Light Gear

"Dominus lux mea." The Lord is my light.

No Retreat , No Surrender

 

 

In Society it has become easy for people to give up, or to make statements like “I’ll try”. In so many ways we have allowed failure to become an option with our eyes fixed on what is apparent in the physical. Do we actually give God room to work? In the movie 300 their leader speaks to them of Spartan Law where there is “no retreat, no surrender” He goes on to Say “a new age has begun, an age of freedom!” In Micah 7:7 he states ” But me I’m not giving up.” Meaning I am not going to give in to what I see going on around me I am not going to allow it distract me from my faith and confidence in God. He goes on to say I’m sticking around to see what God will do. I won’t allow myself to fall into a state of depression or take short cuts and relying on temporary fixes to my situation but my hope is in God and his permanent solution to my situation. We many times have the tendency to want to control things outside the span of our control, taking matters into our own hands because we felt we waited long enough on God. Normally the thing that is going wrong in our lives didn’t happen overnight and God many times has to orchestrate some things around us to help with a more permanent solution to our circumstances. In not giving up and trusting God we experience a new age of freedom. The more we trust God the more freedom we experience. Yes going back, giving up, resigning to the fact that things won’t get better is easier but it’s not rewarding and as Christians moving forward is the only direction that our spiritual compass is set.

You have heard it said “don’t give up on God, because He never gives up on you.” Wow, if we kept that in mind every time we are ready to throw in the towel on certain events in our lives, would we quit? Are we really trusting God or is it only a novel idea? Here is the final part of this verse, I have to trust that I have a good relationship with God, that my prayer life and my daily walk are in good relationship with God. When this is in order we can say ” I’m counting on God to listen to me.” I am not saying that God is not hearing you, but even in our earthly relationships is it more important for people to hear us or listen to us? I want God to listen! People that actually listen to us are those we have good relationships with. Daily our relationship with God must continue to grow. I don’t want my words to become blah blah blah to Him. I want God to listen because I am waiting on him to make things right! Yes tapping out, retreating and surrendering is easy but where is the reward in that? If we must surrender, if we must retreat let it be into the arms of God not the ways of the world. Bottom line I’m not giving up. I’m sticking around to see what God will do!
” A man is not finished when he is defeated. He is finished when he quits.”

Stewards of God’s Grace

I think it’s amazing all the strange and weird talents that people put on display for the world via Youtube, Vine, Facebook, Twitter etc… People use their talents to receive notoriety, popularity and to see how many “hits” they will receive from social media. What’s even more amazing is that God gave them each one of those talents and gifts. I applaud those that serve diligently and faithfully for none of the notoriety but simply to be a blessing to those around them and meet the need of the local body. 1 Peter 4:10 implores us to use the gifts we have received to serve others. So what about those that don’t do anything with their gifts? Those that are quick to critique what others in church are doing or what they believe they should be doing. I find it amazing there are so many church experts in the body but not enough servers.

This passage of scripture goes on to say that we are to be faithful stewards of God’s Grace in its various forms. That’s a pretty heavy responsibility but a responsibility none the less. We weren’t all given the same gifts and therefore it is important that we use our gifts not only in service to God but even more importantly in our service to one another. God reminds us all throughout the bible the importance of serving one another.

Maybe you’re not sure where to begin or what to do. I personally tried a number of different serving opportunities before I found the right area of service for which I was uniquely prepared and equipped to perform. There are of course gifting tests that your local church can administer and review with you. Whatever you do this year do something! You very well may be someone’s form of God’s Grace they have been waiting to receive. Additionally, remember there are no perfect people, don’t allow your imperfections to keep you from serving. If I or any of your leaders have led you to believe that walking on water is a requirement for service, forgive us.

I have seen spiritual lives changed by simply serving others. Let this be the year that you become a faithful steward of God’s Grace through serving others. I pray that this year many hands will make “LIGHT” work. Want to get connected? If you’re attending Destiny Now contact me at connect@dnwoc.org let’s get you connected to what you have been uniquely designed to steward and not allow your God given gifts become the amusement of others but for the enjoyment of others.

Loving your Enemies

Matthew 5:43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

It’s not easy loving people that may not always have your best interest at heart or see things the way you see them. As a matter of fact Jesus continues to say in latter verses that it is really easy for us to love those that love us and even the pagans do it. Jesus had the ability to make some really tough comparison and illustrations but it was always to make a point. Loving your enemy doesn’t come naturally so it has to become a practiced behavior. It can be painful in the beginning and maybe even cause some internal conflict.

Jesus however knew that loving those that persecute, undermine, plan malice, and intentionally attempt to rob you of joy would not understand why we would continue to smile, love, help and pray for our enemy. Now it’s not enough to go through the motions of the act as important as it is to be sincere in the spirit of the act. How easy is it to not only forgive you enemy but to sincerely pray good things for them? I have to understand that my forgiveness also depends on my ability to forgive others. Martin Luther King Jr. said ” Love is the only thing that can turn an enemy into a friend.” As a counselor there is a phrase that is practiced throughout the profession. “Unconditional Positive Regard”. This means day in and day out I have a mandate to love and being a Christian is a plus because it is also a mandate for me to love, to Love God with everything within me and to love my neighbor as myself. You know even when Jesus made that statement he did not specify to love my “good” neighbor. Jesus made it all inclusive to love the good the bad and the ugly….. Ok that’s the name of a movie but you get the point.

Listen, this is a challenge but “if Christianity was easy, then everyone would be doing it”. We must daily practice loving others to the point you don’t say I love them BUT…. God doesn’t place a condition on his love he simply loves. Let’s truly learn how to love our enemy sincerely.

Are You Recognizable?

Mark 6:32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 33 But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. 34 When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.

Earlier this week I was reading the above passage of scripture and I began to reflect on how a number of Christians go unnoticed because they are not recognizable. Now keep in mind that it wasn’t as if the disciple of Jesus ran around with banners, WWJD bracelet, fish symbols and definitely not crosses. In verse 33, it says that the people saw them and recognized them. Keep in mind Jesus had not yet arrived so it wasn’t Him who they recognized but his disciples.

As a Christian you should be recognizable not only in a physical sense but a spiritual sense as well. Have you ever had someone out of the blue say there is something about you that is different from everyone else? As a Christian when this happens consider it a compliment and that you are recognizable. Jesus gave us an answer to how we can be more recognizable in John 13:35 Jesus says “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” So imagine that the people recognized the disciples because they walked united and they had an agape spirit about them that must had not been common. See, the people also recognized that because of a visual confirmation of the disciples that someone greater was coming. The world should know that because we are forerunners someone greater is coming.

James 1:23-24 states “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror 24 and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. ” Love for one another is the word of Christ so are we hearers only if we don’t truly love one another and then become the man that looks in the mirror who looks and turns away and forget what he looks like? Better yet,the real question is do you recognize yourself? Does anyone else recognize you and who you represent?

A number of Christians suffer from Multiple Personality Disorder which makes it not only hard for the rest of the world to recognize who they are but even their family and other Christians. Fake or False love is quickly discerned by the Spirit filled man or woman of God. It is much easier to keep up with one personality, the personality of Christ than to keep up with so many situational faces. It is my goal to be recognizable no matter where I am. I want to have an agape spirit that is always recognizable not only by those that know me but especially those that do not.

Jesus want you to be recognizable so that people will know him and gather waiting for his return because through you they will experience Christ and have an even greater expectation for His return.

Battle Buddies

Exodus 17:10-13 Joshua did what Moses ordered in order to fight Amalek. And Moses, Aaron, and Hur went to the top of the hill. It turned out that whenever Moses raised his hands, Israel was winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, Amalek was winning. But Moses’ hands got tired. So they got a stone and set it under him. He sat on it and Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on each side. So his hands remained steady until the sun went down. Joshua defeated Amalek and its army in battle.

I recently read this passage and it stood out to me how much having the right people on your side is important.  I noticed that nowhere in verses prior or after this passage that Moses had informed Aaron and Hur what his plan was for this battle.

The bible tells us in Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12  9 Two are better than one,    because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down,    one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.    But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered,    two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.       Jesus sent disciples in pairs so there must be an important principle for us to follow.

Having a Battle Buddy who recognizes when you are becoming battle weary, when your to tired to fight or continue the battle is important. I believe that both Aaron and Hur saw and quickly came to the aid of Moses in order to bring success in the name of the Lord. Two are better than one, we weren’t put on this earth by ourselves and although I know that the battle is the Lords I also see a number of places in God’s Word where God speaks of us being accountable to one another, supporting, encouraging and edifying one another. Ecclesiastes goes on to say though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. We are to be battle buddies. Now back to Moses, he was willing to put up the good fight and hold the Staff of God to determine the outcome of a battle but I am sure he was looking for something quick and decisive. However, the battle went on longer than he had anticipated and he became exhausted. Aaron and Hur saw a brother in a weakened state and gave him rest by setting him down and seeing that he had the will to fight but not the strength they came along side of him and held his arms until victory was achieved!

In the military Battle Buddies are encouraged and as I learn my buddy I know his or her weaknesses as well as their strengths. Prayerfully the same could be said about my buddy of me. This way if one of us fall the other is there to pick them up. For those that are walking out a life in recovery from addiction, anger, control, honesty, religiosity or any of the dozen of Issues Celebrate Recovery list as bondage and shackles that keep us captives of the enemy and destroyer of the brethren it is important that we have battle buddies and accountability partners.

Fighting Battles alone is a foolish concept and normally put you on the losing side. Galatians 6 says 1 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each others burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. So here we see in verse 3 If you think you are something than you deceive yourself. You see every time you decide to fight alone without either a buddy or someone giving you guidance we may be susceptible for a knock out.

Not only should we find Good Battle Buddies but we should learn to be one as well. If someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. We have an obligation to one another to protect and serve each other to support in times of troubles and to rejoice in times of victory.

Bottom line to all of this is, Find Yourself an Aaron or Hur and be an Aaron or Hur so that all your battles with the Help of God and Your buddies are Victorious!


Religion Vs Jesus

Recently, I made a statement in one of my blogs that I was more spiritual than religious. Jesus came to dispel so many religious twists on what God had laid before as only wanting a relationship with us. I wonder at times what religion was Abraham, Moses, or Noah and yet their relationship with God was solid. The religious leaders during Jesus’ time knew there was truth in the things that Jesus spoke and taught. There is an account on when one of religious leaders of the Pharisees paid Jesus a visit in the evening after dark. Nicodemus sought Jesus out because he wanted to hear truth. I recently taught a class and the topic of religion and denominations came up, one student stated he attended a service that felt more like an exercise workout. Religion and the desire to be right has been the start of numerous wars throughout history. I do think that traditions are good when they line up with the word of God.

Unfortunately man has added rules, regulations and dress codes have definitely missed the mark as far as faith in Christ is concerned. Jesus came to set the captives free however; I don’t believe that religious leaders realized they were one of the captives. Jesus came to release truth in the world. Jesus said” they shall know the truth and the truth shall set them free.” Jesus came that we would once again turn our hearts to God. I am a faithful man who spends time with God and his word that I might understand more about the Author and Finisher of my faith Jesus Christ who is not the author of any religion. Christianity although it is a religion it was a name given by men but I am sure it was not Jesus’ intent to start another “religion” as much as was meant to be a way of life for those who worshiped the one true God.

As you watch this video I want you to know it might shatter some reality and beliefs you may have had but may this young man’s truth set someone free. Yes, I dislike religion but I love Jesus!

The best gift you can give a friend is Jesus

-Louis Leake

 

Sober Authority

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. (NIV)

The Webster’s dictionary describes sober as temperate in the use of spirituous liquors; habitually temperate; as a sober man. Live a sober, righteous and godly life. However in its context in the above verse sober mind speaks of a state of alertness, awareness and a type of hyper vigilance. There are many things that lead to a non-sober life like drugs and alcohol which are top choices in this frame of thought. However, what about the things we don’t think about that cause intoxication by its subtle lure into unrighteous living. The bible says woe to those who call evil good and good evil… (Is 5:20a) There are Christians that can rationalize some of the music, movies, magazines and all sorts of media which has desensitized and numbed us to those things that God has defined as evil. I am finding that as one in authority over my home and ministry that I must maintain a sober mind and that the only thing that should be considered good are those things that God has deemed good. It is important to remain alert to the fact that the enemy knows we are visual people and uses this to his advantage.

Understand if we can be distracted we can be devoured. As the spiritual authority in my home I cannot stand the risk of being distracted and must maintain a state of sobriety and vigilance towards the schemes and subtle distractions of the enemy. The New Testament uses the term sober a number of times preceded by the word be. In this case be is an action word meaning to be fixed; to exist; to have a real state or existence, for a longer or shorter time. Our spiritual lives must be guarded at all times. Have you noticed that language that was once not deemed acceptable or appropriate on television and only found in the movies are now spewed as if it should be considered ordinary everyday language? The movies no longer use the term profanity in their summary of a movie but the term persuasive language. I was listening to my six year old granddaughter singing song lyrics that she had no idea what their meaning were for they were only words to her. The problem is that it still gets in her spirit. My wife quickly corrected her and had the media removed.

The enemy will attack those in authority, I have heard it said in boxing”If the head goes the body must fall” our adversary knows this and attacks those in the lead hoping to send those following into a frenzy much like a lion attacking a heard of antelope. If you as a leader, someone in authority are found to be weak the devil is seeking you out to kill, rob and destroy your family, ministry, church, company or organization if given half the chance. Our spiritual alertness is paramount; there are lives in the balance that depend on those in authority not to be sucked in to the ways of this world. How do I remain sober in my authority? Romans 12 speaks of us being transformed by the renewal of our minds. Instead of taking a drink of alcohol or using drugs, instead of the everyday bombardment of media which all alter my mind. Let’s daily consume and drink in God’s word which will not only renew our mind but make us alert and sober to our surroundings.

Finally the answer lies in verse 9 of 1 Peter 5. “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” Listen, we are all going through the same struggles, temptations and sufferings but standing firm in our faith, remaining Sober, alert, vigilant like radar searching for the enemy before an airstrike. We have a Kingdom authority and we must protect it and those, within the Kingdom that God has given us at all times. Let no scheme or trickery overt or covert draw you into its snare dare to be courageous and resist him at all cost. Be sober.


Christianese

religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose–living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God–saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!
-1 Corinthians 9:20-23 (MSG)

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It’s amazing to me how after someone gets saved they forget where they came from and the others that are left behind, the very people that can only be reached by them. In the above scripture we are not to take on the ways of the world but we should be able to fit in and become influential for Christ. Jesus hung out with everyone and did his best to experience things from their point of view and then spoke in to their lives using things that they understood in parables to give greater meaning and acceptance to the Kingdom and what it has to offer.

In this passage he states “I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God–saved life. I did all this because of the Message”. So many times a person gets saved and starts speaking a new language (Christianese) and the only person that understands them are other Christians. I get accused at times because I don’t go around spouting things like Blessed and Highly Favored when someone asks me how am I doing. Listen, sometimes people just want to know how you are.

I can speak Christianese as well as the next blessed, favored, anointed, spirit filled Christian, but their all supposedly saved and I am trying to win the lost and if the Grace (the Divine influence upon my heart reflected in the life) of God is truly on me it will draw others to the saving knowledge of God. Yes I have the T-shirts, bracelets, hats and other Christian articles but do you know that none of those things drew anyone to Christ more so than just sitting and talking with someone or showing genuine love when they were hurting.

Even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.-1 Corinthians 10:33 (NIV)

So the reason I use the word of God in plain language in a conversation is in order to draw people close, not to me but the saving knowledge of Christ. There is nothing greater than when someone says man I wish I had what you have. That’s when the door opens but if all I did was speak Christianese I would usually drive people away or get labeled religious.

I spent a number of years in full time ministry only to figure out that I spent a lot of time quoting scriptures to the saved and they refused to walk in Gods word. Those that don’t know Jesus are more open to new directions because the map they were using kept them lost.

I think it’s incredible how when we go to a foreign country and try to pick up a few words or sayings we may get all the words right but the intent or true feeling gets lost in translation.
So it is when we speak Christianese people here our words but because it may be foreign to them it looses translation especially when we speak out of context. Let’s save souls and not scare souls through an onslaught of Christian references and religious mumbo jumbo.

We are not of this world but we are in this world and we who are spiritual should gently restore those caught in sin and not fall into it ourselves, Galatians 6. Let us use God’s word the way Jesus did to inspire hope, encourage and directed people in a direction to be reconciled back to God.

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“The best gift you can give a friend is Jesus.”

“Get In Step”

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Galatians 5:25 NIV

Nearly every day while at work someone will make the statement “he is a religious man.” I quickly chime in that I am spiritual not religious. The connotation of being religious means that I am governed by a list of manmade rules. The truth is that I should and daily attempt to be governed by the spirit. So to say that I live by the Spirit means that I operate in the Spirit. For the fullness of it to be measured or seen means that I do so in obedience. The word obedience means I walk in submission to the restraint of command or authority. Did you hear that?

Restraint, can you imagine the Holy Spirit having such a grip on you that you have no choice but to submit to the Spirit? The message bible says it like this since this is the kind of life we have chosen, the life of the Spirit; let us make sure that we do not just hold it as an idea in our heads or a sentiment in our hearts, but work out its implications in every detail of our lives. To measure your submission to the Holy Spirit you have to go back a few verses in this chapter to Gal 5:22-23, but the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Living by the Spirit means for me to partake in the fruit of the Spirit to the extent that people actually see it displayed in my life. I cannot simply walk around declaring I am Spiritual and there be no evidence in my life. I made the choice to follow Christ and it means I must keep in step with Him and the Holy Spirit. You see when I walk in the Spirit I am not governed by the law or rules of man. My only true challenge is keeping in step with the Spirit of God. I may feel at times like when I was a young child trying to keep up with my dad when we walked through the store and I struggled to keep up with him but as I grew keeping up or staying in step became easier.

So it is when keeping in step with the Spirit, as we grow in Christ staying in step becomes easier. In the military while marching and you’re out of step we do what’s called a change step and we are back in sync with the others. If you’re in need of a change step because you’re out of sync with the spirit then it’s simple make the change that’s necessary and once again submit to the unction (the act of anointing as a rite of consecration or healing) of the Holy Spirit and start producing the fruit of the spirit in your life so that all may know you are truly in Christ more Spiritual than religious.

The Best Gift You Can Give a Friend is “Jesus”.

Our First Ministry

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

The other night while attending our mid-week service, I heard and understood the words that were spoken concerning our children and ministry and although that was not the main topic of discussion it penetrated my heart. I could recall when I went in to full time ministry and the toll it took on my family for a little more than five years. My daughters were young and going into their teens, a time where they really needed their father the most. There were weeks that I would be on the Church Campus from sun up to sundown and would be too exhausted to spend time with the family.

Deuteronomy 6:6-7 reminds me that my family should have been my first ministry and while I was out instructing others in the way of the Lord. I must have been hoping my daughters would receive it through osmosis. It goes on to say that when you’re sitting chilling at home they should be receiving instruction, love and a nurturing spirit from me, their father. That when they lie down and wake up God should be the last and first thing on their mind.

I can’t help but to think of Psalms 32:8, I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. I understand this reference is made concerning God’s relationship with us however, if we indeed are to be Christ like I believe as a father I need to take on the persona of Christ in that I instruct, teach and direct the way as well as be good counsel to my daughters.

My daughters are now 24 and 21 they now have the responsibility to choose the path they desire to follow and although I attempt to counsel them I believe I would have had a greater impact on their life if someone had impressed upon me the importance of ministering to my family first. My focus is now on my granddaughter; she loves Jesus and loves church. I spend more time in conversations with her than I did with her mother. I have taught her the laying on of hands for healing; she always asks to pray over our meals and for me to pray with her in the evenings. God has given me another opportunity to impart, encourage and inspire her to pursuit God. I won’t miss another opportunity to make ministry to my family first.

Proverbs 22:6 Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

“The Best Gift You Can Give A Friend is JESUS”

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