unionbaptistchurch.co

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, February 28, 2013 0 comments

I'm beta testing our redesigned church's website. It's a work in progress, but it's about 60% completed. I'm looking for useful critique and helpful suggestions.

It is good to periodically allow yourself and your efforts to be critiqued. One improves by hearing suggestions that will lead to either improvements or discontinuing negative behaviors.

God is one of the best critics you can have in your life. He is always asking that you measure yourself by His standards and not your own.

Isaiah 43:19 reminds us of God's desire for us and why he critiques us. "Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert."

You Have Special DNA

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, February 26, 2013 0 comments

Wikipedia has this definition for DNA-"Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is a molecule encoding the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms..."

Every living creature has their own distinctive DNA pattern. It is believed that no two persons DNA patterns are alike. Though all of this scientific research, man has validated what the Psalmist knew long ago; that God has made us differently and uniquely.

Psalms 139:13-15 (NIV) "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth."

Unless you have committed some transgression, you should be happy to known God has placed a special and unique mark on you and in you. It's your DNA.

Returning Home

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, February 25, 2013 0 comments

There is something mystical and spiritual about returning home. The draw of the familiar, coupled with the sense of security and affirmation of family makes returning home a joy.

When you return home you rediscover love, you reestablish purpose, and resume your activities with a vigorous resolve to get things done.

While traveling to far away locations, seeing new sights, enjoying wholesome experiences, and staying in exotic places is fun; coming home is better.

I'm flying from Texas to Baltimore on my return trip home.

I don't have the prodigal son feeling, I have the feeling of a King returning to his castle.

Open the gates, sound the trumpets, and prepare the banquet table, I'm returning home.

Riding The Highway

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, February 21, 2013 0 comments

Persons familiar with the Dallas Fort Worth area will readily admit that Texas has an amazing highway system. As you travel over the system, you are riding literally above the ground and in the air. Everywhere you go you see massive construction adding additional stretches of above ground roads and bridges for future portions of the highway system.

High cranes are all over the place. Workers are everywhere. A construction and building boom is going on.

It reminded me of a song we use to sing, "It's a highway to heaven."

Yes to travel the King's highway, you have to ride above the ground, avoiding the pitfalls along the way.

God has designed a highway system that will elevate you above the ground and transport you to your destination with ease.

"It's a highway to heaven. None can walk up there, but the pure in heart. It's a highway to heaven. I am walking up the King's highway. My way gets brighter, my load gets lighter, walking up the King's highway. There's joy in knowing with him I'm going, walking up the King's highway. If not walking, start while I'm talking, walking up the King's highway. There'll be a blessing, you'll be possessing, walking up the King's highway."

Today is A Cloudy Day

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, February 20, 2013 0 comments

Looking out my hotel window over the City of Dallas, there are grey clouds in the sky. It's a cloudy day.

From time to time you have cloudy days in life. Those are the days when the skies are darkened, those moments when things seem gloomy, and those instances when you wish for a more sunny day. Cloudy days are a fact of life and they serve a two fold purpose.

1) They teach you to appreciate the sunny days God brings your way. 2) They instruct you that God is still able in the midst of your gloom.

When cloudy days come my way, "I look to the hills from whence cometh my strength. My strength cometh from The Lord."

I thank God for the sunny days and the cloudy days because in those moments I am reminded that God is still God all by Himself.

As I look out of my window again, I see the sunlight breaking through the clouds.

Change You to Change The World

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, February 19, 2013 0 comments

If you desire for change in your environment, you first have to change you. Too often people who want change blame others when their actions, attitudes and attribute remain static. They have not changed.

Change begins with your spiritual perspective. It then recognizes how best to act to transform the situation. How you think and feel has a tremendous impact on what you do. I once worked for a housing organization and was doing an interview with a news reporter. The reporter asked me what the problem was I said the vacant eyesores. After the interview the camera man pulled me to the side and said I should not think of the vacant houses as eyesores, but rather as housing opportunities.

This change in my perspective transformed how I looked at my environment and propelled me into a career as a community economic developer. For me when I look at a half glass of water, it is not half empty, but is half full. I see positives while others may see negatives. By changing me, my perspective of the environment has changed. Consequently I believe my impact has been greater.

So many people adopt negative lifestyles, negative habits, and negative opinions; largely because of their negative spirits. Change you and you can change the world you live in.

Three biblical persons come to mind who first had to change themselves and from that point began to change the world. Moses in Exodus 3, Isaiah in Isaiah 6, and Paul in Acts 9; all underwent a spiritual change and from that point began to change the world.

Think about all the good that would occur in life if you made the commitment to change you today.

The Wrong GPS

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, February 18, 2013 0 comments

I had an amazing experience yesterday. I was driving from the Dallas Fort Worth Airport to my hotel in Dallas. Driving a rental car I didn't pay the extra cost to rent a GPS, I would use the one on my cell phone. To my dismay I discovered that what I thought was a GPS app, was just a map app. That was no good because I was unfamiliar with where I was, so it didn't help me to look at a map. I needed someone or something to guide me. I downloaded a GPS app and that one didn't talk and looking at it was confusing.

In life when you are lost you need someone to literally take your hand and guide you to where you want to go. It's uncomfortable being lost. It's dangerous driving and being lost. I had a dilemma. What do you do when you are lost and you don't have anything or anyone to guide you?

I went back to the ITune's store and downloaded a better app. This one talked to me and gave me step by step directions.

Don't go through life with the wrong app. Go to God and he will lead you and talk you through your situation until you find the right direction and get to the place He has destined for you.

The Palmist reminds us in Psalms 139: 7-10(KJV), "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me."

Always have the right GPS to guide you through the highways and byways of life.

A Sense of Belonging

Posted by Al Hathaway Sunday, February 17, 2013 0 comments

There is a deep abiding feeling everyone has which yearns to belong: to belong to a social group, to belong to a religious group, to belong to a business group, and/or to belong to a family group.

This feeling creates a sense of well being, security, status, and affirmation. The human being was not made to be alone. They were made to belong.

Unfortunately there are some relationships to which you belong that instead of boasting your ego, they damage your ego. A destructive belong can be mentally and spiritually brutal.

God designed us in a way for everyone to have the ultimate sense of belonging. God permits us to belong to him in an intimate relationship.

1John 3:1 (NIV) reads "How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

How rewarding it is to know that you and I belong to God who calls us His child.

When You Need Wise Counsel

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, February 16, 2013 0 comments

Everyone faces situations were you can benefit from wise counsel. For some they are able to get advice from a mother or father. In special circumstances, some people can get advice from a grandfather or grandmother or a special aunt or uncle. Still others have the benefit of a mentor who provides sage advice when needed. Whomever you may seek wise counsel from, you will face those moments in your life when you will need a different perspective from someone who is wiser, more experienced, and older than you.

Jesus reminds us of the power of The Holy Spirit as a wise counselor. He says in John 14:16,17(KJV), "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."

He reminds us that we can access our counselor through prayer. He directs us to the fact that the counselor dwells within you because it's The Holy Spirit. And, He reminds us it's the Spirit of truth.

When you need wise counsel go the The Holy Spirit that is within and available to you whenever you seek to hear the truth about yourself, someone else, or your situation.

The Power of Love

Posted by Al Hathaway Thursday, February 14, 2013 0 comments

Today I shared testimony in support of a repeal to the death penalty in the State of Maryland. Governor O'Malley presented convincing arguments for its repeal. Lt Gov Brown and NAACP President Ben Jealous joined the chorus. I added my voice.

One of the most compelling arguments was presented by Rev Megan Foley, whose father was killed and his killers were caught, tried, and executed. She indicated that the healing and closure promised as a result of her father's killers being put to death, did not happen.

Only when she discovered the power of love was she able to heal and move on with her life. It was not love for what her killers had done to her father. It was to refuse to allow hate, revenge, and remorse consume her life and stunt her ability to love. She achieved the healing and wholeness that only comes from God.

Matthew 5:43-45(KJV) "Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say into you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despite fully use you, and persecute you; that Ye may be children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust."

If we could ever learn the power of love, what a world this would be.

Happy Valentine's Day

Posted by Al Hathaway Wednesday, February 13, 2013 0 comments

Very soon the special day will come when flowers, candy, diamonds, and gifts are given as an expression of love for another person. It will be Valentine's Day. A day when you publicly express your love.

The commercialization of the day has somewhat distorted its meaning. Expressions of love have been reduced to the value of the gift you give. How tragic that one's love is to be noted in a monetary way?

As you approach this special day, take time to express in a sincere way your love for those who give meaning to your life by the affirmation they provide to you. It's a blessing to be loved and a greater blessing to love someone else.

Jesus was clear in his expression of love for someone because he wants us to strive for the greater love.

John 15:12,13 (KJV) "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."

Happy Valentine's Day My Love!

Return To God

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, February 12, 2013 0 comments

If for some reason your relationship with God is not what it once was or what it should be, you can reunite in  a real relationship with Him. The sins you commit have a way of creating clouds in our lives that shield you from the sunshine of a loving God. Your eyes can adjust to the darkness, your minds will become accustomed to the shadows, and you will accept sin as the norm. You must learn to reject sin and refuse to tolerate its devastrating effects.

For those who want to return to God, read this verse in The Book of Isaiah. "I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you." Isaiah 44:22(NIV).

The songwriter says, "I've been redeemed brought with a price."

This is the day to return to God. His love will engulf you and bring bright light to your dark existence.

Life Has Seasons

Posted by Al Hathaway Monday, February 11, 2013 0 comments

The famous words of The Book of Ecclesiastes rings true, "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." Ecclesiastes 3:1(KJV).

Today's breaking news indicates that Pope Benedict,85, will resign. The reports cite his waning strength and advanced age. Wisely his stepping down permits an orderly transition to a new Pope. He knew when his season had ended and is preparing himself for his next season.

All life has seasons. How tragic it is for a person to be unaware that their season has come and gone, only to discover they are attempting to do something they once did, but are unable to do anymore.

Remember Michael Jordan with the Washington Wizards, he was but an old shell of himself in his Chicago heydays.

Live the seasons of your life appropriately.
Do things in there proper order. And know when it is time to move on!

Planning For Success

Posted by Al Hathaway 0 comments

I encountered a person who informed me they were a financial planner. He described how through his services I could be on easy street within a number of years. He talked about accumulating wealth and the benefits of investing. I listened for a moment and said "No Thanks." Then I met a person who told me they were a life coach who through their consultation I would be able to develop clear goals and establish a life plan. Again I said, "No Thanks."

If they would have asked me, I would have directed them to read, Proverbs 16:1-9 (NIV)

"To humans belong the plans of the heart, but from The Lord comes the proper answer of the tongue. All a person's ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by The Lord. Commit to The Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans. The Lord works out everything to its proper end-even the wicked for a day of disaster. The Lord detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished. Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of The Lord evil is avoided. When The Lord takes pleasure in anyone's way, he causes their enemies to make peace with them. Better a little righteousness than much gain with injustice. In their hearts humans plan their course, but The Lord establishes their steps."

The best finiacial plan for me is to give my tithes and offerings to God. The best life coach in this world is the wisdom tips and commands uncovered in God's word.

If you want to plan for success, keep God first in your life.

Can You Handle Plenty?

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, February 9, 2013 0 comments

There was an old song that said, "I've got plenty of nothing and nothing has plenty of me."

So many people have become so used to not enough, that they are not able to handle just enough. In their spirit they can't imagine more than enough. I'm not talking about a prosperity gospel were you name it and claim it. I'm talking about a God who has provided you with plenty.

Can you handle plenty? Plenty is when you have more than you need. Think about it? You have more that one pair of shoes, more than one dress, some have more than one car, and others have more than one house. You have more than one dollar.  If God has allowed you to have more than one, you have plenty.

Read Phillipians 4:12,13 (NIV) "I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all things through him who gives me strength."

Do you know what it is to have plenty? So many people dwell on the negative. They forget how to praise God for the many positive aspects of life. If you ever learned the divine lesson of being full, you will discover God will provide you with plenty.

We have to develop the spiritual grace of gratitude. Learning how to be grateful for all God has given to you; instead of dwelling on the things you think you don't have. "Rest assured it is harder to know how to have plenty than it is to know how to be in need- so desperate is the tendency of human nature to pride and forgetfulness of God."

Remember to pray for God to teach you how to know what plenty is!

Always Keep Praying

Posted by Al Hathaway Friday, February 8, 2013 0 comments

Ephesians 6:18-19 "Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching there unto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; and for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,"

It is so easy to forget that your life is a living testament to the God you love. Every word you say reflects His presence in your life. Every action you take speaks to His motivating force in your life. Think about all the things you've said and may say that you wouldn't say if you knew you were standing in the presence of God. Think about the actions you have taken and may take that you would not take if you were aware God was staring in your direction. We say and do things as if God is unaware. God sees everything because He is everywhere.

That's why prayer is important. It keeps your mind in perfect peace because your mind is stayed on Jesus. Learn to pray always. Even on the midst of conflict and confusion, even in the midst of trouble and tension, and even in the midst of joy snd jubilation. Pray never creasing for a closer walk with God.

"Praise The Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits."

It's Party Time

Posted by Al Hathaway Tuesday, February 5, 2013 0 comments

Today is Tuesday, February 5, 2013, as the world knows, The Baltimore Ravens are the Superbowl Champions. They won the Lombardi Trophy as the best NFL football team in 2012. The Mayor of Baltimore has called for a parade from City Hall to the Inner Harbor. People are expected from wide and near to join in the festivities. It's party time!

There should be moments in your life when you pause, dance, and party.

In 2 Samuel 6:12-15, (NIV), you find David in such a moment.

"Now King David was told, 'The Lord has blessed the household of Obed-Edom and everything he has, because of the ark of God.' So David went down and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with rejoicing. When those who were carrying the ark of The Lord had taken six steps, he sacrificed a bull and a fattened calf. David, wearing a linen ephod, danced before The Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of The Lord with shouts and the sounds of trumpets."

David took his public moment of partying to dance for The Lord. Imagine the City we would be if we mustered the willingness and organized the people to dance, parade, and march for God, as well.

It's time to celebrate all that God has done for you and for me.

Party over here, party over there!

Fulfill Your Obligations

Posted by Al Hathaway Saturday, February 2, 2013 0 comments

Think about the many obligations you have in life. You have bills to pay for goods or services received. You have obligations to your loved ones, that special someone, to your family and friends. You have an obligation to pay back to your school from which you received your education. Recently Mayor Bloomberg of New York gave $350 Million to Johns Hopkins University. That increased his contribution to over $1.1Billion dollars, he said he felt an obligation for the quality education he received.

You may feel an obligation to your community. A community that natured, developed, supported, and prepared you to face the world without fear. One may feel an obligation to their faith community and religious organization because there you were affirmed and learned moral principals that have served you well in life.

When you read Romans 8:12-17(NIV) you discover you have your ultimate obligation to God.
"Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation-but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it. For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live. For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry,' Abba, Father.' The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs-heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory."

Yes as children of God your ultimate obligation is to him. Do that and everything else will fall in place.

The Power Of Love

Posted by Al Hathaway Friday, February 1, 2013 0 comments

Meditating this moment from the words found in Romans 12:9-21(KJV).

"Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving The Lord; rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. be of the same mind one toward another.  Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath; for it is written, Vengeance is mine: I will repay, saith The Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."

Paul wrote these words for you and for me when you have to go through difficult situations with love in your heart.

"Who Do You Belong To?"

Posted by Al Hathaway 0 comments

In life there is no neutrality, there is no sitting on the fence, and there is no walking the middle of the road. In life you may be free to choose, but choose you must, "to whom do you belong?" Are you a child of God or one of Satan's imps? It may seem harsh, but you will either be on God's side or Satan's side. You will either work for good or for evil. It will be either black or white, right or wrong, or left or right. There is no in between.

Today's scripture found in 1Samuel 30:1-20 (NIV) is an interesting story. David has suffered a terrible lost. His family and goods have been taken. His army is so disgusted with him, they are contemplating stoning him. Depression is about to set in, but David, "encouraged himself in The Lord." He finds an Egyptian and asks a probing question, "Who do you belong to?" By his actions the Egyptian demonstrates he is on the Lord's side.

That's how you determine which side you are on is by your actions. Are you loving or hateful? Are you forgiving or vengeful? Are you patient or quick to anger? Are you helpful or hurtful? The side that you are on is determined by your actions. "Who do you belong to?"

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