The Great Grab Bag


Danboard holding a Christmas gift.
The Giver gives freely!

Every year during Christmas time at the workplace, there was always a department in the hospital that sponsored a grab bag. The first time I encountered the event, in my teens, I was totally attracted to this concept of gift giving. The requirements were simple –

  • Registration
  • Shopping with a cap amount
  • Wrapping the gift
  • The event

The person who directed the affairs of the event was ALWAYS happy and full of cheer. Even on the most chaotic days at work, if you called or visited him/her regarding the event, cheer was present. The entire grab bag experience was a happy occasion from beginning to the end. Everyone who participated in the event was unified, working together as well as independently honoring their commitment to secure their gift in the grab bag. Shopping was taken seriously most of the time.

The best part about the experience to me was the gift giving being anonymous. I learned how to gauge from facial expressions who might have purchased the gift while we all opened our gifts one at a time. This was a simple task whenever someone responded negatively to a gift. Conversely, I always worked on my poker face when the gift I submitted was chosen. There was a sense of fulfillment that is indescribable as the recipient immediately “loved” the gift I chose. He/she was actually happy they received it and they were going to hold on to it and use it. It implied that I was good at gift giving at this level. The recipient was “HAPPY” with their gift. That in turn made me HAPPY.” 

What makes a grab bag “great” is that every gift contained in the container maintains a purpose to the recipient that will NEVER disappoint. Ultimately, upon receipt of the gift his/her life will will be changed for the better. King David and others, while composing the Psalms, always acknowledged the characteristic of being “BLESSED.” This Biblical principle offers readers the continuous opportunity to participate in a lifestyle that NEVER disappoints. The gifts of forgiveness of sin and eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, make “Happiness” possible from day to day. Any time you read the Psalms you participate in the Great Grab Bag as a recipient.

“The blood of Jesus will never loose its power. It reaches to the highest mountain and flows to the lowest valley. The blood, that gives you strength from day to day, will never loose its power.” (The Blood Will Never Loose Its Power, Andre Crouch, 1962) The power of the blood that keeps on cleansing children of God is the GREATNESS in the GIFT BAG of forgiveness. You don’t have to wait for an annual event to experience the happiness of all the gifts contained in Christ Jesus. They are ALWAYS available.

Here are some samples – ENJOY!

How blessed is the one who does not follow the advice of the wicked,or stand in the pathway with sinners,or sit in the assembly of scoffers! Psalms 1.1         How blessed is the one whose rebellious acts are forgiven, whose sin is pardoned! How blessed is the one whose wrongdoing the LORD does not punish, in whose spirit there is no deceit. Psalm 32.1&2   How blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD and does not seek help from the proud or from liars! Psalm 40.4    How blessed are those who live in your temple and praise you continually! (Selah)  How blessed are those who find their strength in you,and long to travel the roads that lead to your temple! Psalm 84.4&5  How blessed are the people who worship you! O LORD, they experience your favor.  Psalm 89.15   (NET Bible)

 

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A Presence of COURAGE


Courage
Courage (Photo credit: drp)

In my teen years we used to sing a song in the choir – “I’m determined to walk with Jesus-yes I am.” Through hard trials, tribulations, persecutions, I am Determined… I’m Determined to walk with Jesus, yes I am.”  It had an infectious bass line that pounced down deep in the souls of all who heard it with a reverberating, spiritual anchor. A simple yet powerful display of the presence of COURAGE.

This type of determination I speak of must have it’s origins securely connected to a firm foundation. I have found it to be a compelling gift to be able to assess when it is present and when it is not. I know that there are many times when my faith in Christ and the finished work at Calvary gives me courage to stand in the midst of hardships. I have just too many examples to refuse this reality. But, I must admit there are times when my human side shows up. Then, and only then, is my determination to walk with Jesus hindered.

I am glad that we have Joshua 1 to remind us all of what the presence of COURAGE in us looks like. In the first 9 verses God repeatedly offers Joshua this vital instruction – “Be strong and of a good COURAGE” 2 times and  “Be thou strong and very COURAGEOUS”. Then towards the end of the chapter he again states “Be strong and of a good COURAGE.”  By the 10th chapter God once again felt the need to ONCE AGAIN REPEAT “Be strong and of a good COURAGE.”

Thank God for repetition! He is so gracious. How many times has he repeated something in your life? Are you listening? I know this Divine teaching principle has always been at work in my life. For so long I was too caught up in my human affairs to even pay attention to the  subtle messages God was teaching me through repetition. It took God’s consistent faithfulness in and over my life to get me to yield to his Word. But in the text, Joshua was a quick learner. He was listening to God’s Word so intently that by verse 18 it appears that the message was thoroughly received – “BE STRONG AND OF A GOOD COURAGE JOSHUA!”

“Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might,” Ephesians 6:10 comes to mind as we define what strength was required. Joshua was going to encounter many adversaries – some of which were superior to his military preparedness. Joshua had to rely on the Strength of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to overpower the might of the earthly armies along the way. If he were naive enough to disregard God’s instruction – “BE STRONG AND OF A GOOD COURAGE JOSHUA” – he would not have realized the success that God was calling him and the children of Israel to. It stands to reason hear how difficult it must have been for Joshua to disregard ALL human efforts to succeed and rely TOTALLY on the STRENGTH AND POWER of God’s Word EXCLUSIVELY. Imagine how Joshua had to encounter the men under his command who would see the mission from the prospective of human eyesight and how he had to CONSTANTLY remind them of the importance of FAITH IN GOD’S WORD! It seems to me that the more opposition he faced, the more inclined Joshua was to exercise DETERMINATION to do it God’s way and thereby continue to bask in the presence of COURAGE.

We often times get sidetracked from the presence of COURAGE because we put so many unsubstantiated demands on ourselves on how a DETERMINED response should look like. “I should have said this” “I could have done it this way” “Why can’t I be like ……..” “If only I had ……. faith”  “God I want to be like……” Clearly the demands we place on ourselves to be what or who we are not capable of being – AT THE TIME – are designs of bondage that keep us from being the person we are at that moment and relying on God’s Word exclusively.  Joshua never seemed to experience a dilemma getting ready for God to demonstrate His power. He merely was who He was called to be – the son of Nun and Moses’ right hand trained to one day lead – who was given Divine and SPECIFIC instructions on how to succeed moving forward. He did not have to encounter all of the self help gurus, the constant barrage’ of success stories that dictate how human success works and constant reminders of how success is SUPPOSED to look. NO! He was under the tutelage of Jehovah Jireh, Jehovah Shalom, Jehovah Shammah and Jehovah Tsori just to drop some names 🙂

What a travesty it would have been if Joshua was so egotistical to respond to God by saying, “OK God, I hear you. I will get the ranks ready and we are going to make you proud of us. I am going to do my best. You will not be ashamed of me God, I won’t let you down. I got it God. We will be strong in our might and skill sets, our military growth and our courage to win will not go unrealized.” This is why God makes a SPECIFIC attempt to repeat the message “BE STRONG AND OF A GOOD COURAGE, JOSHUA.”

Guess what, God is doing the same repetition today. Are you so busy telling God how you are going to get the job done that you are not basking in the the reality of His Sovereignty? – “IT’S ALREADY DONE!” A presence of COURAGE is so peaceful. You can be assured that God will do EXACTLY what He is going to do and no one or nothing can prevent His will from prevailing. The more Joshua practiced this “single-mindedness” the more he realized victory and success. It worked then and it is STILL working today.

THANK YOU LORD FOR THE PRESENCE OF COURAGE.

Soaring Through the Storm


English: A tornado with no visible condensatio...

This post is going to offer explanation for why I use “Eagle” imagery. When I first went to my church I was totally bewildered.Life had really been harsh to me. Some of my hardship was because of my actions and some was because of how others responded to my choices. Pastor Black referenced and motioned an eagle “soaring through a storm” during the sermon. Ultimately, I have come to realize that no matter what the issue was, God was up to something good. He was using loss to get my attention and my heart. Thank God He has them today and for the rest of my life. I am completely sold out to this Conqueror lifestyle.

A cousin told me, while I was adjusting to the realities of loss in my personal life, that I was going to one day look back on that heartache, misery, mental/emotional pain, anger, fear and uncertainty and be able to realize that it was the best time of my life. “What do you mean by that?” was my immediate visceral response as I sat straight up in my chair and wiped the tears from my eyes. She offered me no explanation but instead issued a directive, which I have not forgotten – “JUST STAY IN POSITION!”

This experience was way before I got “INTO POSITION.” In fact, I thank God for using my cousin to challenge my faith. You see, at that point I had lost everything I had come to rely on – wife, kids, home, materialism, financial security…………  Every aspect of my life that I relied on, which gave me the power to “BE”, God removed from me. There was nothing left to rely on EXCEPT HIM. That conversation gave me a heightened awareness of my NEED for His power to “reign” in and over my life. I surrendered daily; I surrender (TO HIM) DAILY. “Every day I wake up I ALWAYS think of Him.” (A future ConquerorTune u will love) 🙂

Now, this idea about “soaring through the storm” is based in the benefits of “letting go and letting God” through daily surrender. Paul said it best in Philippians 4:13 “I CAN do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength.” When I was talking with my cousin I was in a storm that seemed like it just would NOT pass. The more work I did to “deal” with the problem, the more I realized the problem was too big to “deal” with. These life changes were totally designed for me to get to the “eye” of the storm (my core issues that I was unwilling to surrender to God) and let God abide.

Like an eagle, I learned that avoiding the storm was NO longer an option. God kept on bringing me these storms so that I could grow to understand this concept at my core, which is what He is concerned with. (Heb. 4:12)

“The eagle is the only bird which flies directly into a thunderstorm? Other birds fly away from a thunderstorm seeking refuge and shelter in the safety of a barn or their nest. But it is not so with the mighty eagle. The eagle flies directly into the thunderclouds.Turbulent winds cause the eagle to fly higher, giving him a larger view, lifting him above harassment, allowing him to use less effort, and helping him to fly faster.These updrafts cause the eagle to reach great heights as he soars with them. From this higher position his sharp eyes are able to see more. As he soars higher, he leaves behind all distractions. The feather structure prevents stalling, reduces the turbulence, and produces a relatively smooth ride with minimum effort – even in rough winds. Thus, when he glides in wind currents, speeds of 80 to 100 miles per hour are not uncommon.”(THE WAY OF THE EAGLES,  Joe R. Garman,http://www.arm.org/eagles.htm)

Yesterday in Atlanta stormy weather prevailed. I had deep concern about the welfare of my family, who I no longer live with or fellowship with as a direct result of a divorce. I was concerned from within. One of the best things about a Conqueror lifestyle is that when you get concerned, fearful or worried about something that is out of your control, you have a direct connection with the One who controls ALL – El Elyon – the Creator and Owner of ALL things Earthly and Heavenly. My words could not change a thing. However, having good talk time with Him offers me an enormous resource – HIS SOVEREIGNTY. I prayed for them without ceasing. As the storm doplar radar weather report system, with the help of Brad Nitz and Glen Burns, reported close proximity to where they live, I was well aware of the danger associated with my former address. I decided to turn the TV off and go lay down.

This morning, when I got up, I turned on the TV and saw the video of the damaged areas. To my surprise I recognized my old neighborhood. The damage was significant as a tornado touched down around the corner from the subdivision. I SAT STRAIGHT UP IN MY BED and CHILLS went down my spine. That could have touched down “around the corner” where their house is BUT it did NOT! The Creator of Heaven and Earth and the SUSTAINER of life PROTECTED, PRESERVED AND PROVIDED for them yet again.

Faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen. (Read Hope & Faith) Yet when I saw this broadcast what I was hoping for became my reality. All the while I was able to REST in Him. That’s how it is to be an MTAC today. There is SAFETY “alone in His Presence.”

The Beauty of Honesty


That’s what you are wearing? Really??? You can’t be serious? What do you mean by that? How are you going to do…….? Do you know what you’re doing?  These are some open-ended questions that I can either ask myself, someone else or they can be asked of me.  The theme of all of these questions, and many others,is they all come from our soul.  They are genuine responses to core issues that are apparent to the presenter of the question. The issue is evident because of particular actions that are obviously in need of questioning. Why?

Honesty is an important character trait that affects all our lives. When used properly it produces hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, love, forgiveness, discipline, awareness and service to others. Effective service is when you do something from the goodness of your heart – NSA(no strings attached) These spiritual principles are God-inspired traits we all must experience as time goes on.

English: Honesty (Lunaria annua) Honesty seeds...
The beauty of honesty

Lunaria or “honesty plants” give us defined characteristics that can really help us see the beauty in honesty. The caption under the plant below details how I can make the correlation to my own honesty.

Seeds of truth are the source of my intrinsic values that germinate honesty. When I was a child I received those seeds from my parental guidance, my elders and my experiences in the church. Fundamentally, each group had two key reference points – The Bible and the world. The experiences that I had, the lessons that I heard and learned growing up were “seeds” that were sown into my core which began to germinate into absolute truth which I base my thoughts, ideas, beliefs and goals on. John 8:32  “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

When the lunaria seeds are planted it is important not to cover them with too much soil. This is true about “the truth” in our hearts. Sin can do to our hearts what soil can do to the seeds, that is impede upon the growth process. David said in Psalm 119:11 ” Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Daily reading and meditation on the Word of God is essential to the manifestation of truth in our hearts. We live in a world where all kinds of distractions from the truth of God’s Word exist. 

ScriptureSeedsLogo
Source of truth

 

Once truth is at work in our lives the affects are many. It is regenerated repeatedly due to all of the seeds it produces in our lives and the lives of others. If you deposit God’s Word into a child’s life in the first two years on a consistent basis it has the power to manifest for the remaining years of his/her life. It can be grown in any kind of heart, under virtually any adverse condition and without a constant source of light. THIS IS MY STORY!!!! Proverbs 22:6 reads  “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. “

For many years I heard the scriptures. As a child I read them and even studied them. As a teen and young adult I began to share them with others. In my marriage and parenting I shared them even more and I found out about the personal attachment I had to them which was growing even when I was unaware of the growth they caused. All of my references to truth were systematically developing my character trait – honesty.

I always knew when I was being honest and when I was lying. The choice to allow truth to be the litmus test for my decisions and subsequent actions was learned behavior. Who was the teacher? God. What was the classroom? Life. Do I always make the choice? No. However, I see that there is a heightened awareness of my progress in this area.

I try to keep this really simple. When I am allowing honesty to work in my life it allows me to get some amazing results. The other 11 principles are the beginning of my reality that I like the affects of a lifestyle based in honesty. The more I experience the benefits of honesty the more I am willing to incorporate it into my daily activities.  Christianity is the central component of my life that affords me the liberty to realize just how magnificent honesty is. Every day I experience the truth of the Word of God faithfully revealing new mercies, faithfulness, grace and power.

2Corinthians 5:17  Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 

English: Honesty (Lunaria annua L.)
grown from seeds;sow early in the season; cover lightly with soil;they can grow undisturbed for years and years;they will drop seeds and regenerate year after year;if you want flowers every year, you have to plant them two years in a row;can be grown in almost any soils;should have at least four to six hours of sunshine

Holy Resume!!!!!


The Resume of Jesus Christ
Address: Ephesians 1:20
Phone: Romans 10:13
Website: The Bible . Keywords: Christ, Lord, Savior and Jesus
_____________________________________________________
Objective
My name is Jesus -The Christ. Many call me Lord! I’ve sent you my resume because I’m seeking the top management position in your heart. Please consider my accomplishments as set forth in my resume.
_____________________________________________________________________
Qualifications
I founded the earth and established the heavens, (See Proverbs 3:19)
I formed man from the dust of the ground, (See Genesis 2:7)
I breathed into man the breath of life, (See Genesis 2:7)
I redeemed man from the curse of the law, (See Galatians 3:13)
The blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant comes upon your life through me, (See Galatians 3:14)
_____________________________________________________________________
Occupational Background
I’ve only had one employer, (See Luke 2:49 ).
I’ve never been tardy, absent, disobedient, slothful or disrespectful.
My employer has nothing but rave reviews for me, (See Matthew 3:15 -17)
_____________________________________________________________________
Skills Work Experiences
Some of my skills and work experiences include: empowering the poor to be poor no more, healing the brokenhearted, setting the captives free, healing the sick, restoring sight to the blind and setting at liberty them that are bruised, (See Luke 4:18).
I am a Wonderful Counselor, (See Isaiah 9:6). People who listen to me shall dwell safely and shall not fear evil, (See Proverbs 1:33 ).
Most importantly, I have the authority, ability and power to cleanse you of your sins, (See I John 1:7-9)
_____________________________________________________________________
Educational Background

I encompass the entire breadth and length of knowledge, wisdom and understanding, (See Proverbs 2:6).
In me are hid all of the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, (See Colossians 2:3).
My Word is so powerful; it has been described as being a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path, (See Psalms 119:105).
I can even tell you all of the secrets of your heart, (See Psalms 44:21).
_____________________________________________________________________
Major Accomplishments
I was an active participant in the greatest Summit Meeting of all times, (See Genesis 1:26 ).
I laid down my life so that you may live, (See II Corinthians 5:15 ).
I defeated the arch enemy of God and mankind and made a show of them openly, (See Colossians 2:15 ).
I’ve miraculously fed the poor, healed the sick and raised the dead!
There are many more major accomplishments, too many to mention here. You can read them on my website, which is located at: www dot – the BIBLE. You don’t need an Internet connection or computer to access my website.
_____________________________________________________________________
References
Believers and followers worldwide will testify to my divine healing, salvation, deliverance, miracles, restoration and supernatural guidance.
_____________________________________________________________________
In Summation
Now that you’ve read my resume, I’m confident that I’m the only candidate uniquely qualified to fill this vital position in your heart. In summation, I will properly direct your paths, (See Proverbs 3:5-6), and lead you into everlasting life, (See John 6:47 ). When can I start? Time is of the essence, (See Hebrews 3:15 ).

Is your position filled?

Author Unknown… received via email!

Check up on the heart


Hebrews 3:12-15
12 Take care, brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another day after day, as long as it is still called “Today,”so that none of you will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, 15 while it is said, “TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE, DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS, AS WHEN THEY PROVOKED ME.”

The heart is the most important organ in our bodies. It is vital because it provides the source of motion that delivers blood to every organ. The blood is the life source in all of us. When it stops flowing we are dead. We can never assume that the heart is in good health. A heart attack is a silent foe and it kills. While this description pertains to our human bodies, it also applies to our spiritual condition.

In the human cardiac system there are many tubes that transport the blood from the heart throughout the body and back to the heart. We are conscious of the perils of cholesterol that can cause “blockages” in those tubes that obstruct the flow of blood and cause damage to the heart. Large clots can form and go unnoticed until the heart’s function is disrupted and death is possible.

Sin is to our spirits what cholesterol is to our bodies. The writer of the scripture above understood this spiritual axiom and was commissioned by God Himself to relay the message. We all need to hear the message of the dangers of an “evil,unbelieving heart that falls away from the Living God.” This does NOT mean that a Christian can loose his salvation. Rather it means that, at any given moment, un-confessed sin can manifest to produce “a hardened heart” and wreck havoc in our lives and the lives of others.

We are socially aware of the perils of a lifestyle that is riddled with the possibilities of having a heart attack – a diet high in cholesterol and sodium, over consumption of fast food, a sedentary lifestyle, poor weight management, smoking, drinking, drug usage/abuse etc. – but the issues of the spirit i.e. “the heart of man” continues to go unaddressed socially.

Whenever the subject of sin is mentioned, it is almost a taboo matter today. People do not want to discuss it because they do not want to engage in the subsequent issues associated with the acknowledgement. When you accept the presence of sin in your life you can be overwhelmed about a healthy solution if you do not know how to address it from God’s prospective.

The scripture reminds us to engage in healthy spiritual relationships that encourage us to “stay in the faith.” It is good to know Jesus. He is a friend all the time. I am thankful for the 24/7/365 characteristic our Savior manages so well. He is never too busy for any of us. In addition, the service and servitude of Christians around the world, AKA the body of Christ, is a vital aspect of a “more than a conqueror” lifestyle.

A hand can not function without the connectivity of the hundreds of thousands of cells that provide it with the ability to move even 1 finger. The work of your hands is not possible without the rest of the body. The work God has called you to in your lifetime is not possible without Christ and the rest of the body. Stay connected and stay “IN HIS SAFETY.”

Reflections (T.O.T.G)


This year has seen many events. There are many themes – political, social, economic, environmental – the world has experienced an eventful year.  Personally, I continue to live in a series of life-changing events all of which were designed to give me the comfort of Conqueror lifestyle. God is ALWAYS GOOD.

On this day everyone will, in one way or another, find themselves reflecting on 2011. It’s part of the process in the celebration of a New Year.  Celebration takes on many different forms. I love a good party with good music, dancing, laughter and an atmosphere of gratitude. If I search in the world I could find it in a club……….or  I could find it in a “house party”…………..  .  The world has conditioned us to have a certain expectation on how to “bring in the New Year.” We do it and it does what it does. Life goes on-we hope.

Today I hope that you can include in the process of your reflections one VITAL act:

  THINK ON THE GOOD!!!

Philippians 4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I say, rejoice!
4:5 Let everyone see your gentleness. The Lord is near!
4:6 Do not be anxious about anything. Instead, in every situation, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, tell your requests to God.
4:7 And the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

4:8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is worthy of respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if something is excellent or praiseworthy, think about these things.

 4:9 And what you learned and received and heard and saw in me, do these things. And the God of peace will be with you.

As for me, I will find the party in a worship service at my home church here in Atlanta where I will freely engage in a corporate spirit of praise for all He has brought me through in 2011 and ALL that He has provided for me, prepared for me, purposed for me and I can appreciate them all when I THINK ON THE GOOD!

Happy New Year