Breaking Bad Habits, Moving Forward

Patterns

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I love when God gives me revelation and new insights to my life. The other day I was driving down the road and I began to think about patterns in my life, even certain patterns since child hood. The wheels began to turn (no pun intended) in my mind. What I am going to share with you are battles I have faced or face. I believe these battles with patterns may help some of you with certain patterns in your life. If we can recognize what patterns affect us negatively I believe we can bring great change to our lives!

Okay, here are some patterns I have observed in my life: 

Pattern of word without great follow through: Meaning, we give our word to something. We get excited and want to be apart something life changing and great but our follow up and follow through with our word/action is not our best effort. Can you relate?

Pattern of commitment for a short period of time: This kind of goes hand and hand with the first one but differs in a sense. With this pattern we are committed for a period of time and we slowly begin to either fade away or completely drop off.

*Short time commitments can be good but if others do not know upfront how long you plan on being committed, you will hurt others more than yourself. Not a good recipe for success and bridge building.*

Pattern of progress and then drop off: You’re working hard, you are progressing, you begin to see results and then you stop working as hard. This I see often when it comes to eating healthier and working out to get in better physical shape.

Pattern of achieving what you want and then complacency sets in: You worked hard to get what you want, to get to where you wanted to be, you achieved something and now that it is achieved you’re not motivated to keep on pushing.

I wanted to share these and be transparent with you because I know these patterns aren’t just present in my life but in the lives of others as well. In my line of work, in my friendships and relationships I have conversations and from my observation and conversations I realize with these patterns I am not the only one that struggles and battles with these in life.

What are we to do? How can we truly create change and mean it?

Here is where I am landing and have landed:

  • Create accountability with someone fighting the same battle.
  • Do one thing at a time.
  • Say no and don’t feel bad about it.
  • Pray really hard and often.
  • Find the root problem of the pattern.
  • Ask yourself, why is this pattern so significant and why is it there?
  • Seek wise counseling about the patterns in your life.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Do not self condemn when you fall short or mess up.

The unique thing about patterns are, you can create new ones. Patterns aren’t set up for one specific design. They can be altered to create new ones. Whatever patterns you have identified in your life, it is time to make some adjustments. It’s time to make some shifts. It is time to be the designer. We have to grab a hold of our lives and there is no better time than right now. There is power in patterns. Let’s let the power of patterns in our life effect us in positive ways.

P.S. – I would love to hear from you. What are some patterns you’ve noticed in your life? What are you willing to share about this to help others?

Life

It’s My Birthday!! – 5 Things I Have Learned in my 20’s!

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Friends, I thought I would share with each of you that God has granted me another year to be present on this earth! I am so thankful for life itself. I consider it a blessed opportunity to be able to live and do what I am most passionate about daily. Ok, mostly. Ha! Sometimes I wish I could still play basketball every day. God is still working on me in that area. (the heart of a former basketball player)

Hey, since I only have 2 years left in my 20’s now, I thought I would share with you some key insights I have learned along the way. I hope they have helped you as they did for me.

  1. You will lose some friends and gain new ones.

As many people often say, your day 1’s will always be there for you. If you don’t know what day 1’s are, find an urban dictionary. 🙂 The friends that has been by your side, usually stick with you for the long haul and the friends that you had maybe in college or high school some will not be in your life. That’s okay for the most part. God will continue to put the right people in your life. I am thankful for every friend I’ve ever had and for the ones I still have. I’m blessed that people actually want to be around me. Seriously! 😉

2. You will gain some weight!

Ha! Who could see this one coming? Clearly everyone besides me. In college, I was always in the denial stage about gaining weight. Well, after basketball began to slow down and my wonderful eating habits continued, well you know the rest. Now, I find myself looking at scales and buying bigger clothes. ha! It’s all good! I’ll lose weight one of these days. The goal is to eat healthy and look healthy. Whatever that means. I thought I should just share with you, gaining weight is real and not a fairy tale.

3. Love is for you.

Figuring out what love is, who you love and who loves you sometimes can feel like going through a maze. What I have come to learn; when you don’t rush trying to find a lover so to speak and work on getting yourself right with God things begin to work out. I sound all philosophical here but seriously in my twenties I had to truly focus on getting rid of past hurts, mistakes, immaturity and selfishness. Love is a process and it takes time. I like to call it the beautiful struggle. We all have to go through it. Continue to work on yourself and enjoy your singleness. That is the best advice I have for you.

4. Cherish those closest to you.

Seriously, the people in your life are a gift from God. Yeah, even the ones that get on your nerves. Whatever that means. If you ever get a chance, reflect on the people in your life, think of the memories you’ve created together. It is pretty awesome. I have some classic photo albums stored in my mind. Oh yeah on my macbook as well. Life is short. Live life with those that matter the most to you. You’ll be thankful in the long run.

5. Don’t give up!

Living in the twenties is hard. No, like extremely hard. Many of us aren’t and were not truly prepared for life after college. Trying to find your way in life with minimum effort and low income!? Man, what? The struggle is real bruh! I know. I’ve been there. You will not believe some of the stories I have trying to figure out what direction I was suppose to go in life. For example, one time I slept in my car in a hotel parking lot in Canton, OH. I went to tryout for a NBA D – League team and didn’t have enough money to afford a hotel room for a night. Maybe you won’t have to sleep in a car but you will have to make some crazy sacrifices to figure out what God has for you to do!

I love every bit of my life. I don’t say this prideful or boastfully but I have truly come a long way in my twenties. At least I think so. The exciting part to me is, I still have a long way to go. So much to learn, so much to do, so many people to love and care for. I am extremely blessed. Could life be better? Depends on who’s asking. As for me on this day, I am simply celebrating all that God has blessed me with. Here’s to another 28 years!

Christianity, Moving Forward

Don’t Let the Enemy Lie To You!

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“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” – 1 Peter 5:8

The enemy has been lying to you. The crazy part about these lies are, you have started to believe some of them. Listen, when we are most vulnerable in life is when the enemy attacks. What I mean by this is; when we get weak, upset, frustrated, feeling emotionally drained and beat up, the enemy tends to step in and let it’s voice be heard. Notice I used the word it.

What I have learned in life is, the enemy has a name and it has a voice. How much we listen to this voice depends upon us. The enemy in our lives is not just satan. If you are a follower of Christ you should be familiar with some of satan’s tricks and tactics. He usually operates in familiar patterns. At least this is what I find to be true in my life.

An enemy is someone or something against you.

An enemy is not on your side.

Neither is the enemy trying to bring good to your life

Think and reflect for a moment. What are the things in your life that’s been trying to have at your time? Trying to steal your joy? Trying to tell you, you can’t do something or you’ll never amount to anything? Who are the people bringing negative energy to your life? Identify the enemy. Once you have identified the enemy you can begin to plan your attack. You can begin to take steps to overcoming and making your defeat against the enemy.

I’ll close with this: When we have gaps in our lives, or when our minds are left in the unknown, kind of doing it’s wandering thing, we create for ourselves this empty space. In this empty space is where we tend to not know and as humans we hate not knowing. Not knowing something usually leads to thinking negatively. I don’t know why we do this but we do. We imagine the worst possible situations, the worst circumstances and then what happens, we begin to believe in our own pretentious thoughts. It blows me away when I let my mind wander too far. Maybe you do the same.

It is time for you and I to roar back. To be the aggressor if you will. Let us not play the victim and be the victim. We have been given power by God to be victorious. We will struggle, we will fall down but we shall not be defeated. The enemy is under our feet. Let’s live like it!

#BetterThanYesterday

“The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. May the grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
Romans 16:20

Christianity

The Power Within

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This past Sunday I preached on the Holy Spirit. My sermon points were: Who or what is the Holy Spirit? The Role(s) and Work(s) of the Holy Spirit and the Commissioning and Receiving of the Holy Spirit. I wanted to share the teaching with you. Maybe you have had questions about the Holy Spirit or wondered why we need the Holy Spirit to live a life for God.

If you want, you can listen to the sermon here by clicking this link: The Power Within

If you would like to do a devotional with the sermon you can do so by going through what we call our Grow Sheet. This Devotional Sheet was produced by one of our leaders at Overflow Church

Grow Sheet:

PASSAGES FOR STUDY:
John 14:13-14: John 16:7-8; John 14:16-18; John 16:13-15;
Romans 8:11; John 20:19-22; Acts 1:4-8; 1 Corinthians 12:3-11
OTHER SCRIPTURE REFERENCES:
Hebrews 13:5; Genesis 2:7; John 1:1; Ephesians 1:13;
Acts 4:31; Acts 9:7; Acts 11:24; Acts 13:9
SERMON RECAP:
The Holy Spirit is the third person in the triune God. The characteristics of the Holy Spirit are eternal, omnipresent, omnipotent and ever-present and without the Holy Spirit in our lives we cannot live for Jesus. When defining the roles and works of the Holy Spirit in our lives, He is our comforter, guide and conviction. He intercedes for us, draws us into relationship with Christ, transforms our lives, testifies on our behalf and dwells within us. Jesus breathed on His disciples and commissioned them to receive the Holy Spirit thus giving us His power within.

DIGGING DEEPER
1. Read John 14:13-14. Jesus tells us that He will do whatever we ask in His name. Do you
need more deliverance, healing, comfort, wisdom, understanding, or strength? Ask Him and
He will do it!
2. Read John 14:18. Jesus promised that He would not leave us alone. Look at Hebrews 13:5.
In both of these verses, we are promised to never be alone. He will not leave you broken or
lost but will adopt you and dwell within you. What can this mean for you when you feel
broken, grieved, hurting or lost? Refer back to John 14:13-14.
3. Read John 16:13-15. The Holy Spirit is alive and active. Again, the Holy Spirit is ALIVE and
ACTIVE! He is your comforter, guide, truth-teller and conviction. The Holy Spirit intercedes
on your behalf, draws you into closer relationship with Christ, testifies on your behalf,
transforms lives and dwells within you. He brings spiritual life to the dead.
a. How can you increase the role of the Holy Spirit in your life?
b. How aware are you of the Holy Spirit’s guidance in your life?
c. How can you be more fully present with Him to see His guidance?
4. Read John 20:19-22. Imagine how shocked the disciples were when Jesus stood in front of
them in physical and spiritual presence after having been dead. Read John 20:22 again. As
God had done in Genesis 2:7, Jesus breathed on His disciples and commissioned them to
receive the Holy Spirit. What do you need to let Him breathe life into in your life?
BRINGING IT HOME
Read Ephesians 1:13 and ask yourself what steps can you take this week to respond to what the
Holy Spirit wants to do in your life?

Forgiveness

#TGIF – Thank. God. I’m. Forgiven.

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Have you ever wronged a person, broke someone’s trust, ruined a friendship and desperately wanted them to forgive you? If you have, do you remember how guilty, shameful and disgusting you felt after the decision you made? In that moment, I am sure you questioned if the person would ever forgive you.

There have been times in my life when I have been on both sides of the fence. I have done wrong and I have been wronged. Either way, both sides are not fun at all. What is a person to do when they have broken the circle of trust and cannot get the other person to see they are truly sorry for what he/she did? Well, I’ll tell you one thing, there is no easy answer to this question.

I have been reminded on today, that there is a God who forgives all. (Thank God!) I am reminded of this for this simple reason, God’s forgiveness matters the most. When I wrong someone not only have I hurt the person but I have hurt God. I have sinned against Him. My first line of action should be turning to God to seek forgiveness from Him. I should be letting God know how dumb and unthoughtful it was to make the decision(s) that was made. After I seek forgiveness from God then I should seek the forgiveness of the person(s) I hurt.

“Forgiveness is something that is granted to us from a loving God. Forgiveness is in God’s nature.”

Each day I am amazed that God desires and chooses to forgive me of my sinful heart. He doesn’t have to forgive you and I. You may wondering, how do you know when God has forgiven you? From my experience and what I see in the Bible, it is when you turn to God sincerely, pouring your heart out to Him, confessing your wrong doings and turning from those decisions is when you know you can move forward. (Of course this may take time getting over and working through but at least you know forgiveness has been granted to you by God.)

Lastly, I will leave you with this: After you have done wrong or wronged someone, please pray for the other person. Yes, you feel bad but imagine how the other person feels. They are shattered and broken. They need God to heal their heart just as you do.

God can mend broken relationships. He can help both of you overcome and move forward. The relationship may not go back to the way it was but the important factor is, the people involved sought forgiveness from God and each other. Always remember, God can forgive and so can you. Don’t be selfish and prideful. Pour your heart out and allow yourself to move forward! #TGIF

P.S. This may not make sense to some but I believe it is the best way of going about seeking forgiveness. Of course if you know you are wrong and did wrong, apologize immediately. This blog is focusing on the big picture of forgiveness.

 

 

Christianity, Holiness

Sanctify Yourself in Holiness

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And to all who were written in the genealogy—their little ones and their wives, their sons and daughters, the whole company of them—for in their faithfulness they sanctified themselves in holiness.

– 2 Chronicles 31:18

Imagine being apart of a genealogy that is remembered for their faithfulness to their God, to their family, and to their work? This is what we see here in this passage. A people group, whose lives were centered around a Holy God. Everything flowed from the God they worshiped, loved and served.

The question now becomes: Can the same be said about you and I?

Do the work of God with all of your heart. Labor with all of your might and you will prosper in the Lord. Set aside each day, time and moments to rest in holiness… In God’s Holiness. As we spend time with our Holy God, He goes out of His way to make us look more like Him, think like Him, act like Him and talk like Him. God wants His people to be a Holy people. That is His desire for you and I.

Holiness requires a great sacrifice of time and energy. Our holiness requires resting in God. In return, God expects us to exert a lot of time and energy towards Him. We as Christ followers are to sanctify ourselves in Holiness. In other words, through the power of our Holy God we serve, we are to be set apart and focused on God daily. Our lives should be a reflection of the Bible we read and the God we serve. Our language, actions and thoughts should reflect Holiness. Our holiness should not be questioned for bad but it should be commended for the great God Who is in our lives.

We should be grateful and thankful for the God who sets us apart and calls us to Holiness. We as Christ followers no longer have to follow the sinful patterns of this world. We can be apart of this world and no longer be slaves to the lustful entices, as well as devices the world throws at us. We now get the wonderful privilege and opportunity to follow the patterns of Christ, which is, liberty, freedom, social justice and love. How beautiful is that? Our lives and our rhythms should stem out of our relationship with the Father. Think about the life Christ lived. Everything flowed from the time He spent with His Abba Father!

May we live according to the Gospel that has been imparted to us. May we love according to the love that God has shown us through His Son Jesus. May others take notice and follow in our footsteps. May others get inspired to desire after the Holy God we follow and serve. May they want the God that is in us. May they notice the sanctity of our holiness.

P.S. Here is a question for you to ponder on. Is living Holy something I am capable and willing of doing?