Monthly Archives: January 2012

Convicted for loving Jesus

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It is often said that the eyes are the window to the soul. These eyes are intense; yet subtle. Strong; yet vulnerable. They are full of life with an overshadowing of death. They seem to tell an enigmatic story. Yes! I can see a soul through those big, brown, eyes. It seems to be SCREAMING, FIGHTING, PLEADING; but its cries go unheard encaged behind a steamy, fog clouded glass. Its tears becoming the dew, slowly dripping down the window of despair. Those eyes seem to be a prisoner of a lifetime of pain. Those are the eyes of Daniel Brown.

As I sat watching Daniel Brown’s story on a TV program, I was astounded and heartbroken to learn about this man losing the innocence of his life. Mr. Brown was alleged to have raped and murdered a female companion whom he had casually dated. Danny, as his family called him, had a rock solid alibi and there was no physical or tangible evidence connecting him to the crime. The only witness to the murder was the deceased’s six-year-old son. And unfortunately, it was because of his sole testimony–albeit ambigious–Mr. Brown was sentenced to a lifetime in prison.

Sadly, there was no justice in this case for either side; Mr. Brown would spend 19 years locked up in a jail cell while three small children would be emotionally locked up not being able to enjoy the precious gift of a mother. After almost two decades later Mr. Brown, who was never before in trouble with the law, was eventually exonerated at the advent of DNA technology. The DNA evidence linked the murder to that of a known serial killer. But unfortunately–at press time of this writing–the state of Ohio refuses to expunge Danny’s criminal record, maligning him still a convicted murderer.

I kept turning this story over and over in my mind, contemplating the physical loss of human life: death and incarceration. This is one but of many cases of injustice in the legal system, but I couldn’t help but ponder the injustices many also endure in the religious system. An injustice where in some parts of the world Christians are forced to worship covertly–in underground hideouts, dugouts, and even caves–for fear of their lives. It made me think about the the physical bondage many Christians endure simply by claiming Jesus as their Lord and savior.

http://www.jesus-loves-you.org/?p=4804

Those disciples that have a call on their lives to serve in ministry, I believe, are attacked most severely because satan is still aggressively trying to stop the movement of the Gospel. Likewise, he tries the case with no evidence but is ever ready to convict. He assigns his counsel of chief demons–in the form of man–to viciously persecute God’s saints! This was the same diabolical spirit that was sent to deceive Eve in the Garden of Eden at the very beginning of God’s creation in the Old Testament. And, also the same spirit that was responsible for the Apostle Paul’s numerous stonings, lashings and imprisonment that ultimately resulted in him being beheaded in the New Testament.

In the book of John God admonished his disciples, telling them that the world, or the spirit that’s in the world will not receive them because they are following Christ:

If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you~John 15:18-20.

Unfortunately, Mr. Brown spent the prime years of his young life physically and mentally locked up behind bars, enduring tumultuous years of hardship, isolation, and one would suppose hopelesness, for a crime he didn’t commit. But how many Christians across the globe are serving the same life sentences; being beaten, tortured, burned, mutilated, and killed for a crime waged against them by a false witness–the crime of loving Jesus.

If you would like to read about Danny Brown’s story or have a loved one that you believe is falsely incarcerated please visit Centurion ministries’ website for more information:

http://www.centurionministries.org/cases/daniel-brown/index.php

http://forejustice.org/db/Brown–Daniel—Danny—.html

Please also get involved and support a ministry that helps persecuted Christians. Here are a few to consider:

http://www.persecution.org/
http://www.smyrnaministries.org/africa
http://injesusname.org/
http://www.christianpersecution.info/

How To Find The Love Of Your Life!: Part 2 #Singles #HappyValentinesday #Love #Soulmate #Valentine

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How To Find The Love Of Your Life!: Part 2 #Singles #HappyValentinesday #Love #Soulmate #Valentine

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First off, I would like to begin with another test: go back and answer every question in Part 1 again, this time replace the name “God” with the name of your spouse or significant other.

The reason I asked you to reanswer the aforementioned questions is to get you to think about your romantic relationships, if you are in one. And, if you’re not to examine your behavior when you were previously in a relationship. Again, if you answered “no” to any of the questions, really, are you prepared for a divine mate?

The vertical relationship with God is paramount. Until you perfect this relationship, you will never know how to love within a horizontal relationship! Think about it…God consummated this love by dying on the cross for us! Beloved, God is a person. When you learn how to love God first, then all other relationships will take on that precedent of love.

So many profess to love God but live a fruitless life. They have their own agenda’s, plans, goals and God is really on the back burner. They have a self-centered view of what love should look like or be like. When you really dissected it it’s based on past hurts, failures, fear, selfishness. And, oftentimes pride.

The truth of the matter is some people don’t even love themselves. And quite sadly, because of life’s dissapointment’s, feel like God doesn’t love them either. Here in lies the problem…you can’t give away what you do not have! If you don’t love yourself how can you possibly love someone else? In many relationships today, people are yearning for love from another person and want someone else to make them happy! They want the other person to make them feel good about themselves. Beloved, you need to have love in you already, your love tank needs to already be full before entering a relationship. Another person can only compliment that love.

The only relationship you are having at any given time is that between yourself and God, not the other person! The other person is only a reflection of God. He wants to see how you will love him when He’s hungry, when He’s sick, when He’s in need, even when He’s cantankerous. Do you remember the story in Matthew 25:31-40? Furthermore, the way you treat yourself is the way you will treat other people. If you are unloving towards yourself, impatient, and critical, that’s how you will treat other people.

Human beings go into relationships with such false expectations, facades, masks, hopes and dreams.

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Marriage is not a fantasy that you wish to come true. Contrary to popular belief you don’t just fall in love. Scientists believe that in the first stages of a relationship there is a chemical reaction that takes place between two individuals that produces an euphoric state–if there is any validity to that theory–however, when that feeling subsides both people face the harsh reality of each one’s faults and the baggage both brought into the union. What do you do then? The Bible teaches us that we do not base our decisions on emotions (Galatians 5:16-24). Emotions are fickle and are constantly changing. It takes a conscious choice (concerted effort) to continue to love someone despite what challenges a relationship may bring. Of course it takes a lot of work and learning how to. But the Bible is the blueprint of love!

God is love (1John 4:8). We first must establish a dependant, intimate relationship with God. Not by name only but by spending quality time with The Father, getting to know His heart, His mind, and His desires; what He wants for us. Isn’t that what we do when we’re courting someone? If we don’t learn how to love God first, we will never be able to love ourselves, let alone another person. He teaches us how to love unconditionally. Christ is the epitome of love (Isaiah 53:5). Once you perfect your heavenly relationship with The Father you’ll know what it feels like to have a loving, healthy, pure relationship with another human being.

Many have become bitter, and some have resulted to fornication because they are tired of waiting on God. The Bible says: “every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed,” (James 1:14) NKJV. Beloved, If you cannot be faithful to God how can you possibly be faithful to man who lives in this flesh, fallible and apt to disappoint?

Once you fall in love with Jesus, it is truly a love you have never felt before! It fills all voids, loneliness, emptiness, and pain. It completes you and gives you an unspeakable joy! It wraps its loving arms around you despite your failures and shortcomings. So I ask, why settle for a moment of pleasure when God can give you a lifetime of joy! As Kirk Whalum admonishes in his ode to Christ: “falling in love with Jesus was the best thing I ever done!” He is the love of your life!

Let me just say, God speaks to us differently. Perhaps if you did answer yes to the questions that were asked in the test, have worked on yourself and are sold out to Christ, and feel God has lead you in this direction; dating websites may work for you! However, I would strongly tread with caution!

If you no one has told you today, I love you! Happy Valentines day! ❤

How to find the Love of your life!

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Online dating websites seem to be the topic of much discussion today. I’m constantly bombarded with questions asking if I had tried it or will I try it. A Christian colleague recently asked me what did I think about online dating. He was freshly out of a bad relationship and had went back to his old habit of online dating. As I sat there and listened to story after humorous story of stalkers, weirdos, hook-ups, and heartbreaks–not to mention the money he spent for the service–his hope and faith seemed to lie in a few people he knew that had gottten married dating online.

I must say I am taken aback every time a Christian brother or sister goes the route of dating websites. Now they even have so called Christian dating websites. Website Christian Mingle is heavily targeting the Christian market. Makes one wonder if it is really concerned about the single Christian or is it preying on the vulnerability of Christians to push another dating website? A purported 84% of the population consider themselves Christian. Christendom means different things to different people: some are conservative in their beliefs and some are very liberal. What’s more, there are those who claim the title “Christian” but lifestyles are disturbingly contrary.

With such a wide array of different beliefs and attitudes towards Christianity, saints who put themselves in a position of online dating are setting themselves up as plenty of fish in a sea of sharks! Pun intended : ). This is dangerous water to tread as 1 peter 5:8 states “…Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour ” (NKJV). Sure there are some resulting marriages perhaps, but that’s the minority, not the majority! The question is, how long will they last? Several of my Christian friends and acquaintances have tried online dating. Quite frankly, more than not. And what’s interesting is their stories all seem to correlate with one another–not the happily ever after ending at all.

Take Gina for instance (name changed to protect identity). As Gina and I conversed about online dating her objective was to debunk my partial theory. She proceeded to elaborate anecdotes of men she met and dated online. Emphatically proclaiming a few “good” men wined and dined her, flew her to see them or lavished her with gifts. Shockingly, some were married! She deemed to paint a very glamorous picture of her mail suitors. Gina said she frequently dated lots of men online and was having fun.

Something was telling me that there was more to the stories than she was willing to admit. So I proceeded from a different angle–catching her off guard–delving more into her behavior; what was in fact causing her to date so many men, online or otherwise? That’s when Pandora’s Box opened! The picture was not as pretty as she painted it to be after all.

In our session it was concluded that Gina did not even know what a healthy relationship looked like and freely admitted that the men who gave her those fabulous gifts ALL expected sexual favors in return. When she didn’t comply they all abandoned her. Even the ones she did have sex with eventually left her. After further probing she confessed that it had left her feeling angry and hurt. Furthermore, she realized the root of her problem was loneliness.

By conversation’s end, Gina was soaked in tears. Turns out, God had been trying to get her attention for some time. Ain’t God good! Needless to say, Gina changed her perspective on dating websites and is now on the road to recovery. Hallelujah!

The internet is the devil’s playground. He is particularly on the hunt, hiding behind the computer screen to viciously attack those who live for Christ.

Moreover, as Christians if we desire a mate shouldn’t our first response be to go to God and ask in prayer (Matthew 21:22), then patiently wait on Him? Shouldn’t we put our faith in God opposed to the internet? Surely He can pick a better mate for us than we can for ourselves.

Women are most vulnerable in this area. So many women in the church desire husbands and may feel like they have the career, the house, the car and all they are missing is a husband. Many I know have prayed earnestly for a mate and many are struggling with loneliness. But are you really ready for that divine mate? Are you really ready for God to answer your prayer for a husband/wife right now?

Let’s take a test to find out:
(Simply answer yes or no).

1. Is God priority in your life over your career, money, friends, sports?

2. Do you make it a priority every day to talk to and meditate with God?

3. Do you have a reciprocal relationship with God or do you order demands and requests and expect God to comply?

4. Do you go to God only when you are in trouble or when you need something? Moreover, is God an afterthought?

5. Do you get upset when you feel like God doesn’t answer your prayers– lashing out in anger and temper tantrums? “Why me’s” and “You dont love me’s”?

6. Is your desire for a mate stronger than your desire for a personal, intimate relationship with God?

7. Are you sold out for Christ? Is He truly the Love of your life?

8. Do you desire to be constantly in the presence of God worshiping Him, loving on Him. Meeting with Him in His Sanctuary?

9. Do you talk to Him (prayer) and listen to what He has to say back to you (Bible reading) even though it may not be what you want to hear or do?

10. Do you go to God first when problems arise or do you seek counsel from momma, family, or friends?

If you answered “no” to any one of these questions maybe it’s time to reevaluate your Love walk. The Bible says that we as Christians are the Bride (Rev 19:7-9), so then if we are the bride…Christ is our husband.
If you say you love God then you have a committed, covenant relationship with Him right? Ok, if Christ is your husband, how are you nurturing this relationship? Are you giving God your first fruits? Do you acknowledge and honor God upon waking? Is God the the apple of your eye as He says we are to Him (Zechariah 2:8)?

I’m going to conclude Part 1 here. I felt God had so much to say regarding this subject that while writing it it became quite lengthy. We will recommence with the second part tomorrow.

God is the Resolution

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As a new year is beckoning us one can’t help but ponder the challenges, obstacles, twisting and winding roads that have met us. Some are still paralyzed perhaps, by this past year’s events. Maybe you have experienced a personal loss; whether it was the loss of a loved one, career, home or quite simply…hope. You may be tempted to carry into the new year the burdens of yesterday; a quite heavy load that oft times seem impossible to carry. Sometimes even wondering where was God through those sleepless nights and unbearable days.

According to Matthew 28:20 God says “…Lo I am with you always.” He was right there by your side! So I ask you, my brothers and sisters to perhaps think about your situations from a different perspective. Was there a common theme related to the pain, struggle, and hardship you endured this past year? Perhaps there was an area in your life God needed to bring to your attention. Maybe God allowed it to prune, refine, and complete you.

The theme that was a constant challenge in my life this past year was in the area of relationships. It seemed like I was being attacked on every side and in every aspect of my relationships; whether personal, family, or professional. After tirelessly, and frustratingly trying to work things out in my own strength I was humbled to my knees in prayer. God began to show me things about myself that I had not submitted to His will. In each relationship God used the other person to show me a mirror reflection of myself! The traits that I often had problems with in others were some of the same traits God was trying to perfect in me. Wow! And, on the other hand, I also struggled with character traits in others that were the extreme opposite of mine! Nonetheless, I could see how God allowed those situations to make me aware of my own behavior. When I realized the things that I was doing out of habit, stubbornness, or selfishness it was truly a wake up call! It wasn’t comfortable going through that season but I’m glad that I did! I learned a lot from those experiences and am very thankful God showed me what was in my own heart!

So I now ask you to revisit your trials and tests from the previous year. Now that you are looking at them through spiritual glasses, were there trying areas in your life where maybe God was building your character or maturing you spiritually? Spiritual growth often comes in the form of pain. It’s in those tough times that you learn how to depend on God. You strengthen your faith muscle when God delivers you out of trial after trial! Hallelujah! That’s how you get your spiritual wings and begin to fly! The more trials overcome, the closer you are to being free. Let’s go into the new year soaring!

~HaPpy NeW YeAr!