Posts Tagged ‘relationships’

‘God loves you unconditionally, wholeheartedly and continually.’ These were the words of the late Alex Buchanan, described as a pastor to the pastors.

He was partially blind and suffered a stroke that affected one side of his face. I remember hearing him speak about God’s love and he kept repeating the words, ‘God loves you unconditionally, wholeheartedly and continually.’

When he finished his talk he came up to me and said, ‘Do you believe that God approves of you?’ I said, ‘Actually, I really struggle with that because I know things about myself that mean I find it difficult to believe that God approves of me.’ He replied, ‘We all struggle with that. But God wants you to know that he approves of you. He wants you to know he loves you unconditionally, wholeheartedly and continually.’

If I were asked to summarise what I thought the Bible was all about in one word – apart from the word ‘Jesus’ – I would choose the word ‘love’. Twice in today’s New Testament passage John writes, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8,16). The word ‘love’ is used widely in our society. Nowhere in the Bible does it say, ‘Love is God’. In other words, it is God who defines what love is rather than the other way around. God is love.

This is the message you need to understand yourself, meditate on constantly and speak about to the world: ‘God is love’.

Here is the answer to the greatest longing of the world today. People are looking for love. Their hearts are searching. When you really know God’s love for you, your life is transformed. As we will see in the New Testament passage for today, God’s love is at the heart of each of the four keys to overcoming unhealthy fear in your life: ‘There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear’ (v.18).

Psalm 138:1–8

1. Thank God for his love

‘Thank you! Everything in me says “Thank you!”’, writes the psalmist, ‘Thank you for your love, thank you for your faithfulness’ (vv.1–2, MSG).

God is loving and faithful in answering our prayers: ‘When I called, you answered me; you made me bold and stout-hearted’ (v.3).

In this life we face many ‘troubles’ (v.7b) – sickness, opposition, temptation, exhaustion, trials and attacks. God, in his love and faithfulness, preserves us. ‘Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life’ (v.7a).

I think verse 8 is one of the most encouraging verses in the entire Bible: ‘The Lord will fulfil his purpose for me’ (v.8a). God, in his love and faithfulness, has a purpose for your life and he will fulfil that purpose.

Human love can be fleeting, but ‘your love, O Lord, endures forever’ (v.8b).

As God’s love and faithfulness go hand in hand, so should our love for one another – in marriage, and in all our other relationships.

Lord, thank you so much for your amazing love and faithfulness towards me. Thank you that you promise to fulfil your purpose for me. Help me to live a life of love and faithfulness.

1 John 4:7–21

2. Live in the love of God

‘God is love. When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us’ (v.17, MSG).

The words ‘love’, ‘loves’ and ‘loved’ appear twenty-seven times in this short passage. Here is the heart of the New Testament. Here is the heart of the Bible. Here is God’s heart.

Love is the antidote to fear: ‘Perfect love drives out fear’ (v.18). Or, ‘perfect love turns fear out of doors and expels every trace of terror’ (v.18, AMP).

Love is the opposite of fear. They are like oil and water. Love is something everyone wants. Fear is something everybody wants to get rid of. We see in this passage four keys to overcome unhealthy fear in your life.

• Understand God’s Love

• ‘This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins… so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment… there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love’ (vv.10,17–18).

• Unhealthy fear entered the world when Adam and Eve sinned. They hid from God. When God asked, ‘Where are you?’ Adam replied, ‘I was afraid… so I hid’ (Genesis 3:10). Adam was afraid that God would punish him.

• The deepest root of fear is condemnation – the feeling that God is cross with you. But God ‘sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins’ (1 John 4:10). Jesus took your condemnation. God wants you to have confidence before him.

• Experience God’s Love

• ‘We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his spirit… we know and rely on the love God has for us’ (vv.13,16).

• You truly start living when you know you are unconditionally loved by God. The Holy Spirit gives us the experience of God’s love for us. When Pippa was a little girl, whenever she was frightened, her father would pick her up in his arms and sing, ‘Daddy’s got you now’. This is the work of the Holy Spirit – God picks us up in his arms and reassures us of his love for us.

• Believe God’s Love

• ‘We know and rely on the love God has for us’ (v.16). The Greek word used for ‘rely’ is the same word as for believe. Even when we know and have experienced God’s love, we need to keep on believing.

• Object permanence is an expression used by psychologists of a child’s ability to understand that objects still exist even if they are no longer visible.

• Up to about four months old, babies don’t have the capacity to believe something exists if they can’t see it. If you hide a toy it no longer exists as far as they are concerned. They reach a stage where if you hide a toy, they will keep on looking for it. They realise that objects exist even when you don’t see them.

• This is a sign of Christian maturity: when we continue to believe in God’s love even when we don’t see it or feel it. We remember and recall. As we believe in the sun even when it is not shining, we continue to believe in God’s love even in times of darkness when we don’t feel his love.

• Perfect God’s Love

• ‘No-one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us’ (v.12). ‘Perfect love drives out all fear’ (v.18).

• The more you love him and demonstrate that reality by loving one another – the less you are prey to fear. Develop a culture of love – giving and receiving love. This is the opposite of competition and gossip. The more love you give to others – the more fear disappears.

Lord, thank you that you love me unconditionally, wholeheartedly and continually. Thank you that perfect love casts out all fear.

Daniel 11:2–35

3. Stand firm in the love of God

People who know their God (v.32) are people of love. Love is not weak. The people who really know God resist evil leaders. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a man who knew God and firmly resisted Adolf Hitler whilst praying, ‘Give me such love for God and men, as will blot out all hatred and bitterness.’ Over the centuries many people who have known their God have stood firm and resisted evil.

Once again this prophecy has different levels of fulfilment. The immediate historical fulfilment concerns the various kings and rulers who reigned between 530–150 bc, many of whom were evil and ungodly in their actions.

However, there is also a long-term fulfilment. As we saw yesterday, Jesus referred to the abomination that causes destruction (9:27; 11:31; Matthew 24:15). He was probably referring to the destruction of Jerusalem in ad 70, which was a foreshadowing of the end times.

In the midst of all this evil ‘the people who know their God will firmly resist [the evil one]’ (Daniel 11:32b). As the RSV puts it, they will ‘stand firm and take action’. Or as The Message puts it, ‘those who stay courageously loyal to their God will take a strong stand’ (v.32b). It goes on, ‘those who keep their heads on straight will teach the crowds right from wrong by their example… The testing will refine, cleanse, and purify those who keep their heads on straight and stay true’ (vv.33,35, MSG).

Today, thank God for his love, live in the love of God, overcome your fears, stand firm and resist evil.

Lord, help us to be a people of love who know their God and stand firm, overcome our fears, resist evil and take action.

Pippa Adds

1 John 4:18

‘There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear…’

I have found comfort in this verse thousands of times.

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Youth leaders often stand in the gap for youth who have parents who are too busy for them.  

They stand in the gap for parents who simply don’t care for or who abandon their children.

They also stand in the gap for parents who are not too busy and love their children as a “help” or assist to their children in their spiritual development or simply to walk beside both the parent and the youth as they navigate through this thing called life.

All of these roles and many more define the youth leader of today yet know and understand that we do not simply stand in the gap for our youth.

Our real mission is to first lead them into a life filled with Christ and then as Paul did for Timothy mentor them to become leaders themselves to replace us so that they can in turn mentor the next generation of our youth to do the same.

This is mine and any Jesus-fearing youth leaders passion and is what drives us to spend our time, prayers, and quite often resources on this segment of society that is often ignored because they are quite often “hard to deal with”.

So I want to encourage all youth leaders and those who have mentored, helped, or supported them (we ALL have a hand in their development BTW) to continue to “dig in” and invest in our youth in the Name of Jesus Christ.

The weariness that you often feel and the pain that you feel when a youth in your care is harmed, dies (for whatever reason), abused, and the list goes on of the terrible things that we walk through them and their families with is worth it and is recognized by Jesus!

So strengthen yourself in the Lord Jesus today ESPECIALLY that youth leader that He had me pen this for this morning who is contemplating quitting because it has become “too hard” to continue.

God is about to refresh you with some of the youth that you have mentored as you see how you have impacted their lives so stop focusing on the “lost ones” and focus on Jesus and the ones that you’ve mentored to good growth in Jesus!

He loves you and last but not least I want to thank all of the parents out there for allowing us to mentor your children and I apologize for those who evily abuse your trust by abusing the privilege of mentor ship of your children by committing unspeakable acts or who only do what they do for selfish reasons.

We who take this deal seriously and simply love your children wanting to see them flourish and allowing the Holy Spirit to use us to do so thank you for this privilege and we vow to not let this honor given to us by you go to waste.

Love and blessings on this awesome day!

Ron “Big Black” and always a youth leader at heart “Garrett

Colossians‬ ‭3:16‬ ‭(NIV‬‬): “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.”

I often softly 😂 (lol) when I see all of the posts on social media, hear it on tv/radio, or have conversations with people who say that we are not to “judge” (admonish) people.

 The Bible is clear that we are to not judge ones’ heavenly eternity with our earthly eyes/minds and as we read the scripture above from the letter that our brother the Apostle Paul sent to the Colossi and as we read other scriptures in the Bible it clearly teaches us to among many other things to also admonish one another.

It’s in there folks….yet we should remember to do admonish with the caveat of doing so knowing that we ourselves must FIRST remember the “mud” in our own eye before judging the “speck” in our brother or sister’s eye AND IN LOVE.

This will enable us to judge with a higher level of grace and mercy that Christ has shown us while also coming at it from a place of love which will immediately or eventually “bless” instead of cursing the situation.

I have failed in this area numerous times over the years BUT PRAISE AND THANK JESUS that He has been patient with me and has grown me each year to be more and graceful towards others by using those closest to me to show me the “mud” in my own eye as I judged the “speck” in their eye eye  (I have also had to consider that constantly judging others made me feel better about myself as I judged them and ignored the areas of my life that I should be judging and correcting and IJS that when God made me consider this I either had to change course or stop growing…I can also see that many reading this also face this challenge today from the posts that I read on social media or hear from the mouths of many brothers/ sisters).


Thank you (and sorry at the same time but He has used me for you guys the same way 😂) Tracy Gowen Garrett Sarah Elizabeth Masters Mariah Ann Garrett, Devonte’ Townsend, and Kegan Masters as well as the rest of my family/friends.
I praise God for admonishments because they are not only catalysts for proper change in my life but they also are fertilizer for spiritual and more Jesus-like growth in me as I humble myself before God (He just gave me this as I was typing this btw…had never thought of it this way) He then grants me more wisdom because He know that I won’t “puff up with pride” and use it unwisely.

Even if I do He has seen that I have a history of humbling myself before Him so even when I do become prideful in that way I will repent and to my amazement He STILL grants me even more wisdom and my growth then becomes even more exponential ( didn’t even mean to go this way with this but He gives so I take and pass it on 😂).

SO, admonish others if you must through the prism of God’s grace/mercy granted to you as it does harm to the message of Christ when we don’t i the brother or sister that it’s directed at.  

Even worse not kearning  to admonish in love can entirely close up the hearts of the non-believer to the message of Jesus’s salvation for them and I must add that you will be held accountable for it (note: I say this so that you will take this seriously because God has shown me that He also takes into account our missteps due to the level of growth we are at and even forgets them entirely when we truly repent, ask for forgiveness and allow Him to work on us in this area).

Have a Jesus filled day and go and love on someone today will ya!!!

Ron “Big Black” Garrett 

I read today that sociologists say that even the most introverted person will influence over 10,000 people in their lifetime.

The question to the “Christian” this morning is…what type of influence will you be?

Will it be the world’s status quo or it’s way of doing things or will it be to show the 10,000 or more persons that you will influence in your lifetime a life that is TRULY submitted to Christ?

Most of us love to say that we are committed to Jesus BUT when confronted with the truth of His Word in our daily lives we quite often show our true allegiance to our race, our culture, our creed, our political system, our heritage, THUS “the world” instead of Jesus as we walk in agreement with those opinions instead of Jesus’s truth day to day.

It’s never too late dear friends!  

Take time today to pray to Jesus and ask Him to cast His beautiful light into the areas that you hide in secret darkness that are knowingly or unknowingly aligned with the world’s way of doing things

Ask Him to purge your heart of allegiances that hinder your growth in Him be they your family, your racial pride, your political persuasion, etc., as they all MUST be secondary to Jesus for if they are not then THEY are YOUR God and God will NEVER play second fiddle to another “god” even one that you create.

Jesus wants and deserves first place in your heart above all others so if you claim Him as Lord and Savior then ensure that your sole allegiance lies with Him when challenged by the untruths that pose as truth in this earth.

Be blessed and have a Jesus-filled day!!

Ron “Big Black” Garrett 

“Everybody wants to be elite until it’s time to have to be elite.”

P.J. Fleck 

Head Coach University of Minnesota)

As I watched the show “Being P.J Fleck” …the cameras follow the dynamic coach as he mentors the young people assigned to his program he made the statement that is quoted above.

God (as He often does) impressed upon my heart that this statement is true among those who claim Him by Name some want to be “elite” (closer to Him) but are unwilling to put the work in when it’s time to do so.

Many in our faith look at others in the faith with secret or overt envy because it seems that they are “elite” as a “Christian” and “want what they got”.

Now know that this is a worldly way of thinking that is wrong because God loves each of His children and “all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God” but there are things that Christians can do to draw themselves into a closer relationship with Jesus which to anyone watching them would make them seem “elite” in their envious eyes.

First of all would be to pray and lay everything in your life at Jesus’ feet or as My Pastor Rusty Nelson said a week or so ago in a teaching to nail it to the cross because “the devil has access to anything that you haven’t nailed to the cross”.

Next, develop a habit of spending quality, quiet time with God praying to Him, thanking Him, worshipping Him, and just as you do in developing any relationship spend time getting to know Him by reading His love letter and instruction manual for this thing we call life the Bible as it’s teachings when truly applied to a “life” is proven to change said life.

None of this will make you anymore “saved” but what it will do is usher in more and more peace into your life and it is that peace that makes one Christian look more “elite” than another.

Lastly, don’t be discouraged if you are not at some level like another person of faith either because your assignment may be different than theirs and it’s not wise to continue to always be watching others (it’s okay to get your bearing upon salvation and at times as you “grow”) since you cannot fully focus on YOUR walk with Christ if you have your eyes sternly focused on others walk with Him.

Be “elite” today!! Focus on the things that matter and those are the things that concern our Lord and Master Jesus Christ.

He loves you and if I can let me let you in on a lil secret….You are already elite of Jesus is your Lord!!!!

It’s your mindset that must change if you feel less than elite because you can never know who you are in Christ Jesus if you don’t spend the time to get to know Him by doing the things that it takes to develop that closer relationship with Him.

He loves you and so do I!

Ron “Big Black” Garrett

Mark 2:13-17: (NIV)Jesus Calls Levi and Eats With Sinners

13 Once again Jesus went out beside the lake. A large crowd came to him, and he began to teach them. 14 As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

15 While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him. 16 When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?”

17 On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

I’m always amazed at how Christians shun those who do not share their faith when the very charter of said faith IS that we must emulate or “do what Jesus did” (if you will) and engage them so that through us (willing vessels) the pure, beautiful, life changing light of Jesus can penetrate their dark world and draw them to Him.

We are suppose to emulate our Lord as best we can at the level of grace that we are at yet far too often God has shown me that Christians (myself included) shun the very people that they have been mandated to help.

As we can see from the scriptures above that Jesus did not shun anyone and regularly hung out with “sinners” and people who were “disreputable” according to the religious people of His day.

Fast forward to current day and all throughout the history of our faith we see the same pattern of “religiousness” played out today as God’s people routinely showers the world with vitriolic rhetoric and quite often hateful comments instead of showering the world with the same love that Jesus showed us when we were still steeped in our sin (some of us are still there…we just look good and Christian in our church clothes).

It seems that in our “holiness” we in the faith sometimes get off track and get so offended at how the world acts that we forget that it is THEY who WE are here FOR, that WE are no better than THEM for “all have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God (except for our relationship with God through Christ Jesus), and that God still loves each and every one of THEM and desires that “NONE should perish”.

Getting back to the scriptures above we see that Jesus ate with sinners so we can surmise that at these meals He laughed with them, He conversed with them, and since we know that many among them had issues He also cried and grieved with them yet WE walk around in a religious fog behaving as if we shouldn’t do the same.

As I close I’ll leave you with what God impressed upon me to write this today with and that is “son…meet them where they are at as I did with you”.

God didn’t wait until I acted “perfectly” (trust me..still don’t) or until I behaved like the Christian that others think I should be in THEIR eyes.

He first lured me in through people (watch this) who were simply kind to me who never preached one word of the gospel to me yet their kindness and the lives that they lived intrigued me to ask them questions about why they were so kind to me…THEN they were able to speak on Jesus!

Through a twenty year process they ate with me, cried with me when tragedy befell me, prayed with and/or for me EVEN when I shunned them (sometimes cussed them for it) or told them not to, and it was through this long process of interaction that the many showed me enough of Christ Jesus that I eventually decided to see if He was indeed real for myself and as you can now see…I KNOW THAT HE IS!!!

Sadly, the Christians that most hindered me from seeking after Jesus were the fake, phony, Holy in front of everyone but a devil in the dark (I saw them though because I was there too), looking down at a sinner, and if don’t join my church now Christians who I viewed as not much different than the “hoods”, thugs, and criminals that I knew from “da hood”.

Which “Christian” will you be today?

Shed off all of the religion and show the world Jesus by meeting them where they are at.
This doesn’t mean that you have to become like them and do what they do.  NO…if they hang around a Holy man, woman, or child of God long enough God will use YOU to change THEIR atmosphere and YOU will infect them with Jesus instead of them being able to corrupt you.

Lastly, ensure that you do what Jesus did by staying “prayed up”  before encountering the darkness of the world and ensure that each sojourn that you make is led by His Holy Spirit.

May the peace of Jesus be with you today in all that you do.
Ron “Big Black” Garrett

Amos‬ ‭5:21-26‬ ‭(NIV‬‬) ” I hate, I despise your religious festivals; your assemblies are a stench to me. Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them. Though you bring choice fellowship offerings, I will have no regard for them. Away with the noise of your songs! I will not listen to the music of your harps. But let justice roll on like a river, righteousness like a never-failing stream! “Did you bring me sacrifices and offerings forty years in the wilderness, people of Israel? You have lifted up the shrine of your king, the pedestal of your idols, the star of your god — which you made for yourselves.”
(Please note that the questions that are posed by me in this piece are questions that God asked me to pose as I wrote it.)
As I conducted my daily quiet time with God and read His Word this morning He showed me again what He has been placing on my heart when He has me speak to His people (and myself) on hypocrisy, righteousness, duplicity, honesty, and walking in agreement with the world on issues instead of walking in the standard of HIS Truth (see the scriptures below from Amos).

So many people go to church, give their tithes/offerings, lift their hands up, jump, shout, scream, cry, have religious meetings, etc., not realizing that while those things are things that are “good” without God they mean nothing.

How do we leave God out of these things? We have left God out of it because we leave God and His truth out of our daily lives BEFORE we go and do these things.
He has shown me how we leave Him out of and walk in disobedience in many areas but the two that He constantly uses as glaring examples are politics and issues dealing with “race”.

In politics we have His people aligning with their preferred party so they castigate the other party of their wrongs yet when their party does the exact same thing they are either silent or make excuses for their aligned party.

In “race” issues His people who SHOULD ONLY be aligned with HIS race will castigate even the innocent of another race that is doing or has done evil things yet when the people who they identify with as “their kind” (this is nonsense if you claim Christ whether you like it or not) perpetrate the same kind of evil towards others they either make excuses or remain silent.  

This behavior is unGodly NOT because I say so but because HE says so both in His Word (look it up..start with Gal 3:28) and via revelation to me some 12 years ago when He told me that I could NOT serve Him with my “black first” or “black pride” attitude the way that He designed me to. I either had to serve it or Him…as you can see I chose and will always choose Him even at the expense the black community’s shunning of His Word from me that I mostly serve and love (love everyone but He has mandated this as my main mission field).

No matter the issue be it politics, race, religion etc., the standard should ALWAYS be Jesus!  

Our love, our ways, our way of doing things will fail since we’re not perfect but HIS love, His ways, and His way of doing things never will because He is so let’s today declare that we will stop aligning with things that have no chance to “save” and align with the truth of Jesus.

If this is you today (speaking to someone in particular that is reading this right now…he knows who he is) wipe that scorn off of your face towards me right now because you disagree with this word EVERYTIME He has me write it (YES…He sees your face, hears your prideful words that you speak against His servant simply for doing his job.  Know that the servant doesn’t give a rip though only in the context of where you are being disobedient to the Lord…I fear for you there).

God has a couple of questions for you with your “prideful” self.  

Are you really wanting to be on the side of your racial pride instead of on His side? Why do you even go to church if you are not willing to serve and listen to Him as Lord?  

You believe in Him and that’s “good” but don’t you want to receive all that He has waiting for you? You pray everyday but you have made your “race” your God since you sometimes overlook the Truth to walk in agreement with your race even when they walk against God’s teachings…do you really think that God doesn’t see your duplicity and cowardice to follow Him instead of worrying about what your “race” will think?

As I close, Joshua’s said it best Joshua 24:15 (KJV): 15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

Lastly, there are many of you (along with the other that God had me speak to earlier) who continue to castigate me for simply speaking the word that God gives me on these things.

I beseech you to go to His Word to witness if what He has told me is true or not. 

 What is sad is that most of you already know but just like the Israelites in the desert you have become so “stiff-necked” that you continue to defy God in this area and it will eventually cost you.

And with that…I’m out!  

Have a blessed day!

Ron “Big Black” Garrett

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