Let's get this whole thing about making observations vs. judgements straight. Making an observation is simply describing what you see. For example, if I see you steal something, then yes, I could make the observation that you are a thief right now. I'm not judging you. But I'd be judging you if I said, "A thief is all you're ever going to be." Now that would be wrong for me to say. I would be making the wrong assumption that you cannot change. But people can truly change for the better. Look at the Apostle Paul: he went from killing Christians to having a special encounter with Jesus and being converted. Then he went on to write about 2/3 of the New Testament. Yes, God can change hearts and minds. When we judge and are critical of others, we are forfeiting an opportunity to start a relationship, or build on an existing one with them. That forfeited relationship could have been the relationship in which we lead them to the love of Christ. Much love!
I'm so thankful for my wife Kaneika Grant Alston! She is a total God-send. It's been a great six months so far and I feel like I've learned so much from her and about her as we have been moving along in our journey. We laugh a lot, have fun, make sure we find effective ways to communicate, serve each other, and hold each other accountable in love. We want the best for each other and we push each other towards good works to please Christ, for it is He Who is at the center. I look forward to another set of six months and another set of six months and another, and well... you all get the point lol. Please pray for us that we will continue to remain stedfast and focused on who and what the Lord has called us to be. Thank you! I love you babe! 😉😍
Why is connection so important to your spiritual life? Because you can’t grow spiritually unless you’re connected relationally. God designed you that way. He wants to use other people to grow you, and he wants to use you to grow other people. Growth, accountability, belonging, and care happen in circles, not rows. Discover how building deep relationships with the people in your group and serving the larger community around you will grow your faith.
While we develop relationships with people, we have to make sure we are taking on the posture of a servant daily. Adopt the "it's not about me" mindset. It's a good feeling you get when you know you've done what you can to really help someone else. Let Christ work through you to make positive changes in your community, knowing that God has us at the right place at the right time.Jesus served all the way up to His death on the cross. In a sense, He served us into salvation. All this for what? "What does God want from me?" you might ask. God does not need anything from us, for He is God and is infinite. But God wants something great FOR you: a great love-based relationship with Him and others. No man is an island. We were not made to live all alone. We were made to live in community. We are to show people what it means to be God's Kingdom citizens.
I had to set some boundaries for my mother recently and she took it the wrong way. When people are used to having their own way and are used to trying to control your life, when you finally do set proper boundaries, they don't know how to take it. So all I can do is pray for her. I am not responsible for how she acts and reacts to things. I am only responsible for how I act and react to things... The truth is there are some people that you just have to love from a distance.
When you learn how to set boundaries as you deal with certain people in your life, it's not that you are trying to be disrespectful or hateful. It's that you are trying to protect your heart and whatever else is important to you. People have to know that they cannot talk to you a certain kind of way or do certain things to you. In my case, my mother was recently treating me like I was a teenager who used to live with her. Well I don't live with her anymore and therefore, the way she and I communicate has to change. We should be talking as if we are two adults, not as if I am the child in her household. She has a tendency to play the blame game in bringing up past issues, but when I am trying to move forward with certain plans, her blame game does not help us to be productive. So I had to set boundaries. At one point she was trying to talk through me to get to my fiancée, and I basically let her know in so many words that I was not going to stand for that. She likes to talk over me so I can't get a word in at times. Nope, I'm not having that.
It is not un-biblical to set boundaries for people, even if they happen to be your parents. But people have to know where you stand on certain issues, or else they'll have a tendency to walk all over you. Then you feel like you've been defeated somehow and no one has time for that, honestly. There is a way to be respectful, "[Honouring] thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee" (Ex. 20:12), and still let them know that they should respect what good you are trying to accomplish in your life. When you set boundaries, some people will get upset. But you are not responsible for how they act and react to things. You are only responsible for how YOU act and react to things.
Hopefully this post will help someone who is dealing with an overbearing loved one. God bless!
There's nothing like some nice cold water to drink to feel refreshed! It's like encouragement, it makes you feel good! Ever tried to drink a cup of sand? I would hope not, but if you did, you would be so dry, parched, and super dehydrated. (I've gotten sand in my mouth before, and it is not fun in the least bit!) Well that's kind of how discouragement feels. It leaves you feeling so dry and bad. So let's try to make sure we are giving people glasses of cool water and not sand. Let's put away the rude remarks, comments, and gestures, and instead let's offer godly words and actions to people that can build them up and encourage them to obey God. God bless!
If you want friends, go and show yourself to be friendly. Sadly, we see so much discouragement from people nowadays. Studies show that for every one time of encouragement, there are 6 times of discouragement. We can see our homes, communities, and places of work become less toxic as we encourage one another daily.
So my #ChallengeOfTheDay is: Help 5 people with your resources, by giving them your time/energy, or by simply encouraging them this week. When you refresh others, you yourself will get refreshed.
(Inspired by Pastor Dave Bowman of New Horizon Church)
Scripture references: Ephesians 4:26-27, 32; Hebrews 12:15; Galatians 5:13-15; Romans 12:19; Luke 23:34; Matthew 6:14-15; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 3:13; 1 John 4:20; 1 John 1:9
God is not like Ebay or other websites that only give you a certain number of chances to correctly type in your password.
God gives us chance after chance after chance. He does this so that we can give someone else in our world another chance too.
Beware of unforgiveness.
Someone might have hurt you, but don’t let anger take hold of you for too long.
“Unforgiveness is like drinking rat poison and waiting for the rat to die.”
Unforgiveness does not hurt the other person; it hurts you. Sometimes the other person is totally oblivious to the fact that you are still mad at them, but you’re only hurting yourself by holding on to bitterness and resentment.
Bitterness corrupts good relationships.
God does not set us free just so we can do whatever we want to do. He sets us free so that we can serve Him and our neighbors in love.
We have to make the choice to let the situation go, let the person go, and/or let the anger go.
There is such freedom in forgiveness.
Someone might have hurt us, but that pales in comparison to how we hurt God in our cosmic rebellion against Him by sinning. Still God loves us and takes care of us each day.
We are to respond to people in love, not hatred.
We can respond to someone hurting us in different ways:
1 - We can respond with payback. In reality, we never get “it” back.
2 - We can use guilt trip. “I forgive you, but you must know that I still feel bad about it.” (Jesus does not guilt-trip us. He forgives us and removes our sins from us as far as the east is from the west.)
3 - We can over-trust. In other words, we can forgive the person, and allow them the room to hurt us again and again. (Forgiveness does not necessarily mean you trust the person. Trust is built up over time, but it can be torn down in a second.) It is ok to protect yourself from being hurt again by the person.
4 - Or we can choose to forgive like Jesus. (He does not put our sins in our face over and over again. Praise God!)
If we are not careful, we can end up putting standards on other people that are different from the standards we put on ourselves. (“Well you know, if you really knew MY story, you’d give me a free pass on not forgiving them on that issue…” as if forgiveness is for others to do, but not “me.”)
To forgive is not merely an option, it is a command.
Jesus knows what it feels like to be betrayed, abandoned, and rejected. What do you do when the hands you created are beating you, slapping you, pushing down a crown of thorns on your head, and nailing you to a cross?
On the Cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).
Even on the Cross, Jesus had the strength to pray for our forgiveness. Surely we can forgive those who have hurt us.
There is a fundamental difference between telling a woman she looks beautiful and telling her she IS beautiful. Telling a woman she looks beautiful speaks to her make-up, outfit, other external features, etc. But telling a woman she IS beautiful speaks to her heart, her soul, and her spirit, regardless of what she has on. #FoodForThought
(Inspired by Pastor Dave of New Horizon Church)
Scriptures: Genesis 2:18-24; Psalm 46:1; Proverbs 14:8; Ephesians 3:20-21
- Ladies, trust God for His best. Don’t lower your standards just so you can attract a man to you.
- Understand that there is no perfect man, but be patient, the right man for you is out there.
- Ladies, don’t worry about trying to find a perfect person, just strive to be the best person you can be. (“Am I the best person for him?” …. You find that out by seeking God in prayer.)
- Genesis 2:18 – Men, find a woman who is suitable for you and let her help you.
- Psalm 46:1 – God is our Helper!
- For a woman to help a man does not make her a second-class citizen, but to be a helper to a man in marriage is godly.
- Ladies, ask yourselves, by being with a man, are you helping or hurting him? (and vice versa)
- There is a difference between trying to help a man and trying to fix him.
- Questions for women to consider:
“Am I desperate?” (Are you the one asking the guys out on dates? Are you the one pursuing? … Or are you having sex with a man to whom you are not married? If so, tell him, "No more sex until marriage," and see how long he stays. That's a good indicator of his true feelings towards you.)
“Why am I attracted to him?” (The fact that he might be “cute” is not good enough. If the man does not have his priorities straight, he is not good for you.)
“Does he love Jesus?”
“Does he fight for my purity?”
“Does he bring order or chaos?”
“Are there issues we are avoiding?”
“Does he lose his temper in the dating process?”
“Does he flirt with other women?”
“Does he make fun of me?”
“Is he ready and willing to love me like Christ loves the Church?”
The bottom line is this: “Is he God’s best for me?”
- You wouldn't want stale potato chips from the bottom of the bag would you? Don’t settle for stale chips when you can have a great meal.
- Don’t let aisle --> altar --> him …. become “I’ll … alter … him.” (Only Christ can change a person.)
- Understand that marriage does not change you into a better person; it magnifies the person you already are. Your choice in marriage will change your life for the better—or worse.
Consider how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you. How you perceive yourself affects how you live your life and the decisions you make.
Ladies, listen up! One of Satan's lies to you to get you to compare yourself to other women or the prevailing culture around you is that you're not good enough. Truth: You don't have to try to "measure up" to what the world says you have to be if you know what the Lord says you are in Him.
Lie #2: You are how you look.
Truth: How your heart is towards God and people is what counts. You are beautiful inside and out. You were fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:12-16).
Lie #3: You are where you live.
Truth: Even if you can't afford the big fancy house, that does not speak against your character. There are many people living in really nice houses, but it's not a home because there is no love there. I'd rather live in an average house where love dwells, than a fancy house where there is hate, discord, and confusion.
Lie #4: You are what you do.
Truth: You are not your job or occupation, or how much money you make.
Lie #5: You are your relationships. (Why aren't you dating? Why aren't you married? Why are you divorced?)
Truth: If God has it in His plans for you to get into an intimate relationship and then get married, your time will come. If not, perhaps God has given you the gift of singleness so you can serve the Lord in a particular fashion. Either way when you focus on God's plans and not just your own, He gets the glory. And ladies, no matter how bad a man has treated you (whether it be a father figure, or significant other), you are not damaged goods.
Lie #6: You are your religion. ("Godly women shouldn't have to experience this or that.")
Truth: No one is exempt from trials. But we overcome and gain victory in Christ Jesus.
Lie #7: You are your past (mistakes, sins, etc.)
Truth: There is great forgiveness in Christ and redemption by His blood.
Truth: You are made whole and complete in Christ Jesus!
I just want to encourage and inspire as many people as I can for Jesus Christ.