Grown Folks

Good luck finding them “grown folks”. 

I got so much growing left to do,  

He gonna have to keep me alive after this body is gone to bring me to perfection. 
But I ain’t shrinking back,  

and I ain’t dead, 

so Imma try not to 

act a fool while I’m still getting fed. 
But I hear whatcha saying. 

Too many saying,  

“I’m just keeping it real” 

When they just keeping it 

real trashy, wicked and sick. 

But real knows real, 

and nothing more real 

than Jesus Christ on the cross 

for all us wretched sinners. 
Not so we could still pretend 

to be in chains by that accuser – 

But so we could live free indeed,  

set apart and walking in the Holy Spirit,  

not stumbling around laughing 

on some Crown Royal spirits. 
And I ain’t gaming, 

so don’t think you know my angle, player. 

I’m just praising, 

cause them my angels, player. 

They all camped around me, 

like we at the KOA, baby. 

But they ain’t playin, 

cause He’s coming back, 

not as a baby, baby.

They preparing that winepress, 

they gonna beat that chaff,  

they gonna burn away the trash, 

and refine what is precious. 
He calls me precious. 

What does He call You? 

Is your name in the book? 

Better take time to look!
Get off your corner,

Get onto your knees,

Get off your high horse,

Put down the trees.
How will you stand before the Almighty,

Who is righteous and pure,

He is Holy and mighty,

What will He have for you?
You think I’m foolish? 

You can’t believe it’s true? 

You’d rather have treasure now?

Than step out in faith too?
Just please hear me now,

Because what I say is true,

You’ve been sold a lie, 

Your Jordan’s stuck in it like glue.
Turn away from the world, 

Turn back to that one Good Father,

I know one already let you down,

But this here is another. 
He knows you by your name, 

Knows the hairs on your head, 

He will not forsake or leave you,

Even after you are dead. 
Can you hear his still, quiet voice?

It blows like the wind. 

It isn’t shame or guilt but REJOICE!

It signals the end!
You are no more a captive,

No more numbers and orange,

He’s here to set you free…
He is calling you closer, friend. 

Don’t put Him up on the shelf until you need Him again, like some genie that you think you can master. No, surrender, yield, and submit your life to the life giver. Amen.

Apply Within

​Apply your heart to instruction and your ear to words of knowledge.  Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die.  If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol.  My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.  My inmost being will exult when your lips speak what is right.  Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the Lord all the day.  Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off. – Proverbs 23:12‭-‬18 ESV

There is a trend these days that has even invaded many gathering places that shies away from discipline – it shis away from any real discussion of sin, repentance, or anything that could generate conviction in those still in the clutches of deep sin that the Word of God confirms as “sinning unto death” with words like “shall not inherit the Kingdom of God”. It seems almost to be a knee-jerk reaction against those religious people who rely upon “legalism and works” as their own justification for why they are “worthy of a grand seat at the table in heaven”.

A lack of sound doctrine, compromise on the Word of God, tolerance of sin, and a focus on the whole “gathering experience” being “pleasing to self” and emotionally and entertainingly charged seems to draw great crowds that are never turned away by the Truth of sermons like “eat of my flesh”, “sell your possessions and give to the poor”, “pick up your cross and bear it”, “go tell the nations”, “in this life you will face trial and suffering”, etc. “Positivity and good vibes” rule the roost of “spirituality” that is masked by the outward appearance of being a church. But without disciplining instruction, without poeer, love, and self-control playing its part in sanctifying a life and reconciling a life to be more Christ-like, has the deceitful worship of self and feelings and opinions left men denying that Christ is even still alive in the hearts of believers to demonstrate victory and to lead them in all truth? Do they truly believe that God is dead and silent and unwilling to teach His people? Do they truly believe that mental mastery and understanding of the letter of the law has ever been on past with an abiding, faithful relationship with the LORD? Do they believe that the LORD is a “get to sin freely card” instead of a savior, a redeemer, a master, a teacher, a disciplinarian, and a righteous judge?


Do not be afraid to share truth. It will not kill them. In fact, if they refuse to hear it, they are already dead. The Good News of the Way, the Truth, and the Life is the only rod of repentance and hope that brings life. 

Will you hear? Will you believe? Will you apply this instruction to your life? 


Yes, we each will choose. Surely there is a hope and a future for you. 

“Last Game”

There’s a little pool room that I grew up shooting pool in called “Reds Bar & Grill” in Spartanburg, SC. It’s always seemed to be much more of a pool hall than a bar to me because it is always had a young crowd. It is still only 25 cents per game,  and you’ll regularly find local kids gambling for a dollar a game, five a game, etc. I never was the best technically, but I knew how to manage the game of nine ball to my advantage, how to match up,  and how to “appear lucky instead of good” and “lose enough” to be able to keep winning overall. I know,  I know. Some will say that I’m glorifying gambling. No, I’m just being honest about what part this place has played in my life.
I really don’t go to Red’s that often anymore, but occasionally I drop in and shoot for a few hours. For decades, when I walked in, there was always someone inviting me in on “the action”. There was always someone who knew me and knew that I was a gambler who wasn’t afraid to bet on “fair odds”, wasn’t afraid to lose, wouldn’t quit just because he was down, and (most importantly to them) always was “good for it” if I lost. And I had even worked as a bartender there for a short while when a friend was part owner/operator in the business. So you could say that this was my “Cheers” where “everybody knows your name” at one point in my life. 
But tonight, there wasn’t a single face or name that I recognized. In fact, one of the “loud hustlers” gambling at the table beside me kept mentioning the name “Scottie Moore” as he talked about an “older guy from around here that you don’t want to mess with” and it was everything that I could do not to correct him on the name and tell him that professional player “Stevie Moore” indeed shot pool at Red’s  (and at Shooters back in the day) and that for a while he even made it back to Red’s regularly for some of the holiday gatherings that Red would put on each year. I didn’t mention all of the old names like “Mamie”, “Slim”, “John Jones”, “Brian White”, and so many others who spent so much time shooting pool around Spartanburg that the places like Reds were like a second home and a second family. You see, all of that seemed to have passed away with time and it was like a cloud of hot, stale smoke that used to linger — but was now replaced by cool, filtered and air conditioned newness. 
At the end of the night,  they still called “Last Game” over the speaker – but I think the last game had already been called some years ago on the Reds that I remember. Red wasn’t there himself reminding everyone, “It’s a dollar to play on the floor” if a ball jumped off the table. There wasn’t the old, familiar limited set of honky tonk country songs on the jukebox, but it was a mix of every genre imaginable. So much was different. An Era seemed to have passed by, but it still exists, and a new generation seemed to be there making their own new types of memories. 
It’s interesting to me how we never seem to notice these shifts, these changes in the seasons of our lives until the change is complete and we are noticing what is now drastically different. I mean, we should know that for just about everything in this life,  “Last Game” has been called and we are just whirling our way towards the end.  I mean, we aren’t even promised tomorrow,  and some won’t even make it until tomorrow. Some families will be preparing tomorrow for funerals that were unexpected today. Some young ladies will be showing a pregnancy test result to a surprised young man tomorrow. Some nurses will be handing a new bundle of joy to new parents, while some doctors will be handing over upsetting news to families with, hard decisions to make about their loved ones. 
Do we want to make it through our “Last Game” unaware and ignorant that change is coming? Or would it help us to understand the value of our time?  Wouldn’t it be profitable for us to invest this “last game” in a purpose and calling worthy of our dedicated effort and time? 
I used to be a gambler. If I was behind,  I knew that “last game” was a chance to “double or nothing” if I was behind for one last chance to “get back to even” if they would go for it,  but sometimes it was too late for that ploy to work. 
But now,  I’ve already been guaranteed the victory in Christ Jesus. He has finished my salvation at the cross. I don’t have to earn it by living a different way,  but instead, I get to make the most of this “last game” in living a purpose driven life sharing the Good News, living out my life as a living testimony of walking in the Spirit not in the flesh and trusting Him and giving God all the glory. 
Yes, that is a bit of a shift from that old life of the gambler – but the “last game” was called on him 2000 years ago at the cross, and confirmed by the empty tomb. The old has passed away and the new is come. My life is being reconciled to Christ grace by grace, faith by faith, day by day, moment by moment, breath by breath.
He has called “last game” over your life as well. Your body has a born on date and an expiration date. But more importantly,  I must ask if you are born again? Are you alive spiritually? Do you have that upward calling upon your life that extends beyond the bounds of this early realm?
The answer is between you and Him. I’m not trying to get you to “join my whatever” — no, I’m just asking you,  “Are you right with God?” And if you know that you aren’t,  I’m telling you that He is available and you shouldn’t delay even until the morning. Speak with Him. Clear the air about those areas where you know you have fallen short. Ask for forgiveness and for His strength to see your repentance be effective and fruitful in leading you in a new way. He is faithful to forgive and it is His will for sin and death to be overcome in your life. It is a process,  and, He will see you through it,  if you will walk with Him. 
May the LORD bless you and keep you.

A rapper that I like (Bizzle) has a recurring theme in his songs that is “God over money”.  For example, one of his lyrics is “Will you serve a living God or a dead president?” And then from my favorite song:

First im a hater cuz I’m broke and my money low

Find out I made a couple hundred on the low

They be like so I thought it was God Over Money though
Hated when I’m paid hated when I’m broke
They hating on my faith hating on my folks
See em drown in the middle of the ocean
When you pull up they be hating on yo boat”
My point, you ask? 


Whoever oppresses the poor to increase his own wealth, or gives to the rich, will only come to poverty. – Proverbs 22:16 ESV

Are we interested in what the Word of God has to say about money, the poor, etc? Can we hear what that call, that conviction is meant to tear us away from and draw us closer to? Is that surrender a difficult struggle for us or a joyful participation? 

The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – 2 Corinthians 9:6‭-‬7 ESV

Oh, how the world gets this backwards. We can more easily justify helping those who can offer us some help in return, as opposed to trusting the LORD to repay us for serving those who in this life  may likely never be in a position to appreciate or honor us. We are even given the wise advice to give our alms in secret so that we wouldn’t be seeking honor or glory for ourselves – because we are to be seeking glory to God in all things. 

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;  to proclaim the year of the Lord ’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;  to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord , that he may be glorified.  They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.  Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;  but you shall be called the priests of the Lord ; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast.  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.  For I the Lord love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.  Their offspring shall be known among the nations, and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge them, that they are an offspring the Lord has blessed.  I will greatly rejoice in the Lord ; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.  For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to sprout up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to sprout up before all the nations. – Isaiah 61:1‭-‬11 ESV

King

Proverbs 20:2‭, ‬5‭-‬5‭, ‬8‭-‬10‭, ‬18‭, ‬23‭-‬24‭, ‬26‭-‬28‭, ‬30 ESV

The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.

[Remember your creator, Almighty God, and submit to His will. Do not provoke Him to anger, nor whoever has authority over you in this life. Do not cause them to grumble or become angry with you — but be a blessing and a help. If you have been unfaithful, come to Him, chines your rebellion, repent,  and choose to love and serve the Lord God Almighty. If you have forfeited your life in rebellion against the king, it is He who has the power to see that justice is done. Seek His mercy while it is still available to you.]

A king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes. The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out. The spirit of man is the lamp of the Lord , searching all his innermost parts. Plans are established by counsel; by wise guidance wage war. A wise king winnows the wicked and drives the wheel over them. Blows that wound cleanse away evil; strokes make clean the innermost parts.

 

[Remember our need for wise and discerning counsel, that will examine and bring into light any areas where we have been deceived (or even deceived ourselves). Find godly counsel and treasure it, especially the kind of counsel that sees into the innermost areas of your life and is bold enough to wound you and tear down that which needs to be rebuilt. Trust in the Word of God and love it’s wise counsel. Examine all things by what is breathed out by God for equipping and preparing and fishing you in all areas of your life.]

Who can say, “I have made my heart pure; I am clean from my sin”?  Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord . Unequal weights are an abomination to the Lord , and false scales are not good.  A man’s steps are from the Lord ; how then can man understand his way?  Steadfast love and faithfulness preserve the king, and by steadfast love his throne is upheld.

 

[If you think yourself wise and discerning enough to teach or counsel others, be very careful. Be sure that you are steadfast in your love and faithfulness. Understand that God has purpose in every step of a man’s way. Do not lift heavy burdens upon others, but be equal in your weights and measures. Can you say that your own heart is pure without your pride or your deceit being revealed to you – or is the false light of your own darkness so deep that the blindness has brought you to madness? Be careful that mercy does not escape you. We all fall short of glory, but be sure you have not fallen short of His grace and mercy, you who think yourselves wise. ]

Hear and receive the Word of God:

“I am the  true vine, and my Father is  the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.  By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.  As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.  These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.   “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.  You are my friends if you do what I command you.  No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.  You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.  These things I command you, so that you will love one another. – John 15:1‭-‬17 ESV

Desire without knowledge is not good, and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way. – Proverbs 19:2 ESV

Cease to hear instruction, my son, and you will stray from the words of knowledge.  A worthless witness mocks at justice, and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.  Condemnation is ready for scoffers, and beating for the backs of fools. – Proverbs 19:27‭-‬29 ESV

Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge. – Proverbs 19:25‭ ESV

Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life; he who despises his ways will die. – Proverbs 19:16 ESV

Father God, thank you for your love, your mercy, your grace, and yes, even for your rebuke, your discipline, and your trying fires — because you are a God of justice and you repay men for their wickedness — that we might repent and turn to you. 

Father God, when we see evil all around us, and when we see evil being called good and good being called evil by self serving fools and scoffers who have no fear of God and who despise the Way — remind us that we too were once an enemy of God and friend of the world. Remind us of the mercy, love and grace shared with us so that we can go plant that very same seed by sharing this Good News that Jesus Christ did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, too set the captives free, so that the old can pass away and the new can come in our lives. 

Father God, give us ears to hear. Forgive us for our sins and give us forgiving hearts towards others,  even as you teach us to hate the sin. Teach us and give us understanding of spiritual things and the way you work through your saints and the traps of those unseen enemies, so that we may be wise in your eyes, even if thought fools by the worldly. Guide us to not walk as proud hypocrites, but as humble yet bold servants of the most high God. We pray these things in the precious, holy name of Jesus Christ. Hear our prayers, oh LORD, and give us ears to receive your guidance into our lives. Amen.

Chain of Command

Leaders, work diligently and communicate a clear vision to the people. You who teach/lead/manage, it is a great responsibility for us towards the people to use wisdom on their behalf – not a great honor so that we can oppress for our own benefit. 

And if you are wise and lead effectively — by the example of your own hard work and by your not being blind to the needs of others — your honor will be in the lives of a team, even a family, of equals. As you have lifted up others, you will be lifted up. As you have crushed others, you will be crushed. As you have shown truth and love to others, it will be shown to you. Because kings and kingdoms rise and fall, but the poor will be with us until the end of the age. 
And you who serve a master (and we all serve some master in this life) — do not give them an excuse to complain or grumble against you. Do not resist those in authority out of foolish pride, but submit yourselves to their clear vision and purpose — or if you believe they are truly blind, why do you even serve them? Do you foolishly serve them only for their money and not for any purpose of true profit? No, live a life of purpose. 

LORD, forgive me for the times that I have failed those who are trusting me to work diligently and to have a clear vision. Create in me a sincere heart of purpose in everything that I do,  and give me godly wisdom and vision to lift up and encourage those around me. Amen.

​In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. – Proverbs 14:23 ESV


Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters, not by way of eye-service, as people-pleasers, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. – Colossians 3:22‭-‬25 ESV

HEAR, SPEAK and LIVE JESUS CHRIST

Hear HOPE in JESUS CHRIST

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. – Proverbs 12:15 ESV

Don’t just listen – HEAR. RECEIVE. BELIEVE. 

Speak TRUTH and LIFE through FAITH

The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers them.  

Whoever speaks the truth gives honest evidence, but a false witness utters deceit. 

There is one whose rash words are like sword thrusts, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.  

Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment. – Proverbs 12:6‭, ‬17‭-‬19 ESV

Don’t just talk idly and carelessly, because we will answer for every word. No don’t just talk,  but SPEAK. Speak the WORD OF GOD. Speak TRUTH. Speak LIFE.

Live LOVE by the SPIRIT

A good man obtains favor from the Lord , but a man of evil devices he condemns.  
No one is established by wickedness, but the root of the righteous will never be moved.  

Whoever works his land will have plenty of bread, but he who follows worthless pursuits lacks sense.  

Whoever is wicked covets the spoil of evildoers, but the root of the righteous bears fruit.  

From the fruit of his mouth a man is satisfied with good, and the work of a man’s hand comes back to him.  

Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord , but those who act faithfully are his delight. 

The hand of the diligent will rule, while the slothful will be put to forced labor. 

Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.

Proverbs 12:2‭-‬3‭, ‬11‭-‬12‭, ‬14‭, ‬22‭-‬22‭, ‬24‭, ‬27 ESV

True belief, the kind of faith that saves, it grows and produces, it is not dead. So HEAR, SPEAK and LIVE. Demonstrate HOPE, FAITH, and LOVE to a world in need of all three – to a world in need of CHRIST.  
Not because you are good,  but because He who lives in you is great. Turn over your life to Him. Let Him have His way in your life today. He has already proven Himself a worthy Savior. He will show you that He is a kind and merciful LORD. He will even show you that He is a friend willing to wound you for your good, rather than kiss you with lying betrayals. He will lead you in the path of righteousness – His anointing will break the chains that bind and the yoke that enslaves.

Chop, Chop. Roast beast, anyone?

Therefore the Lord will cut off head and tail from Israel, Palm branch and bulrush in one day. The elder and honorable, he is the head; The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail. For the leaders of this people cause them to err, And those  who  are led by them are destroyed. Therefore the Lord will have no joy in their young men, Nor have mercy on their fatherless and widows; For everyone is a hypocrite and an evildoer, And every mouth speaks folly. For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still. For wickedness burns as the fire; It shall devour the briers and thorns, And kindle in the thickets of the forest; They shall mount up like rising smoke.

Isaiah 9:14‭-‬18 NKJV

In our day –

Do we need to look any further for the head of the dragon that hunts and kills and oppresses the weak and the innocent than the strong leaders who profit from wickedness, deceit, and from creating and maintaining division between the people? 

Do we need to look any further for the tail, than to those who make merchandise and tradition and religion and self righteousness and lasciviousness and worldliness from the Good News of Jesus Christ who died and is risen to life? 

Or are we ourselves satisfied and comfortable in the belly of the beast? 

Will we cry out to God like Jonah so that we may be spit out from the lukewarm waters of its gut, to stand firm upon the foundation? 

Will we go and fulfill our call? 

Even when they turn to destruction all around us, will we persevere? 

Do you seek a reward, a position, a lofty title,  prosperity,  health, pleasure – what will you trade for your life? 

What will you take in trade for your God?

No, remain steadfast in Him, by the power of the Holy Spirit that lives in His people.

[Mia Daddy & Friends] “Stripped Naked by Betrayal”

 

 

Mark 14:43-52 (NLT)

Jesus Is Betrayed and Arrested

43 And immediately, even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests, the teachers of religious law, and the elders. 44 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss. Then you can take him away under guard.” 45 As soon as they arrived, Judas walked up to Jesus. “Rabbi!” he exclaimed, and gave him the kiss.

46 Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 47 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear.

48 Jesus asked them, “Am I some dangerous revolutionary, that you come with swords and clubs to arrest me? 49 Why didn’t you arrest me in the Temple? I was there among you teaching every day. But these things are happening to fulfill what the Scriptures say about me.”

50 Then all his disciples deserted him and ran away. 51 One young man following behind was clothed only in a long linen shirt. When the mob tried to grab him, 52 he slipped out of his shirt and ran away naked.