Pain.

Pain is everywhere. Being a human being means at some point or another you will feel some type of pain that cannot be explained.

Pain that makes you feel heavy. A burden you can’t seem to shake. Whether it’s pain from your past , present or the unexpected pain of not knowing what your future holds. We all know pain.

For some of us , pain is all we know. We don’t know a life of joy, peace and liberty. All we know is pain.

The pain of not having what you think you need. The pain of someone leaving you. The pain of not having enough money. The pain of betrayal. The pain of heartbreak. The pain of lost friendships. The pain of being born into dysfunction. The pain of addiction. The pain of not liking yourself. The pain of wanting to win when everything and everyone seems like it’s against you.

Is life without excruciating pain possible? I don’t think so . Life is going to happen to all of us. How will we deal with what we are dealt with? How will we handle the betrayal? How will we handle the death of a loved one? THE CROSS OF JESUS CHRIST.

Let’s be honest for a second, sometimes, believing in Jesus Christ comes with pain. The messiah , the savior of the whole world was REJECTED ! It comes with the territory. When we choose to love and live for Jesus, the attacks will come. Darkness hates the light , so STAY ANCHORED IN CHRIST . It’s the only way.

It’s so easy to get comfortable. We start settling in our pain. We start denying who God created us to be so we can fit in with what and who’s popular . But, what if God created you to stand out and be a voice shouting in the wilderness? What if you are the voice of hope? What if your the voice that this world needs right now?

Pain has a way of making us desperate for change.

When all you know is pain, you don’t really have anything to lose. So why not go hard in for what you believe in? Why not go hard in giving the world the hope it so badly needs? Why not go hard to pass laws where we can thrive as a nation and help our brothers and sisters?

Life is but a vapor , will your life count?

Or will we keep complaining. Will we keep crying about the past ? Will we keep dwelling in the pain of betrayal and heartbreaks? OR , will we go to the cross with everything that we have and let God deal with things accordingly. There’s only so much that me and you can do when it comes to how people act and treat us. The only thing we can do is not tolerate it , pray for them and be led by the Holy Spirit in all things.

Not in the things that only feel safe to us , but the things that STRETCH US. The things that challenge us to become like Christ so people can see the Jesus in us on earth. It’s going to take commitment . It’s going to take dying to self.

Idk about you, but the pain of living for my own selfish needs and desires is not even worth it . Even though we share in the suffering of Jesus when we choose to live for him, there’s a GLORY that only comes from living In him. That’s what we forget, you’re not missing anything living for him, you’re gaining everything that you will ever need.

The world needs you. We need hope. We need light. We need life changing encounters. We need a breath of fresh air in the earth , and I truly believe that will come when we say YES .

Yes to Jesus.

Yes, to our assignment .

Yes, to what God wants you to do.

Yes, to the things that make you uncomfortable, but also the things that will change you and change the world.

BE ENCOURAGED !

“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:6-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Zombies.

Alive but dead.

What are you doing?

How are you living your life?

Are you full of vitality or are you barely getting through your days?

Do you find joy in the regular things of life?

I see how easy it is for our joy and peace to be snuffed out.

I often ask God this question,

Lord, why was I born in America?

We are full of greed, pride, envy , selfishness , and ambition that gets us nowhere but run down and tired.

We are mentally exhausted.

Dinner at the table is non existent.

Social media takes priority in our social gatherings.

We are busy chasing the American dream and keeping up with everyone else that we totally lost the true joy of being alive.

Rich but dead .

We have all the cool new gadgets but dead.

Nice houses but dead.

Dope Instagram pics but dead.

Its easy to fall into this trap. It’s what we “ think “ we are all supposed to be doing , but yet everyone is so lost.

Everyone is so dead. Since when did being an adult have to come with misery? You know what really happened ?

we stopped being grateful.

We stopped loving without expectations.

We stopped dancing.

We stopped singing.

We stopped sitting at the dinner table.

We stopped going outside and enjoying nature.

We stopped being children at heart .

Why are we so serious? Why are we striving so hard? Yes , be responsible. God calls us to be good stewards over our lives , not greedy and ambitious for our own selfish gain.

It’s so easy for our hearts to get cold and bitter.

It’s so easy to start comparing yourself and coveting what’s not yours. It’s also the easiest way for your light to be snuffed out.

My prayer for the rest of this year is that we come alive again. That we take time out to reevaluate our lives and water the parts that our dying to come to life.

When’s the last time you laughed until your stomach hurt?

When’s the last time you thanked God for running water and electricity?

When’s the last time you thanked God for the breath in your lungs?

When’s the last time you thanked God for the job you have?

The enemy wants to steal your joy, and you know how he does it ? By convincing you that your life isn’t all that. The devil is a liar. Idc how much money you make or how many things you own , we all go through the same type of suffering .

The one thing I learn time and time again is that Jesus breathes life into EVERYTHING. Without my hope and faith in Jesus Christ idk where I would be.

This world is too shallow. We aren’t suppose to live like this. There is more , but it’s not in what you see on Instagram. I challenge you to take a moment and ask God how did I become a walking zombie? Where did my joy go? where did my smile go? Breathe life again, Lord.

Life is precious . We need to stop waiting for it to be “ perfect “ and enjoy it right this second.

YeS, that man left you but it’s a blessing.

No, you don’t own a home but you can make that room or apartment your sanctuary.

No, you aren’t living your dream right now but what is God asking you to do today?

life is not perfect and guess what ? It will never be. YOU WILL ALWAYS WANT MORE MONEY. You will always want a bigger house .

Let’s be intentional about not being so superficial.

If you’re not feeling like yourself , that’s okay. We went through a whole pandemic and felt like the world stood still for about 2 years. If you’re in a funk, that’s okay. Make a choice that this is not how the rest of the year will be .

Who cares if you don’t accomplish every single goal you set out, how’s your spirit? Are you alive? Or are you dead on the inside complaining about any and everything?

The Lord is MY SHEPHERD AND I LACK NOTHING!

Come alive, Again.

Keep your promises.

How upset do you get when someone makes a promise to you and then breaks it?

If you’re anything like me, you can’t stand it.

How could they?

Why would they say it if they didn’t mean It?

What’s so hard about keeping your word?

We can go on and on and on about the things that go on in our head when others don’t follow through.

Can I ask you a question? When’s the last time you let you down? When’s the last time you told yourself you were going to do something, but , you never followed through?

Whether it’s spending more time with God.

Whether it’s drinking more water.

Whether it’s treating your body like a temple.

Whether it’s ending the situation or relationship that you know is not God sent.

Whether it’s waking up early enough to get to work on time.

WHAT ARE YOUR PERSONAL CONVICTIONS THAT YOU KEEP RUNNING AWAY FROM?

What’s God calling you to do that you keep putting off?

Do you not know that we are being made into the image of Christ? That’s an on going process until the day we leave these earthly bodies.

Do you also not know that the reason why most of us stay stagnant is because we keep pushing off what we know we need to do?

Why are we so hard on other people , but yet walk around very nonchalant about our own lives?

Why do we go out of our way for others but can’t even do what we need to do to be better for the people we are called to pour into.

It’s so much easier to pour out when you’re obedient. It’s so much easier to give back when you’re fully confident in who God created you to be. What if the confidence you need is tied to your obedience? What if everything you need is tied to keeping your promises to yourself?

Only you know what you and God talk about every single day. When I’m frustrated and I’m focused on myself , most of my prayers sound the same. It’s all about what I want . When I stop thinking about myself and ask God ,

“what do you want me to do?”

I have two options, ignore or obey.

God knows what’s best for us. Jesus was tempted in every way possible , still obeyed . Jesus was not liked , still obeyed. What if the life you keep praying about is tied to you doing those things you keep running from?

I believe somewhere along the way, people forgot to tell us that we need to work hard for what we want. Whether it’s a better relationship with Christ or whether it’s taking care of your body, ITS ALL GOING TO REQUIRE A DYING TO SELF.

As I was driving home today and praying out loud, the Holy Spirit revealed something to me ,

If you’re tired of being where you are , you’re going to have to get used to saying no to what makes the flesh feel good.

In that very moment, every single thing that I was worried about , disappeared. My problems were my problems because I wasn’t following the Shepherd. I wasn’t following Jesus. I was trying to control every single aspect of my life. Jesus said lose your life and you will find it. Oh, how badly do we try to cling to our own destructive ways.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but, I know that a lot of us are fighting battles because we can’t tell ourselves no to what’s killing us. Say no to yourself and yes to God. Whatever he keeps talking to you about , just do it . Stop putting it off. Do it scared. Keep praying. KEEP SEEKING. HE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU.

Keep putting one foot in front of the other. Whatever you do, don’t give up.

Be kind to yourself and know this, the same Spirit that resurrected Jesus from the dead lives in you. You are equipped to do what the Lord wants you to do. One day at a time.

Wake up every day and ask the Lord what he wants you to do today? You have nothing to lose but everything to gain.

Put your faith and trust back into the only one who can keep you, sustain you, and push you forward.

Grace yourself .

Extend grace.

Hurt people, hurt people.

Forgiveness is for you, not them.

We all fall short of the glory of God.

When we hear messages on forgiveness and grace , we always talk about others.

TODAY, I want to talk about giving yourself grace!

Why is it so much easier to extend grace?

Deep down, I don’t think most of us really extend grace. How can you extend grace when you’re having a difficult time receiving it for yourself?

How do you know you’re having a hard time accepting Gods grace? YOU JUDGE YOURSELF WAY TOO MUCH. YOU ARE WAY TOO HARD ON YOURSELF!!

Do you not know that GRACE IS FREELY GIVEN?

Nothing you do can ever seperate you from the Lord! So instead of repenting and returning back to the Father, we bask in our mess. Do you not know that when God created you he factored in the things you can’t stand about you?

God is so faithful that he knows the exact thing or things that will keep you close to him. That thorn in the flesh is what keeps bringing you to your knees.

I catch myself slipping away , asking God, why this and why that? Why does it have to be like this ? Why can’t you just change it ? Why can’t it look different?

Can you trust me? Can you REALLY TRUST ME?

I know you believe in me , BUT , CAN YOU TRUST ME?

Stop being so hard on yourself . I STILL DIED FOR YOU! I Died for your flawed self , not the perfect you. MY Grace is sufficient , ACCEPT IT!

The thing about grace is that it’s UNBELIEVABLE!

Like, can it really be that easy? You’re telling me that I don’t have to do anything to be loved and reveived by the creator of the WHOLE WORLD??????

See, when you know who created you and why Jesus died on the cross , YOU RECEIVE THE GRACE . In receiving that grace , your life changes. It changes because you know it’s not about you.

In an overly self observed culture , the gospel is the complete opposite. I can’t rely on myself, I NEED A SAVIOR. When you come to the realization of how bad you actually need a savior, receiving grace becomes a lot easier.

Once you receive it , you can be kind to yourself and others . We are all jacked up , it’s how we continue to grow in Christ that matters.

Who cares if you messed up, come back to the Father. Before he formed you he knew you.

Fear of greatness !

Why do we fear being great?

We don’t really say we don’t want to be great, but, our actions say otherwise. Or maybe the words we speak to ourselves say so. Or maybe even the thoughts no one else knows of say so.

Have you ever caught yourself saying ,

Who am I kidding?

I can’t do that .

Who do I think I am?

That can’t happen for me.

Let me stop dreaming and get back to reality.

Can it be that you really do fear being great? How can we fear being great you might say, easy. We stop ourselves before we even begin.

WE KNOW WHAT WE HAVE TO DO TO BE GREAT.

WE KNOW WHAT WE HAVE TO DO TO BE AT PEACE MENTALLY , SPIRITUALLY, and EMOTIONALLy.

WE KNOW! the problem is that most of us procrastinate and make excuses. We make excuses because it’s hard to rewire your brain. You have to make an effort to retrain your mind. For 30 years you thought one way , so now that you want to change you’re faced with A LOT of resistance . Why? Your brain is used to doing things one way.

We don’t think to walk, drive , eat, make excuses , gossip, pick up our phones, type , text, talk, go to work, we just do it.

We don’t think about habits we already put in place to protect us from pain. If I don’t want to have a confrontation, I ignore the person. If I don’t want to feel, I get a drink or go have sex . These are habits we pick up along the way. This is everything we have to unlearn.

We all want to be great. We all want to produce fruit. But do we really want to pay the cost?

That’s the question.

If we truly get real with ourselves , we will find out that most of us are scared of being great. Being great requires a different you! The you now and the GREAT you is not the same person, THAT IS WHAT WE FEAR.

We fear changing . We fear a different language . We fear a different thought process. We fear a workout regimen . We fear getting up early . We fear greatness because we’ve never done it !

I want to encourage you tonight, to do it scared!

You have everything that it takes because Jesus Christ lives on the inside of you! Greater is he that is in you than he that’s in the world!!

Do it until the fear goes away, because IT WILL.

Kobe Bryant .

The whole world is mourning the death of a basketball legend.

You know what I see?

I see a man that gave it his all.

I see a man that conquered a lot in 41 years.

41 years is not old.

You’ve only been an adult for 23 years.

In 23 years this man showed us what it truly means to work hard.

Kobe showed us to show up even when you don’t feel like it .

Kobe showed us what discipline looks like.

One time he said , if you aren’t here to win then what are we playing for ?

Y’all, that’s a whole sermon right there!

Sometimes , I feel like we walk around like zombies. We walk around in our pain. We own our baggage. We keep our emotional baggage because it’s safe. It’s all we know. We hold on to grudges. We hold on to bitterness. We hold on to anger. We hold on to toxic. We hold on because at least we know what we have . Letting go means you’re opening up to the unknown. Faith is literally walking out and saying if God is for me who can be against me. I don’t know where I’m going but God you got me, lead me.

Oh Lord, May you give us the strength to just let it all go and put you first. To give life our best shot . We don’t know when it’s our time. We assume we will live long. We live like we have all the time in the world , but , life is but a vapor. Here today , gone tomorrow .

I celebrate the man that Kobe was. I celebrate his legacy. I celebrate his hard work and dedication. I celebrate his commitment. I celebrate him for being an example. I celebrate him for being more than a basketball player. I celebrate him for retiring and still making an impact on people instead of checking out and chillen on a yacht. I celebrate him for showing us that when you love what you do , you make no excuses. You get it done. You do it with all you have.

Will you keep making excuses?

Or , will you finally stay committed to that thing even when you don’t ” feel ” like it?

Someone somewhere needs your story. Your wisdom. Your boldness. Your strength. Your commitment. Your example.

Let’s take the focus off of us and focus on ,

How can I do my part and make this world better ?