Christianity, Life, Love, Moving Forward, Uncategorized

My Marriage Exposed Me

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Here I was, thinking I had it all together. I had love and my relationship all figured out. I was going into marriage confident that I would never be the one to create conflict and confrontations in our marriage. I would always make my wife feel like she is the most beautiful woman that ever walked the earth. Boy, was I headed for a huge wake up call.

As I was preparing for marriage, reading books, listening to sermons, podcast, conversing and learning from married men, I came to a point where I felt like I had arrived in my relationship with Jasmine before we got married. The struggles from my past, such as, communication, not being me focused all the time were behind me and I had now become the man she needs me to be for a healthy marriage.

After about the first month or so of being married here is what I learned:

  • I am not as kind as I thought
  • I do get upset, frustrated and even angry
  • I struggle with showing the love of Christ daily
  • I am not the best communicator
  • I do have selfish tendencies
  • I can be self centered

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In result of being exposed to a lot of my weaknesses through my marriage, I have been able to own up to the fact that I still have a lot of growing to do. This is great. I am thankful for this but sometimes I get discouraged and overwhelmed. Some days I am not the best servant leader for my wife. Some days, I don’t put in the best amount of energy and prayer for our relationship as I should. Some days, I am mediocre.

Whenever I am exposed to a weakness, I want to go straight to work and turn whatever weaknesses I have into strengths. As a former collegiate and semi-pro basketball player, turning weaknesses into strengths in my game came natural. I watched film or my coach would point something out and boom, I’m spending tons of energy every day to become the best I can be. With my marriage, this is the approach I know I need to take. I need to continue to remind myself, with every healthy relationship, it takes a lot of time, energy and consistent effort.

Marriage has an unique way of saying, “you don’t have it all together. You do have a lot to work on.”

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Here are my closing thoughts about my marriage exposure:

I look at my marriage as God looks at His bride, a.k.a. His church. The church can be messy and so can you and I. The church can be out of order and so can you and I. The church can be a broken vessel and so can you and I. The church can have many flaws and so can you and I. The church can be a bad representation and so can you and I. The church can fall short and so can you and I.

But here’s the beautiful part about the church! Are you ready for it?

The church is beautiful and so are you and I. The church is God’s masterpiece and so are you and I. The church brings God great joy and so do you and I. The church is like a broken clay pot that has been pieced back together to make beautiful art.

This is what I have to remind myself:

I am apart of God’s bride. I am forgiven. I am redeemed. God’s mercy and His grace has been extended to me. Even though I will continue to fall short, and not meet all of Jasmine expectations, Jesus is her Savior and not me. Only He can fulfill her inner most desires. My role is to love her like Christ loves me: Unconditionally! This I can do. Through every struggle, shortcoming and battle, Jasmine and I are still on the same team just like you and I are still on God’s same team. We are all in this together.

God has an unique way of saying, “you don’t have it all together. I have a lot of work I want to do in you.”

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My Prayer is this: For all that God has given me to share through our story; that our story will inspire you to seek and desire a closer relationship with God. My prayer is for you to see that God is getting the glory for the work He has done and is doing in our lives. We are not perfect, we don’t have it all together or figured out. We love God and each other and we are willing to live this out so others can see they too, can do the same.

Be blessed my friends!

P.S. Here is our wedding video:

Here are my Wedding Vows:

Jasmine… When I think of love, I think of us
When I think of love, I think of you.
Bone of my bone. Flesh of my flesh.

Ripped from my rib. Created from dust.

There’s no denying what we share
Through the years. Through these tears
I share my heart. I give you my everything
My submission to Christ. Commissions me to love you
Like He, Christ, Loves the church

Jasmine…
You are more precious than gold
You are my love story that’s being told.
You are a virtuous woman
Your worth is far above rubies…

Jasmine…
I vow to be there next to your side
Through the good times
And through the not so good times
I am yours and you are mines
Together we can
No.. no together we will

Jasmine,
I vow to love patiently
I vow to be kind…

I vow to put even put the toilet seat down
I vow to keep my basketball shoes out of the bedroom.

I vow to allow you to wash the dishes.

In all seriousness…
I vow to not be jealous
I vow to not boast and be proud.
I vow to not be rude and demanding.
I vow to not be irritable
To keep no records of wrong doings
To never lose faith
To never give up,

I vow to always remain hopeful
To endure in every circumstance

Jasmine Marie Martin,
I vow to love you with all I got for the rest of my life!

 P.S.S. We would love to hear your love story and how we can be praying for you! Don’t forget to comment and share on social media to help encourage someone else that may need to see this.

 “God is far more concerned with doing a work in you before He does anything through you.

Christians, Courting, Dating, Forgiveness, Life, Love, Moving Forward

Give Her A Ring Or Move On!

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Give her a ring or move on. Bold huh? Not really. This is something I had to wrestle with. This is something I had to do. There is a Scripture in the Bible that says: “When I was a child, I thought as a child but when I became a man I put away childish things.”

Back Story:

I became an unashamed born-again Christian at the age of 17. Before the age of 17, I was a full-blown immature child. When it came to relationships with the opposite sex, I was no good. I struggled. Lying, manipulating, poor treatment and just doing whatever I wanted.

I didn’t grow up with great representations of how a young man should treat a lady. I learned how to treat women from the movies I watched, from my boys and what I thought in my head was right. So when God got a hold of me at 17, I knew there were many changes to be made. Starting with my view on love, relationships and women.  Continue reading “Give Her A Ring Or Move On!”

Christianity, Life, Moving Forward

Don’t Forget What God Did

Yesterday, I was reminded of what God has done for me. As I was having a conversation with a young man about life, dreams, and the future God simply whispered to me, “don’t forget what I’ve done for you.” Why did God whisper this to me and drop this in my spirit? Too often, I believe, followers of God, including myself take God’s power, protection and love for granted. I know I have. We often hear the cliche, count your blessings, well maybe I don’t count my blessings enough.

“This could be you on the other end of this conversation. Have you forgotten what I’ve done for you?” These words rang loud and clear in my head. Many people see the result of all of the work God has done in my life and see where I am now but many do not know the back story to my life before God intervened. Yesterday, and even this past week I have been reminded of my story. I was 17 years old, depressed, lost, wanting to give up on life, confused, making poor decisions, controlled by substances, bad habits and not knowing my identity in Christ. This was me. This is my story.

As I continued in my conversation with the young man and began to hear more of his story, God was saying to me, his story is your story and your story is his story. Although the two of us sitting at the table were in different places in life, our stories are what connects us. Until we began to have a conversation with one another, I would have never known he went to prison at the age of 17, has two kids and is looking to make the best of his opportunities in life. If we would have never begun in this mentoring relationship, he would never come to know, I was once on probation, doing community service hours, been in the back of a police car in handcuffs, almost on my way to jail and possibly being sent off to a juvenile detention center.

My life is not all that. I desperately need Jesus every day. I have to depend on the strength He provides me. I am a mess without Him! A great thing is, my story is not complete. I am still a work in progress. I am not perfect. I am a guy who is in love with the Creator. I have a story to tell. You have a story to tell. The person at the cash register has a story to tell. Our stories can impact each other. We have to be willing to have conversations with people. With God in the equation, our stories become more powerful to share.

A prayer you can pray:

God, thank You for giving me a story to share. God, thank You for reminding me, I am nothing without You. I know sometimes I tend to forget how you shifted my focus, my life and my perspective around. I was headed in a terrible direction but Your love rescued me. You have allowed me to pursue greatness. You have granted me access to the keys of Heaven right here on earth. Continue to allow my life and my story to be an inspiration to all of those You desire for me to come into contact with. I am forever grateful and thankful to be apart of Your story on earth!

P.S. Share your story with someone new this week!

Uncategorized

Internal Voices…

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Ahhhhh these voices keep screaming at me! Not sure why but they do. I’m sitting here questioning, is this you? No, this is me. An internal battle. You versus me. You versus we. We, as in my internal being. My internal you. See, you… You don’t really know me but some how I give you a voice. A voice in my head. A voice in my life. A voice into my heart. A voice into my soul. A voice into my spirit. Why do I listen? Why do I give you the time? You are not encouraging me. You tell me I am not smart enough. You tell me I am not worth it. You tell me not to chase my dreams. You tell me to give up my hope. You tell me to stop chasing greatness. You tell me to give up. The sad reality is, I listen to you. I let you hang out too long. After you stay a while and I finally decide to welcome you out, by the time you leave I’m left feeling down. Down because of our conversation. Down because of our relation. The relationship that should never be.

But you… I mean we, we are no good for each other. Somehow I have to let you go. Somehow I have to find a way to not let you back in. Somehow I have to keep the door closed. I have to keep you from getting inside. I have to get you outside. Maybe the outside is better for you. I may still hear your voice. Though you may yell and scream, you will be on the outside. You will no longer be in anymore. I have to be okay with this. You are no longer welcome in my door. Would you please excuse yourself? Thank you!

Wait a minute… There’s this other voice I hear. There’s this other voice I know. It doesn’t scream. In fact, this voice… this voice is soothing. This voice can get aggressive at times but it’s a gentle aggression. It challenges me to do better, to be better. This voice I know I should listen to. You can do this. You are more than your past. You are better than yesterday. You are strong. You are confident. You got what it takes. I believe in you. Words like this are affirming to me. This voice I want to believe. Can I hear more of you? I wonder if this voice would love to have complete control… It seems as if this voice can lead me in a great direction. This voice has my best interest at heart. Internally I know this. Will I give up my self pride? Will I let go of my control and follow this voice?

Externally I am too needy when I listen to the first voice. Internally I bleed when I listen to the second voice. With the first voice my need becomes all about me. With the second voice my bleeding is a result of the blood shed. It is the bleeding I need to be reminded of. The needing I need to be dependent on. It is the voice I need to follow. The voice that has been given to me as a gift.

Voices… I have to decipher this one. Which one is greater? Which one needs to be greater in my life? This I need to know. For now, I will battle with my internal voices… I will let them fight. I will fight. I will listen. I will act. I will live. I will decide. I will be. I will not give up and neither will you. Voices…

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.