Archives For Jesus

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About a year or so ago, a co-worker sent me an article regarding the “Calvin and Hobbes” creators’ take on bullying.

The article hit home with me, reminding me of the times I was picked on, bullied, teased and humiliated mercileslly by other kids. I even had a few cousins who didn’t have a problem with poking and prodding me with their opinions and criticisms about the way I talked, walked, acted or existed.

Bullying did so much damage that it took a long time for me to come to a place of forgiveness and letting go. I take the issue very seriously, but, I learned most recently after reading that article and after further study of the Word of God that my whole view on Bullying, perhaps my “theological” view on Bullying, may have been very, very wrong.

Let me explain…and both apologize.

In the past, I have made comments like, “your bullies will get theirs someday” and “one day you’ll be successful while they are working at McDonalds.”

Junk like that! Yeah, I know. I realize now moreso than ever that victory is NOT found in seeing your bullies fail and fall. That’s not love that God calls us too…at all.

I was wrong and I apologize.

I used to believe that my bullies of the past would one day get theirs and that they would be dealt with.

Truth is, that’s not always the case. They could end up with a change of heart. God may have changed their hearts and minds. Then what? Or, the bullies may not change at all and instead of working in fast-food they could end up being your boss! Then what?

As my Pastor one Sunday was preaching on loving your enemies, the Lord was tugging at my heart, reminding me of my boyhood past that seemed to play over and over in my head and heart. Then, conviction came, the reality that I not only needed to let go of what happened in my past but realize that the victory doesn’t come from the bullies of my past getting what I thought they deserve, but, from victory in Jesus.

Luke 6:27-31 says this:

“But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. To him who strikes you on the one cheek, offer the other also. And from him who takes away your cloak, do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise.”

Luke 6:35 says this:

“But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.”

The article I read talked about a kind of moral justification, a kind of desire to be good and not stoop down to the level of the bully. And that’s a good thing to consider. But, for a deeper and lasting and real affect, it has to be more than just desiring to be good. You can’t do it by yourself and by your own kind of moral compass. Your greatest victory is in Christ.

What Would I Tell A Kid Now Dealing With Bullying

I’m still trying to figure this part out! The best advice is to make sure that people know about it. And as a kid, I know this is hard! On the one hand, you want something done about it, but, on the other hand you don’t want it things to go from bad to worse.

I was fortunate that I had a healthy understanding that who I was to God was way more important than what people thought of me. That got damaged during times of bullying, but not totally destroyed.

It’s by His Grace and Mercy I’m able to maintain that mindset even after all of that.

What I have found is that building a network of friends and people who support and love you through it helps.

As a kid going through bullying, I often felt alone in my struggles. No one, especially adults, bothered to step in and try and fix the problem. As kids, it seems like we were left on our own when it came to bullying.

There was no “speak up” or “speak out” or other bullying initiatives. It was the wild west for me and a lot of other kids.

I would say, “sure, self-defense, teach your kid to fight or put them in karate classes,” but that only solves a part of the problem.

The issue of bullying is complex. It is a little more than just “self-defense” but it is also a little more than just teaching children to accept and love one another and appreciate each others’ differences.

As a kid, much like the writer of the article I mentioned earlier said, as a kid you want justice NOW…not later. And that’s hard on the heart of a boy or girl. It’s a harsh lesson of childhood, but, it doesn’t have to end there.

I’m grateful for kids and adults who step up and demand that bullying stop these days. I’m grateful for the fact some kids are a lot stronger and tougher in their resolve and refuse to let themselves be teased or picked on or belittled.

But, I think of the kid like me, who didn’t want to get hurt so they would try to avoid the fight…but…knowing that if they did try to do something and they lost they would come home to punishment.

So, what would I tell a kid now whose being bullied!?

This might not be much to that kid out there, but here goes……………

You matter.

You matter more than you know. Please, don’t forget that you’re important and that you matter. You have purpose in your life. You are valuable!!! I know you’re hurting right now and I know that it sucks that you’re being bullied.

Self-defense is one thing…and you’re probably scared of fighting and getting hurt. But, don’t go it alone. There’s too many people around you that actually do care and will stop at nothing to see you through what you’re going through right now.

Tell your family, tell the school leaders around you, tell your church, tell the world, make it known….you’re loved and you matter!

Things are a little different now than what they used to be, and you don’t have to fight through this alone. If you’re a victim of bullying, say somethings and don’t stop saying something.

If you need to talk it out…if you need to cry…if you need help…you’re not alone. You’re never alone.

Never let anyone try to make you feel less than what you are.

From the Spiritual aspect…to the person whose experienced bullying…know this….

Your greatest victory is not in just being better than your bullying…but not becoming bitter from the bullying. The greatest victory is in Christ…where love will lead you to letting go of bitterness, anger, hatred and vengefulness and will instead lead you to prayer for them and yourself and praise to God.

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God and I in 2016

December 8, 2016

By and By - Growth in God

In the year 2016 I have seen God allow for doors to open and doors to close. I have experienced deep joy in some parts of my life and periods of deep sadness and disappointment.

Even major bouts of depression, wondering if I should give up on everything…hopes…dreams…goals…everything.

I went back and forth on whether I should’ve done this or that, or, maybe if I had only made this decision or taken this opportunity or gone this or that direction.

Those moments, I was angry…frustrated…lost…confused…hurt…even a little scared. I wanted things to happen in my life that were the complete reverse of what I was seeing. I was told to trust God and keep the faith but was hurting so much inside that I was numb to it.

Even as I write this its…to be honest…really uncomfortable…like “naked in public” type of uncomfortable. But, kind of refreshing at the same time.

Living for Jesus is hard. And yet, I’ll have it no other way.

Jesus freed me from a life where I walked in bitterness and anger towards my own race…towards my own people.

Jesus freed me from a life where I could’ve chosen to live any kind of way…to a life that said that He was all I need.

Jesus is tearing down the walls of my own agenda, making me rethink my life as a whole and totally rewiring my mindset. I

In this, I think of the scripture in Romans about being transformed by the renewing of my mind!

That is happening in a big way and I thank the Lord for every moment that transformation to be in His image is taking place.

For Real About Jesus

September 17, 2016

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This week has proven to be one of the MOST important weeks of my life. A sermon about the blood of Jesus on Wednesday followed by my concerns regarding confidence in Jesus versus in myself and my relationship with Jesus came to the forefront.

Things were getting serious!

Before the week ended, I began reading Matthew 7:21-23 (NKJV):

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.  Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’  And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’

Then the question hit…have I really been about the will of the Father!? And am I about Jesus in words only or in my entire heart and life!? This is something that ALL of us should seriously consider and ask the Lord to examine our hearts when it comes to following God and Christ Jesus!

Oh sure, we ask that “God’s will” be done but really, deep within our hearts, when we are told “no” about that opportunity or when we are hoping for that big “thing” to come through for us and it doesn’t, we are greatly disappointed.

Our lives are rocked and we begin to doubt and question God. We get unbelievably upset and angry.

it is a horrific mental and spiritual state to be in when the blood of Jesus seems meager to your burdens in life. 

If we are truly about our relationship with Jesus Christ we will be obedient to God the Father. We will live a life that is evident of the relationship we have in Jesus! How might we be obedient…and what about…that is found in God’s Word.

For those in Christ, we can rejoice in the fact that everything we go through and everything that we face is not the end! Faith in God and Christ Jesus says that I will not cut and run nor give up at the site of trouble or strain or strife.

 

 

You Were Made For This

August 19, 2016

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On Sunday, August 14th, I preached on the topic “You Were Made For This,” using the text from 1 Peter 2:9:

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

The 3 points that came to mind in the movement of this text were the following:

You Were Chosen

You Were Set Apart

You Were Called Out

For those who believe in Jesus Christ and have accepted Him into our life and His gift of salvation, we no longer walk in disobedience and sin, but righteousness and life and holiness. This is huge for us because we have a “living hope” in Christ that reminds us that we are “chosen.”

As believers, we are a “royal priesthood,” which means we can go before God through Christ. We also have the opportunity to serve the Lord and serve other people in our lives through our talents and gifts all while being empowered by Christ.

We are a “holy nation,” which means that we are to embody the characteristics of believers in God and Christ. We are to operate as the chosen, holy people of God, set apart to do His will both in our lives individually and in the world.

We do this because He called us out of darkness and into His marvelous light, whereas, we lived in darkness but through the shed blood of Jesus, we have become God’s possessions, whom he called out.

After writing the notes to my sermon, the Lord encouraged me to really think about my own story as it relates to the scripture. I shared with the congregation what it felt like to be outcasted, ignored and left behind.

I was often bullied and teased in the classroom, on the school bus and anywhere else that kids existed. I was also in Special Ed, which often made me the first one to take a test and the last one to walk out. Because I was different from majority of my classmates, I was often teased and picked on for what kids called “talking white” (speaking proper English) and for the way I carried myself. Being a precocious kid made me a target.

During the sermon, it got personal, as I shared my own deep hatred for others in my community, but how Jesus healed (and continues to heal) my wounds of the past and delivered me from that darkness. Also, the Lord forgave me, because after all, His own disregarded Him as well, and I couldn’t claim to love God but hate others.

Everything I went through…everything you are going through right now…you were made for this! The times we are living in…this period that you exist…you were made for this moment!

You were chosen, you were set apart and you were called out for this appointed period of time. That is not a coincidence! It’s an assignment!

And you were made for it!