Empty Lots

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Yesterday, I went to the Chambers County Property Tax Auction in Alabama. During the auction we were bidding on properties that were described as “lots with improvements” (meaning it had a house or building on it), “lots” (meaning they were empty), or “acres” (meaning it was several acres of undeveloped land). When one particular empty lot drew several bids, a man seated in front of me asked “what can you do with an empty lot?” 

That Got me thinking. Sometimes dating can be a lot like buying real estate. We find some people who are immature and undeveloped like raw acres. We may find people who are ready to start a family like lots with improvements that have houses on them. We may also find some people are like empty lots with no structure to nurture and shelter a family.   

And the Lord God said, “ It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18 NKJV)

God suggested Adam needed a family, but when God created Adam he wasn’t ready. He was mature but he was an empty lot and didn’t have the key improvements necessary to sustain a family. So God transformed Adam from an empty lot to a lot with improvements in verses 8-17. Here’s a quick list.

1. God put Adam in a place where He could feed and provide for Adam. Genesis 2:8-9
2. God gave Adam a job to tend the garden. Genesis 2:15
3. God spoke to Adam giving him a relationship with God. Genesis 2:16
4. God gave Adam a personal responsibility to honor His word. Genesis 2:16-17

Once these improvements were made in Adam’s life, God concluded he needed a family. Ladies, (and men) if you’re dating someone who can’t sustain themselves, isn’t working in their God given purpose, doesn’t have a relationship with God, and fails to honor His word, you’ve got an empty lot. What can you really expect to do with an empty lot? Getting an empty lot and hoping it will improve on it’s own is insane. Trying to improve on it yourself without the skills is foolish. 

Only God can transform a person who is an empty lot into a lot with improvements. So don’t let the excitement of dating cause you to chase after empty people who don’t have what it takes to create a family.

Love and War

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I like to think that I’m a peaceful person. I try to keep anger, bitterness, and wrath under control. But sometimes the aggressive, male part of me slips out and hurts the people I love the most.

“Husbands, love your wives and do not be bitter toward them.” (Colossians 3:19 NKJV)

God tells husbands to love their wives and not be bitter toward them. He knows when men feel challenged, bitterness and resentfulness can build up in subtle ways in our relationships. That’s when the survival instinct kicks in and gets pointing in the wrong direction. 

Each time our spouses challenge our identity it stirs up the need to defend ourselves. When we fail to take out the trash or miss something on our “Honey Do” list, it can cause our spouses to say harsh words. Those words can easily be received as a challenge. If spouses withhold their affection it can cause some men to view their spouses as someone to be conquered rather than someone to be loved.  

Why is this important? I think it’s because many men are bitter with their wives and don’t know it. We’ve drawn battle lines over trivial things like who controls the remote, how she spends money, or words that were said in the heat of an argument 2 years ago that still sting when we think about them today.   

Husbands, love your wives. Love them and do all that you can to identify and remove bitterness toward them. Remember, God made you the man to protect your home and family, not to fight your family in your home. 

My True Identity

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I’m a black man raised in a black family, in a black neighborhood. Growing up I lived a normal black life. But I also had another life. You see, each weekday morning I left my black life and rode the school bus to the other side of the city to attend a predominately white school, with mostly white teachers, in a white neighborhood. I spent half my life living a black experience, and half in a predominately white world. 

As a result, I’ve always had some minor identity issues. At any time I could fit in with both groups but I’ve never felt completely attached to one more than the other. Then, I met Jesus. He gave me an identity that is greater than the two I was living. He made me a Christian.  

For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Galatians 3:27, 28 NKJV)

I have literally “put on Christ”. He covers every area of my life. He gives me my identity. I’m not black or white, Jew or Gentile, slave or free; I’m a Christian. Christian is my true identity more than my background, more than any group affiliations, more than my career choices, and more than my cultural preferences. I’m a Christian who just happens to be black. I’m a Christian who just happens to have a white education. That’s how I see myself.

How do you define your identity?

Sweep the Path

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So the Lord said to him, “Arise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul of Tarsus, for behold, he is praying. And in a vision he has seen a man named Ananias coming in and putting his hand on him, so that he might receive his sight.” (Acts 9:11, 12 NKJV)

Jesus was sending Ananias to meet with Saul who had a reputation for persecuting Christians. The Lord told Ananias he had already shown Saul a vision, revealing he was coming to restore his sight. By doing this, Jesus swept a clear path for Ananias to interact with Saul. 

Leaders today must also be sure to sweep the path for those in their organization. You see, sometimes we delegate tasks for our team members to interact with people in other departments. People from other departments may not respect or be as helpful to our team members as they would be for us as leaders. 

When this happens our team members may have a tough time fulfilling their delegated tasks. They may be frustrated and get a negative impression of the department or individuals who made things difficult for them. In the worst case, they may be denied and have to explain to their leader why they failed to complete their assignment. 

To ensure a smooth transaction, we leaders need to make a quick phone call or send an email informing the other department that our team member is on the way. This simple act can remove barriers, neutralize gate keepers, and lend our credibility to our team members.