Ever Thought Of…Love

If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing. 1Corinthians 13-1-3

Okay…so without love in our heart we are nothing.  You see God is love and when we accept him we receive his love.

Remember your first love?  Remember that feeling you had? The excitement, the joy.  What if I told you that you can get those feelings back with just a few minor adjustments to your thinking and attitude.

How often do we put the focus on ourselves? Probably more than we should, right?  Well Jesus was all about others, his thinking was always directed at people. He just loved them.

Here’s the point, everyone we know will fail us, everyone we know will do something to upset us, I mean… we know that this is true. So if we know that no one is perfect…including us, then we should be able to see the good in people and not only the bad.

Every time that you start to get angry and lash out at someone, stop and think about how you feel when you fail some one.  Stop and think about how God treats you when you fail him. If we really try to treat others the way we would like to be treated, then we give “Love” a place to grow in our hearts.

Remember without love we have nothing.  Tell 10 people that you love them today and watch your heart begin to change.

Think about it…

New Friends

So I had a good trip, we accomplished allot in our meetings and after two long days I am ready to get home.

Have you ever taken a trip and after all was said and done you just couldn’t wait to get home?  You know what I’m talking about?  You’re tired and all you want to do is get home without incident.  Well that’s how I felt. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or meet anyone, I just wanted to relax. I had a rough night with a bad stomach so I really wasn’t feeling well and I just wanted to rest.

So I get to the airport and my flight is delayed, oh boy…here we go, there’s no way that this is going to be a good trip home…Boy was I wrong.

I get on the plane and I am seated next to a gentleman.  In a very polite voice he says hello. I introduced myself and we began a conversation. You never know who you will meet or how that meeting will impact your life.

The bible says that we are to encourage one another and uplift one another, it says that we are to be ready in season and out of season. You see you never know when God needs to use your hands and your feet. You never know when God wants to use your voice. We are Gods instrument of choice to show the world that he is real and alive.

I wasn’t feeling well at all, I was tired, ill and weak. So what did God do about that? He sent me Gordan. Yes Gordan was his name. Gordan began to tell me about his life, he shared with me the fact that he got saved when he was in his early thirties. He was an alcoholic and drug user, he checked himself into a rehab program and God met him there. He said the Lord spoke to him and his life was forever changed. Before that meeting with God, Gordan’s plan for his life was to retire on disability and social security.

Man..did God ever have a different plan for Gordan!

Today Gordan is married for 29 years, he has 3 great children that he has sent through college and he is the president of his company.

You see God sent Gordan to me today to remind me of his Grace, mercy and restoring power. I was tired and weak and God lifted me up and gave me strength through a new friend.  I don’t know if I will ever see Gordan again, but I do know that I will never forget him.

I thank God for Gordan and his powerful testimony and the grace that I have seen through his story.

Is Hell Real?

So what if you’re wrong?

I recall a conversation I had several years ago with my cousin.  She was very passionate about life, everything she did was all out.  When she set her mind on something it was very difficult to convince her otherwise.  So one day she called me up and we began to talk…you see my cousin had her  own beliefs about heaven and hell.  She believed in heaven but she believed that hell was a metaphor.  She didn’t think that hell was a real place, therefore she believed that when she died the worse thing that could happen to her is that she would return to the ground…and the best thing that could happen is that she would live forever on the new earth.

Hmm…

Actually that’s not so bad.  I mean if the worst thing that can happen to us after we die is either nothing, or eternal life on the new earth.  That sounds like a pretty good deal.  Live life how-ever you choose and end up either dead without life or knowledge of anything, or live forever on a perfect earth.

You see, she and I would go round and round with this discussion.

Here’s the problem with her belief system–it has no foundation. She claimed to believe the bible but she didn’t want to accept hell. Jesus Christ said;

“I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that can do no more. But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.                                                                                               Luke 12:4-5

Jesus describes hell as the place “where the fire never goes out” (Mark 9:43) and hell is also described this way;

“In hell, where he was in torment” (Luke 16:23).

“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”                                                                   Matthew 25:46

Okay…I believe that hell is a real place that people who don’t accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior are sent to for eternal punishment. I believe that scripture is clear regarding hell and we have all been made aware of it.

So…what if I’m wrong and my cousin was right?  Well the worst thing that can happen to me after I die if I don’t accept Jesus is, I go back to nothing, no feeling, no knowledge, no nothing.

But what if I’m right and she was wrong?  Then the worst thing that can happen to me after I die if I don’t accept Jesus is,  I live forever in eternal punishment, separated from God forever.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to take that chance.  I would rather live believing that when I die there’s a hope of a better life after this life.

Sometimes this earth feels like hell, but the cool thing is, it’s the only hell that I will ever know.

You see… my cousin has found out the truth already, she was murdered at the age of 31.  I often wonder where she is today and my hope is that while she was still alive she found the truth.

We are all created in the image of God, and God is eternal.

We will live forever… somewhere.

Where will you spend eternity?

Think about it…

In memory of Shani Renee Holloway

Words to Live By…Matthew 6:33

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33

If we set our sight on God then we will never go blind.

Think about it…

Childhood Dreams

Remember when you were a kid?  Remember your dreams?  As a kid the sky’s the limit, you can be what ever you want to be.  I remember as a kid I wanted to be a police officer, then I wanted to be a Mariachi musician.  As I got older I wanted to be a rock star…yea, a rock star..lol  All the typical childhood dreams.

What happened?!  As adults do we still dream?  Do we still believe that we can do those things?  I understand that as we get older our dreams and goals become more sensible.  And we begin to discover ourselves and identify our strengths and weaknesses.  But I really feel that at some point we give up and we begin to settle.  I mean think about it, are you doing what your passion is?

There’s this verse that I love;

Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart.                                     Psalm 37:4

That is so beautiful, if we delight ourselves in God then he is true to give us our hearts desires. WOW!

But let’s break it down:

Delight– to give great pleasure, satisfaction, or enjoyment to; please highly:

Okay our first step is to give joy to God, find our joy in him and bring him pleasure.  That’s pretty simple right? I mean all it’s saying is to spend time with God, get to know him and do what he says.  We bring pleasure and joy to God when we are obedient.

So if we do these things that means God will give us the desires of our heart. Right?  But what desires?  Here’s the key;

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 29:11

You see God has created us with a unique plan for our lives, and he places that desire in our heart.  Now as we grow, we begin to place our own desires and plans in our heart.  This can cause a lot of confusion and uncertainty.  The key is to recognize which plans are ours and which plans are from God.  It’s not that simple is it?  Or is it?

If we do what this verse says to do, “delight ourselves in the Lord” then we will be able to know God’s will for our lives opposed to our own will.  At birth God places in our heart a purpose, desires, dreams, plans and hope.  In order for theses things to be clearly revealed to us, we must delight ourselves in Him. Then God can give us the desires of our heart.

So delight yourself in the Lord, hang out with him, talk to him, listen to him and he will release his perfect plan for your life. It’s not too late!  As long as you can breathe, you can live. We are never to old to live for the Lord.

Dream big, because your God is big and he wants you to have the desires of your heart.

Think about it…

TRUTH

In times of despair we have opportunity for greatness.  I just watched the news and I saw houses burning and flames over 300 feet tall. It seems that a gas line exploded and a whole neighborhood in San Bruno California went up in flames.  Sometimes life gets serious very quickly.  I don’t know what you believe but I’m sure the families of that disaster would appreciate your thoughts and prayers right now.

One minute we’re planning  our future and the next second we are faced with disaster. What would you do in this situation? When disaster strikes will you be ready?  I don’t know if any of us could seriously answer yes to this question.  We all would love to think that we are prepared for hard times. But are we? This reminds me of a story.

There was this man named Noah who began to build an ark. He built and built for over 100 years. All the people thought that he was crazy because he told them that a great flood was coming and that water would fall from the sky.  The people ignored him and they kept living their lives as usual.  You see in the days of Noah it had never rained before, so when he warned them that water would fall from the sky they scoffed at him.  I mean, what would you do?  I probably would think that he was crazy too.  Well the day came when the ark was finished and the rain began.  It rained for forty days and forty nights. The entire earth was covered with water.  Only Noah and his family survived.

Here’s the point, we can go our entire lives hearing the truth but never believing it.  So if we don’t believe it, does it change? Does truth change?  One thing is certain,  time can’t change truth. Truth is truth.

For those families in San Bruno the truth is their lives will never be the same.  Some have lost everything that they own. Others have lost loved ones. You see in life there are no guarantees for tomorrow.  We have never been promised that we will live to see another day.

So what do you believe and are you willing to die for it? The truth is that there is a God that created you. He loved you so much that he sent his son Jesus to die for your sins and for mine. If you accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior then you will one day be joined with him in paradise forever.

That’s the truth. Now what are you going to do with it?

Vision…

I was having dinner the other night with some friends and the subject of helping the needy came up.  My friend got real excited as he began to layout this plan to feed the nation.  He started breaking down how our government subsidizes the farmers and how we have silos of grain rotting and going to waste.

I mean he was really into it.  He had carefully thought through everything he needed to do to accomplish his task.  It was pretty intense.  This guy had a plan and a vision.

That reminds me of a scripture;

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.  Proverbs 29:18 (KJV)

Let’s talk about that.  You see if you don’t have vision, or revelation from God then your life will be out of control. If you aren’t in tune with God’s purpose, or his laws then you will spiritually die.  But if you are in tune with God’s vision for your life and with his purpose and you let them guide you, then you will thrive.

You see God has created us to have a vision in life, to have a purpose for life. But it’s his vision for us, not our own.  Do you feel like life is going no-where? Do you feel like your constantly spinning but getting absolutely no-where?

If so, you may want to have your vision checked.  Are you in tune with the leading of the Holy Spirit? Are you listening to the guidance of God?

You see God created us to thrive, to overcome, to be more than conquers.  If those things aren’t happening in your life, then maybe you’re going blind.

How’s your vision?

The Impossible

It was early in the year 2003 and I remember this overwhelming desire to pray for my city.  You need to understand something, I’m not just talking about… Oh Lord bless my city kind of prayer.  I’m talking about something that I could never imagine doing.  Have you ever been asked to do something that you knew was impossible?  Something that you knew was just too big to tackle.

You see when I accepted Jesus as my savior, I told him that I would do anything he asked me to do.  I told him to send me to do the work that the others refused to do.  I told him that I was one of “the few” that he had referred to in the book of Luke .

He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.                                       Luke 10:2-3

You see, “like lambs among wolves”, this was serious stuff. Let me give you a little history about me and my wife. In 2001 we founded a ministry and we felt that God wanted us to trust in him for everything. Now I know that sounds simple, but it was harder than we thought. In September of 2001 I lost my job and we felt that I was supposed to work the ministry full-time without pay and just watch God provide. That’s another blog in its self.

So here we are feeling like God wanted us to pray for our city, but what we heard was pray through the entire city, down every street.  What!!  Every street?  That could take days , even weeks! How could we do that?  The answer is, we can’t, but…”Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

You see sometimes God asks us to do the impossible so he can show himself to us.  My wife and I prayed and prayed and God was faithful to give us the plan.  We assembled a team and we fasted and prayed together.  We chopped up the city into sections and on a Saturday morning we met at the park and all 14 of us took our section and off we went.

I remember my wife and I and 3 of our sons driving down each street praying.  It brings a smile to my face as I write this because it took us 10 hours to complete all the sections that we had, but God’s grace was so good, our boys never cried or complained.  That in it self was a miracle!

Next time you feel a passion or a stirring for something to big to be you, or to big to do.  It might just be God calling you to do his work, calling you to do the impossible.  Are you willing to be the answer to prayer?

Think about it.

Cheating Never Pays

Okay, so they took Reggie’s trophy.  According to Yahoo Sports the Heisman trust will strip Reggie Bush of his 2005 Heisman award.  The Heisman Trophy is given to the best college football player each year.  In its 75 year history it has never been taken back from a player.  Hmm… I find that interesting.

So am I to believe that Reggie Bush is the only player in 75 years to ever cheat and win the award? Probably not. And did the money that he received give him an un-fair advantage on the playing field?  Probably not.  You have to understand something, I am a huge USC  Trojan football fan. I believe that you can investigate every college sports program and find something that would disqualify them.  I mean everyone does it, everyone in college sports cuts corners or takes a little side money.

Think about this, these students are between the ages of 18-22, with enormous amounts of talent.  From the time they ever started playing sports they’ve been treated differently, they’ve been allotted certain privileges that not everyone gets.  So what do we except them to do.  The colleges are making millions because of these athletes and the athletes in some cases can barely afford to eat on a weekly basis. Now I know that the student gets an education worth thousands of dollars. It’s not like they receive nothing in return for their performance. I get all that.

But the truth is this; “Cheating never pays”.  Just because everyone else is doing it is no reason for us to do it.

You see, the world will always teach to “look out for number one”. But as a follower of Jesus Christ I am taught to;

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:  Philippians 2:3-5

Our attitudes should be the same as Jesus.  Jesus left perfection to come down and show us how to live.  And knowing how painful it would be he still gave his life for you and for me. Wow. How amazing is that?

I know that everyone doesn’t believe that. But for those of us who do, we can’t allow the world to determine our actions. We have got to stand firm on the Word and the principles of God.

You see what Reggie Bush did was hurt an entire nation of fans, teammates and peers, all because he was looking at himself and not considering others. And sure you can say that he was trying to help his family, but his big payday was coming, his family was going to be alright.

All together it’s a sad day for sports, hopefully we’ve learned;

Cheating never pays!

Are You Ready For Some Football?

I remember sitting on my couch watching as the ball passed through the goal post.

Suddenly it got real quiet in my house. Let’s rewind…when I was about three years old my grandfather used to get me up every Sunday morning. He would go into the kitchen and get a cup of coffee, then he would prop me up onto his lap and we would watch football. My grandfather was an awesome man, he was the only real male role model that I had growing up. I remember sipping coffee with him (that explains my 5 cup a day habit now). As the years passed by I would always like the team in the purple…little did I know then, how much pain they would cause me later.

My grandfather was a big Raiders fan and if you haven’t guessed it by now I am a huge Vikings fan. When the Raiders and the Vikings met in the Superbowl I lost a whole dollar to my grand father. Yea, those were good times. You see football and sports have always been a big  apart of my life.

Back to my opening statement…so the ball passes through the goal posts and just like that the season is over. Once again my Vikings have failed me, they gave me a great season but they just couldn’t finish strong. I am so glad that God isn’t like the Vikings. You see God would never fail me, as a matter of fact here’s a quick story of his faithfulness.

In 1997 my grandfather was dying. I was newly married and just recently accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior.  As far as I ever knew, my grandfather wasn’t a spiritual man, I don’t ever recall him telling me about God or making God a priority in his life.  But that day when we were in his hospital room, I asked him;

Donald, have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?  He replied…Well sure I have Chico. Those were the greatest words I have ever heard him speak.

You see,  God never quits, He’s always working to bring us back to Him.

So as another football season begins I am prepared for Brett Favre and the Vikings to break my heart, but who knows maybe this is the year that they too, will finish strong.