lord, give us this same understanding so that we can appreciate things, life and you all the more!!!!
2.  He said that he considered the importance of his legs in his life, but knew that as long as he had God with him, he could function without his legs.   His faith was active before the surgery, during the surgery and after the surgery.  His faith enabled him to see past the hardship, and to see himself continuing to prosper in a different circumstance.  He learned how to walk once, and through God, he would be able to walk again.  The power of God is evident in His ability to adapt us, not just to “Keep” us.  We don’t just have to be content in a situation!  As long as God is with us, we can excel in a situation.
3.  He said that he watched a man slightly after him die from Gangrene because he could not see his life without his legs, despite his attempt to share with him.  He said he watched a man perish holding on to his legs which were facilitating his death!   This man mistakenly equated life with legs.  His declaration, give me legs, or give me death!  I wondered how many of us are facilitating our death by holding on to the very thing that is killing us?  He realized that even in having his legs removed, God was adding, and renovating his body to face the next phase of his journey.He said the truth is that he misses his legs, but he was right in that he knew that life was possible without the things that once gave him a sense of comfort and normalcy!
WHAT ARE YOU HANGING ON TO? WHY WONT YOU ALLOW THE MASTER SURGEON TO REMOVE WHAT IS CONSUMING YOU?

Have You Crucified Christ ?

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Hebrews 6:6 if they fall away, to be renewed again unto repentance, seeing they crucify to themselves, the Son of God afresh, and put Him to an open shame.images (3)

Have you crucified Christ?  It has occurred to me that many public displays are taking affect each days.  One of the most noted ones is the PDA (public display of affection).  Although this one is most discussed and tends to stick out greatly, there are other displays that occur on a daily basis.  One is the PDD (public display of disobedience).  This occurs when a believer hears the Word of God, and decides to be disobedient to the Word they have received.  These displays can go un-spotted, because of the private revelation received by the person by God.  I asked myself how many displays I see like this on a daily basis, even at times in my own life?  These are tough to recognize, but the believer knows when they are having a PDD moment.

Second is the PDR (public display of rejection).  This occurs when a believer makes a decision to not walk the path of the straight and narrow.  In this predicament, there is normally a crowd or gallery present that is aware of the believers’ stance and faith.  These are more obvious then the PDDs.

Then there is the PDC (public display of crucifixion).  This occurs when a person is serving two masters openly in the public.  In this situation, it normally involves someone that is a pillar or strong representative of the faith, falling from grace in a series or an incident that is far from pure and distant from holy.  These cases are the most obvious, because of the length of the encounter, and the boldness of the one carrying out the sin.  These, just like the crucifixion of Christ, serve as long standing humiliation ceremonies, issued by the devil, trapping one of Gods children in sin.  What one might notice is that these PD’s occur in a pattern.  First one starts off as disobedient, then they become rebellious, and then the have a crucifixion.

What stage are you in?  Are you publicly being disobedient and ruining the faith of others (even though they should not be putting their faith in man)?  Are you speaking verbally or showing outward displays of rebellion against the faith that you speak of?  Are you embarrassing the Christ in public all over again?  Crucifying Him, and making mockery of His death!  We have all fallen short.

We have all carried out one of the other.  Let’s make is our goal to cut out these public displays, knowing that we are the Christ that the unbeliever is seeing, and that the immature believer is watching and patterning themselves after.  We must continue to strive towards righteousness for His name sake. Let’s stop the PDCs today!!!!

Public Crucifixions?   Original posting 9/18/07

Just Have Faith…

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A powerful campaign swept the country years ago by one of the nations largest companies called Nike called Just do it! This campaign had people pumped up about working out. This campaign had people believing that they could run faster and jump higher all because of the power of a brand and a company’s track record with successful athletes.nike-just-do-it

Well, I present to you today no brand, no stellar athletes, no formulas, no secrets, just the truth presented by a spokesman who has tried, tested, and found to be true a product, if you will, that we all have access too, and which cost us nothing; FAITH!!!

Yes, Faith!!! Gods’ Word informs us that this element of our thinking and approach to life and towards His thrown will determine how much and how little we can do and accomplish in life. The shame is that many of us have a faith that stops right after the confession of Jesus as Lord and Savior, but Jesus himself informs us that our faith is to move us far beyond a decision to walk with Him. Our faith should be the vehicle that, like the shoe campaign of Nike, encourages all of us to attack life with an entirely new vigor, understanding that what was impossible, what was out of reach, what was unobtainable, is now conquerable, doable, completeable, (are those words?)

There are some things that we are all currently facing, and I hear God screaming, not “Just do it”, but “Just have Faith”. “Just have Faith” and you will be victorious. “Just have faith” and you will be successful. “Just have Faith” and you will be healed. “Just have Faith” and you will be delivered. “Just have Faith” and you will overcome. “Just have Faith”!!!

One of the beautiful things about this passage is that God lets us know that our confidence in Him will allow us to do things without the stress and without the headache. God says to us, don’t let your current situation get you down, “Just have Faith”, and I will bring you out. God only gives us one responsibility in this process, and that’s to speak.
First, speak to yourself. Then, Speak to your situation, Then Speak praises to God. “Just have Faith”!!!!!

www.blackplanet.com/InternetPastor
10/5/07