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Mom, you are enough.

Mother’s Day Message: You are enough.

In about three months time, my mom will have been deceased for twenty years – effectively half my lifetime. Having to navigate the world my whole adult life without a mother’s love, guidance, and support has been extremely difficult and lonely. It has also been the impetus propelling me into a relationship with my Heavenly Father through His Son and Holy Spirit. The mother’s love I lost in the world, I found in the Spirit.

This message is for all the mothers (and women in general) out there who are struggling with any aspect of their identity and responsibilities: You are enough.

You Are Enough

You are equipped to provide all the true necessities for yourself and your family.

Despite what you may think, your love will never fail your children. You will always be a light to them, even in the deepest darkest pits they may fall into, everything you represent will be a beacon to them.

Your strength is phenomenal. Even in your weakest moments, your children will look back and view you as the epitome of EVERYTHING.

You can do wrong, but no wrong will outlast your love. Remember that. Give yourself a break when you’re overwhelmed.

You don’t need to go beyond yourself to be the best mommy ever. You already are the best mommy ever – simply because you are the mom your child was blessed with. Know that. Embrace it.

You are a blessing. You are a lover. A nurturer. A builder. A teacher. A guide. A comforter. A savior. A survivor. You are the first true sacrifice and offering your child will ever encounter. You are the first environment of creation your child will ever experience. Your body, the most sacred of temples, hosted and presented life to the world. How awesome is that!?  

Your life will be what influences your children’s life the most. In the midst of your everyday, this may be a lot to think about. So, don’t think about it. Just live.

Be who are. Work on being the best person you can be. Do the best you can do in any given  moment with the full knowledge and acceptance that your best varies depending on the time of day, time of month, time of year and a million other factors. Whatever your best is in any given moment is enough.

Your children understand more than you know. They appreciate you more than they may ever be able to express. You represent everything to them – their beginning, their end, their in between. You are the fabric they will weave their lives from. You are the start line and the line they will return to continuously throughout the relay of life. To your little champs, you are the MVP.

Not far from the tree

During my short time with my mother, she planted the following seeds and lessons in me and they are still flourishing today:

  • She challenged me to be myself
  • She supported me when I spoke up for myself
  • She rebuked my pride and instilled a sense of humbleness and service in me
  • She insisted I respect everyone no matter their actions against me or those I love
  • She showed me the pain and value of forgiveness and how it is inseparable from love
  • She encouraged me to dream of futures I couldn’t see or comprehend
  • She exhibited discipline and patience to me
  • She demonstrated hard-work and perseverance
  • She practiced generosity, grace and kindness
  • She modeled for me the satisfaction of building a life from your own efforts and appreciating all you have even when what you have is counted as nothing by others.

I can go on as I am still learning so much from Mom. There’s so much I didn’t comprehend in my youth that is becoming clear now and bearing fruit.

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Wrong Thinking Leads to Wrong Living

You’re trying so hard to do right, aren’t you? You attend church. You stand and raise your hands during the praise and worship portion of service. You shout out “amen, hallelujah and thank you, Jesus” at seemingly appropriate points in the sermon. You smile and greet your neighbors and offer them you hospitality should they ever be inclined to accept it and your assistance should they be in need. You’re generous with your “I-love-you’s, I-miss-you’s and I-can’t-wait-to-see-you’s.” You’re doing and saying all the right things. You’re going through the motions. You’re walking the talk and talking the walk. You’re such a “good” Christian, you have everyone fooled… even yourself.

But you haven’t fooled God. You have not outsmarted the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ. You haven’t hoodwinked the indwelling Holy Spirit. Therefore, true believers, those truly led and living by the Holy Spirit will see through your pretense… eventually.

So, if only doing the “right thing” and “saying the right thing” don’t add up to right living, what does?

Right thinking leads to right living. It’s very important that you get your mind right. What state is your mind in?

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5NIV

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. ~ Romans 12:2NIV

If you’re stuck in your daily walk, jump start your mind. Do an inventory first and weed out everything that keeps your mind focused on worldly things. Then inject your mind with Kingdom thoughts – God’s Word. You’re not living right if you’re not thinking like Christ at all. You’re not living right if the fruit of the Spirit isn’t evident in your life.

If you’re operating in jealousy, envy, covetousness, malice, selfish ambition, having fits of rage, immoral sex, etc. (see Galatians 5:19-21) you’re operating in the spirit that rules this world. You’re in your flesh. Galatians 5:21 says that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God – meaning you’re not Kingdom minded.

However those who belong to Christ have crucified their flesh and its’ associated desires and passions (Galatians 5:24). Believers who live in Christ have manifested the fruit of the Holy Spirit in their life – joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (see Galatians 5:22-23). When this fruit is evident in your life – obvious in your interactions with people (from those you know well to those you don’t know at all), then you know you are living by the Spirit.

Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. ~ Galatians 5:25-26NIV

Live right. It’s possible. Be diligent and faithful and lean on your Helper.

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Firstfruits of All Your Crops

{This post has been sitting in me for a number of years. It’s heavy with scripture, because I don’t want anyone to think I’m just making things up to suit my purposes. I encourage you to do your own study as well. I’m aware that my argument/words may be against what is commonly taught in churches, but God is my true teacher and I’m delivering the Word as I believe and practice it. (John 7:16-17) Be blessed.}

Honor the LORD with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine. – Proverbs 3:9-10

wealth –noun

  1. a great quantity or store of money, valuable possessions, property, or other riches
  2. an abundance or profusion of anything; plentiful amount
  3. rich or valuable contents or produce
  4. the state of being rich; prosperity; affluence

Tithing Truths

Some of you may not like this, but here we go: I’m not a financial tither. However, I am a financial giver in addition to being a giver in other areas. According to some of the rhetoric taught in churches today, I should be damned with a curse (Malachi 3:10) — for they say the only way to really worship God is with money. That has never made sense to me. And the more I study, the more outrageous of a lie it appears.

The scriptures I rely upon for my viewpoint are listed below.

Ironically, I’ll start with Malachi 3:8-11

“Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. But you ask, ‘How do we rob you?’ In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it. I will prevent pests from devouring your crops, and the vines in your fields will not cast their fruit,” says the LORD Almighty.

Malachi 3:10 is usually quoted to support a monetary tithe. However, Malichi 3:10 reads to me as a promise of a blessing God was sending His people in the form of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2:1-4, we learn He fulfilled His promise:

On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place. Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting. Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them. And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability. (NLT)

And Romans 5:5 tells us:

And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. (NLT)

But more importantly, I enjoy listening to Jesus. He was asked a question regarding government taxes, yet replied with an answer on how to give to God.

“Bring me a denarius and let me look at it.” They brought the coin, and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?”

“Caesar’s,” they replied.

Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”  ~ Mark 12:15-17 (NIV)

What belongs to God? Everything in heaven and on the earth (Psalm 24:1). Specifically, people belong to God. All that being said, John 4:23-24 is the verse I’m hanging my practice on.

Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.”

To get this fully, you have to have an understanding of something else: 1) the Old Testament is a shadow of things to come — it provides physical illustrations and examples; 2)The New Testament is the revelation millennia of generations were waiting for; 3) you need to appreciate and be open to the fruit of the spirit.

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!  ~ Galatians 5:22-23 (NLT)

As long as I walk in His Word and obey His commands, there is no law against me. I tell you truthfully, my life has prospered with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. The more I practice each portion of the fruit of the spirit, the more I increase in this life and in my spirit life.

How do I practice? I practice by loving God first and honoring him by loving his people. I give of myself, my resources, my gifts and my talents. I do what I can for others when asked and when I simply see a need. The more I increase spiritually, the more I am able to sow spiritual fruit into other peoples’ lives. My pet name for this act is spiritual tithing, but the simple scriptural word is give (to present voluntarily and without expecting compensation). That’s what I believe we are intended to do in order to benefit the kingdom. Money doesn’t benefit the Kingdom of God. Money is man-made, it is not a medium of worship. In Romans 12:1, we are told to give our bodies as a living sacrifice as a act of worship to God.

I am not telling you not to give to your church! Again, giving is scriptural. I give financial gifts to my church, I just don’t consider it a tithe. I am simply saying that monetary tithing is not something that increases you in the Kingdom. Ask yourself, “How is the Kingdom increased by my money?” God’s spiritual kingdom, not your physical church.

However, when you love others, share your joy, spread peace, are patient, kind and good the people on the receiving end usually can’t help but to reciprocate. Such behavior starts a chain of sorts. Sooner or later, someone is going to ask you about your faith, your beliefs, the God you serve and the church you attend. At that point you know you may have won a soul for Christ, however the work was done long before you spoke a word, you simply watered and nurtured what was in them. That’s how we benefit the Kingdom – by giving back to God the fruit He has increased our lives with.

Ultimately, however, rather you agree or not, as long as you act according to your beliefs and understanding and do what you do as to God, you remain in right standing with the LORD (Romans 14:1-8). I’m not here to judge your practices; I’m here to share what I’ve learned.

So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.  ~ Galatians 5:1


God’s greatest blessing to us is not money, a house, a car, a job, a spouse or children. God’s greatest gift to his children is the gift of Jesus Christ. You know the verse: He so LOVED us that He GAVE His only Son (John 3:16). God gave of Himself. He continues to give the best of Himself in the form of His Holy Spirit.

But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits (the first of a great harvest) of those who have fallen asleep (died).  ~1 Corinthians 15:20 NKJV

We are God’s crop and Jesus is His Firstfruit. How are you furthering the Kingdom? What’s your crop?

crop –noun

1. the cultivated produce of the ground, while growing or when gathered

2. the yield of such produce for a particular season

3. the yield of some other product in a season

1. Crop, harvest, yield refer to the return in food obtained from land at the end of a season of growth. Crop denotes the amount produced at one cutting or for one particular season. Harvest denotes either the time of reaping and gathering, or the gathering, or that which is gathered. Yield emphasizes what is given by the land in return for expenditure of time and labor.

What are you yielding?

I love the New Living Translation version of the Sower Parable in Luke 8:5-8. Jesus Christ is speaking:

“A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted!” When he had said this, he called out, “Anyone with ears to hear should listen and understand.”

The Disciples asked Jesus what He meant and He told them they were permitted to understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God. Then He explained His parable:

“This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word. The seeds that fell on the footpath represent those who hear the message, only to have the devil come and take it away from their hearts and prevent them from believing and being saved. The seeds on the rocky soil represent those who hear the message and receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they believe for a while, then they fall away when they face temptation. The seeds that fell among the thorns represent those who hear the message, but all too quickly the message is crowded out by the cares and riches and pleasures of this life. And so they never grow into maturity. And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.  ~ Luke 8:11-15, NLT

I accept my commission. I am good, fertile soil that is patiently producing a huge harvest for God. In order for God’s harvest in me to increase, I must multiply what is planted in me. Therefore I too, become a farmer, planting seed (God’s Word) into others (for example, you and others I come in contact with). I’m tithing myself. I’m giving the best of my spirit to others.

What’s your crop? After your season of growth, how are you getting your harvest to market? My way is my writing. When I gave my talent over completely to the service of God’s Kingdom, my life increased and prospered in ways I can’t adequately convey to you. Every time I learn something in this process, I share it with you. I don’t keep it to myself, hide it or bury it. I shine a light on it and offer it to you as a seed to plant in your own life. The most significant offering I can make to God’s Kingdom is giving of myself openly, fully, and honestly. In so doing, I am sharing the Christ in me.

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the saints.  ~ Philemon 1:6-7

May God bless and prosper you in His ways.

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Question: To Forgive or Not to Forgive?

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart—These, O God, You will not despise.  ~ Psalm 51:17

The answer is: forgive. We are clearly instructed to do so. But sometimes with forgiveness, forgiveness isn’t the issue.

Perhaps the transgressors’ nonchalance is the issue. Their lack of care. Their disregard. Sometimes it’s the way a person handles the circumstance requiring forgiveness that is the bigger issue. The way you handle the situation speaks to your character and the value you place on the relationship that’s in need of righting.

You’re forgiven. Know that.

Each party has a role to play in the process of forgiveness. The transgressee needs to make the transgression known. The transgressor needs to acknowledge the transgression and make amends.

“Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector. (Matthew 18:15-17)

We are also called to take corrective action when any of our brothers/sisters are injured by us (Matt. 5:23-24).

  1. Acknowledge the issue
  2. Address the issue
  3. Ask for forgiveness
  4. Make restitution

Afterwards, if the injured party refuses to forgive you, then they have an issue they need to deal with separately. It’s important to note the transgressor must be accountable and take responsibility for words or actions that caused harm (direct or indirect; purposeful or not).

Wouldn’t it be a wonderful world if we all did exactly what we want whenever we want with no consideration for other people’s feelings, well-being or life? Wouldn’t that be great? So what my words or actions harmed you… I was enjoying myself! After all, I’m free in Christ! Who are you to bind me with your issues? Sorry you’re so sensitive and took offense. You should pray on that. Oh… and forgive me. Or better yet, I don’t have to do or say anything to gain your forgiveness. You’ll forgive me because you have to; you’re a Christian.

How did that sound to you? Sounds crappy to me. As in, someone actually crapping on me.

Unfortunately, that “christian” attitude is not uncommon. It’s also not truly Christ-like. The nature and principles of Christianity are based on brotherhood, community, and unity. The most common metaphor is that we are members of the same body – the body of Christ. Perhaps it’s difficult to recognize and interact with one another because we function in different parts of the body. Perhaps, you’re the left big toe and I’m the right ear. We can’t see each other too well or grasp the other’s function, but that doesn’t mean we should treat each other like strangers when our paths cross.

The problem with forcing our “freedom” on others by doing whatever we want with no consideration for our fellow members is that it disrupts the whole unity idea. It tarnishes the brotherhood; breaks down the community and it certainly gives love a bad name. How can you love me when you’re doing things to me you wouldn’t want done to you? How can you call me sister when your actions repeatedly hurt me? How can we be one when you’re double minded?

Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments (John 14:15) and no commandment is greater than these:

“‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

EVERYTHING that has come before and since falls under the directive of love. Love is the critical piece that works with forgiveness (for the transgressee & the transgressor). Love allows patience and provides compassion. Love covers every single sin you can imagine. The whole of God’s law is fulfilled when we practice love as instructed.

Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.

For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!

I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. (Galatians 5:1, 13-18)

Picture this: You’re seated on the subway train and I’m standing over you. My hand is gripping the overhead bar and my shoulder bag is dangling from my arm. As the train rocks and lurches ahead, my bag swings unimpeded from my arm knocking you in the head repeatedly. Now, I apologize after each contact, even though it’s not intentional. But am I really repentant? Or just careless? If I don’t do something to stop my bag from hitting you in the head, saying sorry after each hit isn’t going to do much good. Pretty soon, you’re going to want to hit me back – intentionally. However, if I take corrective action such as step aside or move my bag so it’s not over your head, you are more apt to forgive me and drop the issue. Why? Because I acknowledged the issue, expressed concern for your discomfort and remedied the situation.

Our true freedom comes when we manifest the fruit of the Spirit in our lives. We are told when the fruit is evident, then there is no law against us.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.  And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26, emphasis mine)

So the true questions are: What is love? What is joy? What are peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control?

God is love. Obeying Him brings us joy. Trusting Him gives us peace. Longsuffering is patience; we build and perfect patience through our faithfulness – meaning when we are faithful. Kindness, goodness, and gentleness are a matter of looking after others as God looks after us – shining our light in this world. Ah, and self-control – the big one. In a nutshell, self-control is NOT doing whatever we want to do whenever we want to do it.

Self-control (n.): Control of one’s emotions, desires, or actions by one’s own will (

Self-control is discipline. Discipline is a portion of the fruit of the Spirit. That’s a whopper, isn’t it? Tempted to stop there… but one more thing before I go.

People can forgive you, but their forgiveness does you no good if you don’t stop doing what you’re doing. Stop behaving as you’re behaving. Stop saying what you’re saying. Forgiveness doesn’t heal the relationship, it frees the forgiver from it. Repentance and apology heals the relationship.

I will forgive you seventy times seven times and beyond, as often as it takes, but know that I can forgive you from a distance. I don’t need to subject myself to your nonchalance and lack of regard. Who wants to be hurt? Did you raise your hand? At some point, self-preservation has to kick in. As believers and workers in Christ, we cannot allow the undisciplined to destroy us. Of course, they may not do it on purpose, but the end result is the same. Only a fool will stay in harms’ way when the danger shows no sign of abating.

If my brother/sister in Christ continually neglects to take me into consideration when their words or actions are hurting me, then it’s my responsibility to take my own well-being in hand.

Dear Transgressor: Yes, you are completely forgiven by our Most Gracious and Merciful Heavenly Father. We have been bought at a price. All our sins have been washed away by the same blood. God is appeased with the sacrifice He provided for Himself in Jesus Christ.

That example teaches me that forgiveness is a process that requires commitment and sincerity. Honest effort and sacrifice (stepping out of your comfort zone) is evidence of your desire to make amends. Since we are called to be Christ-like, I must ask, what have you sacrificed to appease those you’ve transgressed against? Do you even know what you’re asking forgiveness for? Have you learned from the situation? If so, how have you changed?