Daily Devotional – 5/3/16 “Be kind!”

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It’s a new month and we’ve lived to see it! That’s something to be excited and grateful for. I know I am because as of today, I am 39 years +1 day young and I’ve been married 18 years + 1 day. Isn’t God amazing? I’ve been overjoyed in the loved received by all and that’s because you don’t have to be nice to me. Think about it. We live in a world, now days that we don’t even expect folk to be nice. We’re shocked when we walk into a fast food restaurant and actually get good customer service. We are surprised when someone holds the door open for us or are blown away when someone says thank you or simply apologizes. This is because we live in a world where somebody might just kill you if you reject their advances; husbands are killings wives, children are killing other children, wives are not respecting their husbands because they don’t respect themselves, people are becoming the victims of hate crimes because of the color of their skin or their sexual preference and Christians are doing everything but being Christian-like. We live in a society were woman are okay with being misused and abused as long as they have a piece of a man. We are raising children in homes where we bash the other parent in front of them. We are working in a world where folk would rather throw you under the bus than see you get promoted. And we worship in a world where Saints are more worried about their traditions than they are God’s word and don’t mind hurting your feelings over it. What in the world is going on?

Where did we lose ourselves? When did we forget what the word says in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you?” Why do we find it easy to show love to strangers and not those in our same household? Why are we so quick to demean each other instead of lifting each other? Why is it easier to spew hate rather than help? What if you don’t live to see tomorrow, would you be satisfied with how you lived today? If you were to need help tomorrow, would you have someone willing to come? Matthew 7:12 says, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Treat folk how you want to be treated, at all times! Be kind and then kindness will be returned to you. Give and it shall be given back to you. Respect and respect you shall be given. Forgive because in your forgiving them, God forgives you. So, let me start by saying this… Thank you for allowing me to encourage you. Thank you for taking the time to say happy birthday/anniversary on yesterday. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for your kindness towards me. And if there’s anything that I’ve said or done that is not pleasing, please forgive me. I pray that you’ll find it in your heart to share love, kindness and laughter on today. Not just in the streets but in your home as well. Be kind because you never know when the next person needs it!

Daily Devotional – 5/21/12 “Church folk aren’t always Christian!”

On yesterday one of our Associate Ministers preached on the difference between church folk and Christians. Of course this was an interesting topic for me, you know with the devotional and all but the more I thought about it, it was true. There is a difference in church folk and Christian folk. Yea, I know that we have this thought that if you go to church you have to be a Christian but even the devil attends worship every once in a while. Many times folks allow themselves to be used by the devil/enemy and the best place for him to cause chaos is in the church because if he causes chaos there, then the word of God is not being heard which makes it easier for him to recruit more willing workers. See, church folk are those who come simply to start mess when Christians come for the message. Church folk are those who come out of habit when Christians have a habit of going because it’s what they chose when they accepted Christ. Church folk find happiness in other folk problems but Christians give happiness when others are having problems. Church folk find joy in other folk tears but Christians cry tears of joy from the goodness God gives them daily. Church folk don’t mind arguing and hurt folk’s feelings but Christians finds no right in belittling others for worldly gain. See, church folk have to be known in the church for always bringing trouble but Christian folks are glad to be in the background sweeping up the mess to throw it out. So, you see there is a huge difference in being a Christian and simply church folk.

Sister DoRight Sometimes is the perfect example of church folk because she only comes to start some mess. She is the biggest gossip who is always prying into somebody else’s business. She should be known as Sis. Spectate because she’s always watching folks to speculate on what’s happening in their house. She goes around telling folk the Deacon and his wife are separated when she doesn’t come to church for 2 Sundays instead of listening to the announcements that said she had some speaking engagements. She is quick to argue with the Usher who chastised her son when she should have been beating his butt for being disrespectful to an adult. She is always bringing up old issues in church meetings that cause conflict because she finds joy in seeing folks argue. She doesn’t pay tithes because she says it’s only going to the Pastor anyway, so she’ll keep her money. She is the type of seed that is spoken about in Mark 4:7 that say, “Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain.” See, she is the thorn that chokes the life out of Christians, if they allow her too. She attaches herself to new folk in the church or those who she can see their faith wavering because she doesn’t want to see the church prosper. Yea, she takes her time to show up for every service on Sunday, bible study Monday, Prayer Service Wednesday, recite just about every scripture and always willing to help on a program but this is because she can’t miss a day spreading mess. This is why Matthew 7:15 says, “Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.” Just because folks appear to be something, it doesn’t mean they are. This is why you have to stay prayed up in order for your eyes to be able to see through these types of people. 1 John 4:1 says, “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Stay away from folk like this because they’ll become a weight on your shoulders that will eventually wear you down, if you keep allowing them to hold on to you. Keep your eyes open and keep praying for God to direct your path and to remove your enemies and he will do just that, even removing church folk.

It’s kind of funny because I told my uncle just the other day something similar to this. I had to let him know that he can’t be concerned about folks leaving the church because it was just God weeding out those church folk who didn’t have Him and His work as their top priority. See, our church is on the move and in order for God’s vision to go forth; Christians, not church folk, have to band together to make it happen. This is why we have to know the difference between the 2. Christians are the type of seeds that are mention in Mark 4:8 that say, “Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” See, Christians are rooted in God’s soil which means they are producing a return on what they sow. They don’t mind paying their tithes because they know God won’t allow them to be without. They attend worship service on Sunday, some bible study/prayer meetings, they are willing to step in when needed and back off when they aren’t. They won’t entertain mess that keeps them from hearing the message. They won’t repeat gossip for the sake of being heard because they know that most times it isn’t true anyway. They don’t mind helping others even though they aren’t the Chairperson of the program, being available to step in to teach Sunday school when the teacher is sick or picking up someone who is having car trouble. Christians won’t mind the Usher getting their child back in line because they know it’s takes a village to raise children. Christians won’t stand in God’s house and argue over anything because they honor the word in Ephesians 4:32 that says, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Don’t get me wrong, Christians have some issues too just like church folk; this is because we are all human. However, Christians are quicker to apologize for their mistake rather than acting like it happened, now get over it like some church folk do. Am I saying all church folk are working for the devil, no because some are still in the cleaning up phase of their life and haven’t completely left the world but they are still straddling the fence, which allows the devil easier access when he chooses to come in. Are all Christians free of sin, no because that would make them perfect but they know what the bible says in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Church folk aren’t always Christian which is why Christians have a harder job to do because it is up to each other to help one another. Romans 14:1 says, “Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong.” Church folk may be the way they are because they simply don’t know any other way to be but as Christians, we can’t judge them but we have to teach them that their actions are wrong. How can we expect folks to come to church if we don’t invite them and then how can we expect them to stay if we don’t teach them? It is up to us to learn from one another because I might understand something you don’t which means I can teach you and vice versa. If I know you have a bad attitude and it’s hard for others to talk to you, then my prayer should be for God to give you a listening ear while giving me the right words to say. I shouldn’t cast you out because you are pushing folks away because then I would have judged you and judging isn’t a characteristic that God likes. It is our Christian duty to help those whose flesh may be weak or whose faith is wavering. It is our Christian duty to rid the church of evil people, who have no desire to do better especially if they aren’t willing to accept Christian help because 1 Corinthians 5:13 says, “God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.” We have to learn the difference between church folk and Christian folk because you need to know who to listen too, who you should be asking to pray for you and even those who you need to ask for help from. Just because they wear the biggest hats, the longest skirt or the finest suits; it doesn’t mean their prayers are getting through because they could be more evil than the person you suspect. Not everyone that shows up on Sunday is getting a prayer through just like not everyone in Bible study is actually studying the word. Be mindful of those you share the pew with on Sunday because they might not be who they appear to be because not all church folk are Christians.