Category Archives: Devotional

DWYL Pt 2: Finding the Variable

I told y’all I’d make it a series…LOL

“When times are good, be happy;
    but when times are bad, consider this:
God has made the one
    as well as the other.
Therefore, no one can discover
    anything about their future.” (Ecc 7:14)

You know how it goes…You’re at the New Year’s Eve service or just talking to people concerning the new year coming and this is pretty much what you hear:

“Man, 2015 was a tough year for me. I went through so many trials this year. The devil really had me down but I know this next year is going to be my year. I know that blessings will come for all the pain I went through this year…”

Of course that was the church version, but I’m sure you can translate that to any setting. The majority of people look back to this year and recount all the bad things that occurred, the issues they had to go through, the obstacles that had them down, and then they look at the coming year as that light at the end of the tunnel, that remedy to all their pain that this “evil” current year gave them.

But what if I said that wasn’t the case? What if I said that the solution to all your problems wasn’t the upcoming Jan 1st? What if I told you that the problems you have at 11:59 on Dec 31 will still be there when the ball drops at 12? What if I told you that the year won’t change anything if you don’t change first?

We are going to have problems. That’s inevitable. Jobs are lost. Friends betray. Relationships fail. People pass away. There’s no grace year where life says to us, “I’ll give you a break. See you next January.” That’s just the way it is. I’ve heard it said that everyone is either in a trial, getting out of a trial, or about to get into one. There’s nothing we can do to change that. As volatile the actual issues may be, that truth is the constant in this situation, so what is the variable? We are.

The peace we look for in the coming year is not one that deals with the problems, it comes with how we deal with the problems. It’s said that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, but truthfully if something doesn’t kill you this time and you don’t learn from it, you’ll be just as weak when it tries again. But it’s what we do with the experience, the lesson we learn from it, and the application of said lesson, that makes us stronger.

So what am I saying? Don’t fool yourselves into thinking that this next year will come with no problems. It may come with even more. But pray and hope that you can see the good in the midst, the patience that’s being worked, and the peace that can be attained in the midst of it.

Lastly, for my believers, consider this:
William McDowell recorded a song, “You Are God Alone” (forgot who wrote it). The hook sings:

You are God alone
From before time began
You were on Your throne
You are God alone

And right now,
In the good times and bad
You are on Your throne
You are God alone

The song declares that BEFORE time began God was on His throne and He was God alone. And now, not only has time been created (by Him, might I add), but we have been able to even separate it into “good” and “bad” times. But what hasn’t changed? God is still on His throne and He is still God alone. Your anchor in the midst of changing winds is God. The verse quoted in the beginning calls us to consider that God is still in control. You may not know what your future holds but you know Who holds your future.

Stay blessed. Have a happy and safe new year.



Don’t Waste Your Life


It’s free but it’s priceless. We don’t own it but we have it. We can’t keep it but we can spend it. Once we’ve lost it, we can’t get it back. We delegate how it’s used. We have a limited supply yet we don’t know what that limit is. We plan what we want to do with it while in the same moment, it’s diminishing.

Okay. Enough of the deep metaphorical talk. LOL. The point is that wasted time equals wasted life. The Bible talks about how life is but a vapor. In the past two months, I’ve lost three people, one at age 21, one at 29, and the other well into his 50s. We never know when our time is up. So what do we do with that fact? We waste a lot of time with useless activities that don’t benefit us in the long run. Then we spend more time thinking about the time that was wasted instead of making up for that time. I’m sure you agree that most of us are the worst stewards of time. So how do we fix that?

I’m learning more and more how to be IN the moment. I’ve learned that I’ve lived a lot of my life on autopilot. I sit back and recline as my life passes before me. I live out the “Whatever happens, happens” saying. But what if that was one of the most popular ways of wasting your life? The good steward of time understands that we must make things happen.

“But Alan, what about God’s sovereignty? Are you trying to say we should play God in our lives?” No! Of course not. (I felt like Paul just now, ref: Romans 6:1 lol). As a matter of fact, the best way to waste your life is to not give it to God. But the life of a believer is not one where you’re sitting around twiddling your thumbs waiting for a big voice to tell you when to get up and do something. Look at Paul. He moved from place to place as he saw fit but all with the agenda to glorify God. When God needed to send him a detour, He did.

That’s how we should live our lives. Everything we do must have the chief end of glorifying God. When we read the Word, we learn about His character and what pleases Him. Once we get that, we can apply that in many ways. As we grow more and more, we’ll be able to discern better what is wise and what isn’t.

So what am I saying in a nutshell? STOP WASTING TIME! You just read this. You used time to read this. Now you have a choice. If you don’t apply it, you just wasted time. But take this and apply it and your use of time will be enhanced. As for me, that’s all the time I have for now but I feel like I’ll be continuing this…

Stay blessed


The Volume of Silence


“Can I talk to you?”

It’s a simple and specific request, yet sometimes we, who are asked the question, misunderstand it. There are times when someone will come to you, telling you that they need someone to talk to and thought you would be the one. But there are times when we do them a disservice by doing one thing…


There are times when someone approaches you with an issue and they need your insight on how they should handle it, but a lot of times we need to realize that this is not the case. There are people that will seek not your words, but your ears. Every conversation is not meant for us to show off our wisdom or insight on the topic being discussed. It’s not every time that someone needs to hear that what they’re saying is far fetched. A lot of times, they already know that. Sometimes they just have something they’ve been holding in and they just need to let it out.

Here are three reasons silence is the sometimes the best response:

The less you speak, the more you can observe.
We all tend to do it. Someone is telling us something and something they say triggers a response and now until we find the end of their point, we’re forming our response in our head to respond to that point. You can miss out on something more important than what you’re holding onto. I’ve been in conversations where everything shifted because in observing that how the person was talking spoke louder than what they were saying. But if I was hooked only on their words, I would’ve missed that and only get surface deep with them rather than getting to the root issue.

People tend to feed you the rough draft, not the edited version.
I don’t know about you but a lot of times, things that don’t make sense escapes this mouth. I know when I’m at work or when I’m speaking to a crowd of people that I need to really process what I’m about to say to avoid making a fool out of myself or offending someone. But when I’m with my closest friends and something is boiling in me, I have in my mind that I’m in a safe zone where I can let out my unprocessed thoughts and not feel judged and allowed to filter them out. Sometimes, we don’t need to be quick to correct someone. A lot of times, they know what they said doesn’t make sense. We need to be careful not to make someone feel as if their feelings aren’t valid. Let them let it out. When they ask you, then you can filter the nonsense with them, not for them.

The speaker feels like you care about them.
Some people don’t listen well because they care more about being heard. This tends to come off as if you have no concern for the person standing in front of you but you care more about your point getting across. When you actively listen without interrupting the person, they feel as though you actually care about what they’re saying. They don’t feel as if they’re trying to prove a point. Instead, they feel like you are hearing what they’re saying and validating their feelings. This even allows more acceptance for when you do respond to them. They feel that you’ve given them a chance to say what they need to say and that your response is coming from an understanding of their perspective.

So next time someone approaches you asking to talk to you, don’t steal their spotlight. Keep quiet. Let them speak. Stick to questions that simply guide them to go deeper. Refrain from quickly correcting. Believe me. You’ll see the difference in their interaction with you. Stay blessed.

“Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger;” -James 1:19


The Amazing are Amazed

I’m reading Acts 8:9-13:

But there was a man named Simon, who had previously practiced magic in the city and amazed the people of Samaria, saying that he himself was somebody great. They all paid attention to him, from the least to the greatest, saying, “This man is the power of God that is called Great.” And they paid attention to him because for a long time he had amazed them with his magic. But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed. (Acts 8:9-13 ESV)

David Blaine is one of the most amazing magicians of our day. For years, we’ve watched the ABC specials of not only his street magic but also the death-defying feats he takes on, like standing on a pole for days, being buried alive and much more.

We have to admit some, if not many, of the things we witness from him leaves us with mouth wide open in amazement. He’s even gotten to the point of well-known celebrities inviting him into their homes to perform his talents.

David Blaine is the Simon of today. Simon had the attention of a whole city. Everyone knew about him. Everyone sought him. And please believe he was getting paid for this. I think the only advantage Blaine has over Simon is that in our era, with one camera and a national network backing you, your influence goes from a city to the world in a matter of seconds.

But here’s what caught me. The one who had a city in the palms in his hands not only had his show stolen, but he himself was amazed at the works of God. He didn’t see these men of God as rivals that he could easily figure out a new trick to win the heart of the people again. He recognized these men as having a power that was much greater than his own. The bible says later on that he was so amazed that he offered them money to learn their “tricks”. This request was met with a stern rebuke from Peter.

My Point

This world offers a lot. It offers riches, fame and glory. But reading this scripture, you realize that all these things pale in comparison with the Creator and His power. What Simon didn’t understand was that the power these men were under was not one they learned, but one from above. It was one from the source of all power. All the people who amaze us today whether it’s through magic or whatever talent or quality or knowledge they may have, all that will never compare to that of God.

For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. (1 Corinthians 1:19-21 ESV)

For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. (1 Corinthians 1:25 ESV)

Stay blessed.


Tailor Made, No Regrets

“Be confident in what God has given you because He was confident when He gave it to you.”
-Brandon “B-Luv” Johnson

This Sunday that just passed, on the way to church, I was listening to the audio bible. I was going through the book of Exodus when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. I reached the point when the Lord gave Moses the Law and then He began to describe the tabernacle and how it should be built. He described it as I listened……and listened….and listened…and listened some more.

Now, let me inform you about my trip to church. I live in North Jersey and I go to church in Willingboro which is about an hour and some change away. (We will discuss that another time.) For about 30 minutes, I am listening as God describes to Moses exactly how He wants the tabernacle built. He’s telling him to not just use wood but a specific type of wood. He describes the exact color of threads He wants used. He describes the ark and how he wants two angels on it facing each other at a certain point. He goes in!!

It hit me. God is VERY big on detail. You can tell He does everything with precision. He sounds like a master chef describing to His apprentice the recipe for a dish and how to make it and is making sure it comes out right because He knows the apprentice’s work will reflect His. A few years ago, maybe even a year ago, I would probably grow restless and fast forward to a narrative part of the bible but I sat and listened and began to praise God. I’ll tell you why.

Anyone who’s ever played a game like NBA 2K or Madden or many sports and character games, there is sometimes an option to create your own player. You can choose things like height, weight, build, skin color, attributes from shooting style to dunking skills to speed, and many more. As games progressed, there is now an abundant amount of characteristics to choose from for your character. Now, usually to alleviate the time that this process asks for, most of these games give an option to “randomize your character” where the game randomly sets up attributes for your character and you take it as is. This, of course, saves time but what usually happens is that once you put the player to action, you begin to see things you would’ve done better or things you would’ve changed had you done it yourself. You then either delete and start over or just suck it up and go with the flow. After those chapters in Exodus, I know for a fact that God is not the randomizing type. When He creates, He personally puts His heart into every single detail.

This brings me to us. When God created you, He didn’t just fumble together random characteristics and throw you out into the world. You aren’t a product of chance but a creation formed by God’s own hands. Before you were in your mother’s wombs, He knew you (Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13). What does that mean? He never looks at you as you grow and says “Man! I should’ve done this better”. He is happy and content with all you are in Him. He personally is involved with every attribute of you, everything that makes up your physical, emotional, and spiritual self. He made you and called you good. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. If God puts so much emphasis on a structure like the tabernacle, how much more does He put emphasis and energy into making those who are made in His image?

So next time you begin to be insecure, remember that what you are doubting, God made. God is happy with who He’s made you so you should be too. He is the great artist and knows what He’s done. If you don’t feel the same, don’t say you’re useless but go to your Creator to find out your use. If you feel like you’re a nobody, go to your Maker and find your identity. You’re tailor made and God has no regrets.

Stay blessed.