Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Time to Care and to Share

A Time To Care and to Share
December 10, 2011 at 3:00 pm, a small group of individuals from PromiseLand Church, Emmanuel Baptist Church, as well as individual volunteers and members other local churches converged on a small nursing home in East Austin. The purpose of the meeting was not to have a church service or discuss doctrine; the purpose was simply to lend a helping hand. Although the churches represented there that day may not have agreed in all areas of doctrine, and many of the participants in that day’s events may have not even believed in God as I do, we were all gathered on one accord, to provide a since of belonging to individuals who may feel abandoned and lost. 
The Christmas season is a wonderful and exciting time of year for many people; however, for the lost, lonely, and hurting, the holiday season can bring sadness and gloom. Thoughts of depression and lost loved ones are only a couple of the issues that many individuals face this time of year; however, we can make a difference in the lives of others by simply deciding to make a difference. That Saturday afternoon in December lasted only one hour; however, the impact that was made that day is one that will not easily be forgotten, at least for me. Passing out Christmas cards, cheesy meatballs, and apple pie while singing Christmas carols seems like such a trivial thing, we only spent one hour there; however, knowing that I was able to be a Blessing someone who may not otherwise experience Christmas is to me, the true meaning of Christmas.

Psalms 41:1-3 Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
Perhaps, this year could be the year that you make the decision to place the needs of others above your own, “but I just don’t have the time” well, maybe you could donate food items to the local food pantry, church, or other social organization. Toys, clothes, and other household items are always welcomed at organizations such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and local disaster relief organizations as well as charities located throughout your area. Please, consider making today the day you give back to the community and those in need around you; make this Christmas season a time to share and a time to care for everyone around us.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

What Dreams May Come

What Dreams May Come

What is a dream? According to dictionary.com, a dream is an aspiration, a goal, or an aim; however, according to the same definition/description contained on the website dictionary.com, a dream is also described as a wild or vain fantasy, something of an unreal beauty, charm, or excellence. So what does it mean to have a dream? To have a dream simply means that an individual has a dream, a desire, or a goal that he or she has aspired to reach.
Although we have all had a dream at one point in our lives, many of us have forgotten the dreams and have settled for less than we aspired to be. Looking back on my life in reflection, I can clearly remember having dreams of being a doctor, a lawyer, and a fireman to name a few; however, at this point in my life those dreams have yet to be realized, but why? Did I forget about these dreams, or did I simply choose another path? The truth is that I simply gave up on my dreams; unfortunately, many of us have given up on our dreams and have settled for living lives that simply do not meet the standards we had set for ourselves only a few years ago. Well, now that we have arrived at the corner of dead dreams and assassinated aspirations, what do we do? Well the answer to that question can be found in the pages of the Holy Bible, also known as Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

Dead dreams are like dry bones; although the dry bones are recognizable as a parts of an individual’s body, they are scattered about and disconnected, the true identity of who the individual was in life has been all but forgotten, gone like the wind. This same exact  thing happens to our dreams, the further away we move from that dream or aspiration we once had, the more the dream fades away until it is nothing more than a passing memory, dry bones in a forgotten place; however, we can give our old dead dreams new life. An example of how we can give our old dreams new life can be found in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.

Ezekiel 37:-14 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the LORD, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones, And caused me to pass by them round about: and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry. And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live? And I answered, O Lord GOD, thou knowest. Again he said unto me, Prophesy upon these bones, and say unto them, O ye dry bones, hear the word of the LORD. Thus saith the Lord GOD unto these bones; Behold, I will cause breath to enter into you, and ye shall live: And I will lay sinews upon you, and will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin, and put breath in you, and ye shall live; and ye shall know that I am the LORD. So I prophesied as I was commanded: and as I prophesied, there was a noise, and behold a shaking, and the bones came together, bone to his bone. And when I beheld, lo, the sinews and the flesh came up upon them, and the skin covered them above: but there was no breath in them. Then said he unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as he commanded me, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army. Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel: behold, they say, Our bones are dried, and our hope is lost: we are cut off for our parts. Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel. And ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves, And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD

Although the preceding group verses has most commonly interpreted as God returning life to the nation of Israel and the returning of many Jewish people to the ancient homeland of the Hebrew people, we can apply these principles to our lives today. In verse three of the preceding verses, God asks Ezekiel “Can These Bones Live” and Ezekiel responded “Oh Lord God, Thou Knowest”. As Ezekiel continues to speak to God, the Lord instructs him to prophesy and speak life over the dry bones; as Ezekiel begins to follow the directions from God, the bones began to do just as they were instructed to do, they begin to live.

Sometimes in our own lives, we arrive at a deep valley containing our own dry bones; although these “dry bones” may be in the form of dead dreams, forgotten aspirations, or even bad relationships, we can do as Ezekiel has done, we can Prophesy over the “dry bones” in our lives. Just as God instructed Ezekiel to speak life over the dry bones, we are expected to speak life over the “dry bones” in our lives, speak life over death in all that we do. So, what does this all mean? Basically, our destiny is in our own hands, God will not force us to do anything that we do not want to do, we are all given free will; however, if we speak life over death, God is faithful and just to honor our request. I would like to encourage you to speak life over the dry bones in your life, speak life over death, begin today and you WILL achieve your goals; only you can imagine what dreams may come.http://www.holybible.com/

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We will Never Forget 9/11 Psalms 46

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the LORD, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Good Courage...

What is courage? According to dictionary.com, courage is the quality of mind and spirit that allows an individual to face difficult situations, danger, or pain with little or no fear. For several years, I believed courage was the ability to run into a crowd of men, who hated me while swinging my fist or standing in front of an "enemy" with a gun daring them to shoot me; however, these types of behaviors are not courageous at all, they are actually acts of immaturity and foolishness. What then is it that makes an action courageous? Well thanks for asking, that is a very good question, and it is a question that I will help you to answer.

Unless you are a member a local police department, a member of the military, or a professional fighter, any act of violence must be considered nothing more than disorderly conduct and foolishness. Understandingly, we as individuals have the right to defend ourselves, our families and friends, and our property, but outside of these specific areas, violence is simply foolish and should be avoided whenever possible. Now that we have established what courage is not, we must now figure out what the word courage really means. The word courage is simply used to describe an act of bravery and determination and the willingness to face the unknown.

As a young man I had made several mistakes, some of which I was convinced I just couldn't overcome. The years of senseless violence and bad attitudes had taken a toll on me and the thought of ever becoming a useful member of society had just seemed so far away. For several years I had a dream of leaving the lifestyle I was living, attending school, and becoming a success; however, I had always succumbed to the fear of failure and the negative environment and people around me. I can even recall one of the members of my crew telling me that God will never Love me because I had done so many things wrong and that I was destined for hell; understanding, it was so hard to believe in myself when someone who claims to love me told me that God didn't love me, I felt just so low, as though I was the scum of the earth. Fear of the unknown had literally gripped me and held me bound; accepting such nonsense as fact, I never had the courage to push through the darkness in search of the light, and my life was in perpetual ruins.

However, one day, a good friend of mine asked me a question, he said “do you trust me with your life?" after answering yes, he invited me to church. After attending a few services, neither often nor enthusiastically, I slowly began to realize that there was more to life than just existing. Whether an individual chooses to believe in God or not, he or she has to arrive at a point in which there is a realization that life is bigger than the small box in which they reside spiritually, emotionally, and often physically. The stress of life was working against me, I wanted to believe there was something better; however, I was afraid, what if I had truly done so many bad things that I could not be forgiven? Again the fear of the unknown had gripped me, the agony of defeat ripped me to the core of my very existence, until one day, I reached an epiphany, and this was the verse that had caused me to realize that life is Bigger than I could ever imagine.

 Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.
Be strong and fear not, be of good courage, God is with you! These are the words that began to ring through me heart, mind, body, and soul, over and over again, I simply could not grab hold of the fact that God does not want me to fear failure; he wants me to face it knowing he is with me.

Honestly, my life didn't undergo some sort of amazingly drastic transformation; however, things did slowly begin to change for the better, and I was able to see much more clearly. Although at this point, I had not completely grasped everything that God had for me, I did begin to visualize a better future for myself and my family. The fear of the unknown had begun to slowly dissipate while the Love of God began to grow and flourish in my life. Fear not and be of good courage is an extremely large part of my life today as well; although I have been walking with God for quite a while now, there are still those times in which I become gripped with fear and I must remember God has instructed me to be courageous and bold. Fear is the enemy of your success, fear tells you that you cannot or you will not; however, courage is the exact opposite, and through the courage that I have been granted, I stand boldly claiming that you too can and will be a success.

Fear Not and be of Good Courage, Press Through the Darkness, Seek Out the Light...

This message is intended to encourage you to set goals and achieve them, to break through to the other side! If there is anything holding you back, break through it now, if you need help, there is someone available to help you. Although my goal is to ultimately encourage everyone to give God a chance, I am determined to help anyone and everyone realize their goals in life whether they are a believer or not, so please do not hesitate to contact me here, I am available anytime.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Substance.....

Have you ever felt down and out? Or maybe stuck in a rut that you just could not get motivated to get out of? Well then welcome to the human experience here on earth. Over the past four to five weeks, I myself was stuck in such a rut, the pressures of this world had begun to engulf me and although I tried to fight it, I eventually succumbed to the overwhelming pressure. As a result of the pressure, my grades began to falter; my personal life became stressed and although I physically participated in regular events at church and at home, spiritually and emotionally, I was feeling completely defeated.
Overcoming this difficult time in my life was not easy, the more I pressed forward, the more pressure was placed on my shoulders, at least this is the way that I felt at the time. Daily task such as completing homework assignments, reading my bible, or even cleaning my room had simply become unbearable and my life began to spiral terribly out of control. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Well it should if you are human, life’s daily pressures have caused even the strongest of men to slip, fall, or question the meaning of life. King David of Israel made several mistakes and Peter denied Jesus three times just as Jesus had stated. Need more examples? Charlie Sheen is a very large example of someone who has succumbed to the pressures of life; however, the subject of this post is not to discuss who buckled under the pressure or why, the point is to discuss getting back up, standing on your own two feet, and pressing forward towards the finish line.
As a Christian, I constantly lean on my faith in God to get me through rough and difficult times; however, simply stating that I have faith is not enough, I must act on that faith.  Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for with the evidence of things not seen (KJV) or in simpler words Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (TNIV) Dictionary.com says this about faith; faith is the confidence or trust in a person or thing or a belief that may not be based on proof. No matter which view point is taken, or how we personally feel about the word faith, faith is simply the belief in something that at the time may not be substantiated in the physical form. That being stated, do you have faith? Do you really have faith in yourself? Do you feel like the sky isn’t the limit because you are shooting for the stars? Or do you just give up, give in, and succumb to the pressure.
What is faith, and what does it mean to us? Well that is an excellent question; perhaps we can discuss it in simple terms and by using examples. One example of faith is the trust we place in a common household chair; although we may not be carpenters, we are quite sure that when we sit in a chair, it will support our weight. Although we have no knowledge of how the chair was constructed or how it will react under the weight of our body, the faith we have in the chair supersedes any fear that may be present and we ultimately sit down in the chair KNOWING that it will support our weight. Faith is the substance of our hopes and dreams, and through faith, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish, we must simply have faith. Life is so much larger than the small box in which we live in, we go throughout our daily lives without stepping outside of our boxes, and whenever we do step outside of the box, we quickly jump back into the box due to fear. However, through faith, we can break out of these boxes and truly begin to live. Fear forced me back into the box, a fear of algebra forced me to perform poorly in both classes when all I actually needed to do was to stand fast and break through the wall of fear KNOWING that I will succeed because I have FAITH; you too can break through the wall of fear, or whatever has you bound, with FAITH.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Compassion for Life Love for Others....

According to dictionary.com, the word compassion simply means to have a feeling of deep sympathy and sorry for another who has been stricken with misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering. So what does it mean to be compassionate? Well that is a good question, so once again we will refer to dictionary.com's list of definitions. According to dictionary.com, the word compassionate means to have or show compassion: as in a compassionate person or letter. The word compassion has so many meanings and implications to many different people, and if you ask one person what it means to them, and ask another individual the same question, chances are you will receive a different answer.

For me, being compassionate is something more than mere words on a page, on a screen, or thoughts in our minds, compassion and being compassionate is an action word. If we are to change our lives for the better, we have to take the necessary steps, simply saying that I plan on graduating from college will get me no where close to attaining that goal; however, if I call colleges and universities in my area, meet with staff and counselors, and take steps to enroll then I have taken the steps which will bring me to that goal. Showing love and compassion is exactly the same way, we must take the steps that transform these words on a page or computer screen to words that actually begin to show that we are compassionate and sympathetic, and that we do feel empathy for those who are hurting or in need of help.

The main theme of my blog is to encourage others to get up and chase after their dreams; however, the fact is that if the individual doesn't know and understand how to turn simple words into actions, the likelihood of attaining these dreams will be nearly impossible. Simple everyday things such as reading a book or a set of directions means nothing if the individual does not actively follow the directions or place him or herself within the pages of the book to experience what is being read. The same principles can be placed into any situation in life, we must experience everything life has to offer, both good and bad, before we can truly understand what others may be going through, and before we can truly begin to show sympathy, empathy, and compassion.

I Peter 3:8-9 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Recently, I have had the honor and pleasure of spending time with individuals and families who are or have experienced some of the worst of what the world has to offer; however, after experiencing some of these things in my own life, I more than prepared to minister to these families, I actually felt their pain, I cried when they cried; the sadness and grief they felt, I felt right along with them because I had been there too. By the grace of God, I was able to share with them words of encouragement, comfort, and love. The point I am attempting to make is this, no matter what you have gone through, or where you have been in your life, there is a purpose behind it, and if you grab a hold of it, you can use these experiences for good instead of a hindrance, let these events be a source of encouragement for you. Last but not least, these words were written to encourage you to keep pushing, regardless of whether you believe in God or not, you must understand that life is bigger than the sadness we feel or the unfortunate event from our past, you are bigger than that bad day or that loved one who treated like less than a person keep pushing towards your goal, and please just give Jesus a chance to make himself known in your life.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Faith, Hope, and Love....

Radioactive rain drops are falling from the sky, multiple deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the massive Tsunamis, Earthquakes,and aftershocks currently being experienced throughout Japan and the Pacific ring of fire, what do the all have in common? Fear, all of these events are causing fear throughout the planet Earth. Although not all of these events are man-made, all of these events can be affected by man in one way or another, through the showing of love to our brothers as the Bible instructs us, we as humans can work together to ease the pain of those in need, not sympathy, but empathy, not caring, but love.

I Corinthians 13:13 And now abideth faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The greatest of these is Love, that is correct, the greatest of these is love. The first goal of everything that I do, write, say, or pray is to present the faith to individuals who may not know the Love of Christ Jesus; the seciond goal is to encourage people to push forward and forget the things of the past. Whether you are a believer in Christ Jesus or not, it is absolutely imperative that you know and understand that you are more important than the problems, you are better than someone's negative opinion of you, and there is more to life than living in misery.

The first step in making positive change is to understand that there is hope; that through faith all dreams are attainable. Hebrews 11:1 tells us that faith is the substance of things hoped for,and the evidence of things not seen. That is the Biblical definition of faith, but what does faith mean in the real world? When you grab that chair and sit down to have lunch, you literally have faith that the chair will hold your weight; when you are driving down the road and approach a stop sign, you have faith that the brakes will grip the rotors, and the car will stop. In life, we must have faith that we can overcome any obstacles laid down before us, in life we must have the faith and courage to press through when it appears that the world is coming against us, and that through faith we can achieve our goals.

Last year, an individual made a decision that literally changed his world; what was the decision you ask, the individual decided to go to college. Although this is a choice that several thousand individuals make every year, for this individual it is much different. The gentleman in question graduated high school in five years instead of the standard four years that most students follow, the gentleman has not taken any formal classes in over ten years, and the indivudual has a family to take care of; however, the gentleman in question has faith that with help from God, friends, and family, he can reach his goal. That individual in question is me, Fred Blackman Jr. As of today, I have not failed a class, I have acquired thirty credit hours, and I am course to graduate college just as my oldest son is graduating high school. You too can reach your goals, all it takes is Faith, Hope, and Love.......What's next?