Honor In Living

Honor In Living

Hey Everyone,

I hope you are having a great week! No matter what day you read this my prayer is that God’s richest blessings would be on you all day. This week we are sharing our experiences of honoring the Lord with our lives.

Romans 14:7-8 reads:

For we don’t live for ourselves or die for ourselves. If we live, it’s to honor the Lord. And if we die, it’s to honor the Lord. So whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. 

Paul’s perspective here is really simple. While we are living, we should be honoring the Lord with our lives. When we die, we should have honored the Lord with our lives to the point that others honor the life we chose to live. In both life and death our life should honor the Lord.

There is nothing more embarrassing than being known by your family and friends as a born again believer but your lifestyle doesn’t match your declaration of faith. Please don’t misunderstand my statement for perfectionism, but please, please don’t mistake my statement as permission either. We cannot live our lives recklessly and honor the Lord at the same time. You cannot be a bitter, angry, prideful, arrogant, lustful, deceitful, and _____________ (whatever else you would like to add) person AND honor the Lord at the same time.

Honoring the Lord with our lives is not easy! We need the power of the Holy Spirit to be able to do it on a consistent basis. Honoring the Lord with our lives requires a decision to die to our will, our way, and our wants. When we willfully submit our lives to the Holy Spirit and allow His life to be walked out in our bodies something beautiful happens: People meet God! YES! They meet Him through us! At the grocery store, in the shopping mall, in the Starbucks, on the airplane.

People that live with a conscious awareness to honor the Lord have become God’s vessels for acts of kindness, encouraging words, and lighthouses to guide the wandering soul to the shores of salvation. When we choose to live like this our commitment to honoring the Lord is remembered in our death. Others are encouraged, others are inspired, others will be convicted to govern themselves accordingly.

Thank you for reading have a wonderful day!

Blessings,

Matthew

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I Have A Dream

Dream

Hi Everybody,

Here’s the thing. I hope you have a dream.

Dreams are weird things. A couple of days ago I had a dream and was awaken by the LSU Fight song to (my alarm, of course), and I remember thinking as I woke up, “My dream wasn’t finished, I gotta get back to sleep and finish it!” So I promptly laid my head back down to rest and finished my dream(My Wife hates that I can go straight back to sleep). It wasn’t even super important or anything, but it’s funny how dreams have that sort of effect on you.

Dreams are the types of things (whether daydream, night dream, or life dream) that can evoke a lot of emotion from ourselves. We can be excited or happy or sad or frustrated with whatever dreams we come across. I know people who have woken up from dreams in their sleep and were crying or laughing, and I know people who have attempted to follow a dream in their life based on their goals or something important to them to have somewhat of the same effect. Extreme joy or extreme sorrow.

Dreams just sort of do that to us.

And I want you to think about this today, what type of effect is your dream having on your life? Not your sleepy dream, but your life dream. What effect does it have on you going through your daily life, the way you interact with people, what you look to achieve in life, how do your dreams affect your reality?

Today we remember and celebrate a great dreamer in Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I have always had the highest respect for this man since learning about him at home & school. Dr King’s dream’s affected his reality. So much so that when he had chances to share his dreams with other people he did. When he had the opportunity to speak in front of thousands, he shared his dream. He stood up for his dream, and his memory lasts largely because his life was devoted to fighting for…you guessed it…his dream.

We see another great dreamer in the bible in Genesis chapter 37. Joseph had God-given dreams that literally no one understood or wanted to understand. In his dreams, everyone was bowing down to him. And since he was like number 11 of 12 in the family, none of the 11 brothers in front of him saw him succeeding over any of them…so they sold him into slavery to try to get rid of him, his favoritism with their father, and his dreams. But when God places dreams in your life, crazy things happen. Joseph was a slave and a prisoner (due to many crazy circumstances) but God was always with him, and he ended up being second in command to Pharoah over all of Egypt which led to his brothers eventually bowing down to him to ask him for food (not knowing who it was at the time).

God is the orchestrator of the impossible in our lives. He’s the engineer of dreams, and I hope this year that you’re searching out what He has for you. If you have a dream, chase it. Believe it. Pray for guidance and let your dreams be a part of who you are!

Take some chances, let’s dream together. Have a great week! 

Blessings,

Matthew

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How To Live

How To Live

Hey Everyone,

I pray you had an incredible Christmas! This is the last blog of the year and I can’t believe that it’s almost gone.

I talk a lot about dying…a lot! The main reason is because as a Believer you cannot even begin to learn how to live until you first make up your mind to die. True life starts with the death of our will. This is not only counterintuitive but countercultural as well. We live in the “I’mma do me” generation. We want what we want when we want it. All of that needs to die. The sooner, the better.

Why? Because there is way too much life to live, experience, and enjoy. When we start dying we really start living! Only when you are fully aware of God’s presence in your life and His will for your life do you begin to gain the perspective of Heaven. In both good times and bad, it is in Him that we live, move, and breath.

As this year comes to a close I simply want you to die. I hope that doesn’t sound rude, but for real, I want you to DROP DEAD! Lust? Drop it. It’s dead. Anger? Drop it. It’s dead. Rejection? Drop it. It’s dead. Guilt? Drop it. It’s dead. You. Deserve. To. LIVE!!!

Don’t just expect the unexpected in 2014. Expect the expected! You should expect to win. You should expect to overcome. You should expect healing. You should expect to live!!! I feel like I’m preaching now so I am going to stop, but I am excited about your future. You made it this far, why stop now? It is time to cross the finish line, run straight off the track, and directly in to your purpose. The Living One is living in YOU! Run child, RUN!

Have an incredible New Year!

Blessings,

Matt

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Post Thanksgiving Thankfulness

Post Thanksgiving Thankfulness
Hi Everyone,

I hope you had a great day yesterday with Family/Friends/Food/Football! Many of you will stay at home in your PJ’s today while enjoying leftovers & some of you are standing in line waiting to get that once in a lifetime Black Friday deal(The only Black Friday that I’ll be participating in this year is the fact that I am black, and it is indeed Friday. LOL!). But today I want to reflect on Thankfulness, as I believe the more we mature in our walk with Jesus the more we grow in gratefulness. Despite sufferings, hardships, brokenness, hurt, and pain we keep pressing forward, knowing all is temporary, understanding God disciplines those He loves, and that  I truly can consider it pure joy and be thankful when trials come my way.

I’m obviously thankful for my wife, my daughters, my health, my family, my church, and my friends, but I wanted to reflect on 10 things I’m thankful for today that I often don’t possess a heart of gratitude towards.

1. Criticism from others. (God uses it to sharpen me)

2. A baby that wakes up in the middle of the night crying. (God meets me in these quiet times.)

3. Dirty Diapers (God uses them to give me opportunities to serve my wife.)

4. Ungrateful Friends. (God reminds me I’m serving Him, not them)

5. People Who Doubt. (God uses them to draw me to my knees for them)

6. Physical Pain. (God uses it to heighten my eternal perspective, reminding me I will one day have a new body)

7. Fickle Friends. (God uses them to remind me He is always faithful)

8. Deaths and Illness. (God uses this to remind me of the urgency I need to maximize my own life and time on earth)

9. Taxes. (God uses this to keep money from being idolatrous in my life)

10. People Who Disagree (God uses them to make me a better listener)

I truly am thankful for all the above. God uses all things for good for those whom He has called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28). And for that I’m thankful.  I realize that He does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:10) and the more I truly meditate and understand this verse the more I realize I have everything to be thankful for. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:23). So the questions isn’t what do we have to be thankful for, but rather what do we not have to be thankful for?

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Love you all,

Matt

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Take Out Your Trash!

MattsLid Blog take our trah

Hi Everyone,

One of my weekly chores around the house is to take out the trash.  We have a couple of cute bathroom trash cans along with the standard kitchen trash can. Like most people trash is collected every week in my neighborhood. A large truck appears early in the morning and my trash is whisked away to a place that I know not of.

One thing that I have recognized in my 7 1/2 years of ministry is that the majority of believers do not take out their “trash” regularly.  Contrary to popular belief, trash in and of itself is not a bag thing.  It is a by product of living life.  Trash is an indication that life is being lived and things are being consumed.  That’s actually a good sign.  It only becomes bad when we don’t have a place to put it.  You wouldn’t believe how much spiritual, emotional, relational, and psychological trash builds up in people.

When your trash is not taken out regularly toxins build up and start to fill your environment with scents that not even a skunk would love.  The stench of fear, frustration, bitterness, lust, pride, greed, rebellion, and unbelief permeate your home, workplace, relationships, and spiritual life in ways that begin to make you and those around you sick. TAKE OUT YOUR TRASH!

Most people don’t take out their REAL trash for two reasons: 1. Trust 2. Perception. Yep. That’s it. Who can I trust?  Will you still see me the same?  Will you still respect me?  Will it stay between us?  The enemy(Satan) would love to make you believe the lie that if you share your heart they will break your heart.  Establishing trust involves risk.  There is no way around it.  But what alternative do you have?  If you don’t take out your trash your trash will take you out.  You will become toxic.

My solution: Dare to deepen the relationship you have with your spouse, family member, dear friend, mentor. I take out my trash weekly.  Sometimes DAILY.  I don’t want my life to stink.  God created us to walk in relationships that will allow us to live out our best life in Him.

Finally, taking out your trash doesn’t mean everything will be fixed.  It just means everything doesn’t build up!  There will be more.  Remember: Trash is normal! You got a little drama in your life?  Relationship problems?  Spiritual attacks?  It’s a good sign you are LIVING!  Enjoy the life, take out the trash.

Have a great week!

Matt

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Christian Hip Hop & Evil Beats…

MattsLid Blog CHH

Can beats be evil? Normally, when I am confronted with a ridiculous argument, I take a step back and really consider if I want to put my time and energy into refuting it. Sometimes I take it on, sometimes I let it be; usually depending on if the challenger is capable of a logical discussion. But, as a Christian & a lover of art, I believe it is extremely important to really dig deep and analyze questions like this.

First, let me get this out of the way. As a student and an avid reader of the Bible, I can definitively conclude there is no scripture that forbids or even discourages rhythm or drums(The Core of CHH). So, the accusation that drums, beats, or rhythms are somehow evil came about by some other means than the scriptures explicitly. In a moment we will explore where this idea came from, but, before that, it is necessary that we really seek out the scriptures on what it says about drums and rhythm.

To argue that rhythm is evil in any sense is actually counter to the commands and actions in the scriptures. Rhythms are used all over the Bible for positive and correct practices. It is used for prophecy (1 Samuel 10:5,6), praise of God (Psalm 150:4), worship (Psalm 68:25), and joyful celebration (Isaiah 24:8). So, the direct source of this ideology against rhythm is not found in the Bible; it must be from another source.

Generally, while reading the Bible, you will not come across the word “drum.” I have found numerous references to cymbals in use with the house of David including 2 Samuel 6:5, Psalms 150:5, and other passages where they are used all the way up to Ezra (3:10) and Nehemiah (12:27). Cymbals are an important part of the modern drum kit. I have found references to small wooden finger instruments called castanets. These could be considered a type of percussion at the very least. But, the real clincher is the numerous references to the tambourine.

Yes, the tambourine is a type of drum; a frame drum. The word tambourine (timbrel/ta’bor) is translated from the Hebrew “Tof.” Most scholars agree that this instrument would have mostly been named after its sound and would not have had the bells and chimes associated with a modern tambourine. By all means, this is equal to that of the modern drum. This instrument transcends into the past farther than the era of the Davidic kingdom. Miriam used a timbrel to praise God and celebrate the salvation of the Israelites from the Egyptians at the crossing of the Red Sea.

So, saying there is any Biblical evidence that supports drums or rhythms having any spiritually negative qualities is simply incorrect. Instead, this ideology comes from a combination of skewed logic and cultural divide.

To demonstrate the skewed logic of this fallacy, we must first answer an important question. What is a rhythm or a beat anyway? Stay with me on this one. Rhythm or beat is simply the variation of length between sounds. Just two simple sounds can create a rhythm; a drum is not necessary. It is an almost completely essential utility in music and appears everywhere in nature (including the human heart). So can two sounds in sequence be evil? Taking it a step further, how can sound be evil at all? Sound is actually just an interpretation in your brain. Your ears pick up vibrations in a medium and translate it as a sound. This is much like color. Colors are your brain’s interpretation of various frequencies of light waves. Can light waves be evil? Can vibrations be evil? Does the devil own certain patterns of vibration and God own others? Does the devil have his own colors? You can believe that if you choose, but it is not Christian or Biblical by any scale.

One common argument states that drum beats are “evil” because of their “pagan roots.” This is an argument that ascribes the evil of idol worship to the instruments and music used during the rituals of idol worship. I won’t argue that pagans did or didn’’t use drum beats for all sorts of evil rituals. It doesn’’t even matter if they did. I will, however, show you how this logic is flawed. I am sure that in the past pagans also used knifes in evil sacrifices. Does that mean that using a knife is evil? What about the Hebrews? When they used knives to sacrifice before the Lord were they actually doing evil? Of course not; and so, using drums is not evil if not used for an evil purpose. Let us suppose that the pagans instituted some sort of rhythm during their pagan rituals. Now suppose that one day, while walking to church, I walk in the same rhythm with my feet on the cement. Have I just unwittingly done evil? Of course not; and so, using rhythms is not evil if not used for an evil purpose.

In the same way Moses was commanded by God to create a staff of bronze in the form of a snake to save the Hebrews from the fiery snakes in Numbers chapter 21. When the Hebrews looked upon the snake, they were saved. Isn’’t the snake the very symbol of the devil? If there were ever anything to be considered evil by association it would be the snake. Yet God uses the symbol of a snake for salvation. This point is this, evil rests in the hearts of men, not in the form of objects or tools. This logic can even be reversed. There are many things created by Christians or representing Christianity that can be used for evil. An example would be throwing a Bible at someone in anger or sharpening the edge of a cross to commit murder.

To drive this point home I will name a few other things with “pagan roots” that are commonly used and not considered “evil.” The entire western calendar is rooted in paganism. Does your church or pastor refer to days of the week as “Thursday” (from the pagan god Thor) and “Friday” (from the pagan goddess Frigga)? He does? Does that mean he is doing something evil? Does he use the word May (from the pagan goddess Maia)? Let’s take this a step further. English itself derived from Germanic, which was first spoken by pagans. Does it bother you that you are speaking a pagan language? What if the language you are using to worship the one true God was originally used to worship false idols? Do you wish to learn Hebrew to avoid being pagan? If daily speaking the name of a pagan god is not “evil” neither is using the type of instrument or rhythm a pagan once used. So, the argument that states “the origin was pagan” no more proves that drums, beats, rhythms, rock and roll, hip hop, or anything else pertaining to music are evil as it proves that the current calendar, the English language, church buildings, church steeples, neck ties, or whatever else are evil.

But don’’t drums appeal to the flesh? I have seen this argument in numerous blogs and websites, but they aren’’t worth citing. Let’s look at the argument. First, I would like to note some things that “appeal to the flesh” but are also not considered unholy, pagan, or evil. The first is an apple, specifically Green Golden Delicious because those are my favorite. These appeal to my flesh very, very much. In fact, I want one right now. Another to consider is laughing. Laughing with my friends appeals to my flesh. This has also been done by pagans. Does this make it unholy? Nope. Now, what about eating an apple or laughing in the church?  Are those inappropriate? Nope, but I believe they are all glorifying God and appealing to the flesh at the same time. Blows your mind doesn’’t it? Saying something is evil or inappropriate because it “appeals to the flesh” is both unbiblical and subjective. Who determines what is “appealing to the flesh” and what do you really mean by it?

The silliest argument I have heard for “sounds being evil” has more to do with science fiction than with faith. It was said that someone held an experiment by playing rock music to plants and measuring how the music affected their growth. Well, as the story was told to me, the plants subjected to the demonic rock music withered and died. Please note: I am not saying that some rock music is not demonic, it positively could be. I simply don’t believe that it kills plants. Even if it did kill plants I wouldn’’t suspect it was due to spiritual implications in the music. Luckily, Mythbusters handled this argument for me in episode 23 of the 2004 season. Six greenhouses were set up, two with positive speech, two with negative speech, one with classical music, one with death metal, and a seventh with no sound at all. In the end, the plants listening to death metal actually did the best. This could be because the vibrations of the music kept pests at bay; I guess it could also be because the plants were “demonically possessed.” The point is that evil music (and yes I believe this music was evil due to lyrical content) did not kill the plants and therefore this goofy argument fails.

So where do these arguments come from? I can only theorize. Many times unfamiliar things are perceived as evil or dangerous simply because our knowledge about them is limited. Take spiders for example. Many spiders are very beneficial. They can seriously diminish the amount of disease spreading mosquitoes and other pests, but most people fear them simply due to limited knowledge that generally, some spiders are capable of biting and/or are venomous. So, many spiders that would actually be beneficial are feared. Spiders are even portrayed as evil on many movies or on Halloween. Left-handed people are another great example. What we consider common genetics today was once considered evil. In English the word “sinister” commonly means evil. This comes from the Latin word “Sinestra” which means left. At one time in history, left-handed people were considered evil simply because of the fact. It may be this lack of understanding at work here as well. People unfamiliar with a culture other than their own become defensive. Since they cannot explain their distaste they simply appeal to authority, which in this case is their faith. Is it possible that religious people call something unholy simply because they do not understand it? Equally, they call things evil because they don’t like it or uncomfortable with it. I personally believe that both are spiritually dangerous. What is the cure? A firm understanding of the scriptures and a logical approach to interpreting the world around you are the best ways to avoid these inconsequential debates.

“For the LORD gives wisdom, and from His mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds victory in store for the upright, He is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for He guards the course of the just and protects the way of His faithful ones. Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul. Discretion will protect you, and understanding will guard you.” Proverbs 2:6-11

 To close, the scriptures do not lay a demand on what art you are to make but they do on the content of your life and heart, which is an even greater demand. I usually don’t have blogs this long, but once again, I am passionate and adamant about THIS! 

Have a great week!

Blessings,

Matt

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Relational Integrity

relational integrity

Hey Everybody,

I am continuing today on the topic of integrity. Today we are dealing with integrity in our relationships. Check out last week’s blog for personal integrity here.

Let me preface by saying that the integrity I have came the ugly way, by making mistake after mistake and sin after sin. Ugly.  I want it to be clear that I don’t write about integrity from a position of purity, but from a posture of humility. I am passionate about this area of ministry in every believer’s life because I know that if I can do it ANYBODY can do it through the power of the Holy Ghost (Romans 8:13).

With that being said, YOU ARE ONLY AS GOOD AS THE PEOPLE YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY. Yep, I said it and I’m not taking it back. If you surround yourself with negative people, corrupt people, perverted people one of two things will happen to you:

1. You will become just like them

2. Your mind will begin to tolerate what God calls intolerable.

The body of Christ is filled with “birds that flock together”. All the liars know each other. All the cheaters do too. They run in packs like wolves in the wilderness. They operate in cohorts. King David is familiar with this kind of life. He slept with Bathsheba, had her husband killed, and attempted to move on like none of it happened.

David could not do that by himself. His servants helped him by not reminding him that he was the King of Israel and God’s appointed man. His commander Joab assisted him in Uriah’s death without hesitation. It took the prophet Nathan, a man with integrity, to confront David about his sinful behavior. The result is Psalms 51, the moving and passionate prayer of repentance by God’s chosen man.

I thank God for David’s ability to humble himself and confess his sins to God so that he could receive forgiveness of his sins, but he didn’t stop there. Approximately 50 chapters later David writes Psalms 101. Verse 6 was David’s insurance policy that he would never fall in to that type of behavior again. He writes these words:

I will search for faithful people to be my companions. Only those who are above reproach will be allowed to serve me. 

Do you see? In order for David to walk out the kind of life he wanted to walk in he had to surround himself with people of integrity. It’s time to check your life internally and see who and what it’s matching externally. It may be time to let somebody off at the next stop. You can live better and do better if you want to. You can find someone who wants to live and walk in character and integrity. No excuses! David said he would SEARCH for faithful people to be his companions! You can find them, the Holy Spirit can help.

I usually don’t have blogs this long, but once again, I am passionate and adamant about THIS! Surround yourself with failures and you will fail. Surround yourself with greatness and you will be great.

Have a great week!

Blessings,

Matt

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