Challenge accepted (Growing Season)

Went to the gym early this morning for another round of pulling, pushing, lifting, curling, etc. Halfway through my workout my arms became extremely sore and I asked myself “why do I do this to myself daily, man this hurts?!”. I could’ve been sleeping still, enjoying my bed until work yet I chose to come here again just to feel pain. Why? Then I remembered that nobody goes to the gym to hurt their body or put their body through stress, yet we all go to the gym with an end result in mind. A better version of ourselves stamped in our minds, this is why we make ourselves go to the gym and put in work. No, it doesn’t always FEEL good, sure sometimes it hurts, sometimes we’d rather be doing something different…but that version of ourselves that we want to produce won’t come by dodging the process of the workout.

There’s a better version of yourself buried beneath the process you continue to ignore. The road to your purpose is hardly ever easy, feels good, or is short lived but it 100% produces what you were created to do. We can’t let fear and doubt keep us away from the process that’s meant to prepare us for greater things! You have purpose, it’s time to get up, get to the “gym” and embrace the process of getting there.

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Set Apart (Growing season)

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5

“For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:

 That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;

 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:”

For most people, sexual activity is one of the hardest battles to overcome while trying to walk with Jesus, including myself. I gotta be honest, sex feels pretty good…but in reality, outside of the realm of what it was intended for (marriage) it’s a few moments of physical pleasure that leads to long lasting spiritual (and sometimes physical) strain. While all sins are looked upon by God as the same, Paul explains to the church in Corinth that sexual sin hits us a little differently than the others (1 Corinthians 6:16-18) :

“What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

However, here in Thessalonians, Paul has told us three times for us to be “set apart“. He used sanctification twice and abstain once in those verses. Sanctification is process of one becoming sanctified, which is defined as being set apart in active dedication to God to become holy. It’s in God purpose for our lives that we constantly strive to be sanctified, or holy. We as people cannot become sanctified without first being set apart from the things around us. We take showers to clean ourselves, but how long after a shower would you stay clean if you immediately went out in a field full of mud? Not that long I imagine. Well, fornication is equivalent to being clean and then throwing your body into the mud. It defiles your body and corrupts your spirit, which is why Paul then used the word abstain. While sanctification is the process of setting yourself apart to become holy, abstaining is plainly staying away from a certain thing or person. Creating distance between you and whatever that something is, in this case fornication. Abstaining and sanctification are linked here because we as believers can’t become sanctified without abstaining, and making the choice to be sanctified in simultaneously making the decision to abstain from certain things.

Being driven by lust will just lead down a dead end road. The lie that sex with that one person will make you whole, yet after that high comes down, just like a drug to an addict you’ll be crawling right back to it for another fix. Sexual sin turns us into slaves, making us jump and run to it whenever it calls our name. Persuades us to run back to people we don’t even like, and can even cause unwanted, life changing effects to our lives as a whole. Listen, just as in Daniel when King Neb made a decree that whenever the music played in the kingdom everyone had to bow down and worship his statue, being a slave to sex causes us to worship it whenever it demands. Don’t make fornication an idol, Paul urged us to abstain for our own good. In this season of growth, sanctification is a major key for those next level revelations from Jesus. Freedom over enslavement.

#GrowingSeason

First things first (Growing season)

1 Thessalonians 2:12-13

12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

Verse 12 here is actually the finished product of  verse 13. How we receive things determines its effect on us internally and externally. If you gave a basketball to two different kids, one may be super excited about the gift while the other may not show any interest at all. The gift is the same in both situations, but because one received it with joy while the other received with disinterest, one situation leaves the child joyful and the other not so much. Believing is shown as two part here in these verses ….it’s shown in receiving and application.

Receiving the word of God as just another speech or meaningless message cancels it’s gratifying effects on our spirits. (Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.“). Believing enough to receive the word as truth however, initiates the first part of a heart change…allowing it in your heart in the first place. Hearing with faith is different than just hearing. In the example with the gift of the basketball to the different children, the giver wasn’t giving out joy, joy was produced because of how the first child received the gift.

Verse 13 explains that once the word is received properly, the word begins to work or show proof in us. The second part of true believing, the application, is seen in verse 12. The physical proof of the internal working of the word in us is shown by walking worthy of God. Carrying ourselves in a Godly manner is something that we couldn’t do without first the word working in us to help us do it. We can’t operate in a Godly manner throughout our everyday lives without first receiving the word to change our hearts. Loving, forgiving, helping, witnessing, etc. cannot be done without our hearts being transformed by the word of God. Which is ultimately Jesus himself.

Believe (greek translation pisteuō)

  • To put one’s faith in, with an implication that actions based on that trust will follow. 

Growing season

Recently I went on my very first absolute fast, where I went six days without any food…just water and about 16 oz of juice a day. I love food! So, initially I didn’t think there was anyway possible I was gonna do that. The first two days and the fourth were the hardest to push through, but it honestly wasn’t as bad as I had imagined. The pastor at the church I attend stated that “there are some things that only come by prayer and fasting”. He was highlighting the importance of fasting using the example of Jesus and the disciples in Matthew 17:18-21…

“18 And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

 19 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? 

20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.

21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

The disciples couldn’t remove the evil spirit from the young boy because they lacked the adequate faith to do so, but they lacked the kind of faith required because they had yet to take the time to build their faith up. Simply put, there are some things we encounter in life that’s going to require a certain level of faith that is only attainable through prayer and fasting.

Fasting isn’t about starving yourself, and just going without social media for a week or two, fasting is all about “tunnel vision”. Denying desires of the body to use that time you would spend eating, scrolling on social media, watching tv, etc., in prayer and isolated focus on God. It’s a faith building process that puts your body under control and positions one to hear from God.

Listen, faith isn’t something that just grows when you want it to. No matter what it is, growth always has a process that precedes the result. Our faith only grows through trial, how can we claim to have a solid faith in Jesus without ever having to believe in tough situations? Through fasting, you let your body know that it’s not natural food that ultimately sustains you, but it’s Jesus that keeps us through faith. Believing that, despite your body demanding that you eat, or your mind telling you to check your TL or turn on Netflix, and instead filling that time with prayer, meditation, reading the Word, and worshipping, grows your faith tremendously! It’s not an extreme “religious act”, fasting is our spiritual gym…running, lifting, curling our faith to bulk up our spirit and weed out the weakness of the flesh.

Fasting not only grows our faith, but it forces us to drown out distractions from our everyday life so that we can hear God clearly. Jesus often separated himself from the crowds, as well as the disciples, so that he could be alone in his prayer time with his father. We do so many things throughout the day that we can fill our minds and spirit with a huge load of information that drowns out the voice of God. Most of the time us not hearing God is not because he isn’t talking, we’re just too distracted to hear him! In John chapter 10 Jesus tells his disciples My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” 

Just as Jesus was explaining to the disciples, there are certain types of bondage, obstacles, situations, chains, generational curses, and everything in between that can only be broken and removed by a strong level of faith. There are certain places God has prepared for you to use you for great things that you can’t access yet because your faith isn’t where it needs to be as of yet. Could Noah have saved his family and humanity without first believing God to build an ark despite YEARS of no flood? Could David have become king without first believing God enough to face Goliath when David was just a teen? Could Jesus have been prepared to do three years of healing, miracles, teaching, giving up his life then rising again, without first enduring the temptations of the wilderness? No, everyone in the bible accomplished great things AFTER the trying and proving of their faith.

**2018 is growing season, new opportunities, new places. and new successes has an entry requirement that’s call new faith. Don’t let fear keep you from fasting, put yourself in a position to grow.

Morning prayer 💪

Lord thank you for this new day,

I pray that strongholds and bondages begin to break today,

The pains and stresses of yesterday will be replaced with peace and restoration,

Jesus I don’t understand my current season, but help me through my doubts to trust you despite my struggles,

The walls will fall, the sea will part, and the giant will fall, in Jesus’s name

Your grace and mercy is unmatched and undeserved, I’m more than grateful for your constant love

Forgive me for my sins, help me forgive those who have sinned against me as well

Peace, love, joy, and power will reign supreme today

In your name I pray, amen.

Despite the struggle.

Being a “good” person (i.e. being polite, giving back, helping others, etc) doesn’t give us instant protection from the trials of life. Bad things will happen, good plans will fall through, and situations will not always play in our favor. But the key to strong is faith is not how many blessings can fall in your lap, but rather how resistant one can stand while facing constant opposition. Believing when EVERYTHING about your situation tells you to give up.

Backed into a corner? Pray. Best effort fell short again? Praise. Still hearing no instead of yes? Believe. These are the answers that lead to broken chains and freedom from bondage. These are the tools that dismantles the work of the enemy. Easier said than done, but can definitely be done. Refer to Acts 16, Paul showed this through his steadfast faith.

The soul that refuses to stand on anything other than faith, is the soul that the enemy fears the most.

Morning thoughts 💭 

“O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;”

Psalm 107:1-2

Giving thanks to God isn’t something we wait to do when we receive a blessing, get that job position, pass that certain class, or anything of the sort. Although thanking God for the things he gives us is a great habit, it shouldn’t be the only time we think to do it. We shouldn’t have a conditional type of relationship with him, that’s a false kind of love that isn’t genuine. Here in psalms, David is proclaiming that God deserves thanks simply because he is good and always will be. On good days, on bad days, in times of stress, and in times of peace….give thanks to God. Don’t limit your praise to a conditional type of mindset….
Peace ✌🏾 

2017💪🏾

At the beginning of this new year hits, I’ve been thinking about the direction I should walk in that’ll produce some form of growth. 2016 was a year of ups and downs,  but I’m not trying to repeat the same results. I found myself asking myself and God “who am I?”. While getting lost in places of inconsistency, frustration, and challenging experiences, I may have lost my identity.  So, for me I’m declaring 2017 as the Year of Discovering Self. You have to know you are before you where you’re going.

God led me to I Timothy 4:12, 14-15

12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.  14 Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through prophecy when the body of elders laid their hands on you. 15 Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. 

A major part of discovering self is recognizing your gifts and embracing them. Verse 15 tells us to give ourselves wholly to these gifts meaning: spend time developing, practicing, and working them. Knowing and working your gifts not only shows you a part of who you are but also makes your purpose clearer. Take time to discover your gifts and begin truly learn who you are this year!!!

Dangers of Porn

“18 Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”

1 Corinthians 6:18-20

I believe Porn is one device that Satan has crafted to target the masses with a false image of pleasure and excitement that hides sinister devices of lust of manipulation. It’s coming between marriages, effecting the way men handle and approach women, effecting the way women expect and desire to be treated, it is even causing havoc to those in the body of Christ with spiritual leaders being overcome by lust. Lust is a virus that contaminates the spirit first, then shows its true power through our thoughts and actions, Porn is just an avebue to spread this virus.  It has effected me as well, so it’s because of that exprience I felt a need to write about it.

What exactly is Fornication?

Fornication is basically anything that’s considered sexually immoral in the eyes of God. Adultery, prostitution, rape, and sex outside (and before) the sanctity of marriage. Interestingly enough, the Greek word for fornication is Porneia…which is where the term porn comes from. The clips and sites you watch that may seem harmless are actually full of the things that Paul clearly said we should be fleeing from, and he wasn’t saying that for no reason.

What makes Porn dangerous?

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light”.

Matthew 6:22

Guarding your eyes against anything contrary to your spirit is vital, especially when it comes to fornication. Your eyes are the gateway to your mind, heart, and spirit…so whatever you watch potentially can manifest itself in your thoughts, feelings, and eventually your actions. Pornographic scenes contain so many different spirits that can enter into your gateway (eyes) and wreak havoc on your life from the inside out. The goal of these spirits is to simply destroy any Godliness in you and replace it with desires of the flesh. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to watch these things on a constant basis and maintain a healthy relationship with Christ, Sin and Holiness cannot co-exist, either one of the other will have the authority in your life.

LUST

The most obvious type of spirit that embodies porn is Lust. Through porn, the spirit of lust has run rampant in today’s society. Lust causes us to desire sex on an extreme level, making us uncomfortable the longer we go without it. It demands total control of your life. Whether it’s through sexual sin with someone, or masturbation, the spirit of lust will not stop pressuring you until you please it’s appetite..and then the cycle repeats itself! Watching people commit various acts of lust over and over again, not only causes us to desire the same thing, but it screws up our spirit and character when trying to love others. It’ll cause you to push potential partners away when they don’t do the things that you continue to watch, or look like the people on those sites. Lust will anchor itself in your heart and make you desire nothing more than pleasing and indulging yourself in sexual pleasure, which will also invite the spirit selfishness in your heart as well. These type of spirits almost never travel alone. The spirit of lust can lead you to a point where you will do almost anything to get that feeling pleased, disregarding anyone else but yourself.

Pervertedness

Watching porn consistently can open you up to the spirit of perversion, which in this case I’m referring to confusion or distortion. Porn can twist our views on love and the people we try to love. Porn actually spiritually attacks our views considering those subjects which shows itself true in our actions. We’ll begin to chase after women or men who look like the people we watch, we’ll begin to put those specific actions we see in the movies into our perfect description of what love and happiness really is. If already in a marriage, it can take you to a point of rejecting your spouse for the sites and movies, because porn has now taken its spot in your heart. And people may not able to see the effects porn has on you, but God looks past the front and straight into your heart.

“for the Lord seeth not as man seeth. For man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”
1 Samuel 16:7
Bonuses!
As stated early, these spirits rarely travel alone. Porn often delivers spirits on sale, “buy one get one” type of deal! Along with extreme selfishness, porn opens you up to potentially spirits of rebellion, anger or resentment, even manipulation! Direct quotes from several famous serial killers (Jeffrey Dahmer,Ted Bundy, etc.) states that they either watched porn before hunting their victims or blamed porn for their murderous behavior. Not saying it’ll turn you into a murderer, but that’s just proof that shows the host of spirits that can run rampant in your life just from opening yourself up to the effects of Porn.
Porn has had its grips on my life in the past, it made abstaining from sex way harder than it needed to be, it changed my perception of beauty when it came to women , it distorted my desires for a marriage, and it caused my committment to women to waver. Whenever lust would call I would answer even when I didn’t want to! It DOES effect you whether you think so or not, and if you doubt that it does go without it for a month and see how things begin to change…from your thoughts, to your actions, even your conversations! It conflicts directly with your relationship with Christ and the struggle between the two within takes its toll on you eventually.
Undoubtedly, Satan’s mission through porn is to manipulate and control the masses through their desires for fornication. He wants to make us slaves to him through our own desires. Don’t allow him to keep you in his grip, stop subjecting yourself to these sites while continuing to struggle in your relationship with Christ. If you find yourself addicted to the rush of porn, you can break free! Call on Jesus and allow him to free you from the grips of lust, pray and actively voice your freedom, but seek Jesus for the power to break loose. We can’t break the chains ourselves, but it’s up to us to make the decision that allows Jesus to step in and set us free. Guard your mind, heart and spirit with the discipline of what you allow yourself to watch. Be blessed.
“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
Galatians 5:1

Before you decide to leave the church

A few days ago I read several blogs from young christians who were shunning the church, explaining how they have completely detached themselves from any involvement from the church completely. As I was reading, I began to really ponder on the fact that more and more christians are leaving the church…and the more I thought about it the more distraught I became of the idea. Could we possibly have a day where majority of believers abandon the church altogether and just sit home with their bibles and daily scripture statuses like everything is all good? While the thought of that makes my soul cringe, God gave me an illustration on The Church and its true purpose. (not “a church meaning a building, but “The Church” meaning the body of Christ). Just follow me for a second….

Put the idea of a hospital in your imagination. Who does it consist of? Doctors, nurses, receptionist, switchboard operators, security, tech team, the ambulance, and maintenance. Although its easy to think that all you need are doctors and nurses to run a hospital, in actuality without all these components running together you wouldn’t have a successful hospital at all. The purpose of the hospital is to house and treat the sick right? Without maintainance the hospital would be way too dirty to prevent disease, much less treat it. Without receptionist, the vital records of patients would never be kept. Without security the workers and patients alike would constantly be in danger, and without the ambulance they wouldnt be able to reach the sick that extend outside the walls of the hospital. All of these positions, working together as the parts of the body works together, they ensure that the purpose of the hospital gets fulfilled. In essence, the hospital itself really isn’t the building at all, but the staff that labors inside of it!

Now, imagine these people….doctors and nurses and other staff beginning to leave the hospital altogether. “I can do my own thing at home, I don’t need to be here, this isn’t for me, I dont like the other staff, I’m a doctor with or without it…”. Once more and more people begin to leave the hospital…it stops being a hospital because it can no longer fulfill its purpose. People with severe sicknesses will go to the hospital only seeing the doors closed shut because no one works there anymore! Emergency after emergency now falls on deaf ears because groups of people decided they didn’t want to work anymore. You see how bad that would be?

Whether you believe it or not, The Church HAS a purpose…to introduce healing to those who are suffering from the diseases caused by sin. Those that are lost and looking for peace should be able to come to The Church for their healing. People should be able to come among a community of believers and hear life changing testimonies, be part of earth-shaking worship sessions, and here pastors deliver the gospel that pushes them toward accepting Jesus and becoming healed. You think church is “unnecessary”? consider the apostles in Acts 2.

The Holy Spirit Through Numbers

  • Apostles faced a huge crowd of people as they preached the gospel
  • Through their unison with the Holy Spirit, they were able to all minister to all the different languages (about 14 different languages I believe)
  • Coming TOGETHER as the body of Christ can multiply your effect on the world

Peter’s Sermon

  • His sermon influenced 3,000 people to give their lives to Christ
  • Majority of people have given their life to Christ because of the convicting sermon they heard by a pastor
  • Jesus uses Pastors to convey his message to those who are seeking something other than what the world is offering them. Also, these messages refill the spirits of those already saved….we never get to a place where we don’t need to hear a word from The Lord.

Fellowship/Support

  • Toward the end of the chapter the newly saved people in the congregation began to fellowship with one another. Building friendships, making connections, and ministering to one another. Having believers you can connect with can greatly strengthen your relationship with Christ! (Lions often isolate THEN pounce, stop thinking you just too independent to stay with the flock…Satan will convince you be isolated so attacking you gets that much easier)
  • They also began selling their possessions and distributing them among those in the congregation that were lacking. The body of Christ was designed to support itself, those in church that are willing to help you can’t, because you’re too good to be there! Helping each other in need is what will make The Church powerful again, the body being healthy with Love circulating through its veins!

Now I know there are a LOT of corrupted churches out here…I know this. But there are also corrupted doctors and bosses, bet that wont stop you from going to the hospital when you’re sick, or to your job when you know them bills on the way! If you have been hurt and mistreated by a church, please, find another one! As a christian you will never operate to your fullest potential in Christ while being completely isolated from the body of Christ. What use is your arm if it becomes detached from your body? What use are you to the kingdom detached from the body? Don’t let satan trick you into isolation

Acts 2:41-47

“Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles.  All the believers were together and had everything in common.  They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts.They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

Peace