Hundreds

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Recently I sat down and was just browsing through a few different things on the internet, when I noticed a news story that stood out to me. The title was something like “Man sentenced to hundreds of years in prison”. It caught my attention so I clicked on the article and read it. It explained what he did to deserve the sentence of a couple hundred years, and without getting into detail the crimes that he committed matched the sentencing, I’m not trying to defend what he did. After I read the article there was a video attached that showed the sentencing take place, the man sat between two other men, probably attorney’s or lawyers as the judge read him his sentence. There were over thirty charges, and with each one read, his face sank, the man who was clearly guilty broke down into tears, and the tears turned into this bitter deep cry as he realized what it was that was happening. I can’t explain it, but it looked like for the first time this man realized what he did and what the severity of what he did was.

We all have to make choices every single day. Every single sin that we have committed was a result of a choice we made. No one can put us outside of the will of God but us. I wonder how many people do things and think nothing of it, or how many people come to the place where they have to make a choice and then choose to give into sin. Things that we don’t think are wrong because everyone else does it, but the fact is, we don’t get to choose what sin is. One day, we will all have to give an account for the things that we did or didn’t do here on earth. I’m not writing this to discourage anyone, because all have fallen short and God is good to push our sins as far as the east is from the west if we repent. However, God is and will always be just. Simply because fire isn’t necessarily falling from heaven and wiping out entire armies or nations, it does not mean that He has changed His stance on sin.

Just like that man who was sentenced to hundreds of years in prison, don’t wait for your sin to find you. Say no, cut it out, before it’s to late.

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Hundreds

Keeping The Peace

Peace

 

Matthew 5:9

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

Every once and awhile you come across a verse that isn’t as glamorous as, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” or “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Sometimes the word of God will do what no other book can really do as well, and that’s challenge you and also call you up to a higher way of living. That single verse in Matthew chapter 5 does exactly that. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

I’m a son, a brother, a boyfriend, an employee, a cousin and a friend and if there is one thing that being all of those things has in common, it’s the fact that there will be disagreements. I find that it’s number one, inevitable, but also healthy if we can look at them the right way. It’s the way that we handle these disagreements that will determine how situations and even relationships will turn out. I don’t know if you have ever had a time where you found yourself in an argument and you just stopped and thought to yourself, “What am I even arguing about?”. I know I have, times where I can get so bent on arguing a point that I get lost in the arguing and don’t even know why it is that I am so heated. With that example and Matthew 5:9 in mind it brings me to what I want to say.

If we are going to succeed in our relationships, there will be times where we will have to want to make peace over wanting to be right.

I’ll be the first to admit that this is a hard to do. I know that in the moment you want to get angry, you want to give into emotions, sometimes you want to keep the arguing going. It’s almost like sometimes we feel that once we start arguing there has to be a winner, but the thing about that is that whoever wins we all lose. My mom always says, “you have to pick your battles”. If we are honest with ourselves and even take a second to look back on even this past week, the things we have chosen to go to war over most likely don’t even matter that much. Also think about the people who we are arguing with, the ones who mean everything to us, why do we want to cause them any pain. Today, wherever you are at let me say that I know we are all works in progress, but the important thing is that we make the progress.

Matthew 5:9: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”

It is a hard verse for sure but let me encourage you, God never would have allowed it to be written down and put in the Bible if it wasn’t something He desired for you and I, and was willing to walk with us until we have accomplished His will in that particular area. So the next time that you find yourself about to respond with anger or talk back or argue, remember how much love you have for the person. Remember that God wants us to be ones who sow peace not discord, and if we are going to do that we will have to sometimes be willing to make peace over making our point.

 

God bless,

Terry Molinaro

 

 

Keeping The Peace

More Than Opportunities

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I remember listening to someone talk about how they knew someone who read books very differently than most people. They had to start by reading the ending. Apparently, it was because they didn’t want to start the book and invest the time in reading it if the ending didn’t turn out well. Personally, I think that ruins the imagination aspect of reading a book and even takes out some of the fun, but it got me thinking. If I knew the ending to a few things in my life, it would certainly be easier to keep going when maybe I got to a place that was difficult to get through, or maybe not very interesting.

We live in a day and age where we all have access to amazing opportunities via the internet and social media. For example, my younger cousin blew me away when she showed me that she made her own website and is selling iPhone cases directly to consumers by target advertising to a specific demo on Facebook. Over the past little while I’ve been listening to people’s stories, and the opportunities that are available to us via the internet and even social media just blows me away.  Sometimes opportunity can come to us and if we aren’t careful it can replace our purpose.

Talking about reading the end of a book, the last two verses in the Bible say this, “He who testifies to these things say, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” I don’t know if you’ve ever read the Bible, or what that verse even means to you. When I think about the beginning of creation in Genesis, when I think about the Israelites and Psalms and the prophets and Jesus and His ministry and the book of Acts and then the telling of the end of days and suddenly it ends with, “Surely, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.” There’s a sense of urgency that really stands out to me. I know that for generations people have said that their generation was the final generation, that God was going to come back in their day and age. If we get into the Word, we can see things unfolding in todays day and age that have never been before. I don’t know what it is, but in my spirit I feel a sense of urgency, like something is coming, I feel like the days of a 9-5 job, go home, save for retirement and die with the mortgage and white picket fence are coming to an end. Now I don’t want this to come across as scary even though it can easily be, today I just wanted to take a second to encourage you as well as remind you that in a day full of opportunities, don’t lose your purpose. Don’t lose the calling that God has placed on your life. Don’t let it go to waste or ignore it or put other things as priority over it. Even if you are at a job right now or heading towards a career path, let me challenge you to get into the Word, seek God for His purpose and plans for your life, where He wants you to be, then never look back. A big lie that we believe is that we all have unlimited time, or someone else will do it, someone else will do the work. While there is truth in the fact that if we don’t do what God has for each of us to do, it will be given to someone else who will, there are things that God made each of us to do. If we don’t get ahold and walk into them, what’s the point of our lives? The truth is, there’s only one me and there’s only one you, we are the body of Christ, which means that we are all equally important, but it also means that if we are going to be a healthy body we all need to do our part. Are we?

 

More Than Opportunities

Known

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It’s funny how some of the best moments in our weeks happen in unconventional places. There have been times where I’ll be having a tough day and suddenly someone will surprise me during my break with a visit, or I’ll bump into a friend at the grocery store and just talking with them for 5 minutes will completely encourage me. Well, recently I had one of those moments in my car, by myself.

I’ve had some really amazing days in my life, but I’ve also had some really dark ones. I think for me what makes a situation even harder is when I can’t put words to what I’m feeling. The feeling of knowing something is wrong, but you don’t know where that feeling is coming from. I thought being emotional and not knowing why was reserved for pregnant people, but last time I checked I’m a guy so I guess pregnant women aren’t the only ones to have that honour.

Anyway, back to my car. I was driving into the studio and just feeling off, I don’t know what was causing what I was feeling, I just knew that I was feeling off. So I started to have an honest conversation with God. I told God what was happening around me, I started talking about this situation and that situation that was happening in my life and just getting really honest with how I was feeling. I started thinking about my health, because I had been previously under the weather and how I had been feeling drained because of that and then I began to tell God how I was trying to keep things moving forward in all areas of my life. As all of these thoughts were rushing through my head, I heard that familiar friend of mine, that still small voice say two words, ” I know”. Immediately, I started to think of different situations, almost trying to justify what I was feeling, but one by one God showed me how He never left me through anything I had gone through. He was there when I was misunderstood, He was right beside me as I was recovering from some health complications, He was there when I was having those great unplanned moments and He was there all along when I was going through the hardest points in my life. Do you know what hearing that did for me? It took so much pressure and weight off my shoulders. I think it’s no mistake that in the Bible it talks about people sharing in the same temptations and struggles as others, because there’s something that happens to a person when they feel like they are the only ones going through something. The truth is, we are never the only ones. So today, wherever you are, not just geographically but also emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually let me encourage you, God knows. When you think in your mind that no one could ever feel as violated or as hurt as you are, God knows exactly what you are feeling and He cares for you very much. I hope that whenever you read this, it encourages you as you realize that in whatever you face today or tomorrow, you are not, and will never be alone. He knows.

Known

The Storm Before The Calm

TheStorm

Sometimes I just smile to myself. Do you ever go through so many things in a day that just seem so crazy and chaotic that you just smile and think “Are you kidding me”? It’s probably not a bad thing because it means I’m not banging my head against a wall. And I hear that smiling releases things that make you actually happy.

I wanted to talk about a famous saying that I have probably heard countless times throughout my 23 years.

“It’s the calm before the storm”

Well I think in my life it’s pretty much flipped. The storm before the calm. Do you notice that there are times where life will be good, things are great but you’re not really growing? Then all of a sudden a massive storm hits, suddenly you’re getting things thrown at you from every angle. Struggle after struggle, trial after trial, times where it seems like there is literally nothing good happening in your life. Times where there seems to be more darkness then light. But then you keep moving forward, you keep persevering in prayer, you don’t give place to the devil, you pull a James 4:7 and resist him. And light starts to break through, the clouds start to lighten up, the sun starts shining again and then you move to a higher place of authority in the areas that you are called to. You see that storm, was a furnace, refining you to live at a higher level because God had something even greater in store for you. The most patient people that I know are the ones who have had the greatest reasons to be impatient. The kindest people are the ones who usually have been treated the worst but in spite of that have kept a smile on their face. Wherever you are in your world today, whatever challenges you are facing, don’t see them as random problems, see them for what they are, chances for a victory.

I think joy and hope can’t be forgotten in these tough times, that’s what I want to encourage you with. The battle can’t be won with retaliation and anger and irritation and bitterness. The battle needs to be won with faith. There are things in your life that need to be moved, so move them with faith.

2 Corinthians 5:7

“We walk by faith, not by sight.”

The Storm Before The Calm

I Choose To Keep My Peace With Me

Peace

A few weeks ago I was doing some work away from my home and by the time my day was over I was pretty hungry, so rather then do the financially responsible thing and wait to eat at home, I stoped at Subway. It was around 11pm at night and as soon as I walked in I noticed the only employee left just sitting on the counter with nothing to do. So, we started talking. It must have been a really long day with no customers because as soon as she began talking she didn’t stop. She talked about how she has to work over 12 hours because the people who were set to work called her and told her that they were not coming in. Then I believe she started talking about her boss and how they don’t really care what happens, and that the responsibility all falls to her sometimes. As she was talking I could tell that she was getting more and more worked up, almost as if the sound of her thoughts coming out her mouth was making everything even more “real”. I waited for her to finish and then I said, “I know this is going to sound really new age, but do you want to know what I do when I start to feel stressed or overwhelmed?”. She said sure. I told her how I imagine peace as a tangible thing that surrounds me, and then I see these situations in my life that are stealing my peace, weather that be a personal situation, stress at work, finances that just aren’t there or whatever, and imagine that when I get stressed or overwhelmed, the peace that is supposed to surround me is released and given to these situations. So now, I told her, when something comes up that stresses me, I visualize my peace leaving me and going to these situations, and then I have to make a choice, will I let my peace go, or will I choose to keep it with me. She told me when I was done speaking that she never looked at it like that before. I payed for my sub, and I left.

What that woman does not know is who I partner with or what I’ve been through to develop that mindset.

James 4:4 “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”

People have asked me throughout the years why I am a Christian. I remember someone even told me that I would be such an amazing person if only I would give up my beliefs. I’ve spoken with people who only see Christianity as rules, red tape, as something that is only about controlling the fun they could be having. But they never stop to ponder the things that they are forfeiting.

The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace etc… I would give up anything that those people would offer me for the peace that I now have. You see I have lived long enough to know that tough times are inevitable, there’s no getting around them. But when they come, I don’t feel fear like I used to, I don’t feel like my whole world is coming to an end like I used to. I might still feel the adrenaline or even some nerves, but I rest secure knowing that I am surround by a peace that surpasses all understanding. I know that things will come against me, some directly from the devil and those who serve him intentionally or not, and others that will come just as a part of the world I live in. But when I allow peace to rule in my life, I can see things with my eyes that should scare me, I can hear things that are going on around me that should rob me of my sense of security. But when I allow peace to rule in my life I know that I will get through them all, and win, because I’m acknowledging that I can’t do things on my own, I need the one behind the fruits of the Spirit to take me past the end of myself.

Let me ask you a question, what situations in your life do you give your peace away to? More importantly, what are you going to do about it?

I Choose To Keep My Peace With Me

For Granted

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I wonder who or what you take for granted?

I’ve been going to the same church for as long as I can remember, people have come and gone throughout the years but the pastor (as far as I can remember) has been the same guy. A few years ago I remember going to church and just being so bored, I would look around, write notes to people sitting next to me and strategically plan my water breaks so I could break up the sermon. It’s sad to say, but this went on for awhile. I didn’t know I was missing out on anything, it was just my reality. Well, I remember when I was 18 years old (I’m 23 now) I realized how ridiculous my lifestyle was. I called myself a Christian, I knew the talk and the mannerisms of a Christian (or so I thought) but I held onto fear and my lifestyle choices. I didn’t fully give my life to God, sure I said that I did, but I didn’t. So there I was, 18 years old, jumping right into whatever God had for my life. My life has never been the same since. I remember I went back to church one day, and it’s like I heard my pastor speak for the first time. At the end of the message I turned to my mom and asked her honestly, “When did he start speaking like that!” She looked back at me and told me that he always spoke and taught on the word of God like that. You see it wasn’t the  pastor or his message that needed to change, it was my heart. As soon as I opened myself up to be able to receive what he was saying, I did.

So many of us walk around empty. Today I know more than ever that an empty life is not what God had planned for any of us. We take the little things, the constants for granted. I think of someone I know, he’s a good man with a good heart, always wanting to help people out. I remember this person was talking about his latest project that he was working on, he went on and on about this key person who showed up at the last moment that helped him accomplish what he set out to do. He then brought up another person and situation and another one. I remember noticing something though as this person was talking. You see as he was talking about these different people, he showed me a picture or two, what stood out to me wasn’t the people that were highlighted in the photos, but another person that in all of the situations and photos was in the background. It got me thinking about the constants in our lives. For example it’s amazing how much we take our health for granted until we get sick and vow to never eat junk food again. It’s sad how we put so much effort into pleasing our employers but then neglect the ones that are the most important in our lives. We walk around feeling empty, defeated, looking like the weight of the world is on our shoulders. In doing so, we take for granted the countless amount of blessings that are already in our lives. Just like when I was younger, I wanted to grow in my faith, but my heart wasn’t in the right place.  Week after week I could have had the opportunity to grow, but instead I stayed dry because I took what I had for granted. Or like that man, he poured his time and resources into projects and people that failed him but in the midst of it all there were people that were in the background working hard to help him all along.

Well, here we are, the beginning of a new year. It’s an interesting time of the year, a time where the majority look for things that they don’t have that they want to get. Well maybe, the things that you need have always been right in front of you all along. What are you taking for granted?

For Granted