Friday, October 24, 2014
Challenges might appear to be insurmountable, at times. No matter what angle we look at them from, they appear to be larger than life. Moses sent 12 spies to covertly inspect the promised-land, and when they came back, it wasn’t the fruit of the land that they noticed. It was the size and strength of the opposition.
But there were two among the 12 who looked beyond the impossible circumstances and saw an opportunity to trust in the promises of the God who had delivered them time and again. In Numbers 14:7-9, Joshua and Caleb pleaded with the people of Israel:
“The land, which we passed through to spy it out, is an exceedingly good land. If the LORD delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey. Only do not rebel against the LORD. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the LORD is with us; do not fear them.”
The God whom we serve is mightier than anything we could ever face on this earth. Though calamities and troubles may fall upon us, remember: the same God who created existence stands with you. He keeps His promises and provides for His beloved. He is with us, no matter what may come.
Friday, September 5, 2014
Sunday, July 6, 2014
Movies paint a picture of ultimate heroes charging death head on, with no fear. You grow up watching enough of those types of films, and you actually start to believe them; rather, you begin to believe their implied definition of bravery. Real life, however, is much different. Let me tell you what real bravery looks like.
Bravery: Its the little guy on the basketball court who knows the final play of the game comes down to his quick speed enabling him to evade every defender taller than him. His heart beats a mile a minute but, somehow, he knows he's gonna make the game winning layup.
Bravery: Its the woman who tells her male pig-of-a-boss, "Keep your hands off me," even though she has the fear that speaking out may cost her the very job she's worked so hard to obtain.
Bravery: Its the pipsqueak who decides today is the day, he'll stand up for his lunch money. His palms are sweaty, but he swings with a lightning speed he never knew his fists housed.
Bravery: The Christian who decides to defend Jesus, despite the raunchy, disrespectful, off-color humor of his long time pals. The threat of losing friendships is real, and terrifying. But not standing up for his beliefs is far worse.
Bravery: Its the alcoholic who finally says, "Enough's enough. I can't do this on my own. I need help."
Bravery: Is the devoted wife and loving mother who finally decides to pack up the kids and leave her abusive husband, to start a new life for her family, without him.
Bravery: Is the young girl who tells her selfish boyfriend, "I'm not ready for sex," despite his guilt-trip pleas for love.
Bravery: Standing alone in your decision, when everyone around tries to convince you of your impending failure. Yes, its a scary situation, and you might fall. But what if you don't fail, and actually succeed?
True bravery says, "Yes, I'm afraid; I'm even terrified. But...I'm going to do what's right, despite my fear."
Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Do you know how hard it is to pose like a tough guy 24/7? It can get downright exhausting trying to hold back tears, when bad things happen that are beyond our control. I know some of y’all out there are just too proud to let the tears flow in front of your crew or even your family. But all of that pinned up emotion only rots the Spirit within you.
Did you know that Jesus wept? The shortest verse of scripture in the New Testament, John 11:35, says so. In fact, He wept a lot, because he experienced the same feelings and situations we go through today. Jesus was the hardest man to walk the earth, not because he was tough and held back his emotions. No, He was boss because he had the power to wipe out all of his enemies, all diseases, all suffering with a single thought, but chose not to. He chose to live the life of a man. He was “that guy” because he didn’t hide his emotions in times of difficulty.
The world teaches a man to buck up and quit that cryin’ in times of distress. But, in God’s kingdom, tears represent real heart. Real men cry, in times of tragedy, in reverence of God, even in times of great joy. So don’t let anyone tell you that you’re soft for crying. Sometimes, a real man’s just got to let the tears flow.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
When I first got saved, I struggled with my tongue. My vocabulary was fine. As a writer, big words and the dictionary were my close friends. But, I could bless a person in one second and curse their name in the next. “Hey, Brother Ted! May the Lord bless you and the family today.” Then, I could turn to my wife and say something like, “I hope he knows people are gonna laugh at those stupid-looking shoes he’s wearing.”
The tongue is a dangerous thing. If we don’t watch what we say, every time we open our mouths, we could be in danger of condemning ourselves. James 3:10 (ESV) says, “From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not be so.” Do you know that Christian who praises the Lord in church, but swears like a sailor, on Saturday night? That’s a danger we should watch out for.
The Lord wants us to use every part of our being to praise Him. This includes our speech. Yeah…we’re human. We will fail sometimes. But, we should not purposely use our tongues to speak evil into someone else’s life, or our own. In one of his songs, Lecrae says, “For me, learning not to curse, was like learning to write in cursive.” Its hard! But, as Christians, we have to learn to speak life, and put an end to speaking death.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
JOSHUA 24:15 (NIV) - “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
Joshua was making his position clear. Today, it might be translated in Ennis-vernacular to read this way: “Look, if following God seems wack to you, then follow your own God: money, power, sex, or the culture’s definition of what seems cool. But everyone under my roof will follow God.”
Every day, we have to face challenges. Some may seem like small decisions, but could really have terrible consequences. Other choices may seem as big as mountains, but really mean nothing in the plans of your life. Challenges show up in what we choose to pay attention to: a music video, an R-rated movie, the lyrics on the radio, our friends’ lifestyles. What or who we choose to follow dictates the course of our lives.
Joshua basically said, “Look, no matter what, I’m runnin’ with God. Whatever He says, is what I’ll do.” He chose God’s way over the ways of everything else going on in the world. And for that, God blessed him. Every day, we have to make a choice of who or what to follow. If I have to go through struggles, I’d rather have God guiding me through those struggles.