Powerful message….

Before I get into this post, I have to give major props to God for the ministry that he is doing through the P4CM lyricist lounge and the poets who grace the stage every year. One of these days, Lord willing, I would love to make the trip out to California and watch it go down live. While all of the poets are excellent in their own right, I have to say that Karness, who made his debut at last year’s Lyricist Lounge, is a favorite of mine. I watched videos of him reciting some of his other pieces on Youtube, and I’ll add a link so you can check those out as well. What I enjoy about him in particular is his ability to take a seemingly typical or cliche topic and engage it from several unique angles. For instance, last year, he took the topic of Christian hypocrisy and presented it in a powerful yet broad manner that left no believer out of dodge. That piece was extremely moving, and this one definitely follows suit. Like his poem last year, “The Biggest Loser” digs deeply into a common issue that believers face daily–this time, it’s gluttony. While gluttony is prevalent throughout the world and in the church, discussions about it are often light-hearted to the point that they’re ineffective. But what a lot people don’t realize is that, not only does gluttony destroy the body, but the spirit of greed that’s behind it can contribute to many other sins/problems in ones life. Therefore, it’s important that we not only tackle gluttony, but that we also tackle it’s underlying source. While Karness’ poem started out by approaching the subject humorously, he quickly turned the tables by helping us to see the darker side of it. Gluttony is not a light-hearted issue. If we don’t deal with it aggressively, it can destroy us; and it’s already taken out many. This poem had a captivating message, so I hope you’ll take the time to watch , listen and reflect. Let’s tackle this often overlooked issue together, body of Christ, by making smarter food choices and learning when to stop. God bless!

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A Letter from the Past to the Guardians of Our Future

Dear Parents/Guardians/Leaders/Mentors/Teachers,

I’m writing this letter to you because I am deeply concerned for the safety of your children. Often times, we (adults) want to paint a perfect picture of the world for our little ones to protect them. We don’t want them to grow up too quickly and learn just how dark the world really is. To a certain extent, this practice of guarding our children is understandable and commendable. However, we have to be careful that we aren’t making them feel isolated and vulnerable in the process.

While we might be committed to protecting our children from darkness, there are a lot of people out there who wish to expose them to it. Perhaps they’re bitter about the shortcomings of their own parents or guardians and, therefore, take their frustration out on the next generation. Whatever the case, these vicious monsters, under the guidance of the enemy, often disguise themselves as lovers of children. Very rarely are pedophiles uncomfortable around kids, unless they’re in an active struggle against their perversion. These people will lavish your children with attention, compliments on how pretty or handsome they look, and “love taps”. They’ll also be sure to put on a show of appropriateness in your presence. This is nothing more than an effort to entice and seduce your children, swirling the apple in their faces, so to speak. But you should know that they are waiting for you to walk to the far end of the garden before they offer your children a bite. And if you don’t remain aware and vigilant, the enemy will have his way with them.

In no way am I attempting to diss God’s parenting skills, because He allowed the fall to happen for a specific reason —to bring glory to His name by demonstrating his salvation, love, and power.  Not to mention, because He’s omnipresent, he watched the whole thing go down. Up to that point, man saw the world as a perfect and innocent place. They had every tree in the garden at their disposal, except for one—the tree of knowledge of good and evil. You see, God warned Adam and Eve what would happen to them if they ate the fruit from that tree; he also showed them the tree while warning them, so they’d know to stay far away when they saw it. How many of us have shown our children the tree of knowledge of good and evil? How many of us have warned them what could happen as a result of eating its fruits? The truth is that, unlike God, we aren’t omnipresent; we cannot be with our kids every minute of everyday. But have we prepared them for those moments when we’re away? Have we effectively warned them?

Unlike Adam and Eve, the Father knew that the enemy was lurking and seeking to destroy his innocent, lovely creation. Not only did he warn them what would happen, but he also orchestrated a plan for their salvation. Therefore, adults, let’s not pretend that sick people don’t exist in this world. Warning your child about the enemy’s schemes does not destroy their innocence. It’s better for them to hear the full truth from you than to hear the distorted truth from a predator. Whatever your child chooses to do with that information is up to them, but be sure to equip them with a choice. Don’t leave them high and dry with no information on what to expect and how to respond when the enemy approaches. Arm them with truth, love, and direction. And incase they make the wrong choices, provide them an environment to discuss their choices with you.

If you don’t take anything else from this letter, take away the fact that predators are often wolves in sheep’s clothing. Even your children will be able to tell when someone is treating them in a manner that is uncommon and inappropriate. Watch how they react to the mention or presence of certain people. Don’t leave your child alone with anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable or who messes around with them a lot. Also, don’t leave them with people who seem more eager to be around your kids than you are eager to have them around. God has given us intuition for a reason; don’t ignore it. Furthermore, find a way to have a conversation with your kids about potential predators. Perhaps, use the story of Adam and Eve or some other story they’re familiar with to introduce the subject. To keep the conversation light, use the villainous characters in a metaphorical way. Warn them about which attributes they should look out for in these characters. All I’m saying is find a way to have this very serious conversation with your kids, then have it.

Kids are too precious and their lives are too important for us to send them out into the world unprotected. Would you leave your house or car door unlocked? How much more valuable are your children? Woe to me if I protect replaceable, material items more than I protect the life of an innocence child.  Don’t get it twisted; just because I focused specifically on sexual predators, doesn’t mean there aren’t other types of predators seeking to destroy your children. Anyone who would cuss, smoke, drink, and engage in foul activity around your child should also be considered a predator. If you do these things around your child, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way, but YOU are the predator. The bible says to train children up in the way that they should go, and by implication, that would be the narrow road laid out my Christ. So if you’re leading them down the broad road by your words, actions, or neglect, you are leading them to destruction. Don’t think that, if hypocritical and irresponsible leaders have to answer to God for their actions, that you won’t have to answer for how you raise your children.  Jesus said it best: “If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea” (Matt 18:1-6). That applies to parents too.

You might be saying to yourself, “Who are you to speak on this subject? Do you even have children?”.  No, I don’t have any kids; but I have 4 nieces and 4 nephews who I would die for. Also, like everyone reading this, I was once a kid myself. I remember how I was exposed to certain things and who exposed me to them. Some of those things still haunt me in my adulthood. I know too well the dangers of not protecting your children from certain things, or at least, giving them a proper warning. I love my parents dearly, and they didn’t do a bad job at raising me; but there are some things they didn’t prepare me for that I wish they had. I know some subjects can be awkward for you and your children to talk about, but I can guarantee that having the conversation about those matters post-exposure is far more awkward. Cherish their innocent years and steward them well. Even if your children never express a word of gratitude for those “awkward conversations”, most of them will be sure to thank you with the way they lead their lives. And in case that isn’t gratifying to you, heed the words of our Savior and our brother: “do everything as unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23-24) and “our God who sees what you do in private will reward you publicly” (Matt 6:4-6). God Bless and God speed!

Sincerely,

LBJ ♥

Laugh to Keep from Crying?

“Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep.”

Luke 6:25

I have often told others that what helps me get through tough situations is finding one detail about my circumstance to laugh at. In the end, this always helps me to feel better about whatever I’m going through; after all, they do say that laughter is the best medicine. However, if you aren’t careful about how you apply this remedy, like all other medicines, it could be dangerous. There are some things you should never be able to joke about, especially when you understand the severity of them. One of those things is the prospect of going to hell.

I often hear unbelievers, and believers too, joking about going to hell for doing or saying something inappropriate. I used to be one of those people. To downplay the blatant sinfulness of my actions, I turned them into comedic material. At the root of my humor, however, was an unrepentant heart; and when I finally was able to see this reality, it hit me like a ton of bricks. Anyone who has experienced godly grief can tell you – it doesn’t feel good while it’s happening, but it makes you a better person in the end. In order to grow and mature as believers (sanctification), we have to go through cycles of discipline and grief. This is why Jesus often used the metaphor of sifting wheat to describe this process. It isn’t comfortable, but it is necessary to become everything that God has called us to be as his children. So in other words, if all you do is crack jokes at experiences that should convict you, how could you possibly be growing?

When I reflect on all the believers I know who are constant jokers, I notice that a lot of them have an appearance of spiritual maturity. This is especially true of people who might have grown up in the church their whole lives. These people have no problem with joking all the time, sometimes inappropriately, because they know that they can beat you in a game of bible trivia. Spend enough time around them, however, and you’ll come to see just how immature they really are. Problems that they shouldn’t still be having as “mature believers” are significant players in their everyday lives. If you have experienced harsh reproach for correcting one of these people, don’t let that intimidate you. Stand firm on the message and convictions that God has placed in your heart; because if they are in fact from the Lord, these convictions should line up with correct interpretation of scripture. Even though they might combat everything you tell them with a plethora of bible verses that they’ve memorized, I can guarantee that a lot of those scriptures will be quoted devoid of proper context and meaning. Any heathen can memorize a bible verse, but without the power of Christ working in their lives, they will never demonstrate a true biblical lifestyle.

For all the jokesters out there, I get it. I was once you, so I can speak directly to you. I know the whole technique of hiding behind jokes and saying outlandish things (that are actually serious) knowing that people will laugh them off. You might be fooling everyone around you, but you will never be able to fool God. What does your life look like after the laughter stops? Who do you become once you get backstage? If that person is not actively pursuing the attributes of Christ, that person and your comedic persona might spend an eternity in hell. If you don’t repent (as in change your mind and your actions) now, you might never have another chance to do so. Don’t live in fear of the judgment of others, when God, who is the ultimate judge, holds the keys and the guest list to hell. There’s a way that seems right (or humorous) to a man, but it is neither right nor humorous to God. If you continue down the path of unrighteousness, you might be laughing now, but you’ll be crying later. So it’s up to you, turn or burn.

“Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, to the only wise God, our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.” Jude 1:25

♥ LBJ

JGivens – #keepPraying4 @lecrae (OVERDOSE SPIT)

Don’t sleep on this guy! He’s a humble cat with a lot of God-given talent and a strong passion for kingdom building. I have been both inspired and convicted by his approach to ministry and music. I admire his resilience and look forward to seeing more great things from him in the future. Be sure to go follow him on Twitter, @PRAY4JGivens,  and download his new single “Wake Up” as well as his latest mixtape, #keeppraying4 @kanyewest, from his website http://www.jgivens.com . God bless and enjoy!

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