It is so Good to be me!
For real though.
It's good to be me
You couldn't possibly understand because your you.
Now that's not a put down
I'm just stating a fact.
U don't understand what it is to be a 6'3" Caucasian teddy bear.
You couldn't possibly understand that.
The me that I am could not fathom being another man.
I walk in my own shoes across these streets.
Watching others do them while trying my best to live up to who I am supposed to be.
It's good to be me but being me isn't always good.
You could inspect me like a new ride you want to buy.
On the outside I'm lookin cherry but you forgot to look under the hood.
U didn't see no rust and my paint was lookin tight.
Never started me up to see if I ran right.
It ain't your fault though
The salesman is just doin him.
If you would have looked just a little bit closer you still could not have seen the inside of my brain. I mean motor.
The thoughts that overwhelm the inside would surely be enough alone for you to pass me by.
No sale. Not this guy.
It's so good to be me but people at times have amnesia of the mind so they want to control my life.
Looking back at my past and tell me that I can't like they was my dad.
Or that they had some control over my destiny.
It's funny how people will stop screwing up their lives long enough to try and redirect me.
Like they knew the script of my life and the compass of my heart.
Don't get me wrong some people have that right but it's usually someone that loves me being me and they see how I can do me better so I let them.
No one has ever forced someone's change without them giving consent.
It's so good to be me but I never feel good.
I'm not sick, well, not physically
But if u look just past my skin u will see my flesh is deadly
U could say its a disease.
It's not really contagious I promise.
Every living soul has it, the bad news is their is nothing you can do, it's chronic.
Something We all have to live with.
There are treatments that can be done to help it.
Like get a hobby, read a book try to occupy your mind.
But these have proven to only work for a short time.
There is one more thing you could do that is getting huge results.
In know that this may be offensive or maybe you have been done wrong
But millions of people went to that guy that was hung on the cross.
You may have heard about Him.
They say the man died and was raised up again.
I know it sounds crazy and many have given Him a bad name.
But I can testify to what He did.
The shame that I had from all those thoughts, the pain in me from all those nights.
You don't have to listen to me but who am I if I do not try.
Like I said its good to be me even though being me is not perfect.
In the end I will give God the glory and I stand my ground when I say
It is Worth it.
I was recently able to spend time with one of my favorite people. Well that is really putting it lightly, hero or rock seem to fit a little better. My grandfather, Harold Swords has played many roles in many peoples lives, mainly his family. You will not find one person in our family that does not adore him and vice versa. Like most people he comes in contact with, when we get together it is full of wise cracks, jokes and plain silliness at times. He is the one to blame if I have ever pestered you or shot my mouth off with a wise crack towards you. He is the leader of the pack.
During our few hours together grandpa was telling me about his recent road trip to Arizona where he took my grandma to see her sister. My uncle, Harold jr. drove them across the 5 states from Tennessee. Grandpa was telling me about how fast uncle Harold was driving. He said " I told him that this was a little car and I don't want to push it, set the cruise at 68 mph and leave it". He added " the car slowed down for a few minutes and before long it was back up to 75 mph, so I said forget it". This was not the first time I have heard him talk about going 68 or even 65 mph. I can remember not long after I got my license I rode to Ohio with my grandparents and on the way home they let my sister and myself drive. Grandpa again said those same words "set it at 68 and keep it on the road".
I have thought about this statement the rest of the week and it has lead me to writing this blog. It got me thinking about how in a world where everyone is obsessed with going fast, getting it fast, doing it fast, being faster in every which way can a man have the patience to slow it down. I began to think about the benefits of slowing down when driving. To name a few, you save on fuel mileage, you increase your safety factor (as long as you don't go too slow), you save wear and tear on your vehicle. Remember I am just talking about driving a car. Think about what it would do to your life! Undoubtedly it would decrease your stress level, open your eyes to new possibilities, enjoy life a little better. Slowing down does not mean decreasing activity but rather being more open to new activities that you have never thought of or always wanted to try. Taking a breath and allowing yourself to smile while gaining inner peace that only comes from God.
Slowing down for each person may be different. For some it may be decreased work time to spend with family, others may be getting away from the full time mom role for regular date nights or spa days or getting a job to be more active and build self esteem and get the "needed" feeling back. Maybe it is taking the time to spend a few hours with your grandpa or someone else you admire. Most important all of us need to slow down and spend our time with God each day. This is a struggle for the majority. Life happens and time with the Lord seems to get pushed to the back of the line, if it is in the line at all.
This blog is just a simple reminder to enjoy life, love God and slow down to give the most of both.
I recently have had conversations with two of the closest people to me about the same subject. One was questioning me the other was questioning themselves, but they both consisted of the same content. I wanted to take a few moments to address this with you also. You, the person reading this blog has a purpose from God, for God. Choosing to seek and fulfill that purpose is up to you.
My wife came to me about my calling to preach the other day. She addressed her thoughts of what she thought I would be doing when I told her about my calling when we started dating two years ago. She said "I thought you were going to be on stage all the time, or teaching classes". Now when she said this my pride kicked into action and wanted to say a few things but i was able to control my tongue, well, that time anyway. The more I thought about that the more it stung. I think it is most preachers desire to preach to the masses and lead souls to God through the pulpit or maybe to have a class each week where people are hungry for the word. But the truth is, most don't.
If you were called to ministry and nothing seems to be going the way you thought it would, hold on! Don't give up! Don't throw in the towel just yet. I started to pray and think about this in my life throughout the week. The more you look into it the better you may feel about your calling and understand that you are still called, but its not your time just yet. With that said, just because it may not be your time does not mean that you do not have work to do. Preparation during this time is the greatest and most effective key to success during this time.
I began to look at Jesus ministry. He began public ministry at the age of thirty. Why did He wait so long? Was Jesus, the Son of God unable to, or unprepared to minister before that? Sometimes it is easy to forget that Jesus was fully man as well as fully God. we see examples of this through the gospels. In Matthew 4:2 it says "after fasting forty days and forty nights, He was hungry". Jesus needed food like we do. He ached, and hurt like you and I. When He stubbed His toe on the coffee table I believe He did a special one legged dance like any grown man does. Matthew 26:39 I believe Jesus shows His fully man side more than ever. He is crying out to His Father in heaven asking "if possible, let this cup pass from me". Jesus is saying if there is any other way, please, do that. Jesus knew what He had to do and He knew that was the will of the Father so he added "not my will, but your will be done".
Jesus as fully man had to prepare for His time when it came. You must prepare for your time as well. I told my wife just this. My time has not come yet but it will and at that time I will be ready.
If you are like me or any other person, at times you make bad choices. I feel that some of these choices can slow your progress into ministry. Some may be such bad choices that you may have to spend some years recovering from the decisions. I am an honest man and I like to be transparent with people. Without going into great detail I will tell you I am divorced. I divorced within biblical grounds. Even though I had good reason I still have to go through a season of recovery, reflection, and growth. You may be in the same position. Maybe, you are in a worse position and made some other bad choices. I just wanted to use myself as an example. Time must be taken and used constructively to move forward in ministry. It stinks, its not fun most of the time, but it is necessary. Please do not take that lightly. I encourage you to get with your pastor or a counselor and let them help you through that critical time.
My best friend called me yesterday with feelings of "there has to be more to life than this". My friend whom I look up to as a spiritual leader that has taught me many lessons over the years caught me off guard with his statement. But then I thought about all he has been through the past few years as he hit a few snags in life and had to take a few curve balls along the way. As well as some great but life changing events as in marriage, having children, changing jobs ect. I quickly realized that he was not at a dead end in life but rather just in a construction zone. At times we will find ourselves in these dreaded but needed construction zones in life. It slows us down, makes us late, irritated and makes us want to stop driving that direction. Could you imagine what the road would be like if we never had construction on them? If you are like me and you are from the north it is almost a reality already. But imagine never patching them holes that make the ride a little smoother. or have to deal with the major road replacement construction that keeps our cars from being tore apart by pot holes and cracks. Construction on the road and in our life is a must to not have to detour. Stay the course, its not over, its just necessary construction, do your part during this time. Recognize and remember the day you were called, the day God confirmed to you the call to minister. prepare for it. Get ready, yout time is coming.
Just so you know this blog post is for males. Women are welcome to read it to hopefully learn what a good, Godly man is. But it will be directed to males. I don't want to say men because in today's society the word men is being thrown around to loosely. Just because you are a male does not make you a man. Just because you are strong, or fast or good at basketball, does not make you a man. You may think your a man because you have respect from a group of people. You may think you are a man because you have a good job and pay the bills and put food on the table. Some of these things are important but none of them alone define you as a man. This blog is the short story version of what God says a male is to be to be called a man.
1. The Head (1Corinthians 13:3). You may have heard this before and you may think you know what it is to be the head. Let me take a moment to define this for people who do not know. First let me tell you what the head is not. The head is not the boss, the master, the king, the chosen one. If males really knew what the head was and how hard it is to be the head and the responsibility it takes to be the head there are many of them that would not even consider taking on that role. They think because they know how to have sex and they found a women willing to defile the act that God made for married men and women, that they are a man. They think because they had sex on prom night that automatically morphed them into man hood. But by the unmistakable biblical definition of what sex is and who it is for, we see that sex does not by any means make you more of a man, you are still just a male. Some males think because they are able to over power a women that it makes them a man. Others think a man is defined by how much possessions they have or how "successful" they are. But again, by biblical definition these things only prove how much of a man they are not.
In writing this i am not trying to play as if I am perfect and I do not make mistakes. One, that would be wrong and a lie, it would also make me a male and not a man. I am fully convinced that there is only one thing that can turn a male into a man, and a man into the head. The Holy Spirit! The only way a male can come to be a real man, he must confess he needs help. He must humble himself and come to a understanding that he needs a savior and he is unable to do things on his own. Step one: Confess Jesus and ask God into your heart. To lead you and guide you in every aspect of life. Step 2: Submit yourself to the Holy Spirit of God. He is our guide and our path maker. To fully hear and understand The Holy Spirit you must spend time with Him and get to know His voice. If you fail to do this, you will soon fall to that trap of "God doesn't never answer me". I have heard it so many times, but with a few questions about that persons prayer life you can quickly find out that they don't know who God is so they do not know when he is speaking. God is not some magician that pulls out tricks to entertain people and never tells them how He did it. Christians who say they talk to God and He talks back are not crazy and "hear voices". They are just in tune with God and you will never understand this fully until you get in tune with Him yourself.
This is part one of Male 2 Man.
The runners have trained for the past 6 months for this one moment. There lives have revolved around being ready and at their prime for this day. The winner gets to take home the grand prize and will run in the 2013 Olympics. As the runners come up to the starting line they know that they must put everything they have into this. There body has been trained and conditioned for this moment. A loss here will cost them everything a win will gain them everything. As they get in their stance with legs stretched and eyes up waiting to hear the gun sound. On your marks. Ready. Set. GO!.
Many of us have seen this scenario numerous times throughout our lives. maybe it was not in an Olympic trial race but maybe with your kids in the back yard or at football practice while running sprints and gasers. We have all seen a race where everything has to be put into it. The prizes vary also. from cash money to pride or maybe even respect. No matter what the gain would be the racer must out everything they have into the race to get the gain.
In my own life I have been finding this to be true in every situation that I come across. At one point it was my home work ans school work as I struggled to graduate high school because I messed around so much when I was a freshmen. And others times when I was single and dealing with loneliness I had to attack that with everything that I had or else I would lose everything. And not I am having to put everything I have into my new life with my wife and children. There is so much to learn and so all the time. I became used to being alone and by myself and as easy as that sounds, its not. A whole life change that I felt conditioned and prepared for. I studied and learned a lot about marriage and life and how to be and treat your wife. All these things come down to this moment, everything is on the line and I have to put everything I have into it to win. If I slack or begin to give up before the race is done it will be a guaranteed loss.
The bible tells us in 1 Corinthians 9:24 "Run as to win!" This is what we have to do in every aspect of life and our Christian journey. Run, when you dont know how to do something, Run, to figure it out. Run,when you dont understand, Run to find understanding, When there is not enough money RUN! Find more money. RUN! So as to win the race. I encourage you all to RUN! Dont blame, dont ask why, dont stop and wait for someone else to do it because they are running there own race. This is your race to win if you just put everything you have into it you will win the Prize.
I am an average man that is trying to run with everything that I have. Running with God, and my Wife and children. Running with my ministry and Church. There is a whole lot of things and people and the enemy that is trying to trip me and stop me and make me lose this race but I say, you have to catch me first.
Brandon Grant NTM
Here is a thought that the Lord laid on my heart had I wanted to share it. There is no point in trying to avoid battles because in life they are inevitable. As Christians, we are guaranteed to experience affliction, persecution, adversity, and trials. However, God has promised us absolute victory in every situation we face. Our job is to fight the good fight of faith and remain steadfast where God’s Word is concerned. By standing on what God has said in the Bible, activating our faith, and rising up in the authority invested in us through Jesus Christ, we can walk out of any battle triumphant.
Many times, the dilemmas we find ourselves in have nothing to do with the devil, but they have everything to do with the bad choices we have made. When we refuse to follow God’s instructions and do things His way, we can end up going through unnecessary affliction and hardship. But even when this happens, God’s love is in hot pursuit of us. His grace is His willingness to get involved in our situations and circumstances. We can have confidence He is standing by to help us even when we make senseless mistakes.
How we handle ourself in the midst of the battle makes the difference. One of the most important things we can do is be mindful of the power of words. Second Corinthians 4:13 says, “We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.” Whatever we believe, we must speak. Actually, what is in our heart in abundance will come out of our mouth eventually and make known what we really believe anyway. As it relates to the Believer, our faith is evident by what we say. If we claim the promise of God that says we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us, we demonstrate our belief first and foremost by declaring it.
Using the Word of God during spiritual battles is guaranteed to get results. It is the sword of the Spirit and will cut to pieces the snares of the enemy. Whatever is coming against us, find out what God says and let us put it in our mouth. When we speak what we believe, we send a message to the devil that says we are fighting back and we are winning.
Verse 15 of that same chapter reveals another important key to victory in battle, “For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.” I don’t know about you, but I need God to get involved in my battles! This scripture clearly says that when we actively engage the power of thanksgiving by giving God thanks for everything He has done and for who He is, it releases His grace, which is His unmerited favor. It’s not that we deserve it, but He loves us so much. He can’t help but intervene when we use the big gun of thanksgiving as a weapon.
I want to encourage you to remain immovable when you’re going through a tough time. Trouble won’t last always. You have been equipped with God’s Word, which is more than enough to fight off anything the devil throws at you. You win!
Last night I was at home laying in bed thinking about some things, I wont put on a front or anything, i was really frustrated about something. As I was laying there thinking about about a million things, my mind was racing, blood pressure was rising and I was getting angry. At that moment in the middle of all this personal chaos I was reminded of something from my childhood. A movie that I had watched when I was in my early teens, well it was a movie but it was of a man telling a story, the video was titled A man called Norman. Oddly enough I had not watched this video in years and the story I had not heard for so long was burning into my mind, I remembered most of it but there was a few parts that were a little sketchy so I got my phone out and went to my YouTube app and searched the title. Sure enough someone had posted the audio in four separate parts. I was taken back to when I was 13 and laying on the couch when I had first watched it. It is a true story of how God used a man that was looked at funny and thought to be evil and mean, to change another mans life. It is a funny serious story that can humble and really make you examine your heart. The man was an outcast, in bible time he would be looked at as someone that had leprosy or some other unclean deformity. Norman was shunned by the community, laughed at and mocked. The kids were afraid of him, and Norman after being beat down with looks and words and snow balls learned to play his part well also. He learned that if he would run at them and scream and growl that they would leave him alone, so after being treated this way so long it sunk in and he felt the way they treated him. God used that man to change the story teller, Mike Adkins life. As God laid Norman on his heart time and time again after they became neighbors, Mike after much self deliberation answered the call. It started out with a broken lawn mower, and although Mike did not know much about lawn mowers he did not let that be an excuse to not go over there. That small gesture of going over there put a smile on Normans face. It started to build a relationship, and it didn't take long from that point that the Lord was working on Norman and Mikes heart. God continually put Mike in situations that he did not want to be in, he did not want to be looked at by his neighbors and church friends, he did not want to be labeled or scoffed at because of his association with the town "weirdo". To keep this short the two became friends fro the rest of Normans life, Norman asked Jesus into his heart and Mike was taught that Love is the ONLY way. We can have talent and look good and play the part of a Christian all day long for our entire life, but as 1 Corinthians 13 says "if we don't have Love, we don't have anything". Mike tells of how he had been pushing for his ministry to start and he was working to be a evangelist and be successful in ministry when he realized through Norman that he did not have a true heart of compassion, he did not have love. As I was so frustrated and laying in my bed, God brought this story to my remembrance, my frustration seemed so small after hearing this story again. My Heart grew soft as I began to think of the "normans" in my life. The people that are behind the scenes that we miss or avoid. Mike had a man called Norman. You have a man called _____? As i challenge myself to step out and show love, I challenge you to do the same.
I got hit with a bombshell from the enemy last night. After a great day at work I came home and started studying for a sermon that I am putting together. Things were going great, good ideas, good concept, I was excited. It was about 730pm when I stopped working on that and decided to make something for dinner. Red Baron supreme pizza, oh yes. Hey don't judge me, I'm single. lol. Sat and ate while watching a movie. Got a call from my best friend in MI and we talked about 30 min about some things we have been praying about. When I hung up the phone I felt as though I was hit with an A bomb of inferior feelings. My mood had quickly changed form upbeat and excited to "man I am a loser and will never amount to anything". I know this may be typical for the average bi-polar american. However I am not bi-polar. This is not a normal thing for me. At first I did not do the right thing, I did all the wrong things, first wrong thing I did was start to swell on the past and things that I had done before. Second wrong thing I did was turn my Pandora radio on and hit my Boyz II Men station. I began to sulk and have my very own pity party.
This went on for about an hour before I made a decision to change my atmosphere. I had to make a choice of sitting in my sorrows or turning my situation around. I began to fight back, first thing I did was change the music to worship, I began going through scripture in my mind that would begin to take what I was feeling and shove it back in the enemies face. I am more than a conquerer, Jer 29:11 God has a plan for me that will prosper me and give me a hope and a future, I can do all things through Christ, Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. And on and on. it did not take long for my battle to become a victory.
Stand firm on what God's promises are, because in my bible they are YES and AMEN. Change your situation by changing your mindset. Change your atmosphere from doom and gloom and stop feeding into the sorrow. You are a child of the King and nothing can change that, you have royal blood flowing through your veins. This is not the England royal wedding, its leagues better than that. Stand firm child of God, Stand Firm bride of Christ, Stand firm and know that He is God.
Now Time Ministries
Today I was in a Fred Pryor Dynamic Reading seminar. It was about learning to read and comprehend faster. This seminar was great and really did work. In just the first lesson and the first few points that the speaker Jonathan Williams made, my Reading speed doubled. But I am not writing this blog to talk about that, actually I am writing about something that the presenter said. He was making a point about the speed that our mind works at and how much we concentrate. As he went on one thing that he said caught my attention, it was something that I have never heard of but once I did I instantly had the urge to write it down.
Reticular Activating System (RAS): The reticular activating system also helps mediate transitions from relaxed wakefulness to periods of high attention.
Let e give you the example the instructor gave. Have you ever bought a car and right after you bought it you started seeing that same make of car everywhere? Did that car maker all of a sudden start making more cars the day that you bought yours? or is it that now you have an awareness and a focus on that type of Vehicle now?
Your RAS did what God created it to do and kicked in giving you a higher attention to what you was focusing on. The moment that I heard this I seen how God uses this for His glory and to give us a better life. If you continue to always focus on the bad you will always see the bad, if you never see the good, the silver lining in any situation that you face you will always see just the bad. However, if you spend your time focusing on the good it is just like the RAS kicking in. If you can find just enough strength to find the good in the bad you will start to see the good in all your situations, God will be seen in every situation no matter what it is or how bad it may seem, Your mind will start to be renewed and restored, your day will be brighten even when things are not just right.
God said in His word "draw close to me and I will draw close to you" James 4:8
We will never see God or be able to draw to Him if you can never find the good in a situation.
Think on these things and be honest with yourself. Are you a person who is optimistic? Do you see God in your situations? Good or bad?
Brandon Grant NTM