Welcome to the P.J. (Pastor J) Sound Theology Blog

Monday, January 31, 2011

Change what you can, while you can, when you can?

Luke 12:22-31 (NRSV)

Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these.

Today's text comes from Luke and reminds us that God is in control. Since our life is in God's hands then our task is to work while we can pointing out the goodness of our savior. What has become known as the Serenity Prayer by renowned theologian Reinhold Niebur drives home my point this morning better than any other words I could use. Therefore I pray today that we can change what we can when we can. I pray that it begins with the body of Christ. Amen.

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

In loving memory of

Friday, January 21, 2011

What's in your wallet?

I am reminded of the Capitol One commercials that ask the question "What's in your wallet"?, these commercials are both witty and effective. For today's purpose I think of these commercials as it pertains to Proverbs 15 and ask the question what's on your lips? Let's look?

Proverbs 15

1 A gentle answer deflects anger,
but harsh words make tempers flare.

2 The tongue of the wise makes knowledge appealing,
but the mouth of a fool belches out foolishness.

3 The Lord is watching everywhere,
keeping his eye on both the evil and the good.

4 Gentle words are a tree of life;
a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.

5 Only a fool despises a parent’s[a] discipline;
whoever learns from correction is wise.

6 There is treasure in the house of the godly,
but the earnings of the wicked bring trouble.

7 The lips of the wise give good advice;
the heart of a fool has none to give.

So what's on your lips? Are their words of life or death, gentleness or harshness? Wisdom reminds us to sow good into the world, Christ reminds us to speak life always. So yet again what's on your lips?

Love P.J.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Preparing for takeoff!

Proverbs 13

1 A wise child accepts a parent’s discipline;
a mocker refuses to listen to correction.

2 Wise words will win you a good meal,
but treacherous people have an appetite for violence.

3 Those who control their tongue will have a long life;
opening your mouth can ruin everything.

4 Lazy people want much but get little,
but those who work hard will prosper.

As we learn from Proverbs 13 wisdom prepares us and as we take wisdom's advice the better we become. When we take wisdom's advice we become more patient, humble, compassionate, and even think before we speak.

I compare our text for today to that of those on a plane awaiting a much needed trip who are ready for takeoff but find themselves in a holding pattern. If you have ever been on flying when the weather is bad or a holiday travel season and the runways are crowded. Your flight will have to sit on the runway for a while. In our lives some time we will anticipate some things and get so excited about them, like graduation, new employment opportunities, new relationships or marriage.

However sometimes we find ourselves in spiritual holding patterns delaying us from these destinations like planes on the runway. During this time I believe God prepares us through wisdom, enabling us to deal with the situations to come. While the planes are on the runway, in the holding patterns they are Preparing for Takeoff- I believe that while in the holding patterns of our lives we are being prepared for takeoff also. God is preparing us for the trips of our lives, and the delay like in the airport is for our benefit not for our harm!

Dear God today give us the wisdom to allow you to slow us down, and even delay us when we need it most. Enable us to be prepared when the time for our takeoff comes. This we pray in Jesus name. Amen.

Be Well, P.J.

Monday, January 17, 2011

What happens when you awake from a Dream?

Today we take time to reflect on on a HERO who is Dr. M.L.K. jr. However as we reflect I pray that we don't get so caught up in our reflections that we remain there forgetting to move into the future. Dr. King had a vision- A DREAM, that was then and so now I ask the question 4 generations later what happens when you awake from a dream? I believe that today's scripture speaks to the African American plight of the 21st Century.

Ecclesiastes 4

1 Again, I observed all the oppression that takes place under the sun. I saw the tears of the oppressed, with no one to comfort them. The oppressors have great power, and their victims are helpless. 2 So I concluded that the dead are better off than the living. 3 But most fortunate of all are those who are not yet born. For they have not seen all the evil that is done under the sun.

4 Then I observed that most people are motivated to success because they envy their neighbors. But this, too, is meaningless—like chasing the wind.

5 “Fools fold their idle hands,
leading them to ruin.”

6 And yet,

“Better to have one handful with quietness
than two handfuls with hard work
and chasing the wind.”

The Advantages of Companionship

7 I observed yet another example of something meaningless under the sun. 8 This is the case of a man who is all alone, without a child or a brother, yet who works hard to gain as much wealth as he can. But then he asks himself, “Who am I working for? Why am I giving up so much pleasure now?” It is all so meaningless and depressing.

Friends we must awake from the dreams of old to work for the visions of tomorrow. The dead are gone as for us we live and there are other generations who have not yet been scorned, now is the time to prepare fresh new oppression free societies for them. We must awake and work for peace not toil, love, not abuse, compassion, not greed. This is the Dream that King dreamed, this is the vision that we must make a reality.

Spend today promoting peace and love. P.J.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Exciting Conversations!

There is almost nothing better than an exiting conversation between two great friends. I recently had a wonderful conversation with my father, we were together about two hours and the time just passed as we discussed politics, religion, sports, and the economy. It was great to talk with each other, not asking for anything not needing anything just talking. After we parted I continued to reflect on how many time we talk to our loved ones and friends having great conversations just like the one I had with my father new and interesting, exiting conversations. Then I began to think of how prayer to God is just that - a conversation. The problem is many of us always have the same one sided conversation with God our Father every time we pray. I wonder how many of us would keep our friends around if every time we talked it was for just five minutes and they did all of the talking asking for the same list of things daily? Chances are we would not like to talk to them and probably would terminate our friendship.

Friends what I am getting at is when we pray and have conversations with God they should be as fresh, exciting and new as the ones we have with our friends and family. God wants to be an intimate part of our life- let's have the wisdom to let God in. Today start having some EXITING CONVERSATIONS WITH GOD!

Proverbs 9

1 Wisdom has built her house;
she has carved its seven columns.
2 She has prepared a great banquet,
mixed the wines, and set the table.
3 She has sent her servants to invite everyone to come.
She calls out from the heights overlooking the city.
4 “Come in with me,” she urges the simple.
To those who lack good judgment, she says,
5 “Come, eat my food,
and drink the wine I have mixed.
6 Leave your simple ways behind, and begin to live;
learn to use good judgment.”

7 Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return.
Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt.
8 So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you.
But correct the wise,
and they will love you.
9 Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser.
Teach the righteous,
and they will learn even more.

Be Well, P.J.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What are you seduced by?

Many people read the early chapters of the book of proverbs and take them literally to degrade or downplay women , painting them in a negative light. I offer for us today that the so called promiscuous women in proverbs chapter 7 is not just a physical women but anything that we allow to seduce us. Therefore I put forward the question, what seduces you?

Proverbs 7:21-27

21 With persuasive words she led him astray;
she seduced him with her smooth talk.
22 All at once he followed her
like an ox going to the slaughter,
like a deer stepping into a noose
23 till an arrow pierces his liver,
like a bird darting into a snare,
little knowing it will cost him his life. 24 Now then, my sons, listen to me;
pay attention to what I say.
25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways
or stray into her paths.
26 Many are the victims she has brought down;
her slain are a mighty throng.
27 Her house is a highway to the grave,
leading down to the chambers of death.

We must ask ourselves what really seduces us, what calls us out at night, what do we crave? If we find that theses things deter us from our relationship with God we must remix the situation and flee from them expeditiously.

Dear God grant us the wisdom to know what we are attracted to that is harmful for us and give us the strength to overcome the desire for these things and desire to be closer to you. Amen!

Until next time love P.J.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Don't committ to what you can't handel

Many times some of us out of kindness, foolishness or compassion take on others burdens that we can not honestly bear. While we are dealing with our own trespasses out across moral boundaries, past engagements in promiscuous behavior that resulted in depression, fear, guilt, and shame. We try to not deal with these things and assist with others. Therefore I have reflected on this text from Proverbs 6:

Proverbs 6

Warnings Against Foolish Acts
1 My son, don't put up money for what your neighbor owes. Don't agree to pay up for someone else. 2 Don't be trapped by what you have said. Don't be caught by the words of your mouth. 3 Instead, my son, do something to free yourself. Don't fall into your neighbor's hands. Don't be proud. Hurry and make your appeal to your neighbor. 4 Don't let your eyes go to sleep. Don't let your eyelids close. 5 As a deer frees itself from a hunter, free yourself. As a bird frees itself from a trapper, free yourself.

God does not tells us to hate or abandoned our neighbor, but do not be a slave nor abused by your neighbor. However we should help ourselves & families 1st- then if ABLE assist others. How can we help others when we are fighting for our lives and sinking?

Dear God, today we pray for our neighbors and ask that you guide us into right decisions while keeping us away from attaching ourselves to people who want to bring us down. In Jesus name we pray Amen.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What have you learned from your mistakes?

So today is Monday all over again, & I'm thanking God for it! Today was not promised to me and my loved ones, the simple fact that we are still here is taken as great blessings. Despite how thankful I am, I am still a sinner saved by grace. Today my devotion has led me to proverbs 5, let's look.

Proverbs 5
: 21 The Lord watches a man's ways. He studies all of his paths. 22 A sinner is trapped by his own evil acts. He is held tight by the ropes of his sins. 23 He will die because he refused to be corrected. His sins will capture him because he was very foolish.

We all have sinned and will continue to sin in some form or fashion but the scripture challenges us to change, allow ourselves to be corrected and to learn from our former failures. So I ask you rhetorically what have you learned from your mistakes, what have you learned from your sins? History teaches us that if you have not learned from something chances are you will repeat that act or action in the future. However if you do learn you will avoid those mistakes in the future. So again I ask what have you learned from your mistakes?

Dear God, today we just ask that you teach, correct and guide us. In Jesus name Amen.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Living a Perfect Life?

At first glance it seems almost seems impossible to live a perfect life. I mean who could be perfect - no except Jesus Christ. Thinking about perfection and how to attain perfection this morning led me to our scripture for reflection, let's look:

Romans 5:6-11 (New International Version)

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

This scripture speaks to the human condition, and I hear the theology of John Wesley screaming out about how we can not be perfect in the sense of having no fault. However we can be perfect as Christians or achieve Christian Perfection. We can live perfect Christian lives by each and everyday living better, making better decisions, doing better today than we did yesterday because we are reconciled to God through Jesus and are saved through his life and blood.

So friends get to it, start living into your perfect life- look back at yesterday and live even better today, stepping your game up for tomorrow!

Dear God help us to know that our current condition does not determine our final destination. God show us how we can grow into more perfect people daily, in Jesus name we pray. Amen.

Enjoy your weekend- I love you P.J.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

What are you asking God for? It can begin today!

Scripture tells us that King Solomon was the wisest person to ever live, because he asked God for wisdom. What are you asking God for today, peace, prosperity, health, love, forgiveness etc? We all need to ask God for something then trust that it will be received, and live into our calling. All persons are called for purpose, all persons have God given gifts unique to them alone. This month lets explore the proverbs of Solomon.

Proverbs 1

1 These are the proverbs of Solomon. He was the son of David and the king of Israel. 2 Proverbs teach you wisdom and train you. They help you understand wise sayings. 3 They provide you with training and help you live wisely. They lead to what is right and honest and fair. 4 They give understanding to childish people. They give knowledge and good sense to those who are young. 5 Let wise people listen and add to what they have learned. Let those who understand what is right get guidance. 6 What I'm teaching also helps you understand proverbs and stories. It helps you understand the sayings and riddles of those who are wise.
Main Point
7 If you really want to gain knowledge, you must begin by having respect for the Lord. But foolish people hate wisdom and training.
Until next time be well.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Raise your voice, shoot go ahead and YELL!

Some people always wanna start stuff, they are always looking for trouble, or looking to disrupt happiness and cause commotion. Rest assured that these persons intrusions on your life will only last a while, however despite there annoying presence we are still called to preach, to lift our voices, to yell the good news of God at all times.

Isaiah 40: 6-8 6 -8A voice says, "Shout!" I said, "What shall I shout?"

"These people are nothing but grass,
their love fragile as wildflowers. The grass withers, the wildflowers fade,
if God so much as puffs on them.
Aren't these people just so much grass? True, the grass withers and the wildflowers fade,
but our God's Word stands firm and forever."

9 -11Climb a high mountain, Zion.
You're the preacher of good news. Raise your voice. Make it good and loud, Jerusalem.
You're the preacher of good news.
Speak loud and clear. Don't be timid! Tell the cities of Judah,
"Look! Your God!" Look at him! God, the Master, comes in power,
ready to go into action. He is going to pay back his enemies
and reward those who have loved him. Like a shepherd, he will care for his flock,
gathering the lambs in his arms, Hugging them as he carries them,
leading the nursing ewes to good pasture.

Don't be afraid to yell sometimes, people around might need to hear it, perhaps it will even deter those in you immediate area waiting for the next opportunity to do you harm. Raise your voice shoot go ahead and YELL!!!

Dear God, give us the voice & the mind to speak on your behalf at all times. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.