Sunday, June 15, 2008

Week in Review

Destined For Greatness
(Preached at Langley Avenue Church of God on 2/17/08)

We ended last week with David handling the negative from others. We pick up this week with how you can handle the negative:

So if you can sing, do math, whatever it is, give it to God and watch him take what looks useless and make it into giant killers. Not only will you have victory over the Goliath situations, but you encourage those that see you to go forward in the battle to win as well. I had people tell me I couldn’t be anything. I was told I would be nothing but a statistic. I would be a girl on welfare with a bunch of babies with nothing to offer. But God said, “NO. You will not be a statistic because I have you destined for greatness”. Sometimes you have to tell the naysayers in your life, if you don’t have anything good to say, please be quiet and stop talking to me. My rocks are not useless they are giant killers. So people of God, let us stop looking on the outside and seek to see what God sees, the heart.

Let’s stop looking at the negative and start to seeing the positive. If we have a child that doesn’t come to Sunday school often, let us not jump on them for only being there for 15 minutes or for only coming once a month, lets give them the best 15 minutes they can get and drench that seed in them. Let’s stop jumping on our youth because they don’t look like we think. “OH what a sin before God” Well if what they look like is a sin before God let’s pray for them, and then when we see them tell them, I am so happy to see you. I miss you when you aren’t here. I’m glad your doing well in school. I love your smile. I’m praying for you. and the praises goes on and on. You know what happens? We invest so much in that young person, they will want to come back to us because they have found love and acceptance and not rejection and ridicule. Guess what then happens, you can tell them things that may help them grow and change. You can’t do it until you have established a relationship with them first.

I had a friend’s mother when I was young that would allow me to come and talk to her no matter how long I needed to talk. She didn’t tell me my shorts were too short, and they were. She didn’t tell me all the negative things about me (because there were some), instead she talked about the good things. If I needed 10 minutes or 2 hours, she gave it to me. Her name is Barbara Ellis and she invested in me. Do you know that investment in me saved me at times? When my stepfather thought it was his job to ridicule me daily I would replay the messages she gave over and over again in my head.

Do you know because she invested in me I didn’t have to become another negative statistic? Church do you know when we ridicule our young people we are grooming them to become a statistic? So when we wag our tongues about how bad they are or how lazy they are or some other complaint we can come up with, be assured you are adding to the negative numbers.
Young people, God wants you to find assurance in what you can become in him. It is your choice, you can decide to accept his calling for you and allow his Spirit to direct you even now, or you can reject it and choose to become just another statistic. You can know with assurance that God ‘s purpose in you will be fulfilled if you give yourself to him. God does not invest himself in anything or anyone he does not plan to complete. So you can stand boldly when some come and say the negative things. Even if those words hurt, you can do like David and determine in your heart to continue to go forward. David didn’t stop short of becoming the king he was anointed to be, don’t stop short of reaching your place of purpose, the place God destined you to fulfill. Now I want you to understand David was not anointed king one day and then became king the next. He had to go through some bitter times before that thing was fulfilled. Yet, I believe in those bitter times he was able to remember the calling on his life and to continue to move toward that goal.

Week in Review

Invest in Your Marriage and Reap the Benefits
Marriage & family, God’s Plan

1. The first step in investing in our marriage is to seek our happiness and joy from the right source.

2. The second step in investing in our marriage is seeking our roles through God.

3. The third step is having a forgiving heart.

4. The fourth step is making marriage a priority.

Often times marriages find themselves in times of trouble because of the lack of care that was invested in the marriage. It does not hit you quickly but if you are so busy with other things, the lack of investment in ones marriage can slowly creep up on you and you can find yourself going in different directions. When you final pay attention, it is sometimes past repair (not in God's eyes but in our own).

As mothers, we often focus on the children, house, work and a list of other task and chores. All of these things are important and need our attention. However, so does the investment into our marriage. Our husbands were here before the children, and all the other task. If we do not continue to invest in the marriage when the children are gone we will find ourselves married to a stranger if the marriage hasn't completely dissolved before then.

Men, before the pursuit of careers, business ventures, hobbies, and other things, there was your wife. If you allow other things to take first place in your life, how do you expect your wife to feel loved when she is always standing next in line behind something else?

This is why the word of God instructs us about some important roles. Husband are to love their wives. This love is shown by placing her before all the other pursuits in your life. This is why the word tells us to respect our husbands. How do we expect our husbands to feel loved if we never have a place for them and our complaints are always about what he is doing wrong and how he isn't meeting our needs?

That is why we have to go back to the first point, finding our happiness and joy in God. Once we find our joy in God then we can focus on being the best we can be in our marriage. I can be the best wife and pray to God when my husband isn't being the best husband and vice verse.
You must make it up in your mind that you will invest in your marriage. If you want your checking account to grow, you cannot not neglect it and expect it by some act of God to grow. You didn't put anything in! It is the same with marriage. You must invest time, effort, prayer, care, love and a listening and forgiving ear and heart. When you invest these things into your marriage, you will be able to see the result of your investment. I know the hardest time to believe this is when you are the only one investing in the marriage.

What if your spouse isn't investing, but you are? That is where your prayers come into play. You can go to God and ask him to correct what is wrong. You can go and ask him to because you are being faithful and God says he is faithful to the faithful. You can trust that God will help you through those difficult times in your marriage. Come back next week and let's continue to talk about investing in your marriage. How do you keep hope alive and continue to invest, when it seems one sided?
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