Proverbs 22:4 “True humility and fear of the Lord lead to riches, honor and long life.”
I am reading a book about a famous actor named Danny Trejo entitled, “Trejo: My Life of Crime, Redemption, and Hollywood”. You may know him from movies like ‘Machete’, ‘Spy Kids’, ‘Con Air’ and many more. This man has an amazing story. There is one that he shares with us I think goes well with this scripture.
Danny talks about how he and a friend had a lawncare business going. He and his friend would make money cutting yards for people in different neighborhoods. In one neighborhood there lived a woman whose yard needed help. Danny knew this woman had fallen on really bad times. One of her son’s died while serving in the military. Another son passed from street violence and her husband committed suicide.
Danny spoke of this woman never coming out of her home. One day Danny and his friend decided to cut her yard and fix it up on their own. Every time they cut yards in that neighborhood, they would cut hers for free. One day, two months later, Danny said they were cutting her yard and they heard the front door open and close. He said that they went around to see what was going on and they found a crystal pitcher of Iced Tea and two crystal glasses. He made a comment in his book about how the tea tasted drinking out of that crystal glass, from a woman that had been through so much. This was the blessing of the blessed. Now comes the trial.
Danny talks in his book about another situation that was birthed from this act of kindness he and his friend did for this woman. A man walked up to them one day. A tall man chewing tobacco approached Danny and said, “Paco, how much you chargin’ that lady to do her yard?” Danny said he was offended by the man calling him that name and he did not respond. The man asked again, “Paco, how much is she paying you?”
Instead of Danny becoming upset and allowing the situation to become racially motivated he responds, “Nothing.” Danny writes, that the man’s face changed after he said this. The man asked Danny and his friend to follow him to his home. They get to the man’s house in front of his garage, and he opens it. To their amazement they see all types of lawn care equipment, most of them new. The man says, “I had a heart attack recently and my wife won’t let me do any work around the house. If you cut my yard, I’ll give you everything in here.”
Because Danny and his friend blessed a widow who had lost everything, they were shown appreciation in the form of cold iced tea on a hot day. And because Danny stayed humble in the face of insult, degradation and oppression, the Lord blessed him with new equipment for his lawn care business from a man he did not know and who did not know him. Danny writes in his book that after that, the man never called him Paco again and they are friends to this day.
We all have the opportunity that Danny Trejo had that day when we face racism, oppression, and humiliation. When we realize that God is bigger than all of that; and He has our gift of reward, riches, and honor in His hand ready to give us when we righteously represent Him. And because He created us with purpose, ‘eternal life’ is in store for all of us. This is the blessing He has promised us.
May God bless and keep you in His peace as you walk in Jesus’ name,
1 Corinthians 15:58 “Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.” ~CSB
I attended the funeral of a great man this past Monday. We were not biologically related but because he and my parents were so close in friendship, I always called him ‘Uncle’. In my lifetime, I knew him as the ‘coolest’ man I’ve ever known. From my middle school age to me being a grown man, he has always had the best advice. He would let you know when you were wrong but in the calmest, coolest way possible. He never got excited, and he always smiled. He held any ‘man-position’ well in my eyes. Whether it be in the position of father, husband, brother, or friend, he was a master in being a man. Now, that is just my version of him.
Attending the funeral on Monday, I got to see how one man, that allowed God to use him in his life, affected so many people. The turnout of friends and family, in and out of town was amazing. Not to mention the testimonies of how he affected lives. And listening to all the love from his children, it was apparent he did not miss a beat in his spiritual walk. He was a man that had control of his spirituality so much so, that God’s presence in him was seen and felt by others around him.
My ‘Uncle’ is an extraordinary example of how we are all supposed to live. In 1 Corinthians 15, we find that there are changes we can make within ourselves while still living in the sinful flesh that attempts to steer us away from God’s will for our lives. In verse 53 the word says, “For this corruptible body must be clothed with incorruptibility…”
We must live our lives waking up every morning ready to meet the challenge of ‘living right’. Fighting the urges of confrontation with others because the flesh tells us to confront. Fighting the urges of not getting up when we fall, because we think we are at the end, and the struggle has defeated us. We must fight the urges of unforgiveness because the flesh continues to remind us of how we were hurt. This battle is already won when we say, “Lord, I can’t do this by myself. I need your healing to make me stronger.” This is when the flesh must bow down to a Higher Power and we spiritually transform from ‘corruptible’ to ‘incorruptible’. This is how my ‘Uncle’ lived.
From this day on, spiritually move in God’s direction and allow him to help you to get your flesh in check. Hold on to verse 54 in realizing God’s promise of victory when it says, “…When this corruptible body is clothed with incorruptibility, and this mortal body is clothed with immortality, then the saying that is written will take place: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”
God has shown all of us in my ‘Uncle’, and in people like him, the promise of this victory. Because it is in their journey in Christ that we have witnessed them transform themselves. By allowing God to head their lives, changing their flesh from corruptible to incorruptible. And on Monday, his mortal was laid to rest, While God accepted him into immortality. So let us learn from this great man of God to never quit in doing the Lord’s work. “…be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
May God continue to bless you with his peace, love, and guidance, as you journey in Jesus’ name.
What do we treasure? That is a question we must visit and revisit every day. For instance, I can remember back in my day, we as young men would cherish our first car. We would clean it inside and out. Our rooms might have been dirty, we may have neglected our chores, but our ‘first’ car would be in tip top shape.
Some of us would cherish how we spent our time. Fishing for example. I have some friends that live by at least one day out of the week set aside for just being outdoors by the lake or stream. Rod and line in hand, casting off in the peaceful relaxation of the hunt for life under the water. This time spent would be a treasured act performed on a routine basis.
A lot of us treasure our jobs. The provision of a livelihood for our families is what’s on the forefront of our minds. This allows us to be content with the long hours we work. Long hours away from our wives and husbands. Precious time away missing our son’s football game, or our daughter’s track meet. Time gone from the blessings in our lives because of how the treasure in our hearts is directed.
The world has taught us well how to direct our attention to 'its' purpose. So much so it has derailed our spiritual trains on paths other than the ones God has planned for us. Where is the ‘treasured heart’ for the Word of God? As Christians, let us not forget we are saved by grace. Saved by a sacrificial act of God and Son. We should not take it upon ourselves to wander in this world on our own, attempting to make our way, under our own power.
Instead, we must understand that this journey must be walked under the guise of direction from the Father. And the only way we can do that is to stay in God’s word. That task is easy when the Word is treasured on our hearts. Why wouldn’t we treasure His Word? Knowing that as it says in 2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip His people to do every good work.” ~NLT
It is a treasure to know that we have access to information ‘…inspired by God…” We should embrace criticism from our Father because it “…makes us realize what is wrong in our lives…” When we know, we can correct. To learn from the Almighty what is right and to live in that righteousness. And to know without a doubt that God allows this so that we can be prepared and equipped to do, “…every good work.”
Whether we accept this or not, the Word of God is a treasure. One we should have, and keep ‘first’ in our hearts. Cars will one day shut down. The excitement may cease in the time we spend fishing. And our jobs, well, they can be here one day and gone the next. But God’s love for us will never leave. We owe the Father for giving us a second chance. Treasure Him, treasure His will for our lives and treasure the purpose of His work in us for control of this world.
May the Lord continue to keep you covered in His peace, love, and healing power as you journey in Jesus’ name,
John 14:26 “But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and remind you of everything I have told you.” ~CSB
Picture this; you are about to go into a situation, and you find yourself ‘rehearsing’ the words you are going to say. You may have ‘practiced’ how you were going to act in response to something or someone negative. For example, a co-worker, a family member or maybe even some church members, you are about to have that confrontational conversation with.
You may be dreading this situation so much that stress and worry come over you. It’s important to know, at this point, that any situation that comes your way, (with Christ in your heart), God will pave the way through, and its results will be a blessing. God knows you may not know the right thing to say or do, therefore He has provided a ‘Teacher’ inside all of us.
This Teacher, Counselor, Advocate, is a gift from the Almighty God to us, that represents the mission of His Son. When we become a new creation in Christ, (2 Corinthians 5:17), we are newly chosen like Peter was when Jesus approached him on his boat. We are called, but we need to be trained. We will enter situations that we have no knowledge of how to handle. But God, our omniscient Father, allows us guidance through the Holy Spirit. How do we get that guidance?
Through ‘daily doses’ of the Word of God. Let me give you an example. Jesus told His disciples in John 14:15-16, “If you love me, you will keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever.” ~CSB
In the Word of God, Jesus allows us the promise of a guide through this unstable and unreliable world. To remain dedicated Christians, we cannot survive without this guidance. The way the Holy Spirit works is that He will feed you as you feed your spirit with scriptures. Another great Word from God comes from Luke 12 verses 11 through 12, “And when you are brought to trial in the synagogues and before rulers and authorities, don’t worry about how to defend yourself or what to say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that time what needs to be said.” ~NLT
No matter what situation you may fall into, rely on the Holy Spirit to lead you to the right words and the right actions. This is because at that very moment, God is about to work that miracle in you for somebody. You may know it, you may not, but it is God’s time to shine in you. Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you and do not get in the way of that blessing.
If your relationship with God is strong, meaning you spend time with Him every day, the Holy Spirit’s voice in guidance will be strong in your heart. Listen to the Counselor. Follow the lead of the Advocate. And pray in thanksgiving, giving God all the praise because we serve a God that loves us enough to always be with us. Allowing the Holy Spirit to, “…teach us all things and remind us of everything Jesus has told us…”
May God bless and keep you in His peace as you journey in Jesus’ name,
Psalm 94:19 “When I am filled with cares, your comfort brings me joy.” ~CSB
I remember a time when TV only had five channels. And on those channels, we would get the news
every now and then. Late night, all the channels would sign off, no more TV until the morning. The local paper would talk about ‘local’ things going on in our area. In other words, we would only know what was going on in our ‘backyard’. Some may say that’s a bad thing, where others may say it may have been a good thing. But what it did do, was limit what got into our heads and caused us worry.
Today’s world is a different story. Let’s face it, today it is hard to wake up and not get mentally stirred up about the things around us. Most of us wake up and the first thing we grab is our smart phones. These phones have ‘global’ coverage. In an instant, we hear about an unjustified death in a city thousands of miles away. We hear gossip on social media that makes us question the state of our ‘own’ home, family, and marriages. We allow the happenings, actions, and end results of tragedy, to creep into our spirits before we have even allowed time to be spent with God.
Whew! What a crazy thought. Spending time with God first. You know, this just might not be a bad idea. The enemy knows scripture. He knows that God’s love is renewed every morning, (Lamentations 3:22-23). It is the morning time that is the best time to spend in God’s word to spiritually regroup.
The enemy knows our spirits are like dry sponges ready to absorb to the fullest. This is why he summons our spirits to grab that smart phone first thing. Know that it’s easy for us to become upset in the morning when we can’t find our keys; our alarms don’t go off; we don’t get our coffee in time; our
children aggravate us before they go to school. Everything becomes ‘too much’ because the enemy
knows that if you get that time with God, you will be able to endure and overcome his influences for
that day. He doesn’t want that.
But God wants you to spend your time with Him. He wants to show you and give you the love you need to spiritually overcome a physically overbearing world. When you think about the world being wicked, just think about the Psalmist recognizing God when he says in verse 16, “Who stands up for me against the wicked? Who takes a stand for me against evil doers?”
How he witnesses to all, in his trust and faith in the Lord, by saying in verse 17, “If the Lord had not been my helper, I would soon rest in the silence of my death.” And how he acknowledges stumbling in life but knows God is there to pick him up when he says in verse 18, “If I say, ‘My foot is slipping, Your faithful love will support me, Lord.”
Dr. Charles Stanley mentions in one of his devotions, “Little faith ‘hopes’ that God will do what He says;
strong faith ‘knows’ that He will; and great faith ‘believes’ that He has already done it.” Little faith can
grow. Strong faith is good. Let us all work that faith muscle out in the mornings in our time with the Lord so that we may have GREAT faith. And in this faith, we can speak God’s word in confidence, “…When I am filled with cares, (and worry), Your comfort (Lord) brings me joy.”
May the Lord continue to bless, comfort, and guide you as you journey in Jesus’ name,
1 Corinthians 13:13 “Now these three remain: faith, hope, and love—but the greatest of these is love.” ~NLT
It is easier to love when love is shown. For example, we receive a gift from a loved one and it is THAT gift we always wanted. Here, our love is easily pulled from inside and shown out. But it becomes harder to love when love is not shown to us. This is an extension in many situations. For family, it leads to communication shut down. Arguments and sometimes fights. Long term, family members go years without talking or communicating.
It is easier to withhold any signs of love when it comes to strangers. Especially if they do not show love first. But Jesus gave us a command, “…love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other…” Take note, he didn’t suggest this. He didn’t ask us. He commanded us to ‘love’ each other. Yet, we do not. We say “…love you…” a lot. But do we really mean it or do it? Especially the way He loves us.
Wait, maybe that’s it. Maybe we don’t know how much Jesus really loves us. This is important because there is a measure of faith in the understanding of love as it pertains to Jesus loving us. You see, there is no way we can have any substantial love for anybody until we understand His love for us. Let’s take a look at it.
We are all sinners, who have fallen short of God’s glory. Yet, the Father loves us so much He wants us to have a chance to enter the kingdom and be with Him. So, he assigns the mission of ‘sacrifice’ to His One and Only Son, so that our ‘sin debt’ can be paid. Jesus takes this mission, walks it, endures it, and has victory in it. His love is shown through the pain and suffering on the cross for a lost people. A lost people that God has claimed as His children. This is the love that needs to be understood by us all before we can even comprehend ‘how’ we are going to love in the type of world we live in today.
Our Savior’s command should be carried out with full intention and passion. And as our relationship with Him grows, that genuine gift of love from us will show God in our hearts. This love can then be used by Him to heal others who cross our paths, whether they show love or now. The command from the savior should be followed in every situation we encounter because that is the will of God. Anything other than that will aid the enemy and his cause.
If you need a guideline, then read a few verses before our text above starting with verse four, “Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, is not boastful, is not arrogant, is not rude, is not self-seeking, is not irritable, and does not keep a record of wrongs.” Verse 8 says, “Love never ends…” Everything else may have an expiration date, but love does not. It endures all. So let us listen to our Savior who has sacrificed for our eternity in heaven and invest our time into what is eternal. Love, because He first loved us.
May God keep and bless you as you journey in Jesus’ name,
Matthew 6:9-12 “Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. 10 Your Kingdome come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors.” ~HCSB
We can go through a lifetime and wonder why God may have not answered some of our prayers. But if you really look at it, it may solely rest on HOW we may have prayed the prayer. For example, our children may ask us for a toy they don’t need. “Dad, I want some fireworks to set off!” We may respond, “Ok son, maybe one day.” With the intention of never giving them the fireworks.
The request was made with no real 'need' described. Why would we buy our children something that explodes? The mere fact that it was possible to send my child to the hospital would be indication enough that they don’t need it. Did the child explain or describe how ‘fireworks’ would be a great addition to the family? You see this may seem a little funny looking at it from viewing a ‘fireworks’ situation, but now think about it when we request from God.
When we pray, do we weigh how our request will be good for the kingdom? Many of us don’t think about that. Most of the time we pray according to our own desires instead of our needs. This takes our focus away from concentrating on God’s intent and purpose for our lives; as it is lived in God’s will for control of this world. I know, it seems a little deep, but it really isn’t. Prayer should be aligned with God’s will. In other words, we should stick to praying for what is needed to live as a Christian in this world, instead of praying for what we want. Why? Because God knows what we want better than we do, and His ‘gift’ of our ‘wants’ is a whole lot better than anything we ‘think’ we want.
So, how do we pray? There is really no set way to pray correctly because it is a prayer between us and God. But when we look at the Word of God and listen to Jesus as he tells us, Matthew 6 is a great blueprint in guidance. First, we want to acknowledge Who we are praying to. Our children come to us and say, “Daddy!” “Mommy!” And then they make their request known. We must do the same and say as verse 9 leads us, “Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy…” Allowing ourselves to show humility in gratefulness and thanksgiving by knowing that we are praying to God who will supply for all our needs.
Next, we acknowledge that our lives are lived in Jesus’ name and in His image. Verse 10 allows us to speak, what is done in heaven will be done on earth by us. Then we ask to supply for our needs in nutrition and life in verse 11. In verse 12, ask that we be forgiven as we accept and forgive those who have wronged us. Living and acting in the image of Christ.
When we take these basic steps in our prayers before we even 'ask' in prayer, as Christians, it becomes hard to be selfish in that prayer. As we grow into the praying Christian we were created to be, this formula of prayer, taught to us by Jesus in this text, will become automatic in our lives. Watch, as the fruit of those prayers produce the promises that God promised Abraham. And as heirs, we will inherit those promises. Practice and grow in your prayers and watch God’s power work in you and through you.
May God continue to cover, guide, and heal you on your journey in Jesus’ name.
Genesis 1:26-27 “Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. 27 So God created man in His own image; He created him in the image of God; He created them male and female.” ~CSB
Growing up we all had someone we looked up to and wanted to be like. It could have been a pro football player, gymnastic athlete, or our old high school coach or teacher. Whoever they were, they had the qualities we wanted in ourselves so that others would look, respect, and treat us the same way we did with them.
But little did we know that God already created us with the qualities and traits of Him. We were created by Him in the image of Him. We need not look up to anyone else. We do not become aware of this until we have become a new creature in Christ. This is when our idea of who we look up to changes. As we read the Word of God and build our relationship with Him, we want to walk more in His image and in His name.
When you walk in the image of God you take the ‘physical action’ to show others who He is. With all your heart, you stand and become that image of Christ, and God will do the rest. Understand, God has all the power to heal, and bring peace to others. He can use us if we place ourselves in position to be used by him to do this. Others who cross our paths will benefit from this.
What God wants from us is to believe in Christ’s cause. This belief must be enough for us to make every effort to constantly live in the image of Him. No matter what we come in contact with. In other words, when faced with being insulted, or find ourselves in confrontation, we respond with love, kindness, gentleness, and forgiveness. This is how Christ lives in us.
God will protect you, then send the healing power of peace to them through you. And they will begin the transformation to a new creature in Christ. They will notice this when they begin to question their negative actions. “Why was that person nice to me, when I was so mean to them?” “Why didn’t they want to fight me?” “How did they get to be so peaceful?”
As they continue to see us and other Christians like us, they will begin to understand that they can also have access to the same peace. They would not be able to witness this victory if we did not live in the calm and peace God provides us. This is how and why we live in His image. To show others He exists and is the source in our lives!
When God says, “…Let US make man in our image…”, know that the Trinity, the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit voted at that point to create all of us in their ‘image’ and ‘likeness’. They voted this so that the Trinity may do its work in completion in this world. The cause intended by Christ to bring peace, love, and joy to a people created by God, loved by God and covered by God. Let all God’s people celebrate in praise!
May the Lord continue to bless you on your journey in Jesus’ name,
1 Peter 3:15 “But honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” ~HCSB
During my middle and high school years, we used to talk about each other’s ‘Mama’s’. Among close friends this could be funny and fun. But every now and then, even with close friends and family, you would have that one who wasn’t having it. If you said anything about their ‘Mama’, you would be in a fight!
Now let us move away from the ‘joke’ perspective. Any of us would stand in defense and ready to fight if our mother’s mind, body, or reputation were at risk. We would do this because of our history with our mother. She took care of us, fed us, dressed us, cared for our wounds. She made us feel safe at night when the storm was going on outside. And she always had a light when the power went off in the house. Guiding us through the darkness of our homes and leading us away from our fear with the tenderness of her voice, constantly telling us, “Everything will be alright.”
When and how we 'tell it' about our mothers, pretty much sums up how we feel about them. This is also the stand Christians must take in defense of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It starts by declaring and proclaiming that Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior. Believing that with all our hearts. We continue to declare that He hung, bled, and died for our sins. We tell the story of how the Father in heaven resurrected Jesus for our salvation. What Jesus did for us during that time, saved lives all the way up to our time.
Because of Christ, we have been led through the darkness of this world. God provides for our every need. His Word is the voice that comforts us in our fears and allows us His peace in our storms. Just like we speak about our mothers and defend them because of what they have done for us, we speak and defend in the same way, the Son who gave His life for us.
Just as we speak of how our mothers loved and cared for us, we must continue to speak the same about how God loves and cares for us. We continue to talk about it. We continue to scream and shout about it because we should be grateful that He first loved us. The hope that is inside us, comes from our faith, our trust, and our belief that God is in control no matter what happens. We pass on the testimonies as a “…defense to anyone who asks you for a reason…” for that belief in you.
The Bible says in 1 Peter 3:16, “Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ.” ~NLT. Belonging to Christ means that we are in the hands of the Savior. There’s no place I’d rather be.
May God’s Word flow through you as you testify about the Son to those around you. In Jesus’ name,
1 Peter 2:11 “Dear friends, I warn you…to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.” ~NLT
The way my cravings for alcohol pulled at my flesh, even when my mind spoke against it, was so strong that my flesh would always give in and feed that craving I desired. There was a pattern to my craving. I would wake up every morning saying I would not drink this week. But I could not pass a liquor store without stopping and buying a bottle.
After the Lord healed me of that craving for alcohol, I promised myself that nothing would ever get a hold of my flesh like that again. Then, something else crept into my flesh. Cookies. I began to eat cookies with a tall glass of milk with ice. I had been eating healthy for so long that it started out as one weekend a month. Then two weekends until I was eating cookies just about every night.
Now some may say, "Cookies are alright." But it's the pattern that's the problem. The pattern was the same. I would get up in the morning and say, “No cookies this week.” Then after work I couldn’t pass a grocery store without stopping to pick up some cookies. When I noticed this, I said, “No! Not today!” I made a promise not to allow myself to get into another position where my flesh would be stronger than my spirit.
God created us with a great and powerful spirit. That spirit contains the fruits found in Galatians 5:22-23. But in life, before we are saved, before we know Christ as our Savior, the world strengthens our flesh so that it will out vote and out weight its influence in which we act and/or react to people and situations in our lives. In other words, there is a war waged within us.
We know right from wrong. And if we ever stepped out of ourselves, we could give ourselves some real good advice. But within we always give into the fleshly desires. That is until we allow ourselves to get to know God and learn just how much He loves us! This is when the spirit in us grows stronger than our flesh. So, no matter how much the flesh wants to go one way, our spirit takes over and directs us in ‘Christ’s way’!
I used myself as an example to show you that it was easy to give into the sugar and ice milk. But the spirit allowed me to see the many things I needed to stay healthy for. It allowed me to see the family members, the friends and anyone else the Lord placed in my life for Him to bless through me. The spirit allows us to stay focused on why we were created by God to do ‘His’ will, not ‘ours’.
The ‘…war waged against our very souls…’ is a never-ending attempt for the enemy to claim victory in a battle he has already lost to Jesus Christ. Jesus says in the Word that, “…I have come so that you may have life and have it in abundance…” (John 10:10). His death on the cross and His resurrection sealed our ‘VIP’ ticket to a place in the kingdom.
Let us silence this war within ourselves. Pray for God’s peace as you embrace His love for you as His child and know that the enemy cannot touch you. The war in you does not exist unless you allow it to. The war that counted, is already won.
May God bless and keep you in his love as you continue your journey in Jesus’ name,
Authors Billy & Yolanda
This is the place where we share our heart through God's Word in faith that will inspire and empower you to live in peace.