Posts tagged ‘heart’

Jealousy vs the Chosen

Jealousy stems from not feeling chosen, and instead feeling rejected. Therefore your “feelings” of inadequacy manifest themselves in wanting what the other person seemingly has that makes them better than you. This is all perception, but to the rejected heart, it feels like reality. In truth, God’s choosing should supplant every feeling of inadequacy. The truth of God choosing us overwhelmingly implies that He believes we are worth His love and Presence in our lives. What God has chosen, and placed His mark of approval and desire on, can never be rejected, because the One who ultimately chose us will never reject us. Jealousy is dangerous. It can stem and branch off into so many sins and sinful desires. Jealousy makes you covet what is happening in others’ lives. It makes you want what God has not intended for you to have at that time, which is not to say that He never wants to give it to you, rather that it is not your time. Do your best to avoid it at all costs. Why be jealous over anyone, or anything, when God has picked you. God has chosen you. God has selected you. You are special. You are loved. Let your life be filled with God’s choosing, for you are His chosen. That is your identity; not the lie you believe when jealousy and rejection take root.

Evolution of Praise

First off, allow me to say that however one chooses to praise God is not for me to judge. I love watching all kinds of praisers. It’s all beautiful to me. This post, however, is just a look at my own evolution as a praiser and lover of God, because the way that I give myself to Him now is far different from where I used to be.

I grew up in a Missionary baptist church. I loved it for what it was. I accepted salvation there. I was baptized there. I preached my first sermon there. That church gave me my formative development as a person and as a Christian. I still consider that my genesis. I heard many types of preachers there. There were the fiery ones, the expositive ones, the quietly effective ones, etc. We sang hymns, and had a church choir that actually had SATB voices, with people who knew the technical aspects of beautiful music. SO we praised God with polish and refinement. There was no lifting of hands, merely a quiet reverence for God.

This was fine with me, because at that point in my life, I was not fully committed to God, and so I figured that singing my best was the best way that I could give God praise. Going to churches with “free praisers” scared me. I thought that “those” people were absolutely out of their minds. My friends and I would make fun of people who danced and lifted their hands. We were bougie. “Look at that woman shouting!” “Look at that old man doing that jig!” We were ignorant. We barely knew God. We had no knowledge of the Holy Spirit. We served God out of a duty to the church.

When I got married, I moved over to my wife’s church. We would visit there frequently while we were engaged, and this church was in the midst of a powerful revival in the Holy Spirit. Even while I didn’t understand what was happening around me, I knew that even the air was different. The music was catchy, with a great beat and some great vocals. The singing, while not always pretty and refined, was so sincere. The people clapped and sang at the top of their lungs. This was a raw atmosphere. People danced and passed out. The Pastor of the church walked on the pews when he got “happy” during service. Sometimes, (EGAD), he didn’t even preach and the people just sat moaned for God. What was this? It wasn’t until I joined the church and received the baptism of the Holy Spirit that I really began to understand what praise was. Even then, I praised God out of my emotion. I would dance and do a high step. I would clap and shout. Deep inside of me though, something was missing. I knew it, but I so enjoyed praising in that atmosphere. Man, just thinking about it makes me smile.

When my wife and I moved to the church we currently reside in, something strange happened. Over the last 7 years, I have received training in the knowledge of who God is, why He is so worthy of my highest praise, and how to let go. I’ve spent time in the word with God. I have encountered a God who had been a distant relative before, but has not become my closest friend. I have experience God in ways that I never would have imagined, and He has completely shattered everything that I thought that I knew about Him time after time after time. With each “rediscovery”, I have felt my level of exuberance in praise increase. I have gone from standing completely still and lifting my hands, to jumping up and down like a wild man, crying out so loudly that I can barely sing, dancing on stage. I have gone from being reserved and wondering what everyone else was doing, to closing my eyes and becoming “undignified” in the presence of my God.

One of my favorite stories about David is when the Ark of the Covenant came back. The Bible talks about how David took off his clothes and dances in his skivvies in front of all of his subjects and the people of Israel. When his wife questioned his sanity, he proudly declared that he would become even more undignified, because God’s Presence returning was worth every celebration…and more. Now, David was a king. He went hard for God in front of everyone without a single ounce of embarrassment. He knew that he was celebrating for an audience of One.

And this is where I am right now. The God that I now know is simply too good for me to sit still. I know Him too well now to just give Him a cursory nod and keep on moving. I choose to exhaust my limbs and move my body, I choose to offer up my voice with all of it’s imperfections and cracks. I choose to not let singing the wrong notes bother me. I choose rather, to focus on Him, knowing that He inhabits my praise, and while it is not perfect, it is all for Him, and Him alone.

Simply put, as I’be grown in Him, I’ve grown in my willingness to give Him my all in praise. I do know this, though. However you choose to praise God is a praise that God accepts willingly from you. You don’t have to imitate anyone else. All He wants is a praise that comes from your heart, and however that looks for you, if your heart is engaged, God is pleased.

Have a great evening! Be blessed, peeps.

A Year in Reflection

So where do I start. I haven’t blogged in a long time. This has been some kind of year for my family. My first year teaching. My wife switching school districts. My daughter switching school districts. My middle son starting public school. My youngest switching to a new sitter. We find out we’re having baby number four, Zyla. We are asked to serve on our church pastoral staff as Outreach Pastors. I preach TWICE at church, and really get involved in Wednesday night class discussions. Yes, there has been so much to report. However for the purpose of this post, I really want to focus in on my experience as a first year teacher.

Today was the last day of school, and while outwardly I was happy that it was coming, because I was ready for a break, in my heart, I knew that I was not ready to let these students go. In truth, I loved them…hard. I gave them all of me everyday for every class period of the past 8 months. I began to know them, what made them tick, what made them smile and laugh. I strived everyday to make each student laugh at least once. Sure, my antics could be chalked up to being new and inexperienced, but I choose to think that they are just a part of my makeup that God gave me specifically for this task. And as I look at all of the letters that I have received from students and the messaged from parents, I just sit back and wonder “How?” How could a guy who up until two years ago barely liked children have fallen this in love with a profession that he previously despised? How was it that I cared so much about these kids? How did I let them into my heart? How was it that my classroom, a classroom with a man who really had no idea what he was doing, become a place where kids felt safe telling me their secrets and confiding in me? How’d I even get this job? lol. My students proclaim me a great teacher, but I know better.

God is truly great. It was only by His Spirit that I made it through this year. In every instance, God gave me the words to speak, whether in correction, or encouragement. He helped me navigate all of the emotional swings of these 13 and 14 year old students. I prayed for them. They ate in my class. We pranked each other. Students who weren’t even mine were attracted to me. I know it wasn’t me that they were attracted to. It was God. They saw God in me, and while some of them don’t know that specifically, it makes me so happy that I was able to be Jesus to these kids every time they saw me.

And so, as I watched them leave today, my eyes were dry, but my heart cried a bit. 8 months. Everyday. Now, nothing. It’s sad, but in my heart I really feel that the work that God wanted me to do with them was done. Now I have to trust Him to continue it as they head into high school. In truth, these students aren’t really mine. I was simply someone God placed into their lives at this junction to steer them towards Him as much as possible, and plant seeds that will hopefully bloom into success and a relationship with Christ. But, I love them just the same. They will forever be a part of my heart, a part of me.

My heart is full today. Thanks be to God for this wonderful year. I’m praying for many, many more as He grows me professionally and spiritually to be a lighthouse in the classroom.

The Power of Words: top ten ways we speak death

Isaiah 59:1-3- surely the arm of The Lord is not too short to save, not his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God. Your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. For your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with guilt. Your lips have spoken falsely, you tongue mutters wicked things.

1. Lying- Proverbs. 6:16- these six things The Lord hates…..a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil…

Proverbs 12:22- lying lips are an abomination to The Lord, but those who deal truthfully are his delight.

When we lie, we go against His very nature.

2. Sowing discord- Proverbs 6:12-14- a troublemaker and a villain, who goes about with a corrupt mouth, who winks maliciously with his eye, signals with his feet and motions with his fingers, who plots evil with deceit in his heart- he sows discord. Therefore….he will suddenly be destroyed without remedy.

If we sow it, we reap it.

3. Gossip-spreading intimate or private rumors or facts

Proverbs 20:19- a gossip betrays confidence, so avoid anyone who talks too much.

2 Corinthians 12:20- separate yourselves from those who gossip.

4. Slander-false or malicious statements or reports about someone.

Psalms 140:11- May slanderers not be established in the land; May disaster hunt down the violent.

Proverbs 10:18- whoever hides hatred has lying lips

5. Tale bearers -proverbs 11:13- a tale bearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.

We must create an atmosphere where we can share freely without fear of hearing it again from another source. We must pick each other up when we fall, and not condemn them and spread that around. When we break confidence with another, we lose that connection sometimes for good.

6. Cursing- Romans 3:13- their throats are open graves, their tongues practice deceit..”

Psalms 109:17- he loved to pronounce a curse-May it come back on him. He found no pleasure in blessing. May it be far from him.

If we want to walk in the blessings of God, we can’t curse.

7. Blasphemy- using Gods name in an unscarred way

Ex. 20:7- you shall not take the name of your lord in vain, for The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.

we use Gods name as a curse word, and we also use God’s name to get what we fleshly want. We can easily learn to insert God where we want our will to move. There is a fine line here. God is not to be used to manipulate anyone or anything.

8. Filthy Language- put off all filthy language out of our mouths.

9. Contentious speech- a hurtful, hateful, malicious, disagreeable, and argumentative speech.

Proverbs 21:9- better to dwell in an attic than in a house shared with a contentious woman.

Proverbs 26:21- as charcoal is to burning coals….so is a contentious man to kindle strife.

10. Unbelief coming out of our mouths- what’s in our hearts comes out of our mouths.

Hebrews 3:12-13- see to it that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily.

Faith is not denying the facts, but it is stating the truth. Faith looks at the mountain and sees the mountain mover!

Living in the Zone: How is my Heart

Luke 6:37-38- judge not and you shall not be judged. Condemn not and you will not be condemned. Forgive and you will be forgiven. Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your lap. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

If you want more of God,

4 things that keep our heart in the right place:

1. Deal with a selfish heart.

Deut. 15:9- be careful not to harbor wicked thoughts: the seventh year , the year for canceling debts, is near. So that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to The Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin.

First off, wicked thoughts are not bad in themselves. It’s acting on those thoughts and being lead by them. We have to realize that we don’t give to get. We give to please God. We give so that God can change our hearts. Sure there are blessings involved in giving, but the blessing should never be the purpose for our giving. The reason He wants us to learn to give is so at we can be more like Him.

2. God wants to deal with our grieving heart

Deu. 15:10- do not be grieved when you give, because for this thing the Lord will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.

Selfishness will attack you before you give. Grief will attack you after you give. God doesn’t want us to regret what we give, but to walk away in freedom knowing that we have done His will. In order for us to get to a place where we can give without grieving, we have to realize that everything belongs to God. Anything good we relieve in life comes from God. When we operate in knowing that everything belongs to God, we can give freely back to Him by giving to others. It’s how we thank Him for blessing our lives. When you truly believe that God is your source, it eliminates the grieving process. When we believe that He is our source, our perspective changes.

3. Develop a generous heart.

Deu. 15:14- you shall supply him liberally …
Luke 6:32-36- but if you only love those who love you, what credit is that to you? …….but love your enemies. Do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great; and you will be a son of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful….therefore be merciful, just as your Father is also merciful.

In doing this, it breaks the miser spirit.

4. Develop a grateful heart.

Deu. 15:15- you shall remember st you were a slave in Egypt, and The Lord redeemed you; therefore I command you this thing today.

We must remember what God has forgiven us for, how he has sustained us, how much grace He has shown us…then it becomes easy to give our lives away to others.

Feelings? Blah blah

It’s crazy how over the course of a week, emotions can completely change one’s perspective on life outlook. When the Bible says that the heart is deceitful, the truth inherent in that is just mind blowing. It was a crazy week. It started out with a job interview that went beautifully, but had an undertone of uncertainty. From there, I had the incredible opportunity to speak to our youth group at church. That was the highlight of the week by a long shot. God spoke to them and me. And trust me, if you’ve never worshipped with your church youth group, you should. It challenges your faith and pushes you to really go deeper. The week ended with another job interview. The night before, perhaps full of faith, I believed that there was change in the air; that something was bout to happen that was going to alter our future. I really believed that. Also, in the hour before my interview on Friday, I was able to just really spend some quality time worshipping God. His presence was there, and I knew it beyond a shadow of a doubt. Well, this interview was a disaster, the hardest one that I have had in my life. I knew that it was a bomb, and by the end, my spirits were so down that I felt like I limped out of the room.

The overriding question in my head was “How?” How did things go so wrong in that interview? Why would they? Those questions haunted me. Then once my emotions mixed into the soup, I was almost a goner. It felt like they were trying to erase everything good that had happened in that week. The heart is deceitful. My sadness and anger over that botched interview was just bad. Plain bad.

This is where faith comes in though, because it all centers around whether I believe that God will have me in a classroom next school year. Do I still believe that God knows what’s best? Do I still believe that God holds my world, my future, my successes, my failures, in the palm of His hands? Well, if the answer is yes, then I have to disregard every negative sensation, emotion, and anything else that my “reality” is telling me, and focus in on the truth. And in this case, the truth lies in those questions that I just asked bit ago. Yes, I believe that God wants me in the classroom next school year. Yes, I believe that God knows what’s best. Yes, I believe that God holds my world in the palm of His hand. And yes, the life changing element that I sensed in my spirit on Thursday night? I still believe that it was from God. Something good is coming. It will change our present and our future. It will benefit us and others as we are put in a position to give to others. I still believe. And even as my feelings are still hurt and raw, and portend that I’ve killed any shot that I had, my spirit knows better. Emotions are all over the place. Truths are rooted.

And for once, I am riding with what my spirit is telling me, because I know that it is connected to the Spirit of God. Greater is coming, because greatness is in my DNA.

Until next time, be blessed.

Optimist? Faith Filled? Apple? Orange?

I was thinking today about an issue that my wife and I are having at the moment. One thing that I have noticed during our church’s fast, is that I have become more positive. I’m choosing to see the vein of silver in dire situations. But the question came to mind of is being positive being in faith? or more directly, because I believe that things will work out, am I believing that God will make them so?

What I have noticed, is that being positive is not exactly having faith. Many times, I think we cancel out our faith by making statements , which mightbe faith statements by themselves, that give God a way out in case things don’t work out. Take this example:

God will work this out. He will provide the money that we need by the date.

Now, this is fine by itself, but watch this…

God will work this out. He will provide the money that we need by the date, BUT even if things don’t work out, God will provide another way to our goal.

Now, I’m not saying that is wrong or right, but I’m thinking about a few instances in the Bible. When Abraham was lead to take Isaac up to the mountain to sacrifice Him, He did so with the faith that God would not take Isaac, but even if He did, He had the power to raise him up again. So, that seems to fall in with my example. But also notice that when Caleb and Joshua came back with their report on the promised land, they said that they believed the Israelites were well able to take the land. There was no if, no and, or but about it. It was a definitive statement, based on faith in what God had already done, and what they believed Him to continue to do for them.

So, which is it? Do we believe and make our positive, faith filled confessions and add an out clause in the event that our faith falls through? Or do we just believe with no safety net and speak as Joshua and Caleb did following their spy trip into Canaan?

I don’t have a real answer for you. I’m leaning toward the faith without a safety net option, but that is the difficult one. Putting completely out of your mind what might happen if nothing happens. Trusting God’s will to be done.

What I do know is that having faith can make you a positive person, and I want to be a faith filled Christian living without a safety net. I hope I’m progressing to that point. You’ll have to search your own heart to see where¬† you fall on the spectrum. May we all pray that we can be as Jesus was and is…faithful, and faith filled.

Til next time, be blessed.