Saturday, October 31, 2009

And When You Have Returned to Me, Strengthen Your Brothers....

I remembered a scripture today that is very close to my heart. In Luke 22:31-32, Jesus tells Peter that the devil has asked for him. Jesus said, "Look, Peter, the devil has asked for you. He wants to sift you out. I've prayed for you, though, so that your faith won't fail. When you've come through this and you come back to me, strengthen your brothers."

I realize that these verses are packed with a lot of beauty and are wealthy in revelation, but the part that I'd like to focus on is the last. Jesus told Peter that it was going to get tough, but he would make it. And after Peter made it, Jesus made this one request: that he strengthen his brothers. This charge is as relevant today as it was when Jesus first spoke the words.

In light of the larger scheme of things, I haven't lived on this earth very long. In my few years, however, I have experienced much. I know that this notion is relative, but I stand by it. I give God a pure and confident praise because He has seen me through many things. But my praise cannot be the end of the matter. After I've come through, I must turn around and pull someone else through the same dark tunnel. After I've stumbled through to the other side without much of a path before me, I must bring others across the path that my feet have just created.

I think that this is a responsibilty of every Christian. You see, God's kingdom isn't about the individual. We are a family. And in our family, we uphold eachother; we help eachother reach the required mark.

Your experiences -whether good or bad- are a gift that can be used to glorify our Father. Whatever you're going through, when you come out -and you will because you're more that a conqueror- you have to make sure to strengthen your brothers. You're not a victim when you have Christ. You can never be, because He's gone before us and He's won a mighty victory. Don't play the part of a victim. The things you've been through can be turned around to expand God's kingdom. What the enemy meant for evil, God can turn to good.

This is my prayer: that we, the body of Christ, will uphold and support one another. And that we will have a heart to search for our lost brothers and sisters. That every experience that we live through will be used toward winning an eternal victory.

Strengthen your brethren.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009


We live in a world filled with hatred and such
In times when men are looking for a truth
In search for the things that can fade
With a mere touch
We're walking in darkness
Stumbling through a sea of devastation
As strong waves attempt to force us into a box
That has been framed by law and legislation
But this is our cry
For now and forever
Nothing can keep us silent
Not now. Not ever.
Will will sever
Our ties to this world
In it but not of it
No longer do we love it but we seek after the things
That make Your heart glad
We see darkness all around us
But we are the light
Surrounded by witnesses
We don't retreat in this fight
But we push for what is right
For what's good in Your sight
For those things that You desire
Living justly
Loving mercy
Walking humbly
This is what You require
So this is what we do
While shouting praise to You...
We live in a world filled with hatred and such
But in these times, men will turn to the Truth
Panting after You....

Monday, October 19, 2009

Remember Where You Come From...

When I was growing up there were many times when -upon my leaving the house- my mother would say, "Remember whose child you are." She would say this so that when I ventured out into the big bad world, I would uphold the honor of my family name. It was a very wise and important admonition.

Today when I was reading Hebrews 10, I was reminded of the charge that my mother gave me. In verse 39, the Bible says:

But we are not of those who draw back unto perdition, but of those who believe, to the saving of the soul.

Here, Paul reminds us that we aren't from the family of people that retreat. We don't fall back in the face of adversity. We don't fear. Instead, we have faith. We press on with strength and joy. We move forward without fainting from the heat.

I guess I just wanted to remind myself and to remind someone else of this: we come from strong, beautiful and healthy stock. We are children of God. We have all that we need that pertains to life and Godliness. We have been called to glory and virtue. We are in this world, but we are definitely not of this world. We have to stand tall and uphold the honor of our family name.

The draft cards are in.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Pay It Forward...

I've always been a bit too generous; Giving out the clothes right off my back. This time though, there is no amount of generosity that could be too much. I have to share this love I've found in Jesus.

I've entitled this post "Pay It Forward..." because I don't think there is a need for me to tell Jesus about His own unending love. There are, however, hurting people to share this love with. There are lonely people who need to find the friendship that I've found in the Holy Spirit. There are fearful people who need my God's perfect love. There are people who need Jesus.

We've got to do more talking. We've got to do more sharing. We can't wait for the proverbial "somebody else" to do it. People need Jesus. I'm so emphatic about this because I remember how much I needed Jesus. I know the sweet sweet relief I've felt ever since He took hold of my heart.
So now whenever I see someone crying I ask Jesus to be everything to them. When I see someone in a heavy situation I ask Jesus to take the burden away. When I get a chance I tell people how much Jesus loves them I don't hold back.

There is no Christian that is exempt from the call to reconcile people to Christ. It's time for us to pay it forward. When we were children everyone told us how good it is to share. We would share, albeit a bit reluctantly, but we would do it every time because we wanted to do what was "good." There's no better time to share than now and there's no greater gift to share than the love of Christ.

"Hi...I don't want to take up too much of your time, but I have some amazing news..."

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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Looking for More...

I'm reading Hosea 6:3...over and over...listening to what the Word teaches.

This verse is so beautiful to me. It promises that if we pursue the knowledge of the Lord...if we press on to know Him, that He will surely come to us. The Word here says that He will pour out on us like the rain. What's interesting to me is that it doesn't say that He'll come only to the righteous and the doesn't say that He'll only come to the sanctified and set apart. The Word says that He will come to us just like the latter and former rain fall to the earth.

Have you ever been in a rain storm that fell on your neighbor's house and not your own? Have you ever experienced a spring rain that only watered one neighbor's garden and not the other? I haven't. The Bible says the the Lord will come just as the rain comes to the earth. He will pour out Himself on us all. Who would be able to stand in the presence of our Almighty God?

I hope that in seeking God, my pursuit of Him will cause a rumbling in the heavens that will cause Him to rain His kingdom down on my entire generation. Not just in churches and in Christian homes, but everywhere; so that all people will see His glory. May the righteous pursuit of an awesome God by the people He loves passionately and unconditionally cause a great revival.

I encourage you to seek God. I pray that the more you know Him, the more you'll want to know Him. And I pray that the desperate chasing of God by those who've been called to His purpose will spark a mighty outpouring of His presence.

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Saturday, October 10, 2009



You're in a large arena excited about a night full of music and celebration. The announcer for the night has left the stage and in comes the first artist: a petite young woman with unique style and an amazing presence about her. She sits at a piano. She begins to play and the room fall completely silent. When she starts singing, jaws drop to the floor. You, my good friend, have just had your first experience of a live performance by the incomparable Leah Smith.

Leah Smith is a 20 year old singer/songwriter and musician who hails from North Philidelphia. Her flawless vocal stylings and classically trained musicianship work together to bring encouragement and wisdom to people that have the priviledge of listening to her music. From upbeat tracks like "Monster" to the thoughtful and relatable "Beautifully Made," Leah relays an amazing message to her listeners. When I spoke with her to learn more about this message, Leah said that through her music she wants to be able to represent Jesus in a mainstream setting. "I'm trying to reach an un-churched demographic," she says, " I want to live, perform and write in a way that will draw people to Jesus because of the marked difference in the music. The music represents hope and love to people who don't know Him."
Leah's soon to be released EP tells a story and each song has its own unique message. "I want people to listen to this album and say, 'There's hope for me. I'm not a mistake.'"

The EP, aptly entitled "Beautifully Made," will be released on 10/20/2009. You'll want to be close to a computer on that day, as the EP will be released online. After you've purchased it, set your music player of choice to "repeat all" and enjoy.
Find out more about Leah Smith at

Friday, October 9, 2009

The Cost of Freedom...

I've been thinking about this freedom I have in Jesus. I know what it feels like to be held back by thoughts that consume you. I know what it feels like to think that you're alone and that no one cares. I've been there. But with Jesus, I don't have to feel that way anymore. I'm free. I've found freedom in knowing that He'll never leave me. I've found freedom in His love. This freedom is given to me without cost, but that doesn't mean it didn't have a price.

When I think of what it cost Jesus to set me free; when I think of what God gave up so that I could be reconciled with Him...I can't help but to say, "Thank You." I realize that Jesus wasn't the one that sinned and got me into this mess that I call flesh. I realize that He's blameless and pure. I realize that He would have been justified if He decided not to come and rescue me. But my King- this Jesus- did not leave me in the place that I was. He gave all that He had, so that I can share in all that He has. His life for mine.

So here's the thing and this is my prayer: that we will never ever forget exactly what it cost Jesus so that we could be free from condemnation. He took the blame, the beatings, the ridicule and the shame. He did all that for us because He loves us so dearly. It cost Jesus everything to set us free; what are we willing to give in return?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Hold On To Your Freedom...

I think sometimes our human nature gets us caught up in a lot of things that aren't good for us. It could be anything from nail-biting to drug abuse. What is it about these things that keeps us coming back, even though we know we are better off without them? I'm so grateful for Jesus and for the freedom that I've found in Him. There's freedom from doubt and freedom from fear. But even these things can slither their way back into our lives and into our minds.

Galatians 5:1 says:

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

I love the first sentence in this verse. It states the obvious. Unfortunately, we seem to forget this blatant reality. We've entered into the freedom of Jesus so that we can be free. Why do we let ourselves get caught up in so many things that have nothing to do with that freedom. Why do we get attached to the things that don't matter?

I've been asking myself these questions a lot lately. And I've been encouraging myself with this scripture and with the admonition that it includes. Stand firm, Bona. Don't waver, Bona. Resist the burden, Bona.

People, we have got to learn to be feisty when it comes to protecting the freedom we received when we said yes to Jesus. Don't let anything or anyone steal it from you. Guard your freedom from sin; guard it from the opinions of people. Guard it with the passion and zeal that you have for Jesus. We don't live in a perfect world. Many of its atrocities are inexplicable. Many of its notions are unsure. But one thing that you can hold on to is the fact that Jesus WILL NOT CHANGE. There's freedom in that truth. Keep that freedom. Guard it.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Closer Than You Think...

I'm under the impression that a lot of people see Jesus as this far off God. They think He's not relatable and they think He's not interested. Well, I can tell you from first hand experience that this notion is untrue. Our God cares and He sees and He knows. If it seems like He's far away, try taking a step toward Him. You'll find out that He's a lot closer than you thought.

In Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV), the Bible says:

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

This verse is so special to me. It renews my passion to seek a God that is desperately willing to be found by a people that He loves dearly. Proverbs 25:2 says:

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.

As children of God we have to understand that WE ARE ROYALTY. If God is the King of kings, who do you think those kings are? The Bible says that it is the glory of kings to search out a matter. When we've searched for an Almighty God -running hard after His presence and seeking His face- we are building our character. We're growing. We're becoming more like Him. What greater glory is there for a Christian than to be like Christ?

The Holy Spirit isn't far away, watching and waiting to judge. Our God is here with us. He's an ever-present help. He cares and He loves us with an everlasting love. If we press on to know Him, He will come to us just as surely as the sun will rise.

Never doubt that God loves you and that He is near. Understand this: Yes, He loves everyone, but most importantly...He loves YOU. He loves all YOUR quirks and YOUR every nuance. He wants a relationship with YOU. He's not far away. Go to Him. Take His hand. Begin this eternal journey and don't look back.

Friday, October 2, 2009

If I let go of what's in my hand
Will You take it and make it Yours?
Will You mold it into a vessel of gold?
It's not mine, it is Yours, oh Lord

If I decide to give my all
Will You take my life in Your hands?
Will You light my path and guide my steps?
Give me favor with God and man

Made for Your pleasure
Given to Your plans
Your love beyond measure
Has caused me to stand