3/23/13 Weekly Grace Notes: Oh Bey, put that mud down! It's not a good look for you.


 Psalm 23:5: When we “bow down” to the temptation of slinging mud at our foes, we too get soiled. And it is simply not worth it, particularly when we have young bystanders who may also get polluted in the process! Let us always seek the high road, and let God handle our battles. For when God handles our battles, not only will He place our enemies at our feet, He will allow us to feast in their presence!

Let us all remember to keep God "boss" in our lives!


Scripture meditationThe Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, 
He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.
 He guides me along the right paths 
for His name’s sake. Even though I walk
 through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, 
for You are with me;
 Your rod and Your staff,
 they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
 You anoint my head with oil; 
my cup overflows. Surely Your goodness and love will follow me 
all the days of my life, 
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord
 forever. (New International Version) Psalm 23

(This note was motivated by R&B artist Beyonce's latest song "Bow Down" where Beyonce repetitively refers in her lyrics to apparently her haters as the offensive term reserved for female dogs. This is quite troubling because of her significant youth fan base.)   


3/14/13 Weekly Grace Notes: Being Comfortable In My Own Shoes

Part IV of IV (1 Samuel 17:38-40): We now live in a day and age where we get to see up close and personal what nearly anyone is doing in life on a 24/7 basis. With Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, youTube, reality TV and the like, we now get to follow the lives of our friends, families, and those we admire, as well as those we may not have much love for. And while this new social “antidote” has many wonderful benefits, beware of the negative emotional and spiritual side effects that may result when you ingest too much of it on a daily basis.

First, remember that transparency is not required in the social media, and so many folks let us see what they want us to see, which is often not real! Thus, if we are not careful, we may find ourselves getting discouraged, depressed, and down because we are not experiencing a life that everyone else appears to be enjoying.

Second, keep in mind that our journey is simply that—OURS. Now, understand that in some parts of our journey, we usher in our own self-imposed “drama.” But even in those situations, when we sincerely seek Him, God is just that faithful to work even those things out “for our good.” (Romans 8:28) And because we know that God has plans for each of us to prosper (Jeremiah 29:11), we need not ever get depressed about our status when hearing about others.

In 1 Samuel 17:38, when David went out to fight Goliath, King Saul outfitted him with the best he could offer—his own armor. However, young David was wise enough to quickly recognize that he did not need King Saul’s armor to succeed. God had already equipped him with all that he needed—(verses 39-40 NIV) “David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around because he was not used to them. “I cannot go in these,” he said to Saul, “because I am not used to them.” So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd’s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine.

And using what God had already equipped him with, David defeated the giant.

Let us be encouraged today in knowing that we need not yearn to be in other folks' shoes in order to walk in our victory. God gives each of us exactly what we need to succeed. We simply must recognize His voice, trust His direction, and believe that what God works in us equips us for what is before us.

Scripture meditation: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths. (New King James Version) Proverb 3:5,6


3/4/13 Weekly Grace Notes: Hater Recognition & Response

Part III of IV (1 Samuel 17:28-31): Each of us has a special and unique calling on our life that we live to fulfill. And regardless of whether folks tell you or not, it is clear to others around you when you are operating in your purpose and calling—including your foes or “haters.” Unfortunately, your biggest “haters” may sometimes be in your closest circles! Take a look at David when he went up against Goliath. The scripture says that his own brother Eliab was seething with anger (1 Samuel 17:28). I contend that you can learn the following two things from this exchange between King David and his brother when handling your own haters:

1) (Verse 28) How to recognize them: Haters question your presence (why comest thou down hither?), minimize your position (with whom have you left those few sheep in the wilderness?), and demonize your intent (I know the pride and haughtiness of your heart).     

2) (Verse 30) How to respond: Winners divorce themselves from their haters [and (David) turned away from (Eliab)], look for other allies [(David turned) toward another], and keep it moving [and (David) spake after the same manner].  

So beware of your haters and keep it moving! 

Scripture meditation: And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (English Standard Version) Galations 6:9


2/25/13 Weekly Grace Notes: Lions, Giants, and Bears, Oh My!

Part II of IV (Samuel 17): When boy-child David offered to go up against the 9-foot plus giant enemy Goliath on behalf of his nation Israel, his leader King Saul argued against it saying he was just a boy and Goliath was a warrior since his youth. In fact, King Saul and his entire army were terrified of Goliath as this Philistine giant mocked and ranted before the army for 40 days seeking to challenge one of them to fight to death. So why would young David volunteer to go up against a giant that even grown men were afraid to confront? He simply recognized that his Enabler was greater than his enemy—“The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine.” (v. 37)

It then follows for us believers that the strength to overcome the giants we face in our present can be drawn from remembering the lions and bears from which God delivered us in our past. 

Trying to change the direction of your life? Facing a new task that is intimidating?  Working with people who are difficult? Trying to let go of some things that seem unshakeable?  Trying to break habits that seem unbreakable? Trying to develop a skill that seems out of reach? Learning a new subject that is over your head? I encourage you to consider the following 5 W's & 1 H reflections in your daily meditation:

  1. Recall who you belong to—the Great Overcomer Jesus Christ.
  2. Reflect over what an awesome God He is who keeps you.
  3. Remember past times when God gave you the enabling strength to overcome.
  4. Remind yourself of where God has brought you from thus far.
  5. Rejoice in knowing why you can overcome with God—you have His “sustaining” power within you.
  6. Ready yourself to hear God's voice and act upon His direction regarding how He will equip you to prevail. 

Scripture meditation: Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God. Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lord, and they study it day and night.They are like trees that grow beside a stream that bear fruit at the right time, and whose leaves do not dry up. They succeed in everything they do. (Good News Translation) Psalm 1:1-3



2/19/13 Weekly Grace Notes: I.D. Check

Part I of IV (1 Samuel 13-II Samuel 2): King David in the Bible was anointed to be king as a child, but on his way to his appointed position at 30, he had to kill a giant by the name of Goliath as a teen. This suggests that no matter our age, we all face giants in our lives that serve to block our progress and hinder our journey. So do you know your giant by name? Is it fear? Unbelief? Unforgiveness? Lack of discipline? Negative thinking? Immorality? Stubbornness? Materialism? A judgmental disposition? A "keeping-up-with the Joneses" spirit? We must first name our giants in order to defeat them through Christ, and in turn, claim all that God has for us. 

Scripture meditation: Happy are those who reject the advice of evil people, who do not follow the example of sinners or join those who have no use for God. Instead, they find joy in obeying the Law of the Lordand they study it day and night. (Good News Translation) Psalm 1:1-2