Friday, December 29, 2017

New year, New you, New church!

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
2 Corinthians 5:17

In just a couple days, it will be 2018!  Wow this past year has been quick but amazing!  I could post about how this blog has now 65,000 readers or I could post the good that has happened in my life like getting baptized, but no, I want to talk about the new year, a new you, and a new church!  I want to talk about how all this can be possible!  But most importantly, none of it is possible unless you take God with you!

So let's talk about the new year!  What will it mean?  Well, it could be an amazing year, it could be an incredible year, it could be the year of a life time!  How you ask?  Well start with this, give your life to God, be baptized, and announce Christ as God's son who died for you!  When you walk with God and have him first in your life, everything else falls into place.  It is not always amazing, but I would not give my worst day with God to have my best day without Him again.  Even when things go down hill, as they will, I know I am not alone and I know that the creator of everything, well, He has my back!  The God who made me, the God who died for me, the God who was raised for me, well He did all that for you too and has our back!

This year, start it with Him and that brings us to a new you!  There is lots of resolutions that you can make, but the problem with that is they are stopped at some point only to be resolutions again the next year.  So, how do you get your new you?  Start with prayer, pray daily and make your life a daily prayer.  You know the nice thing about prayer?  You can do it any where!  No really you can!  You don't even have to get out of bed!  Now that you have prayed, read!  Just a couple minutes.  Start with reading the Bible, just a chapter!  To know how to be a new you, you have to read the book that will get you there!  Then I also include a meditation/daily devotional book!  This will only take a minute!  Yet it will open your eyes to different ways to look at God's word and help you know it better.  Now, what do you do?  Sing!  Yes, I said sing!  I personally choose songs that I have sung my whole life, but singing will help you open up and get energized for the day!  Okay, now, get on with your day.  And the good news, over the time, because you bring God with you now, you will be more apt to deal with the day.

You may be saying, how does all that make a new me?  Well simple, when you start your day with God, then you are able to continue your day with God.  And when you take God through your day, then you will be more apt to act as someone with God.  Think about it, when you are feeling God close to you, then you are more going to act in His ways.  How do you get close to God?  Prayer, reading the Bible, praising Him, and continueing it through the day!

So, now that we have talked about a new year and a new you, what is this about a new church?  Simple, we go to church to learn about God, be with His people who are the church, and grow.  Well, if you are living a new life, you may find that church becomes more too!  You may find that your church is needing to be new too!  Does it teach God, Christ, and their love?  Do you leave feeling uplifted?  Or is it pushing an agenda?  And is church being taught as being the building or is it the people?  Who is the head of the church?  Is the Bible even opened?

If you can't answer these questions, it is time to rethink things!  I am very proud of where I go to meet the church.  Westbury knows that Christ is head of the church and that the church is the people.  It teaches acceptance, love, and goes deep into God's word.  I know though, if it got into politics, if it started teaching things that are not of God, than I can go to the Elders and Ministers and voice my concerns.  Westbury Church of Christ is a new church!  I say that it is new not because of it's age as it has been around for some time now, I say it is new because it does not follow the norm.  It is an eclectic gathering of God's people that teach our job is to love God and grow in Him.  It teaches we are to tell others of Him.  It teaches that we are to be loving to all.

So if you can, change your church to look upon God's teaching again, but if that is not possible, come to Westbury!  Experience a conservative yet liberal, open, accepting, loving church!

This new year, be a new you, be a new church, and start it with God!  And so here is where I give you this, get baptized today and become a new being, being my brother or sister or what ever pronoun you give yourself.  Join a church home and belong to a community that will be there for you!  And live a life that others say, who is that?  Wow, I want what they got!

God can lead you to a new life, I can tell you how my new life happened and how good it is, but you have to choose it for yourself!  Don't go another day!  If you are ready for you life to change and be baptized, come this Sunday to Westbury Church of Christ at 10 AM and do it!  If don't want to wait till then, call me at 832-570-7023 and if I don't answer I will call you right back and we will set up a way to do it!  And most importantly, you need a community to support you, so join a church.  Though I would like you to join mine, but you don't have to, just get plugged in!

Here is to a new year and life!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Promises of God

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

As I sit in a coffee shop far from home, I am pondering God's promise to us.  What is that promise?  One of everlasting life.  Yet I get so much more from God!  I am living a life I never dreamed of!  I am able to travel, have my own place, and a job that I can do and do good.  He has given me life!

Just thinking back to a couple years ago, when I was in death's grasp from the inside out.  I had no hope.  I wanted it all over!  And now, now that I am in Christ!  I want to live, I want to share His love!  What an amazing gift He gives us!

Don't get me wrong, it is not all hunky dory and a bed of roses.  I have to do my part and work in this life.  But He has restored the wasted years, made the hard days better than the best without Him, and brought me hope!

I am free to love, so are you!  Too often we choose to ignore, disapprove without love, and hate.  Just look at those that don't approve of the leaders, they hate them, they spit out words of hate.  And vice versa.  This is not why God sent His son to die for us!

So many talk about being loving, but who really are?  Do you give love to the stranger that just cut you off?  Do you show love to the ex that broke your heart?  Do you love the one that in your eyes sins in a way that can not be forgiven?

One of Christ's commandments is to love our neighbor.  That don't mean you have to agree.  That don't mean you have to like what they do.  But love them anyways!  Let me tell you I don't like Trump, I can't stand how he acts, and I hate how he treats people, but I show love for him by praying for him.

I once heard an old saying with a twist.  You have heard, "Love the sinner, but hate the sin!"  And oh how we have gotten away from that.  We end up hating the sinner.  I then heard something much better!  "Love the sinner and hate the sin in my own life!"  And wow how that takes me off of looking at what is wrong with them and now I am able to love the human being that they are and focus on my own sins.

God promises us eternity with Him, but we still have things that we have to do!  I see it as we are to clean up our own side of the street, allow Him to change our hearts and actions, give everything the good and bad to Him, let go of control, love others, and tell others about Him and what He has done in our own life!

What better way to show someone that you love them?  To tell them of the saving grace, the forgiveness that goes deeper than any other, and a love for them that expands time and distance!  To show them of the salvation that was freely given!  God doesn't want just one person to get to Heaven, He wants all of us to!  Christ died for all!

So as I sit here, I think of that promise of salvation, if I share it with others, and how blessed I am to have it.  Miles from home, but just a breath away from God no matter where I am and people all around that I can share His love with, even if it is just a smile to a stranger.

Friday, December 1, 2017

The Fear Tactic Against LGBT Community

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18

It is amazing to me how many people think that fear will bring anyone closer to God.  You know how it goes, "Repent or you will go to Hell!"  or "You are an abomination!"  And the list goes on.  People think that they are going to scare you into what they have pictured as the only right way of thinking.

Yes, I believe it is not wrong to be gay, but that doesn't mean that I am going to be cruel or drive fear of someone that believes different than me.  Christ teaches us to love one another.  He did not meet people with fear and hate but love.  Did He ever tell a sinner you are horrible?  No, He showed love and compassion.

When did we get so far from the teachings of Christ and decide we could say who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell?  I don't remember Christ saying you decide!  No, God is the only judge!  

Saturday, October 14, 2017

How Do You Know The Fruit Of A Person?

By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit, you will recognize them.
Matthew 7:16-20

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things, there is no law.
Galatians 5: 22-23

It is amazing how many people assume that a person is living in sin when simply their life does not look like them.  Some say I do because I am a lesbian, but God's word does not talk about homosexuality like some believe it does.  That is a discussion for another time though.  Today we are talking about the fruit of the person.  More so, how do you know if a person is of good fruit?

We are taught that a person who bears good fruit is how we will know that they are of God.  And we are taught that good fruit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.  These are action words.  They are things that we choose to do!

So how do we know we have good fruit?  How do we know we are walking with God?  How do we know we are the good tree?  Simple, we look at the fruit and see if it is part of our life.

Love:  Are we compassionate to others?  Do we care for others?  Do we put others first?  Do we pray for others?  Or do we just do this for some?  You can choose to love, it is not a feeling!  Before my walk with God, I had hate in my heart, but through prayer, love came to even those I hated in the past.  I was able to let go.  Now my prayers for the others are out of love and asking God to bless them.

Joy: This is a harder one.  No one has a good day every day.  But if you can sum up your life, is it full of Joy?  I used to cry daily and fight depression.  I was suicidal.  Yet since I gave my life to Christ, I have not had one suicide attempt and overall, I am happy with life and can't wait to experience different parts of it!  I have true joy.  You can too!  Joy is not being happy alone but excited about life and God.

Peace:  To have peace is to stop fighting everyone and everything.  It is giving things to God and not have to be the master of the seas.  I remember when I stopped fighting and let God have control.  It is every morning when I get up.  And my life is calm and peaceful cause I put myself in place and let God rule the day!

Forbearance: Do you have restraint and tolerance?  Do you say what you think and do the first thing that comes to mind?  I have learned to think and not just act.  I am not responsible for my first thought, but I am responsible with my second and my actions.  And so, therefore, I use this to help me know if something should be said: Should it be said right now? Should I be the one to say it?  Is it going to cause harm?  Is it helpful?  Keeping those questions in mind help from causing pain to anyone.

Kindness: Do you show the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate?  Or do you snap at people and go out of your way to avoid people?  Do you feed the hungry?  Do hug a stranger?  Do you reach out to the homeless?  My folks will tell you that I have never met a stranger and I hope it stays that way.  It isn't hard to be friendly, really you smile and treat another how you want to be treated.

Goodness:  Are you being good?  What does that mean?  Well, I find it obeying God's will, putting others first, and doing your best to do the next right action.  It again is not hard when you let God be in control and let Him guide you!

Faithfulness: Awe, do you stay true to God?  Do you stay true to your family? Do you stay true to friends? Or a job?  Are you different at each place?  It is one of those things you have to ask yourself.  It is sticking with something even when it gets hard!  And it is sticking with something when things are good!  Think about it, are you more likely to pray when things are good or bad?

Gentleness: Are you loud and a bull in a china shop or are you quiet and meek?  Do you lash out or do you speak softly?  Are people afraid of you and you like that?  Or are you the one people run to when there is trouble and know you will hold them and create a safe space?  I know for me that there are times I want to rant and rave, but then I remember it is not my job.  I remember that God is gentle with me and I must be gentle with others!

Self-Control: Do you have to run the show?  Do you throw a fit if life is not how you want it?  Do you just do what you want to do? When we let go control and give it to God, life is amazing!  Our eyes are opened up and the world is amazing!  When I find myself through trying to do things my way, not saying no to self, is when trouble hits.  I must remember, I don't have this but He does!

So there is the fruit!  Do they show up in your life?  I strive daily to ask God to have them in my life!  And you may be saying how do you know you are walking with God?  How do you know that you have the fruit?  You know because of how others see you.  You know because you are asking if they are there and striving to have them.  You know because your life is not stressed and you can go to bed at night with a clean conscience.

I don't wake up and fret about if bills will be made, I don't fret about being fed, I just know God will make sure all my needs are met.  Are there times I do?  Of course!  And that is usually when I am not aligned with God's will and doing my thing.

Now, this is where some of yall will be saying sinning is doing your thing!  You are right.  You may be saying you can't have the fruit and be a lesbian!  You are wrong. My walk with God and allowing Him to guide me is what produces the fruit.  You may say though, you are sinning by being a lesbian and accepting "that" lifestyle.  I don't see it as sin.  And yes I have read my Bible, I know of all the scriptures.  But I studied them, I don't see them meaning what people make them out to mean!  I also will hear, it was not the such and such translation.  I studied the original languages and again it did not mean what has been taken to mean today!

So, next time you meet someone, yes look at the fruit of their life, but don't assume they are not Christian or right in the eyes of God because of a label.   Our job, is to love God before all and love others before ourself.  And when you do this, you get the fruit and you know what it means to be one of His!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Adequate Life: Letting God Be Extraordinaire And Us Be Ordinary

Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.
2 Corinthians 3:5

I was challenged this week to strive to be adequate and not try to be the best at everything.  I have this inner-drive to be excellent in everything that I do, but I fail so often not to uphold my own standards for myself.  Why do we do this to ourselves?  We push and push to be more than we are.  Looking to be excellent, sure we are called to greatness, but at the same time, we should be adequate.

You are probably thinking what I mean when I say be adequate and great!  I could not put the two together at first my self.  Then it hit me, God is the greatness, I am the adequate.  I let Him be great through me and I don't rely on my own power to be great.  

God performs miracles, not me.  I do the ordinary.  When He had an angel get Paul out of jail, the angle could have put the shoes on Paul but told Paul to put on his shoes.  When Christ healed a baby, He could have put food in the stomach of the baby but told the father to feed the child. 

This tells me that I do the ordinary, I am adequate, God is the one that does the extraordinaire!   If I try to be excellent in everything, nothing turns out right, but if I am adequate, there will be times of excellence and low times but they will equal out.  And those times in the middle will still be good times.

I strive to be adequate and let God be extraordinaire.  May you too learn how to let God bring you to greatness by being the one that is great!