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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Preacher's Advice

According to the King James translation of the biblical text Solomon who is traditionally accepted as the author of Ecclesiastes is referred to as the Preacher. Many of us are familiar with the story of how Solomon requested Wisdom over wealth and how the LORD granted him Wisdom like no man had before him or any man after him save Jesus Christ.  In the eighteenth verse of the first chapter the text says, "For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow."  When, I paused to meditate on that for a moment this morning it made more and more sense as I reflected upon it.  For example, once one becomes aware of the poverty and disease in Africa one's sorrow increases.  Once one becomes aware of how many kids are homeless in one's very own neighborhood one's sorrow increases.

On the flip side of the text once God gives you wisdom to discern the truth it saddens your heart for those who operate without it.  God offers to give it liberally to those who ask for it. Once one knows better one is required to do better for some this can be grievous. These words don't have much merit to you consider who Solomon was.  Solomon had everything you could ever dream of times ten and to top it off he had a surplus of Wisdom.  He is speaking from what he had experienced not from what he had heard so we would be wise to learn from the Preacher.  For Solomon whatever you could desire whether it was wisdom which led to grief or knowledge which lead to sorrow or wealth which were vanity none of it had in value in Solomon's opinion. The whole purpose for existing was to fear God and keep his commands.  Solomon says that this is the whole duty of man.  Let's take the preacher's advice.

God bless,
Bondservant Hollis

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Are You Balanced?

First let me begin by stating that I am not in to numerology.  However, the number two is often refer to as the number of balance.  For example you have heaven and hell, night and day, light and darkness, grace and mercy, male and female etc.  Often times many believers are guilty of being improperly balanced. We are either too much of this and too little of that. We either spent too much time doing this and too little time doing that.  The truth is everytime we spend time doing one thing it is at the expense of doing something else. In economics this is called opportunity cost and it suggest that there is a cost to alternative choices that we make. Meaning every day we have many mutually exclusive choices that we make that has a cost. With all the demands that we have in this life how do we find a healthy balance?  How do I balance work, school, and a relationship with God? For some how do I balance raising children, work, school, and a relationship with God?  Perhaps this is one of life most challenging questions, I don't proclaim to have the answer!  I will share however the response Pastor E.Dewey Smith (Pastor of the Greater Travelers Rest Baptist Church) gave that bless my spirit and hopefully it will bless yours.  Dewey says, "I just focus on managing the imbalances of life."  

The truth is that the more we live the more demands or things compete for our time.  So take the advice of Pastor E. Dewey Smith and manage the imbalances of life.

God bless,
Bondservant Hollis

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Soul Insurance

Many of you know that I work for the Risk Management Agency.  The basic reason that my agency exist is to provide farmers with crop insurance in case disaster causes their crops to fail to due natural causes.  This is a risk management tool that prevents the farmer from having a total loss, and offers the farmer some form of protection.  Common causes of loss are as follows:

  1. Adverse weather conditions.  As believers there are times in our life where we feel as if the conditions of our life are adverse or unpleasant.  Jesus offers us comfort and reassurance in these adverse conditions of life.
  2. Earthquake.  As believers there are times in our life where we feel as if our whole world has been shaken to the core or rock upside down.  Jesus offers us stability in these times for Jesus is our Rock whom cannot be shaken.
  3. Fire.  As believers we are told that we are going have to experience the fiery furnaces of life.  Jesus offers to walk through the fire with us.
  4. Volcanic Eruption.  As believers there are times in our lives where will feel like we are about erupt because of the pressures of life.  Jesus offers us his peace in these times.
Ultimately, without the Risk Management Agency many of the farmers would not be able to survive and would experience total disaster due to causes for which they have no control over.  Sadly, many people in America walk around without soul insurance.  We never know what can happen from one moment to the next.  So join me in providing individuals with insurance no I do not mean offering crop insurance, but offering individuals soul insurance.  What is soul insurance you ask?  The gospel of Jesus Christ!

Scripture Reference:  Romans 10:13

God bless,
Bondservant Hollis

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A Rock and A Hard Place

The old adage oes I am stuck between a rock and a hard place.  Often times that is how we feel as we live this thing called life like we are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The question then becomes what does one do when they find themselves in such a predicament?  Great question let's go to "The Book," and see what it says.  The very familiar story of the children of Israel and their exodus from Egypt provides us a great example of such a predicament.  Pharoah and his army was marching after the Israelites and the Red Sea stood in front of the children Israel.  I dare suggest that they were stuck between a rock and a hard place!  Their options in the natural were to turn around and die at the hands of  Pharaoh or to go forward into the Red Sea and drown.  Often times we find ourselves in situations that seem like it's a lose lose, but how does one respond in situations such as those?

  1. We are not to fear but to trust God! Remember Yahweh said to them the Lord will fight for you!
  2. We are to be still!  Yahweh said to them be still and see the salvation of the Lord this day!
So the next time you find yourself between a rock and a hard place don't allow fear, anxiety, and worry to set in here is your cure for a troubled heart (Pas) trust God!  The Bible declares that there is no fear in love but that perfect love cast out fear. Yahweh wanted them to know that they had a Divine Warrior on their side that would fight their battles.  The same is true for you and you can be still knowing that you have a Divine Warrior working behind the scenes of your life fighting your battles!  Now here is the shout Yahweh refers to the covenant keeping God meaning God always keeps his promises!  He promise to fight for you so do not fear only be still and trust God!

Scripture Reference:  Exodus 14:10-18

God bless,
Bondservant Hollis

Monday, February 14, 2011

Richness in Christ!

In this Post-Modern society we find ourselves in this is a foreign concept.  In a society that promotes the more money the better.  To go a step further this whole notion of a so called "American Dream" contributes to this type of thinking. The United States of America the land of opportunity. Perhaps the best model I can find to illustrate this point the Church of Smyrna.  This church was not rich in the material sense but they were rich spiritually!  In fact the congregants of this church was poor!  Not just poor as we think of it it today in the U.S. but beggar poor.  Poor like the man in Acts who had circumstances in his life that cause him to become beggar poor and he requested silver and gold and Peter declared, "Silver and gold have I not but what I do have I give unto in the Jesus the Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk."  This is the type of church the church of Smyrna was and ultimately the type of individuals we should aspire to be.  Rich spiritually and fulfill with Jesus Christ!!  This is a word of encouragement for anyone whose so called "American Dream," has been shattered you can still be rich in Jesus Christ!

Scripture Reference: Acts 3:6, Rev. 2:8-11

God bless,
Bondservant Hollis

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hungry? Why Wait? Grab The Word!

Hungry?  Why wait?  You may know this slogan best from Snickers commercials and maybe I am hungry this morning as I write this blog.  Be that as it may it does not change the fact that there is a spiritual application.  Your spirit hungers for the Word of God everday because it is from the Word of God the Spirit of God gets it meal.  Many of us from time to time starve our spiritual person because of the demands of life.  Just as the physical body hungers for nourishment so does the spiritual body.  The challenge for the believer and every individual for that matter is to come to the understanding that spiritual hunger is more essential than physical hunger.  The hypostatic union refers to Christ being fully human and fully God.  We know that Jesus according to the biblical text went extended periods of time without physical nourishment but he never went a moment without spiritual nourishment.  What does this mean for us today?  If you go an extended period of time without physical nourishment you can survive, but every moment without spiritual nourishment you are in danger of spiritual suicide.  Hungry? Why Wait?  The Breadth of Life is waiting to supply your need!

Scripture Reference: Luke 4:1-13

God bless,
Bondservant Hollis

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Heart For People

I was watching my favorite show the other day the Young and the Restless (secret confession) and became convicted.  How is that this soap opera drama can invoke so much emotion out of me.  I mean it is scripted well written in my opinion but it is make believe. What troubled me is when I came to this realization that my emotions are not invoke in the same way when I hear about a person that died on the news.  I asked myself why is it that when real people who die everyday that my heart is not move with compassion?  Has my heart become so desensitized that I accept it as the expected norm, yet when Cane dies on the Young and the Restless I am almost in tears.  Has my heart become that cold as it relates to God's image!  Why isn't my heart moved to compassion when I see our young people wasting their life away in the streets? Why isn't my heart moved to compassion when I see my brother or sister walking in the cold?  Why isn't my heart moved to compassion when I see a brother or sister struggling with an addiction?  Why isn't my heart moved to compassion when I see my brother or sister hungry?  Why isn't my heart moved to compassion when I see my brother or sister in need of shelter?  Why isn't my heart moved to compassion when I see my brother or sister in need of a Savior?  Why isn't my heart moved to compassion when I see my brother or sister in need of a Redeemer? Why isn't my heart moved to compassion when I see my brother or sister in need of  peace?  I could go on and on.

The answer to the question is probably more disturbing than the question itself.  I've come to realize that I don't love Christ as much as I like to think I do.  Christ was compassionate toward individuals he wept for people and compassion was often the motivating factor that cause him to heal.  If i loved  Christ the way I profess then I would naturally be a more compassionate Christian.  Here is the good news I still have breath in my body which means there is still time.  This is not to say that I am not a compassionate person some would say I am compassionate but it is to say that there is tons of room for growth. 

A heart that has no compassionate for others is a heart that is far away from Christ!  I am just being transparent this morning and I pray you can learn from my shortcomings that you may better represent the kingdom.

Scripture Reference: Ephesians 4:32a

God bless,
Bondservant Hollis

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

What Does Authentic Faith Look Like?

Have you ever examined your life and wondered do my actions line up with my beliefs? If not, I encourage you to do so.  Many believe that if you question your faith then you are somehow not pious or a devout Christian.  I suggest to you the contrary I believe if you never examine or question your faith you cannot grow in your faith.  You ask why is that? 

  1. Without an examination of your faith you cannot recognize the areas where your faith is lacking.
  2. Without question there can be no revelation.  In other words if you are not asking questions about your faith you cannot get answers or receive revelation from God.
In the words of my favorite preacher Dr. Maurice Watson who says and I paraphrase, "Authentic faith does not deny reality authentic faith says I trust God despite the reality."  Thusly, child of God whatever situation you are in whether it be financial, relational, spiritual, or emotional don't deny the reality of the situation.  Trust God despite what the situation looks like.  A few of the epistles that the Apostle Paul wrote where from prison he did not deny reality that he was confine to the dungeon, but he still had the faith that if it be God's will God would deliver him.  Here is the interesting thing though that made Paul's faith authentic the fact that if God's will was for him to stay there in prison that was okay with him to.  I'll quit now but I am reminded of the Hebrew boys in the book of Daniel.  They had what you would call authentic faith they did not deny the reality of the fiery furnace but they trusted God despite the reality.  I encourage you to do the same.

Scripture Reference: Hebrews 11:1

God bless,
Bondservant Hollis

Monday, February 7, 2011

Can't Stop Won't Stop

This morning I was thinking why are we so easy as Christians to throw in the towel? I took a look at my life and pondered the same question.  Then I begin to think what would of happen if Jesus had thrown in the towel. This cup is too much and the people are so disrespectful, ungrateful, and inconsistent.  My closest associates have deserted me.  I'll just throw in the towel! However, Jesus had a can't stop won't stop mentality because he was motivated by love!  Not the emotion/feeling but the choice!  The choice that says I can't stop won't stop because I love them that much!  Here are three things we learn from the life of Jesus the Christ.

  1. Christ recognized that the purpose for his life was bigger than himself. This can be a frightening thing for a believer to recognize!  Thusly, Christ made up his mind that I can't stop and won't stop.
  2. Christ desire was only to please his father. We as believer all claim to desire to please our father.  Thusly, Christ made up his mind that I can't stop and I won't stop. 
  3. Christ was motivated by love.  If our motivation is not love for God and love for others we will throw in the towel.  Thusly, Christ made up his mind that I can't stop and I won't stop.
Scripture Reference: Romans 5:8, Luke 22:41-43

God bless,
Bondservant Hollis

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Getting The Most Out Of Your Income Tax!

 As tax season is upon us the first thing we must do is give God praise for having the ability to file. Thank you Jesus!  For those of you who cannot file you still have a reason to give God praise because your testimony is that you are being kept!  I know many of us have already made plans to what vacation, new car, new plasma, laptop, or _____ that we are going to do with our income tax.  For some us who have file early and have already made such purchases this will be applicable next year.  The sad truth is many Christians don't understand the opportunity they have by giving a tithe off of their income tax.  Tithing off your income tax unlocks God resources to the believer now I am definitely by NO means an advocate prosperity gospel.  However the Bible is clear that is more blessed to give than to receive.  What better way to express your gratitude to the Giver of every good and perfect gift than to take the opportunity to tithe of your income tax.  I am reminded of a time in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) when external blessings (servants, cattle, etc.) were a sign of God blessings King Solomon chose wisdom over things.  The Bible declares as a result God gave him not only Wisdom but blessed him more than any king before and there was not a King that came after him who was blessed as he was blessed.  For many us our income tax is a time to get the material things that we will attribute as a blessing from God but how many will do as I have determined to do.  To give God a tithe off my income tax in addition to my regular tithe not because I am trying to manipulate God  in any way but because I have grown to the point to understand that your faith in action moves God into action.  In others words the more you give the more He gives to you.  You can't beat God's giving no matter how you try.  So if you want to get the most out of your income tax take the opportunity to give to God.

Scripture Reference:

God bless,
Bondservant Hollis