The Church And Money

Just like rent is more important than the cable bill, tithes and offerings are at least equally as important as preaching and singing is. Preaching and singing occurs ONCE THE BILLS ARE PAID, much like cable is hooked up in an apartment that has been paid for on the 1st.

If I don’t pay my rent or even my light bill, that means I can’t watch my favorite show. And there are a lot of good shows and good games and movies that I don’t ever want to miss! Well, in church, most people’s favorite “show” is the preached word or praise and worship. By the way, those are a must see. You don’t ever want to miss those!

My house takes a step back whenever we run out of cleaning supplies. (You know exactly what I’m talking about.) You can’t clean the tub and toilet properly. You can’t wash the dishes – and they pile up until you go and by some dish detergent. The clothes pile up until you stop procrastinating and go in your pocket and buy some washing powder. (We’re not gonna mention toilet paper lol.) Well, every church has expenses that keeps it “livable” or operational. So don’t neglect your church bill. The church expenses cost so much that one person cannot pay it all and pay for their own house. We have to tag team it! And so God has given each Christian a church bill called the tithe so the church house won’t PILE UP.

The church bill.

Comparison With Smoke Shop

As I stroll through the city of Houston going about my business I can’t help but notice the Smoke Shop industry is expanding. There used to be a handful of smoke shops but now they are everywhere. It’s been a while since I’ve been in a smoke shop. I saw one today, and it dawned on me that smoke shops and churches are different businesses but they have similar strategies.

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The smoke shop is there for those who smoke weed and to accommodate them in those endeavors. The people already smoke and already know how to smoke, but the smoke shop can enhance their smoking experience. They offer “equipment.” They offer a supportive, welcoming atmosphere. And if you have any questions or need any assistance, there is someone there who can give you a lil insight – because the staff member smokes too and enjoys the equipment and the atmosphere and the “different levels.”

Well, the church is there for those who love and worship God. It is a place where they can worship. The people already know God and already have a relationship with Him, but church is an atmosphere that enhances their worship experience. If a person needs advice or counseling or guidance, there is a staff member who is able to assist him or her. That staff member can assist because he/she worships God too and takes advantage of the atmosphere and enjoys the different levels.

With that being said, if you don’t hate on the smoke shop…then don’t hate on the church. You feel me?

Having Friends

He who lacks real friends lacks agape love

What is agape love? It is the unconditional love that God has, and WE can tap into it. We can draw from that well.

A lot of people go through life “solo.” They are lone rangers. They don’t have friends and they don’t need friends. It comes out that they are bitter and that they hold grudges. Do you know anyone who will give you just one time to mess up with them? You got one time and then you’re cut off forever.

You’ll notice a lot of those same people complain about not having anyone or not having people in their life who love them…people who have their back…people they can count on when their back is against the wall. The truth is, it’s like that because they ran everybody off!

It is impossible to have good, long term friends without you all having to forgive each other every once in a while. You may have a misunderstanding with your pastor, best friend, close relative or whomever. In order to have that relationship, you must forgive. Everyone is not your friend… but do not toss your friends aside as if they are “every one.”

There is much abundant life beyond forgiveness. Overcome the hatred within by exercising the power of love and tapping into Christ’s agape love.

Greater Grace

Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” (2 Corinthians 12:8-9)

When we go to the doctor and the doctor gives us medication, the doctor is in a position to increase the dosage of our medication if need be.

One time I had a spider bite on my leg. I was taking Keflex 500mg three times per day, but my leg kept swelling up more and more. So I went back to the doctor and he prescribed me a stronger antibiotic…Levaquin. And Levaquin took care of the infection.

When we go through things in life, we need God’s grace. The more nagging the situation, the more grace is needed. Like your doctor is able to increase your medication, your God is able to increase the grace He gives you for the things you go through in life.

My sixteen year old daughter is learning how to cook. She does a pretty decent job – especially when I don’t feel like cooking. I welcome her to in there and whip me up something.

Sometimes when she cook breakfast, her eggs stick to the pot real bad because the fire is too hot. And it’s hard to clean it, so I just let it soak in water for hours. As tough as it is to detach the eggs from the skillet, as hard as it is to clean that pot, all that’s needed is a lil soaking.

God’s grace is like “soaking.” No matter how immovable your situation is, how sticky, how big, God knows how to soak it in grace to soften it up over time. Won’t He do it?

D. Barlow

 

The Father’s Grace

A wife, three children, a grand child, an adopted son, a daughter in law, and a niece whose father passed away when she was one year old are all in my “tribe.” I am there shepherd and they are my flock.

I started selling barbeque and smoothies on weekends, and to be expected it has been a struggle keeping the tribe from eating the product that is for sale. Can you imagine lol?

I tried giving them a speech. I tried giving them fake threats. I tried hiding food. I even took food and snacks and put them in my closet – and still I came up short. Finally, God said, “They can’t help but rely on the father’s grace.”

It is our nature. We can’t help but rely on the Father’s grace. We can’t help ourselves. That’s how we are wired. We were created to rely on God’s grace. If you were to try not to rely on the Grace of God the Father, you would still end up relying on the Father’s grace.

You can’t help yourself. And the Father understands this. He says, “Come boldly before the throne of grace.” He gives grace to the humble. “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” We can’t help but rely on the Father’s grace.

 

 

The Fire Of God

Whenever I clean the grills on my barbeque pit, sometimes I take them off and soak them in water. Sometimes I use a wire brush. But the most efficient and quickest way to clean them is with fire.

All the grease, all the gunk, all the rust, all the black stuff….The best way to clean it is with fire.

God says we are so filthy that we need to be cleaned with fire.

 

Rev D Barlow

The Validated Sin

A mother was notified that her son acted up in school today. The teacher called her and gave her all the details. She explained that her son had been cutting up for a long time and that she should have been notified her about his behavior a long time ago.

So the mother was disappointed and upset. When she picked up her son from school she told him that she was disappointed in him and that she was putting him on punishment. But that’s not all…he was gonna get a spanking!

The young boy explained, “Mama, don’t believe what the teacher said. All I did was this or that…and the rest of that stuff the teacher made it up!” Anyone who has children knows good and well the young man was 100 percent guilty.

Proverbs 21:2 says, “Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.” We are guilty of many things, but we think nothing is wrong with most of the things we do and with the philosophies we live by.

A lot of people are going to be in for a rude awakening when God pronounces His judgment on them. They don’t think it’s that crucial, but it is! They don’t see nothing wrong with a little of this or that, but it is! It is dead wrong!

 

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by D. Barlow

 

The Promises

I make some outstanding smoothies. All of my recipes are original – well except for one that I copied off the franchise Thirsty’s. I copied their Blueberry Banana Smoothie, but other than that the rest are original.

My seven year old, Darren, came begging me to make him a smoothie one day. In typical fashion he must have said “please” about 15 times to my irritation. “Please, daddy. Please, please, please, please.”

Finally I said, “Okay!!!!!” Then in relief he said,”Yesssss!”

That’s when I burst his bubble. I told him that I would make him one next week, then he immediately got sad. I said, “Why are you sad? I just told you I will make you one. You should be happy, right? Why aren’t you happy?” He tried to answer the question but he just couldn’t put his finger on it. He understands that his dad is full of trick questions, so he’s learning to plead the 5th. (Of course, I made him one later that day. That’s my baby boy.)

Much like Darren with the smoothie, we have the promises of God but are not all that excited about them. If we can’t have them on our term, we get sad instead of happy. We want to control the situation. We have a problem with waiting, but the promises are as good as gold. Don’t be sad.

 

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D. Barlow

 

 

Say “Yes”

 

My two year old niece, Camille, was at our house for the weekend. She is the cutest lil thing! When she walked in the door everyone started kissing her and picking her up. I noticed she had what looked like some cookies from McDonald’s.

Now let me tell you, Camille is only two years old, and she is as cute as pie, but that girl can eat! And not only that, she can also drink.

I said, “Camille, do you love me.” She nodded her head and signaling yes. I said, “Ok, well give uncle a piece of that cookie.” Then she nodded her head signaling no. And everybody in the room started laughing lol.

We say we love God, but when He asks us to give us this sin or that sin, we nod our head signaling no. When God asks us to take on more responsibility in His kingdom, even though we say we love Him we nod our head and say no. And God has to conclude that we do not love Him after all. He has to conclude that the love we have for Him is as shallow as a mug of coffee.

Today is a good day to say yes.

 

 

 

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Be Vigilant

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Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. (1Peter 5:8)

In English class, I learned that whenever there is a semicolon, the information that comes before the semicolon and after the semicolon are both independent clauses and are of equal importance to one another.

In the verse above, we like to quote the second clause but pay no mind to the first clause, but they are of equal importance. We know the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour – but not a lot of emphasis is placed on the first clause “Be sober, be vigilant.”

Be Sober

This doesn’t merely refer to alcohol or drugs. On the contrary, it is talking about our inner man. Do not be drunk with rage. Do not be drunk with lust. Do not be drunk with covetousness…and so forth.

From that standpoint, there are things you can identify that threaten your “sobriety.” When the wrong thing comes on TV, I might have to change the channel because this romance scene or sex scene threatens my sobriety. “Be sober.” Instead of double- taking, for the sake of my sobriety I’d better single-take. “Be sober.”

Be Vigilant

Vigilant means to be aware or alert. However, it means that but to a greater extent. I like to say it means to be ready for spiritual warfare in a moment’s notice. As the second clause indicates, the devil strikes when you least expect it. Someone says something disrespectful. Some plot manifests. Surprise, surprise… here comes an attack from the devil!

In closing, if you don’t protect your sobriety and be ready to engage in spiritual warfare in a moment’s notice, the devil will successfully ambush you.

 

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D. Barlow