God Has A Sweet Tooth…I mean, A Discerning Nose

“All I Want For Christmas Is More And More Of You, Lord”

Legend has it (according to Google) that in 1670 a choirmaster named Mr. Schildhaus, who conducted young singers at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany decided to entice them to remain quiet during the Living Creche ceremony (dialogue only, no singing) by awarding them with a stick of homemade sugar candy. On a whim, and in honor of the occasion, he bent the candies into shepherds’ crooks. To learn how the crooked candy cane gets filled with a peppermint stripe, click the website below, next click the peppermint picture, then watch the 2 minute Youtube video.



Well, I had a short conversation with the Holy Spirit and He revealed to me that human beings are not the only ones who use a cane for correction and sweet morsels to pacify. He reminded me of something God set in order before the beginning of time.

For it is written in Exodus 30:23 (RS Version) the manner in which the Israelites should atone for their sins against God. The statute explains how the Israelites were to take their finest spices and perfumes (including cane) and mix them with olive oil and anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them so that they might serve God as his priests. God himself refers back to this particular form of atonement when he reprimands his people Israel when they were unfaithful:

“You have not brought me your sheep for burnt offerings, or honored me with your sacrifices. I have not burdened you with offerings, or wearied you with frankincense. You have not bought the sweet cane with money, or satisfied me with the fat of your sacrifices. But you have burdened me with your sins. You have wearied me with your iniquities.” Isaiah 43:23-24 Revised Standard Version

So, during this Yuletide Season, let us all remember how closely connected our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, is aligned to the Evergreen tree (they nailed Him to a tree); to the newly born (the manner in which He entered the world and the state we must become (as a little child) to receive all of His glorious wonders); the elaborate gifts (we were bought with a price); His journey into Egypt (our life of darkness prior to seeing the light); His journey out of Egypt and baptism into His ministry; our journey out of darkness and baptism by the gift of the Holy Spirit readying us for discipleship; and finally the sweet aroma of the cane preferred by God as an atonement for disobedience; and our penchant for the taste of sweet peppermint to remind us that Jesus is the reason for the season.


Finally, my friends, my prayer for you today is that you all rediscover Christmas anew. When you dress up in your ugly Christmas sweaters, be reminded to unravel the ugliness that is harbored deep down in your souls. Also, when you wrap those Christmas gifts to send to loved ones, remember to also wrap hope in sunshine and allow your message to penetrate somebody’s dark cloud of despair. And last but not least, when in that shopping check-out line, look backwards into the basket behind you, lift out an item and ask if you can be a blessing today with God’s goodness (even if it means you putting something of yours back on the shelf). Become a candy cane with a sweet aroma and a sweet taste in the mouth of someone to lift the spirits of a total stranger. Amen!

Scripture Lesson: Isaiah 9:6

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.wordpress.com every Friday for a new post from The Master’s servant manager…Me!

(What ?) God Is Leaving You

Finding Solitude and Privately Communing With God

May I ask you 4 questions…no, maybe 5? 

Are you in communication with God on a regular basis?  In your relationship with him, has he promised you certain experiences by his might and all-performing hand?  Has God communicated to you that he will rescue you or a loved one from the jaws of the adversary?  If so, please remember this if all of his promises have not yet been fulfilled:

“I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.  I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to the land.” 
Genesis 28:15

And another thing…

During this virus pandemic that noted scientist have cloned Covid-19, if it has run amuck throughout your family and friends both near and afar, hold on to this promise, too:

“I will not leave you as orphans.  I will come to you.” 
John 14:18

There is more…

Do you find yourself on the receiving end of charity and asking creditors for concessions or lenience during your financial crises?  Are landlords and or financial institutions threatening legal action against you; especially now that you are without employment?  There is no consideration given you even though you have always paid your bills on time.  No compassion given that you have made it a habit to share your lot with the less fortunate all your life!  Well, be reassured that God knows all, and he says:

The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives; but the Lord will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial.” 
Psalm 37:32

  God sure ‘nuf sees this next plea…

Have you been down on your knees since February 2020, bombarding heaven’s throne; partitioning God to make it plain about lessons his people have failed to realize?  Have you searched the scriptures for comfort and direction and come away wanting?  Have you done everything, including standing in front of your mirror and pointing your extended thumb on your fisted hand backwards?  My comforting words to you are just this; hold on to God’s unchanging hand and remember what he says:

“I am leaving you with a gift of peace of mind and heart.  And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give.  So, don’t be troubled or afraid.” 
John 14:27

Last question…

Do you believe that your life has a goal?  If so, can you identify your goal?  Have you declared “Yes” to your goal?  Especially if your goal is a spiritual one.  Now comes the hard part!  Do you know how to bring your goal to fruition?  Listen prayerfully to the lyrics of the song below: than read the scripture below:

“Let your manner of living be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have.  For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”; 
Hebrews 13:5

Scripture Lesson: For strength, please memorize all scriptures given in this blog.

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.wordpress.com every Friday for a new post from The Master’s servant manager…Me!

God Desires For You To Keep Your Covenant Vows

god's covenant with abraham and noah
God’s fingerprint…sealing his covenant promises. What does your signature look like?

About 25 years ago, I was asked by the leadership of my church to prepare an assessment tool that members of various outreach programs could use to see if their volunteer services were truly adding value to the ministries that they had committed to support.

The problem the clergy was having was that most of his flock were bench warmers and members whose life-style-fate would end up being like those animals in the children’s fairy tale entitled “The Little Red Hen”.  If you have forgotten this rich life-lesson, just click the website below to refresh your memory.

So, after prayerfully considering my Pastor’s request, I immediately went to work devising a handbook to be presented at a Saturday Workshop for all church volunteers assigned to various organizations that they had chosen to support.

Needless to say, as I sat at my computer this week and thumbed through my files, searching for a subject to blog about, I came across my finished project compiled more than a quarter of a century ago, entitled “Self-Assessment/Covenant Booklet”, and sub-titled (A Self-Evaluation on How to Keep Your Covenant Vows Before God).

The Holy Scriptures reveals to us that God instituted this ‘covenant’ business shortly after he designed the Garden of Eden, formed man and gave him instructions, and deluged the world with the Flood. And to this day, God has not allowed one word to depart from his promises.

Conversely, many Christians made vows (and made confessions of faith) to God shortly after receiving an invitation extended to them by the Holy Spirit. They joined a house of prayer and also made commitments to receive nurturing, abide by certain doctrines, act in the capacity of disciples, and contribute to the well being of widows and orphans.


Listed below are 6 categories of Church Membership Disciplines that you can measure your participation by. Score each category from 1 to 10 as it pertains to your involvement as a member of the army of the Lord’s. A perfect score would be 60 pints. Anything less than that…well, you decide.

1. Participation in personal growth and development.
2. Participation at church activities/meetings.
3. Participation in Worship Services (or Zoom).
4. Participation with other church members.
5. Participation in the Church’s outreach ministries.
6. Financially support the church ministries/budget.

(Choose one frequency and corresponding point for each topic. Add your score plus any bonus points.)

Regularly = 10 points
Sometimes = 7 points
Seldom = 3 points
Never = 0 points

BONUS POINTS: Ask yourself this question: “What did you do to change
the world today? Or, to lead someone to Christ today?
You decide the number of Bonus Points you want to award yourself.

god's covenant with abraham
God is look for your honest answers, your score and your signature.

A word to the wise…do everything as though you are doing it for God and because it is written and sanctioned by his Son, Jesus Christ.

Scripture Lesson: “So when you talk to God and vow to him that you will do something, don’t delay in doing it, for God has no pleasure in fools. Keep your promise to him. It is far better not to say you’ll do something than to say you will and then not do it. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.wordpress.com every Friday for a new post from The Master’s servant manager…Me!

God Wants You To Thrive Not Just To Survive

Covid-19….Hear me now! You wont succeed. We will survive!

There is no doubt about it!  Living with COVID-19 for the past 9 months has caused all of us to live life at a new level.  For one thing, it has deepened our reasoning and understanding of the word survival.  Once upon a time, you may have defined this word as ‘out living’ someone.  Or perhaps you internalized a definition that embraced the thought of ‘escaping’ from a dire situation and rebounding while standing on both feet.

Well, during this world-wide pandemic, that has invaded the United States for soon to be 256 days(*), ‘survival’ has taken on a whole new meaning.  We have been forced to carry-on in spite of hardships, traumas, financial stresses, the loss of family members and friends, just to name a few.  Our resilience has been remarkable for many of us.  But for others, ‘Life for them ain’t been no crystal stair’(**).

The key to being able to ‘thrive‘ while going through the pains of survival is to deal with confidence those things that contribute to the situation. You cannot bury your head in the sand, or pretend that the conditions are a hoax or that no preventative measures need to be instituted. According to Google, a new statistical Pew study tells us that nearly 30% of the USA population are in this frame of mind.

Should Your Dog Have Sofa Privileges? | PEDIGREE®
I‘ll think about it tomorrow. Where’s my remote and bone?

For believers in Jesus Christ, scripture reveals that in most cases, man’s ability to thrive in the Lord is not an external enemy (in this case Covid-19). Nor is it a struggle against our fellowman, or against world leaders, or among domestic rulers, or in the spiritual atmosphere! God has divinely suggested that in order to ward off our enemy we must put on his full armor, so that we may be able to stand our ground (both feet) against life’s threatening temptations from within that lead to (spiritual) death. God does not want us to physically be ‘just barely surviving‘. He wants us to be ‘conquering soldiers‘ with the shield of faith…peaceably thriving against the flaming arrows of destruction. In other words, check out your own character traits! What are you striving for? For whom are you striving to honor and please? YOU, ALONE, MAY BE YOUR WORST ENEMY!!

Poetically…My Own Personal Reckoning in Character building

Mr. Character, your life is an open book. It’s an interesting book extended to all those who care to read it. There is no discrimination; from the smallest child to the oldest human being alive you have a message.

Thus, Mr. Character, I salute you for those unselfish efforts you have attempted to perform in the lives of others. You know, you are really like a mirror…that is, you reflect in every mood. Every experience you encounter is automatically revealed.

For those who can’t read, there are pictures or shall I say reflections that one can pattern after as he or she molds their way of life in this trying world.  For the more advanced reader there is a plot to follow which oftentimes may have you bickering with yourself and causing you to put it aside as if it was philosophy.

Thus, in everyone’s library this book is essential. It is a must to take an interest in Character.  It is a compelling obligation that we must encounter if we are to advance and know truth and enjoy the better things of life.

Conversely, the characteristics one displays depend upon oneself.  The expressions one wears will disclose their disposition.  The moods they dress in will uncover their personality.  The words they send out will reflect their intelligence indicate their knowledge of divine reasoning.

Come unto me, Mr. Character is calling, and I will mold for you the sweetest disposition known.  Come unto me, He beseeches you, and I will shine for you the brightest star of personality.  Come unto me, He is beckoning, and I will give you an understanding and peace of mind. 

I will give you advice…such as pick your friends, but not to death.  Remember to laugh with others, but not at them.  Work with initiative, but not against it. Never put off until tomorrow those things you can do today.

This remarkable Book can be yours for only a glance.  Mr. Character is a reflection in your nearest mirror.  Look it over.  The character you see just might be YOU!
(Written by Sonja F.)Mr. Character pic.jpg Scripture reference: 2 Cor. 3:18  “But we all, with unveiled face [not looking through a glass darkly], beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed [into servant managers] into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, [Who also gives us] the Spirit.”

Scripture Lesson: Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”

Notes:  (*)  March 1 thru November 12, 2020   (**) A line borrowed from Langston Hughes’ poem, “Mother To Son”

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.wordpress.com every Friday for a new post from The Master’s servant manager…Me!

God Wants You To Yield To Truth; Not To Temptation

Heavenly Vision of Tears

The moment the Holy Spirit gave me my title for this week’s blog, He also put a song in my heart.  Little did I know that the song, entitled “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”, was also known as The Heavenly Vision.  The hymn, which was inspired by Isabella Lilias Trotter, a missionary, was actually written by Helen Howarth Lemmel in 1918.  The chorus is widely known today and is based on Isaiah 45:22.  This is an old hymn which has been reprinted in a number of church hymnals (…and caused many a tear to flow).  For your information, I have included the first verse and chorus below:

1. O soul, are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There’s light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free!

Course Refrain:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

1:29 Skip the commercial. Click here and listen to this song.
NOW PLAYING “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”

The reason why this song means so much to me is because of the first line in the chorus.  I discovered many years ago that whenever I was tempted to veer off into mischief, the first thing that I should do was to turn my eyes upon Jesus.  Naturally, it took a lot of head bumps to accomplish this, but I finally did.  Isaiah 45:22 says, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth, for I am God and there is no other.” 

Prior to turning my thought to God, I was turning my thoughts on just how to resist the temptation.  In other words, all I was doing was stroking the misdeeds, implanting them deeper into my psyche.

When we yield to Truth (Jesus Christ) and His teachings, we win!

Did you know that the more you think about not yielding to temptation (the bad things), the more you do think about temptation?  In other words, it becomes an all-consuming fire inside of you.  The thing that is tempting becomes subliminal in your mind.  (“Subliminal” is a marketing technique used to influence a person to act upon something.)  So, you see, you are not helping yourself at all when you think about how to avoid temptation.  All you are doing is reinforcing its strength.

One way to yield to Truth and not to temptation is to practice humility.  The best example to do that is to cultivate a close relationship with a trusted friend.  Someone you can confide in.  Someone you can share your inner most thoughts with.  Someone who will hold you accountable.  Let me be completely frank with you.  It’s okay to show weakness!  For 1 Peter 5:5b says:  “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.”  Therefore, resist the Evil One and he will flee from you.

If this blog has helped you, I invite you to pick up a copy of Reverend Rick Warren’s book entitled, The Purpose Driven Life.  Read it and weep and allow your tears to wash away all darkness, fears and doubts.  Every word in this book was a blessing and confirmation to me that God truly wants to converse and reveal his Truths to us all. Especially when we have to deal with temptations and emotions that shackle us to this world.

Scripture Lesson:You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.'” James 4:4-8a

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!

God’s Domains: Heaven, Hell and the Here and Now

Did you know that our Sovereign God not only has dominion in Heaven, but also in Hell and the Here and Now?  I believe this simply because God made me and He has allowed me to exist in Heaven, Hell and the Here and Now.  And since that is the truth, it follows that God must have absolute power over all three of those dwelling places which can certainly come to pass in my lifetime.

Author:  Charles H. Spurgeon – 1834-1892

I embraced this truth based upon my own personal experiences and conversations with God while under the influence of the Holy Spirit.  For I have been guilty of earnestly and sometimes defiantly questioning my Lord when I lacked an understanding about certain situations in life.  I have even raised my voice, lifted a quenched fist towards heaven, placed my hands on my hips and strutted my goose neck at the Almighty!  It was only by God’s grace and mercy and sense of humor that he smiled down on a mere mortal instead of smiting and scourging me to kingdom come.  I have since repented and prayerfully echoed the title of that 1949 TV sitcom starring Robert Young and Jane Wyatt called, “Father Knows Best”.

What about you?  Have you ever lost sight of God’s sovereignty?  Or maybe like me, you too have been on the verge of losing your cool over situations that you had no control over?  Mr. Spurgeon also had this to say about that:

Spurgeon Quotes - Charles H. Spurgeon

Let’s give God the Glory, folks…

During this season of thanksgiving, dearly beloveds, let us give God all the praise and all the honor and all the glory by digging a little deeper in our acknowledgement of Him. Since God is Sovereign and Lord and the Creator over all, let’s remember Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV): “Whoever dwells (and that’s me and you) in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'”.

My personal misgivings…

Some years ago, after finishing up a mission trip in Lusaka, Zambia, my team headed out to a little town called Kafue. Along the road trip, two very important incidents happened to me. Our native bus driver stopped at a very small village to get gas, but he advised my team not to exit the bus because this village was very poor and might become too excited if they saw Americans. So we all stayed on the bus. Never the less, small children surrounded the bus and began to beg for bibles and shouted Jesus’ Jesus!

I remember thinking, Lord we need our bibles and there are so many little ones. Immediately, I heard a whisper of wind say…tear pages out of your bibles and hand them out the window to each child. Oh, No! I exclaimed. I will never tear out pages of Your Word, My Lord. That would be akin to blasphemy!

As the bus preceded down the road, the Holy Spirit explained to me that the Lord had a ram in the bush at that village and he could have taken the leaves of my bible from each child and glued them back together, whereby His word would have become divine instructions for all! You refused and denied God to be God.


The second incident happened after we arrived at Kafue. As I stood at the front of the small class room where I was to teach, I watched the stream of smiling native men and women crowd into their segregated seats (the men on one side of the room and the women on the other). I said to myself, Lord how am I to relate to all of these people in a personal way. The Lord spoke in my ear and said, ‘As they enter the room, have them write their names on the black board before taking their seats.’ This time I was obedient and the people complied.

During the question and answer time of my presentation, the attendees would raise their hand to speak and (guess what) I would quickly look at the black board and somehow I was able to locate the right name of the responder and addressed him or her by it. This ability to recall and match names with attendees completely surprised me and also the people in the room. The chiefs and witch doctors in the rear of the room that had been sending out signals of doubt and misgivings begin to melt and lean forward in their seats.

All doubts and fears begin to flee the room and a sweet aroma entered in. God was in complete control. My prayer was the following…”Open my heart, Lord, to choose peace in the midst of small inconveniences and major concerns.” Amen!

Scripture Lesson: Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:4-7 (TNIV)

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!

God Smiled On A “Rock” Concert of Praise

Image: Drive-In Worship

On Sunday, October 18, 2020, at 10:00 a.m., my church did a new thing on Matlock Road in Arlington, Texas.  In order to sow seeds of brotherly love, compassion, inclusiveness, conquerors, celebration and hope, the pastor and his creative staff organized an innovative way to continue congregational worship services on the church’s parking lot.  And our Special Guest was God Himself! Our ROCK in a weary land!

Our pastor followed all the safety measures ascribed by city, county and state rules regarding Covid-19, including social distancing.  As you can see by the picture below, the instructions to church goers were to leave one parking space between each car.  We could either remain in our cars (masked) for the entire service or bring lawn chairs and setup in the empty parking space to the right of each car.

Actual Sunday Worship Services on the church’s parking lot.

This form of worship on a Sunday morning was a first time experience, and I must confess it was certainly a highly blessed and sorely appreciated experience of fellowshipping in the Lord.   Although instructions to participants also included not to engage in hugging, giving elbow-bumps, high-fives, removing your mask to shout out, or anything like that, everyone in attendance was allowed to see God’s glorious smile every time the sun made its appearance from behind a fluffy white cumulus cloud.

White Cloud With Sunlight
Introducing Our Special Guest, the Creator

Yes, God smiled on a “Rock” concert of Praise!

Several times I could hear car horns beeping in adulation as the ‘drive-by’ automobile occupants interrupted the worship singers or the pastor or MC announcers as they brought forth songs, preaching and invitations of welcome and thanksgiving.  I should also note that we celebrated the 37th Anniversary of our church at the same time of this regular hour of worship. And I believe the surrounding households and businesses were also blessed from the overflow of praising.

Worthwhile benefits ascribed to experimenting outside the box:

This 1950s drive-in ‘throw-back’ — and maybe the future of religious practices — method of worship service allows car occupants to privately comment and or briefly explain any biblical passages that might aide novice passengers. I read in a newspaper article where a young dating couple in Arkansas who attended a drive-in church service are now heaven-bound thanks to the mother of the young man who invited them to accompany her to church. Perhaps by accelerating this form of ministry, there is a possibility that it could bring hundreds of new believers into the fold of discipleship for the Lord.

There is no doubt that the Coronavirus has caused many businesses, schools and places of worship to alter their normal way of doing business.  But I believe that in addition to the Lord trying to get our attention and to tell us something, He also wants us to be more thoughtful of our responsibility to care for our fellowman.  Have you noticed that it is not just here in America that there is civil unrest?  Several other nations world-wide are experiencing it, too.  Social media, commerce, employment, politics and technology are just a few societal areas that are going through drastic changes. Change is good…but in all thy getting, get an understanding (Prov. 4:7b).

In our quiet time, let us converse and consult the Holy Spirit through prayer concerning our actions in responding to our obligation of discipling others. It is obvious that all houses of worship need to revamp their outreach programs. (What’s good for the goose might be good for the gander.) Let’s continue to bombard heaven through holy conversation and be vigilant to respond accordingly.

My personal experience derived from this religious practice:

I invited nine residents from my apartment complex where I live to accompany me to my church’s first parking lot church service. Three accepted my invitation. I prepared a lite lunch and furnished lawn chairs. What a hallelujah good time they all had in the Lord. They all expressed their desire to have an opportunity to join me again. When my guests returned home and shared their experience with others, one person who did not attend approached me and gave me an offering to forward to my church. That encounter also gave me an opportunity to witness to her.

Scripture Reference: And a MAN shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land. And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken. Isaiah 32:2-3 KJV

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!

God Intends For His Children To Grow Up!

Man in Blue Knit Sweater Against Blue Wall
I am deciding to grow in Christ by planting His word in my heart.

A few days ago, I read a very interesting blog post on WordPress entitled “Growth”.  It was written by a young writer named Yanna Kami who lives in Engh, Nigeria.  The theme is about the struggling growth of a little wildflower just outside of Kami’s front door.  Kami skillfully develops the moral of the story by equating it to humankind’s life…highlighting the determination of that little flower’s will to survive, in spite of nature’s dilemmas.  And it is that ‘determination’ aspect that I want to present in my blog for this week.

When Kami first spotted that little beautiful yellow sprig of a flower, she was ecstatic.  It was a mystery to her as to how that seed had survived just outside of her front door in the first place.  For that area was highly trafficked.  Nevertheless, she was anxiously awaiting for that single sprout to mature into its full beautiful specimen.  But a few days later, Kami’s hopes were dashed.  A torrential down pour beat out and drowned that little flower.  The struggling plant was on the road to the ‘splendid garden in the sky’.  (Please click the website below to read the moral of Kami’s blog.)*

My personal reflection on Kami’s storyline:

The biblical comparison of that struggling little flower with humanities’ life struggles caused me to pray and inquire of the Lord, to reveal to me a deeper meaning of the comparison.  And in a few words, the Holy Spirit opened my eyes and caused my understanding and conscientiousness to become enlightened.

A person’s spiritual growth is not automatic.  Various storms and turbulences in life can cause a person to shut down…to actually quit the race called spiritual development/growth.  Yes, we all start out at the gate looking fit and in perfect shape, but the least little interventions can cause you to throw in the towel and to surrender.  Therefore, you never cross the finish line of spiritual maturity and therefore remain a babe on milk and graham crackers.  While at the same time, leaving Jesus Christ at the finish line holding your crown which He has to put back into His sack of blessings. Without your determination to succeed, (your skin in the game), you will never transform into an all-star athlete.

My personal example of spiritual growth:

When I decided to become a serious bible study student as a young adult, I can remember attending a class on how to memorize scripture offered at a church conference.  The attendees were handed a perforated cardboard sheet with various scripture verses written on it.  We were told to take our scissors and cut along the perforated lines and to separate the cards and put them in a neat stack.  Next we were instructed on how to use the verses each day until all scriptures had been memorized.  The instructor said, if you faithfully follow my instructions, you will be able to memorize and recite all the scriptures at the end of this exercise.  Here are the instructions (the seeds for the planter…you) of how to grow your garden in the Lord. The exercise below was to be repeated each day with a new scripture.  How foolish I thought.  But guess what!   IT WORKED!!!

 1. On Day One read out loud the first scripture and several additional times each day. Perform the essence of each scripture several times during the day on behalf of others.
2. Early on Day Two recite from memory Day One’s scripture. Next visualize a Mercedes Bens parked in your driveway.  Place Day One’s scripture in the driver’s seat. Continue on Day Two by selecting a new scripture and repeat the exercise of Day One.
3. Early on Day Three recite from memory the scripture you memorized for Day two. Check the front driver’s seat to see if the scripture for Day One is still in the driver’s seat. Recite from memory Day One’s scripture.  Place Day Two’s scripture in the front passenger’s seat, next to Day One.
Recite out loud both scriptures for Day One and Day Two. Select a new scripture for Day Three.  Begin the routine for Day Three as you have done for Days One and Two.
4. Continue this routine until all scriptures have been read aloud, performed in action to others; placed in seats next to each other in the Mercedes Bens and recited out loud as you shut the car door. 
5. When the inside of the car is full, start placing the scriptures on the hood, roof, fenders, tires, etc., until the car is loaded down with God’s holy word. And guess what?  You will discover that from memory, and from the position of each scripture, you can miraculously recite ALL the Mercedes Bens’ inhabitants. Your acumen in memory will have grown in Christ by making a decision to plant His word (seed) in your heart.

youtube.com/watch?v=7IBpCv1X8zw(opens in a new tab)

I discovered that the instructor’s methods were not foolish…but my doubting and lack of innovative thinking and determination were what was foolishness.  “Father forgive me, for I knew not what I had spoken.”  Obviously, at that time in my life, I really didn’t want to grow.  I had not decided to grow.  Nor did I want to make a concerted effort to grow.  I did not understand that discipleship, which is the process of becoming like Christ, always begins with a decision.

(*) NOTE: To review Yanna Kami’s Blog, click here: Growth

Scripture Lesson: “I have hidden your word in my heart
    that I might not sin against you.”
Psalms 119:11

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!

God’s Hand On My Life

MrGilson - Writer's Notebook 2013-2014
“Oh, my, where do I start.
Help me Holy Ghost!

Several of my friends and acquaintances have asked me what inspired me to compile a book of my relationship (via conversations) with God and his Son, Jesus Christ.  As I pondered the question, all I could say about those encounters were the words of Jeremiah 20:9

“Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
Yes, every time I re-lived a personal experience of God’s goodness in my life, I felt like shouting and dancing as though my feet were on fire.  Many friends and acquaintances do not understand this exuberance and surmise that I am boasting or showing off or trying to draw attention to myself.  There could be nothing further from the gospel truth.  For once again I turn to the words of Jeremiah 9:23-24
“Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the Lord who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the Lord.”
There are numerous books out there on the subject of conversations with God.  Most of them are nonfiction literature based on data collected from persons who have experienced some sort of an encounter with the Master.  Some refer to these people as seekers of divine revelations.  While many receive a heavenly response, others sought an explanation to their query from a friend or an acquaintance.
I titled this weekly blog “Conversations With God Using Scriptures” because it usually peeks the readers curiosity.  Rarely do you find a book with the title embracing conversations with God that actually use God’s word to speak for him.  Generally, it is the authors’ interpretation rather than scripture references. I do not lean on my own understanding, but in all of my ways try to acknowledge God.
What information and confessions I reveal in my conversational blogs with God, it is my intent to be truthful and encouraging to others.  In other words, what God has done for me, he can also do for you.  The comments I receive express sentiments that it is obvious that exhaustive research of the scriptures was necessary in order for me to compile the dialog exchanged within the blogs. 
And I must confess that not only reading God’s word, but also researching the commentary notes at the bottom of the pages of my bible and studying the maps and charts included therein are also a source of enlightenment for me.  I love to do research and pour over the Begots (heritage/lineage) in the Old Testaments .

Often, when I re-read through my blogs, I am lifted to heights resembling the third heaven that Paul viewed on his heavenly journey. I find it humbling that God takes the time to correct me, to empower me, to humble me, to comfort me, to unite me with others, to whisper sweet oracles in my ears, to forgive me and to know my name. Which, by the way is ‘Sought Out’. I had a conversation with God and I asked him if he had changed my name. God revealed it to me one day as I was reading Isaiah 62:12: And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken.”

So, through the above explanation, I trust I have dissuaded you from thinking that my writings are to be construed as a boastful or privileged relationship with the Lord.  I sincerely apology if I have offended anyone.  For God is available to us all.  Please pray for my persona and expressions of faith that they might be pleasing and acceptable in the Name of the Lord. Amen!
Toxic vs. Supportive Writing FriendsKristi Holl
Get thee behind me, Satan. For it is written…

Scripture Reference: Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you;
 bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Proverbs 3:3

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!

God Implores Everyone To Forge A Relationship With Him

Allow The Holy Spirit To Speak To You

The one thing that is a certainty that this pandemic, labeled Covid-19, has done to our society is to alienate us one from another.   The Webster dictionary defines alienate as:  To estrange (to keep at a distance) as the affections one towards another. 

When humans are kept from socializing with one another, especially from our relatives and loved ones, our total lives generally reflect the strain and our fleshly hearts can eventually become harden.  But there is a scripture found in the Gospel of John 10:10, that we must hold onto: 

“Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.”

Have you ever stopped to think that perhaps this period of isolation from each other was designed by God specifically to draw us closer to him and his plans for our lives?  Have you looked at this absentee time from others as an opportunity to renew a right relationship with his Son Jesus Christ and to sit quietly and commune with Him?

I can only imagine that some of you are surely catching up on your reading of Christian periodicals and tuning in to more Christian programming on Zoom, TV and radio.  And no doubt all of this newly acquired influx of information has helped you to realize just what is missing in your Christian walk.  But would you agree with me that perhaps now is the time to sit quietly at your table or desk with pen and paper and to write down just how effectively your personal daily actions truly align with God’s heart and his unconditional love for all humanity.


In other words, do you have an intimate relationship with our Lord and Savior?

Jesus Loves Us ‘Little Children

There was a time in my life when I did not have this intimacy. I confess that sinful ways, a lack of trust and unbelief, and just down-right stubbornness had kept me from surrendering totally to the virtues of Jesus Christ. May I suggest that before you start writing down your own list, concentrate on those things that may have so easily beset you and kept you from becoming ‘souled-out’ for the Lord. Was it disappointment in your receiving from God a favor or something more transparent like I just listed? Be honest! You can tear up the piece of paper after you are finished.

My Own Personal Confession of Disobedience:

Many years ago, my church in Maryland asked me to speak at a family retreat. This meeting was to be held at a camp where family units could be housed together at a very low rate. I felt honored to have been awarded this opportunity to contribute godly instructions to the men, women and children of our flock, all at the same time. The Holy Spirit had endowed me with biblical perceptions everyone in attendance could relate to.

My allotted time to speak was after dinner during the evening session. All during dinner, I specifically remember experiencing a slight tap on my shoulder and hearing an invisible whisper inviting me to return to my room to retrieve a message. I looked over my shoulder a couple of times to see who was trying to get my attention, but no one was there.

After dinner, a few single ladies invited me to join them for ‘girl talk’ and to relax before the evening session began. And although my inner most thoughts reminded me of the mystery invitation I had experienced during dinner, I brushed them off and went with the girls. Needless to say, our ‘girl talk’ got a little ridiculous and I excused myself and went to my room to dress for the evening.

To make a long story short, that evening, as I was delivering my talk to the attendees on the topic of the importance of developing a right relationship with God…I forgot my words. I stumbled over my presentation. All I could hear in my spirit was a still small voice whispering ‘how can you teach others on right relationships with me when you don’t even recognize my voice?’ Some how, by the grace of God, I got through my message, but after the meeting I went straight to my room and sequestered myself from all others. I spent the night repenting, crying and asking God for forgiveness.

I will end this blog with a prayer taken from page 65 of Live Loved, a devotional book by Max Lucado:  “Gracious Father, we know that we don’t always please you.  We fall short of your standards again and again.  When we are discouraged and feel we are failing you, remind us of your perfect love and your grace.  Thank you for reminding us that your perfect love casts out every wrong and keeps no lists of our failures.  Every time we fall, help us to reach for your grace, amen.  
(Perhaps you, too, should pray just before you begin writing your list.)

Scripture Lesson: “For he has rescued us out of the darkness and gloom of Satan’s kingdom and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son, who bought our freedom with his blood and forgave us all our sins.” Colossians 1:13 Living Bible

Click http://www.tgifmasterminds.com every Friday for a new post from the Master’s servant manager…ME!