Tag: #outofthebellypodcast

Dem Bones

Dem Bones

Dem Bones

“The hand of the Lord was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Ezekiel 37:1-3 NIV

This is one of the most famous passages in Ezekiel which has inspired numerous Sunday school lessons, songs, and preaching. Speaking of preaching, this is one of my favorite sermons preached by my dad.

Who was Ezekiel? His name means “strengthened by God,” he grew up in Jerusalem, where he trained to be a priest in the temple. He was among the second group of captives taken to Babylon around 597 BC. While in Babylon he became a prophet of God; he is the author of the Old Testament book that bears his name. His vision of the valley of dry bones, pictures new life being breathed into the nation. That prophecy will be ultimately fulfilled in the reign of Christ on earth.

The scripture says that the hand of the lord was on Ezekiel, and the Lord brought him out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley, it was full of bones. Ezekiel said he saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, and they were very dry.

Friends, it’s something about those instructions that God gives to Ezekiel, as he is told to prophesy over those bones. It reminds me, that our God is always in teaching mode with purposeful intent. God speaks to those bones saying, “I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.

Can these bones live again friends? In peace and not pieces, in health and not sickness, with joy and not sorrow, looking ahead instead of behind, and order out of chaos. Can these bones live again? Breathe on us Lord, breathe into us. Amen.

Remember friends, we are each other’s keeper and the only time we should be looking down on someone is when we are helping them up.

No Weapon

No Weapon

No Weapon

“No weapon formed against you shall prosper, And every tongue which rises against you in judgement You shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, And their righteousness is from Me, “Says the Lord.” Isaiah 54:17 NKJV

What is a weapon? It is anything designed to inflict harm. The apostle Paul tells us that we have been given tools to fight against our enemy, these weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. While I am thinking about it, you got your armor on? This spiritual body suit is designed with the power to demolish strongholds. The Lord has given us a sword, His Word and our shields, faith.

In our passage today, the prophet Isaiah delivers a message from God about the restoration of Jerusalem after its destruction by the Babylonians. The people had endured both chaos and confusion, but the Lord promises a future day when the city will be more glorious than ever. They would return to their land and live there without fear of further devastation. God promises the people of Jerusalem that no enemy will be able to produce successful weapons against them. The word prosper, means “succeed.”

No matter what the devil devises to throw at us, in the end it will fail because God is the sovereign ruler of our destiny. God is in command. He controls both those who make weapons and those who use them. The battle is not ours, but the Lords. He has already won the contest. Through Jesus Christ, He has defeated the final enemy, who is death, and purchased for us eternal life. The Lord will protect and uphold His children, no matter what we face. As God’s people, we can be confident in the Lord’s ultimate triumph over every enemy. In Isaiah’s time, as in all of history, and in the future in its fullest sense, every child of God can say, “No weapon formed against me shall prosper!”

Tell confusion and depression, it won’t prosper! Remind anxiety and fear that they don’t live here anymore. Take back your peace! Sometimes it gets hard on this journey, but we are not alone, we have other fellow soldier who are on the battlefield, and we have the God Lord who has been with us since our beginning.

Remember we are each other’s keeper, and the only time we should be looking down on someone is when we are helping them up.

I Know He Watches Over Me

I Know He Watches Over Me

I Know He Watches Over Me

“So Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.” Matthew 10:31 NIV

In this passage of scripture, Jesus is telling us that we are worth more than many sparrows. Jesus told His followers that they will face persecution because of their faith in Him, but he reminds them that he is with us no matter what happens. Jesus tells His disciples to not worry. In scripture he says, “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your father’s care. And even the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Friends If God cares this much about a tiny sparrow, just think about how much he cares about you and I. God loves us unconditionally and he cares about every part of our lives. You matter, never doubt that for a second. Do you realize that we, the human race are unique among God’s creation, and there is nothing made in his image except for us. God is amazing.

His eye is on the sparrow was written in 1905 by lyricist Civilla D. Marin and composer Charles H. Gabriel. The song has been sung by many artists over the years: including Tanya Blount and Lauryn Hill, who recorded it for the Sister Act 2 soundtrack. Mahalia Jackson’s recording of the song was honored with the Grammy Hall of Fame Award. This list also includes Ethal Waters, Gladys Knight, and Whitney Houston.

 May the words of this song encourage you, like it has encouraged me:

Why should I feel discouraged

Why should the shadows come

Why should my heart be lonely

And long for heav’n and home

When Jesus is my portion?

My constant friend is he;

His eye is on the sparrow

And I know he watches me;

I sing because I’m happy,

I sing because I am free

For his eye is on the sparrow,

And I know he watches over me

Let not your heart be troubled,

His tender word I hear,

And resting on his goodness

I lose my doubts and fears

Though by the path he leadeth

But one step I may see;

His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know he watches over me

Whenever I am tempted,

Whenever clouds arise;

When songs give place to sighing,

When hope within me dies,

I draw the closer to him,

From care he sets me free;

His eye is on the sparrow,

And I know he watches me.

I know he watches me.

Amen!

Shake It Off!!

Shake It Off!!

Shake It Off!

“And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.” Matthew 10:14, NKJV

The command to shake the dust off your feet appears only four times in the New Testament. In each of these cases Jesus is speaking to his disciples. Jesus told his disciples that they were to preach the gospel to everyone. And where they were received, they should stay and teach, and where rejected they had no further responsibility. Imagine it, they were free to walk away with a clear conscience, knowing they had done all they could do.

I feel like the scripture is telling us how to deal with people in our lives. The Word is our all-in-one resource toolbox, it has everything we need and more. Do you realize friends, how crucial our mental and physical health can be affected when we Do Not shake the dust off our feet, or simply, wash our hands of it and let it go.

The Disciples job was not to change people. Did you hear me friends? The Disciples job was not to change people, but to share a message of hope and healing by reminding the people they had choices, nothing like options. Amen. There was real help for their unique situations, they had the life changer and problem solver Jesus Christ. See Friends our job is to help with the planting and care of the things God puts in our hands to do, but at the end of the day, HE’S THE WATER WHO MAKES IT GROW.

 There was this story about an old goat who was grazing on the farm, when he accidentally slipped and fell in a well, that farmer tried all he knew to get the goat out but he failed. So he decided he’d give him a descent burial, so he took his shovel and began to cover him up with the dirt, but every time he’d throw dirt on the old goat, he’d just shake it off and pack it under his feet. Pretty soon, that goat was able to step out of that well. What is the moral of the story? No matter how much dirt you have shoveled at you, shake it off and pack it under your feet.  All of that dirt throwing is just making you stronger. Don’t you dare count God out. Where man puts periods, our God is full of commas, and like that old goat, your stubbornness means you will never give up on YOURSELF, no matter what anyone says or thinks.  Keep shaking it off friends and pack it under your feet!! Amen!!

Remember friends, we are each other’s keeper and the only time we should be looking down on someone is when we are helping them up.

Twins

Twins

Twins

“So when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb.” Genesis 25:24 NKJV

Twins. How many of you have twins in your family? Back in the day, the Wrigley Company, came out with a double strength peppermint gum flavor in 1914. How many of you have heard of the Doublemint Twins? I do remember these gum commercials that showed twins representing the brand.

In the bible there are three cases of twins. They include: Perez and Zerah, they can be found in the book of Genesis, chapter 38. There is Thomas Didymus, the Gospel of John notes that Thomas was called Diymus, which is the Greek word meaning twin. And then there were two brother who are considered the best-known set of twins in scripture. Isaac and his wife Rebekah are the first couple mentioned in the bible to have twins. Who are they? Jacob and Esau. Scripture says: So, when her days were fulfilled for her to give birth, indeed there were twins in her womb. And the first came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so, they called his name Esau. Afterward his brother came out, and his hand took hold of Esau’s heel; so, his name was called Jacob. Isaac was sixty years old when she bore them.” Genesis 25:24-26 NKJV

The twins grew up very different. Jacob was “a quiet man, staying among the tents” and his mother’s favorite. Esau was “a skillful hunter, a man of the open country” and his father’s favorite. One day, Esau returned from hunting and desired some of the lentil stew that Jacob was cooking. Jacob offered to give his brother some stew in exchange for his birthright—the special honor that Esau possessed as the older son, which gave him the right to a double portion of his father’s inheritance. Esau put his temporary, physical needs over his God-given and sold his birthright to Jacob.

When the time came for Isaac to bestow his blessing on his sons, Jacob and his mother deceived Isaac into blessing Jacob in Esau’s place. When Esau found that his blessing had been given to Jacob, he threatened to kill his brother, and Jacob fled. Years later, Jacob and Esau met and were reconciled.

Both Jacob and Esau were fathers of nations. God changed Jacob’s name to Israel, and he became the father of the 12 tribes of Israel. Esau’s descendants were the Edomites. Edom was a nation that plagued Israel in later years and was finally judged by God.

The story of these rival twins reminds us of the importance of resolving conflicts in family relationships. Their story is one of intense feelings and bitter rivalry, however they did reconcile. Which is a reminder for us to evaluate our own family relationships and the importance of resolving conflict through love and understanding.

Remember friends, we are each other’s keeper and the only time we should be looking down on someone is when we are helping them up.

You Got What It Takes!

You Got What It Takes!

You Got What It Takes!

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall the do; because I go unto my Father.” John 14:12 KNJV

The scripture shows us many occasions of people who had what it takes, and God used the resources the people had or owned to help them out of their situations.

Let’s look at a few examples: When God asked Moses to go deliver the children of Israel, he was afraid and wondered how we was going to do it. He used what was in his hand, and that was a rod. When the children of Israel were being oppressed by the philistines, David used his sling shot to put Goliath down. When a widow came to Elisha crying about a debt, the Lord increased her oil to sell and pay the debt.

Think about how far you have come this year friends. If you are like me, you may have not seen any of this coming, but our God does not half do anything. He has been with you and I all the while. He helped me to use what I had. Writing.

Over the years these undiscovered and even less talked about gifts have always stirred inside, I could always feel that there was something there. But I just kept on writing to Mr. Christ about me and my little world. Then one day he opened my eyes and put a fire inside of me that burned as I moved by faith and not fear, as I stepped humbly into my calling.

Having God in our lives is where it all begins dear hearts. Keeping our eyes open by paying attention as God shows us how to move. Stay in prayer as we trust God in all things, and I MEAN ALL THINGS. Keep a grateful heart. Know and believe in your purpose, stay with it. We gotta learn to be patient with ourselves, remember Rome was not built in a day. You are not alone; you and I have the Good Lord and those amazing cheerleaders who remind us not to give up. This journey we are on takes Love, adventure, creativity, laughter, with an attitude of optimism, along with no diggity no doubt.

YOU know I never was in the military, but I spent a semester in college Army ROTC. Back then the slogan was, BE ALL YOU CAN BE! As I think of us as soldiers of the Lord we are growing from the inside out. Here are a few more reminders that you got what it takes friends: courage, commitment, service, leadership, initiative, inspiring the next generation. Those are only some of the amazing things you are doing. God is working behind the scenes preparing you for that finale. I am so excited for you!

Do you realize you are actively living your dream right now? Even as you work toward your goals, you are in motion. As you head toward your destination, take time to smell the flowers. In other words, enjoy the journey. What a beautiful view. Keep love, a sense of adventure, creativity, laughter (lots of it), with an attitude of optimism, along with no diggity no doubt!

Remember, YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES! God has not brought you this far to leave you. Stay positive, focused, and prayerful. Remember who you are and whose you are. Keep your head up. You were made with a purpose on purpose.  AMEN.

Remember friends, we are each other’s keeper and the only time we should be looking down on someone is when we are helping them up.

God Confronts His Prophet

God Confronts His Prophet

God Confronts His Prophet

“Then the Lord said, is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah 4:4 NKJV

Do you ever notice how God ask questions He already knows the answer to? Let’s look at some examples of what I mean: Adam and Eve, their eyes were open to nakedness, and they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord. And the Lord called to Adam asking a few questions. First, he asked, where are you.  And then he followed up with a second question, who told you that you were naked. And finally, he asked Adam if he had eaten from the tree which he had commanded him not to. The prophet Isaiah was asked, whom shall I send. Jesus asked Peter, who do people say that the son of Man is?

To me, the story of Cain and Abel greatly resembles the Lord’s line of questioning to the prophet Jonah. Adam and Eve, they had two sons Cain and Abel. Cain was a farmer who offered God a portion of his crops as a sacrifice only to learn that God was more pleased with Abel, a herdsman, who presented God with the fattest portion of his flock. The Lord made it clear to Cain that he could have improved on his offering. Do you see the similarity of he and Jonah’s reaction to God’s right to choose?

 Jonah wishes to die because the people of Nineveh were saved, and Cain’s premeditated the demise of his brother Abel, killing him in the field. God asked Cain the same question He asked Jonah, “why was he angry?” As we switch back to Jonah, we have heard all of his complaints as he continues to remain on the wrong side of the issue. God asked him a question concerning his overall behavior: “Is it right for you to be angry?” As I think about the question, didn’t God’s right to choose benefit for Jonah? Was it not God’s mercy that kept him alive inside the belly of the great fish? Was it not God who spoke to the fish who vomited Jonah onto dry land? Wasn’t mercy extended to him when he disobediently went somewhere else instead of where he was told to go? Was it not God’s mercy that gave him a second chance to do His bidding?

God was not finished teaching our wayward prophet yet as he prepared an objective lesson. Still upset, Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of it where he made himself a shelter. He was still hoping for a fire from the sky, world wind, earthquakes, just something to stop their celebration. The Lord prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from misery. Jonah was grateful for the plant. It was relief from a compassionate God. But Jonah was unable to recognize it because he was too busy being mad at God’s right to choose. He was having a relapse in memory y’all, for crying outloud Jonah, could he not remember where he was? In the belly of a fish!

But look at God, as the morning dawned, He prepared a worm, and it damaged the plant and it withered. When the sun rose, God prepared an east wind and the sun beat upon Jonah’s head, and he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and he was ready to die. He was angry about EVERYTHING! The Hebrew word for angry is to be hot. So, Jonah was feeling God’s sizzle.

The scripture says: “But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”  “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” Let me pause there to say that this would be Jonah’s last response, imagine it friends, this would be how Jonah would be remembered in biblical history. Still stubborn as a mule! Lord Help.

The Master Teacher, Lord of Lords, the Great I Am, would have the final words as He says to Jonah, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow.  It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Niveveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left- and also many animals?”

What’s the point? God answers to no one! But we will answer to Him. He rules with ultimate authority and power over EVERYTHING. He owes no explanation, we must trust in his vision, He indeed friends can see so much further than we can. I didn’t always feel I deserved his grace and Mercy, but he looked beyond my faults, and His love lifted me. Thank you, Jesus. Hallelujah. Salvation is the Lords. Amen

Remember Friends, we are each other’s keeper and the only time we should be looking down on someone is when we are helping them up.

What’s Going On?

What’s Going On?

What’s Going On?

 

“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish.  I knew that you are gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:1-3 NIV

Chapter 4 of Jonah brings some big uh-ohs concerning Jonah’s behavior and attitude yet again. As we ask the question best sung by Marvin Gaye, what’s going on? But before we jump into it, let’s take a moment to reflect on the facts thus far:

  • Prophet called by God to go to Nineveh; bails from the presence of the Lord by going on ship anywhere but where he was instructed to go.
  • Caught in a dangerous storm and through the casting of lots is found guilty by the crew who was then thrown overboard and left for fish bait.
  • Swallowed up by a Great Fish, he served a sentence of three days and nights of solitary confinement.
  • He realized that salvation is the Lord’s and from that statement alone that the Lord gave the fish a command and he vomited Jonah onto dry land.
  • Jonah gets a second chance to redeem himself as he does God’s bidding, and he preaches to the people of Nineveh.
  • The preaching WORKED and the people of Nineveh REPENT!!

Now that we have the facts up to this point, we can discuss “what’s going on” with an anger prophet as we go into the fourth chapter. Can you see that old see attitude creeping back up?

Jonah was now full of displeasure, disappointment, and annoyance at not only the people of Nineveh, who were getting ready to party hardy, but God too. He could not contain his anger anymore, as he begins to sulk, mumble, and grumble. And just when we thought our prophet had learned his lesson in the belly of the great fish.

Can you see a little clearer how his story had nothing to do with the people of Nineveh, instead it had everything to do with him. Starting with his attitude. This attitude was brought on because God chose to save the people of Nineveh. And get this, since he figured God would show mercy, he went on a rampage, reminding God why he ran the opposite way in the first place. And then had the nerve to tell God to take away his life, for it is better for him to die than to live. Can you say man overboard again. Even in this situation, God was throwing him a rope. But He will not disappoint in schooling our prophet on a few things, besides there is no one better to provide this lesson than the Master Teacher Himself.

Remember friends, we are each other’s keeper and the only time we should be looking down on someone is when we are helping them up.

Preaching and The Response

Preaching and The Response

Preaching and The Response

“Forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” Jonah 3:4 NKJV

Our prophet was gung-ho and he loudly let the people of Nineveh know the state of their city. Having been through his own ordeal-not that they would believe his fish tale, he stayed focus on his task and on God’s message to the people.  He was doing God’s bidding and speaking, what thus says the Lord. Jonah went up and down streets speaking God’s message full of warnings.

The people responded to Jonah’s message of destruction with concern as they embraced it, hook, line, and sinker. That’s a pretty appropriate term if I do say so myself. The people of Nineveh believed God-not the second, third, or fourth time, but the first time. They responded by proclaiming  a fast, as they all put on sackcloth, from the greatest to the least of them.

The words Jonah had proclaimed came to the king, who along with his people arose from his throne, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Did you know that the concept of sackcloth and ashes was a customary symbol of a public sign of repentance and humility before God? It also could represent disgrace or mourning. Sackcloth is a coarsely woven fabric, usually made of black goat hair, and it was very uncomfortable to wear. Can you say itchy. The ashes signified desolation and ruin. Everyone in that city responded with repentance, fasting, and sackcloth and ashes. It was an outward sign in response to an inside condition.

The king did not stop there friends, he proclaimed a fast and published it throughout Nineveh saying, “Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea let them turn everyone from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not!” Jonah 3:7-9 KJV

The people of Nineveh took Jonah’s message and its charges seriously. God saw their works, as they turned from their evil ways. Their repentance moved the Lord to extend grace and mercy to them. Jonah doing the Lords bidding had PAID OFF for the people of Nineveh. This was cause for celebration don’t you think? Look at the lives saved, and the pride Jonah should have felt as a servant of God.

BUT….wait.

Standing on God’s Word

Standing on God’s Word

Standing on God’s Word

“I promise that my Spirit and my words that I give you will never leave you. They will be with your children and your grandchildren. They will be with you now and forever.” Isaiah 59:21 ICB

Even with all the people in the world, its can still feel like a very lonely place. It can seem like no one understands or gets us. And that’s okay, because God does “get us” and His Word assures us we are never alone, no matter what. You know He has plenty of “rams in the bushes.” Take comfort in knowing, that God’s Word will never leave nor fail us.

The Word of God has been in existence since the beginning of time. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. No matter the season friends, it is our source of hope and comfort. Not only for us, but for our children and grandchildren. God’s Word is a necessary Holy invasion of the spiritual kind for our minds, as we respond in action through faith. Yes Lord send me, I will go!

“Lord thank you for your Word. It is our Daily Bread. Help us to stand with are feet planted firmly in your Word.  No matter what we may be going through, you are one read away. Help us to take your Word and place it in our hearts and mind. Let it move us to have courage, patience, and faith as we stand on your living Word today and everyday. Amen.”

Remember friends we are each other’s keeper and the only time we should be looking down on someone is when we are helping them up.