Daily Devotional – 3/1/12 “What makes you different?”

Is it because your skin is a different shade or color? Maybe it’s because your hair is long and mine is short? Is it because you are taller or shorter than me or it’s probably because we think, talk or sound different or because you got a little more money in the bank, a nicer car or house and a better job? Could that be the case? No, maybe it’s because I’m a sinner and you’re a Christian. Is that why you think you’re different? Well, that may be your thought but the only thing different about a sinner and a Christian is that one repents and the other hasn’t learned. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” That means you too, the one who has their nose in the air looking down at somebody who isn’t living life the way you think they should. You know, it’s crazy how Christian folk get so biblical that it makes them no earthly good and now all they find is fault in other folk. But baby, if you were so perfect you’d have Jesus beat and I honestly don’t think you can walk on water, heal sickness/blindness and feed a multitude with mere morsels. Don’t you know that no matter who you are; man or woman, black or white, sinner or not we all still bleed red blood if cut open, we all have the same intestines, the same amount of bones, 10 fingers and 10 toes, we have to put pants on one leg at a time, a sock on one at a time, etc. – in other words we are all still the same.

As a Christian, it isn’t our responsibility to beat folk over the head with God’s word but it is our responsibility to help them know it and most times they learn it by looking at us. If you carry yourself like the person God has made you then a sinner, in the world, will see God in the way you live and they’ll want to get to know your God. See, when you accept God into your life your walk, talk and attitude should be different. You shouldn’t want to go to the same places you used to go and you shouldn’t want to do the same things you used to do. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” When you accept God’s calling on your life, it changes you but it doesn’t make you different because if you stump your toe, you’ll scream just like a sinner because you’re still the same – human. Yea, I know that you’ll have a different mindset and a different way of doing things, that’s fine but don’t raise yourself up too high because it’ll hurt a lot more coming down. Don’t you know the only time you are supposed to look down on anybody is when you reach down to pick them up? God didn’t elevate you to the position you are now to become rude, unpleasant, malicious and hateful for the bible says in Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.”

God called you for a specific purpose and when he placed that calling on your life, he made you strong enough to handle it. Not because he wanted you to act like you are better than others but because he wanted you, the strong to now help the weak. Don’t believe me, read Romans 15:1 which says, “We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.” See, God didn’t call you because he thought you were better or different from me but he called you because of the folks that were around you. Let me break this thang down. You hang out with a group of 4 friends and you all smoke, drink and only God knows what else but these 4 look up to you. One day, God touches your life and you feel a total change has come over you. You don’t want to do the same things you used to do so you don’t drink, smoke or hangout anymore. You’ve started going to church and you have a job now and you’re on the right track. Your friends still can’t believe the change but you no longer have time for them because they aren’t on your level. Then God stops by one night while you’re sleep and he says, “Son, why are you treating your friends differently? Don’t you know that I didn’t touch you and bring you up out of that situation to turn your back on them, but I chose you because they look up to you and if anybody can get them to come to me, it would be you? Don’t be so quick to leave them behind because you have a responsibility to save those who are lost.” God doesn’t call those who are qualified for the work that shall be done on earth but he qualifies those who he calls. God used Moses to lead his people to freedom and he was a sheep herder, he used David who was still a young boy to defeat Goliath, he used Mary and Joseph who were peasants to be the mother and father to Jesus and he used Abraham who was 75 years old.

God doesn’t look at your resume and he doesn’t call your references to see if you are qualified for a position in his kingdom but he looks at your heart for 1 Samuel 16:7 says, “The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” God doesn’t have you interview in front a panel of folks and he doesn’t make you pass a test to be elevated, but he looks within you for Jeremiah 17:10 says, “I the LORD search the heart and examine the mind, to reward a man according to his conduct, according to what his deeds deserve.” You are who God made you and I am who God has made me but we are still God’s children so there is no difference. Although our outside appearance looks different, our inward heart and mind should be the same, if we work for the same Father. Stop trying to pattern your life after worldly folk but allow the world to pattern themselves after you, if you live right. Yea, you won’t be perfect and you will make mistakes so stop acting like you don’t. You will stumble sometimes and you may even fall but let me see all of you and not just the person who always seem to have it together. Let me see the trouble in your life sometime so that I can see the works that God can do. Let me see you struggle sometime so that I can see how God can make a way out of no way. Let me see you going through your storm so that I can know that God can bring you out. Show the world all of you, the good and the bad, so that they may want to know the God that you have in you.

Daily Devotional – 1/3/12 – “But God Moment!”

Have you ever had a “but God” moment?  A moment where you realized that no one could have brought you out the situation that you were in or fixed a problem that you were having but God?  See, but is a word that is used in the middle or the beginning of a sentence to introduce something that is true even though it is contrary to what was just said.  You know when your teenager asks if they can borrow your car and you say “Yes, but not now.”  In this case, I’ve placed my but at the end of the sentence because it has more of a profound effect on the abilities of what God can do.  You know like being in the car, driving while you are playing around with your cell phone and you look up at just the right moment to keep you from rear-ending somebody?  If so, you probably said or at least you should have said, but God!  See, it’s at those very moments you know that it was nobody but God that could have saved your life and some months, if not years, of pure hell. Maybe this wasn’t your moment, but I’m sure you’ve had a few, I know I have. Maybe it was receiving a check in the mail at right moment or receiving that bonus at work even when you didn’t expect it because you didn’t know what you would do.  It was “But God!”

Maybe you don’t text and drive but maybe you drink and drive.  I know, I know, you weren’t drunk but you had a few drinks before getting behind the wheel, right? Then you were driving under the influence.  It doesn’t matter that you weren’t feeling intoxicated or even looked like it, but get pulled over by a cop who smells it on your breath or just happen to have an accident and see what happens.  If you’ve gotten home safely from all those girls nights, Christmas parties, New Year’s Eve celebrations, then you’ve had a but God moment.  If you didn’t, then you surely should have because you should know that it wasn’t you that protected you while you were driving, it wasn’t you that kept a person or a dog from crossing in front of you, it wasn’t you that keep the other cars from coming into your lane and it wasn’t you who kept you from going your usual route home because they had a checkpoint out, but it was God.

When you were in the world doing any and everything that you were bad enough to do, it was God that kept you.  When you were drinking out of other folks bottles and passing cigarettes around from person to person, it was God that kept you from diseases.  When you were sleeping with any and everybody, God kept you from STDs and HIV.  When you sit back and think about some of the things you use to do and realize that you shouldn’t be alive, that’s your but God moment.  When you make it home and your gas light has been on all day, it was but God.  When the doctor said cancer but when he opened you up, they found nothing, it was but God.  When your husband left and you didn’t think you would make it, but you found out you were better off without him, it was but God.  When you don’t know how you keep making ends meet with the amount of money you bring home, it was but God.  When momma/daddy died, you didn’t think you could breathe without them but you’re living, it was but God. Even when you don’t realize it, you’ve had a “But God” moment.  Some of us have a lot of these moments because God is truly good.  All you have to do is sit down for a minute and reflect back over your life, you’ll see those but God moments and even if you didn’t say it then, I know that you are probably saying it now. Humph, it wasn’t anybody but God!

The bible says in Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.” See, it was God that kept your mind after the years of drug, alcohol or spousal abuse.  It was God that picked you up, cleaned you up and placed your feet back on the right path after years of wondering lost.  It was God that gave you your sight back when you too blind to see that man was doing you no good.  It was God that wiped your credit report clean when you got approved for that car, house, apartment or loan.  It was God that gave you rest after you had chemo or dialysis all day long.  It was God that added experience to your resume when you applied for that job knowing you weren’t qualified on paper.  It was God who covered you when your car rolled 3 times and you came out without a scratch.  It was God who protected you when robbers invaded your home right after you left.  If was God that made you a few minutes late so you could avoid the car wreck in front of you.  It was God that bought you home safely from college even when you could barely keep your eyes open.  So, yes, you’ve had some but God moments, it’s just taking you a little longer time to realize it.  But that’s alright, because God works even when we don’t give him credit.  Unlike folk, we sometimes do things just so our name can be called and we are recognized.  However, Philippians 2:3 says “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.” It’s not always about what you do for yourself that God is taking note of, but it’s what you do for others.  If God wanted you to only help yourself, then I would imagine he would have only given you one hand. Proverbs 19:17 says Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.”  I’m so glad that it was “But God!”