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Sunday, April 29, 2012

Let go of bitterness or let it control your life

Turn that frown upside down

Each heart knows its own bitterness, and no one else can share its joy. Prov. 14:10

What causes Bitterness?

Bitterness – A feeling of deep, bitter anger and ill-will. allowing this hurt, pain, or anger, to permeate in your soul it can ultimately destroy life; physically and spiritually.

Bitterness – Causes a person to develop: misery, sadness, sorrow, anguish, unhappiness, unpleasantness. Their focus is on hostility, or grievance. It can lead to resentment and justify retaliation. It will also develop:

• Emotional instability

• Lack of peace

• No joy

• Low performance

Bitterness - Triggers other sins to manifest in your spirit. It contributes to grudging admirations and desires to have something possessed by another’s.

• Prideful ambitions

• Envy

• Cruelty toward family & friends

• Self-pity

Letting go of Bitterness

Christ Jesus knows this cancer called bitterness lingers in your heart. He longs for you to repent, forgive yourself as well as those who may have caused the pain. He is standing on the side-line of your life waiting on an invitation to relinquish your pain and suffering. Scripture tells us each person (heart) knows its own bitterness. When such pain is festering in the heart no one can share your joy let alone give joy back. Just as a woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world John 16:21. Learning to release and letting go of grief can make way for joy. Furthermore, God did not create us in his image with the intent of being sad, bitter, angry, or with a negative spirit. These adverse words or feeling are demonic mind tricks Satan sets up before God’s children to keep you from walking in God’s favor. Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes Eph. 6:10-11.

You hold the key to a Happy Heart

The word JOY is mentioned in the Holy Bible well over one hundred times for a reason; "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit" Prov. 15:13. You hold the key to these steps to unlock your heart.

Step one: Crush bitterness admit the problem

Step two: Seek God and develop a relationship

Step three: Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving to one another, as God in Christ forgave you Eph. 4:31-32.



• Forgiveness of self and those who did you wrong is needed to eradicate bitterness.

• It begins the healing process

• It will allow you to focus on Christ

This ultimately leads to joy! A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones" Proverbs 17:22.

Start each day with praise, worship, and count your blessings one by one. Joy is a gift from God by way of the Holy Spirit. When we imitate the Lord, it allows the suffering to dissipate 1Thes 1:6. Find your Joy it can conquer all.

Tigner James

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Laura’s Story... Blessings from God not the Lottery

Image by Tigner J.
Laura Story 2012 Dove Awards

Life’s surprises
Laura Story has been quoted many times as saying “Life is filled with things you don’t expect, but the Bible tells us to respond by trusting God and continuing to worship him.”  In 2012, Laura has maintained her praising and worshiping for all of God’s Blessings. It stands to reason why so many bountiful blessings have been bestowed to Laura.  For starters, winning a Grammy for the single “Blessings” which captured Best Contemporary Christian Music Song and most recently, taking home three coveted Dove Awards: Song of the Year, Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year, and Pop/Contemporary Album of the YearThere was a feeling of something special the night Story won her Dove awards, angelic praise to God for all he has done for Laura Story and her family.

2008 Dove Award
Laura’s story as a Christian artist began in 2008 catapulting her into the forefront as a talented worship leader and songwriter with a great future ahead. Not long after, she married her husband Martin, everything a person could ask for had manifested: doing what you love, married someone you love and most importantly loving and praising God. As tides ebbs and flows, storms will brew up without notice. For this worship leader at Perimeter Church, who currently resides in the Metro-Atlanta area there were days and nights which seem to be colder, longer, and not to mention darker while coping with her husband’s health.  The second stanza of “Blessings” conveys true passion of how many feel when facing situations that are completely out of our control:

Image by: Laura Story Music
Laura Story
We pray for wisdom
Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your Word is not enough
All the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we'd have faith to believe*

Laura Story's Blessings
When asked to elaborate about “Blessings” and other experiences this year, Story stated “The song is probably my most favorite song I’ve written.” Blessings depict everything God has been teaching me. There was a slight emotional pause, she forces a smile while containing the tears.  Laura preceded by saying the song was written about a year ago, another pause this time, the eyes begin to tear up. “It [Blessings] reflects on the journey I’ve walked over the past five years with my husband dealing with a brain tumor and other disabilities caused from the tumor.”  In an attempt to explain how difficult it was to pen this song during trying times Laura had a change of thought, “I would have rather to write a song about winning the lottery and how I got blessed because it’s harder to write songs about hard times in your life (emotional pause).  She went on to say “In the middle of the storm is where God shows up most and “I also found people are more interested in your faith during hard and tough times than faith in winning the lottery.”

Facing problems daily
People face  predicaments daily, if you have not, just keep living.  These difficult times, quandaries, or dilemmas can cause a person to slip into a state of gloom or mild depression thus questioning God in their life and why is he not answering prayers.  Before Jesus’ death, at the Passover, he washed the feet of the disciples, Peter questioned Jesus and his actions his reply was You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand. John 13:7 Likewise In life there is bound to be pain and more often than not you will not understand God’s purpose but surely as there are storms & rain; just believe that the one who holds the storms will bring the sun. In retrospect just has God poured a song in Laura Story based her husband’s ordeal, God has a plan for you through your trials and tribulations. 
Metaphorically, you may perceive your life to be more like winter; blustery bone chilling wind slicing through you as if clothing was non-existent, causing the mind to revert to obscurity and depression. Mentality you hit a dead end; thoughts are jaded, vision hazy and decision making all a skew. You ask where is the joy and sunshine so often spoke of?  Why have my rays of hope chosen to abandon me during a time that joy is most desperately desired? Lord, stop this roller coaster because I want to escape but to your dismay the ride of life has no emergency switches just hold on tight and dare not let go!
When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not our home*

Your mind is a powerful weapon that can be used to conquer the world or work against you. So, when facing trials and tribulations cast away your personal feelings that appear to be holding you back:  fear, doubt, money, jobs, health or love life. Hook yourself to the word, find ways to encourage and be encouraged.     What if trials of this life The rain, the storms, the hardest nights Are your mercies in disguise *

Everyone may not be a talented songwriter as Laura Story however you are blessed and highly favored as a child of God.   Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. Hold on to God’s unchanging word.  As Laura Story so eloquently stated;   What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy*?  Realize no matter how terrifying this moment of time may be God is there waiting to comfort you.  For each moment of disparity, God has already thrown a life line to rescueWe pray for blessings, we pray for peace Comfort for family, protection while we sleep. We pray for healing, for prosperity We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering All the while, You hear each spoken need Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things*.  Through every pain and struggle be like Laura Story and thank God for all of his blessings!
 For more information about Laura Story please go to 
*Lyrics from Blessings; Laura Story; New Spring Publishing (ASCAP), Gleaning Publishing (ASCAP)
Tigner James

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Don’t worry be happy... it solves no problems

Worrying man
Image by: Tigner J.
 How much pain worry has cost us, the evils which have never happened. - Thomas Jefferson

Worrying stinks!

Let’s face it, everyone has worried about something. At a young age we plague our mind with this debilitating mental disease. It begins in school worrying about test, or agonizing over some form of punishment. This phase of worry accelerates into adulthood where we lose countless hours of sleep worrying over jobs, money, bills, and family. Worry leads to emotional distress. “Worry Solves No Problems!”L.V. Rand

Worry. This word has transcended generations causing people to feel uneasy about something; in many cases nothing, just worrying to worry. Individuals find themselves tormenting over situations which are completely out of their control yet they feel it is their duty to come up with a plan to solve this nonexistent problem. Great leaders have been quoted telling us not to worry; When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened. - Winston Churchill

Bosom Buddies, Worry & Stress

Worry is bosom buddies with stress. when you see one eventually his sidekick is not far out of sight. Stress, is added baggage such as physical side-effects; headaches, anxiety, irritability, anger, and depression. Throw in illness, distress, economic crisis, loss of love ones, and a myriad of tragedies people can easily validate and say there are ample reasons, to worry. Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy. - Leo Buscaglia

Don’t worry about tomorrow

The Bible provides us with reasons why not to worry. Nevertheless Christians believe their ways are right and totally ignore God’s word. Matt. 6:33-34 tells us to seek God’s kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to us. He goes on to say do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. In Luke 12:22-30 Jesus takes it a step further; “not to worry about your life, or what you will eat. Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” If only the people who worry about their liabilities would think about the riches they do possess, they would stop worrying. - Dale Carnegie

Don’t worry Meditate

Rick Warren, author of Purpose Driven Life, mentions “if a person can worry he can meditate”. The energy and time wasted contemplating tribulations can be positively used meditating.

• Meditation is communicating with God in the form of a relationship and prayer

• Meditation/prayer it ties oneself with the Supreme being, Deity, creator of heaven and earth. Meditation is nothing more that praying with ceasing. 1Thes. 5:17-18

Praying throughout a busy day

How can one find time to pray when a day is chocked full of activities. The opportunities to talk and thank God during the day are endless; in the car, on the elevator, walking in the parking lot, shopping, or cutting the grass. This is how you Pray, without, ceasing!

• Give a short “thank you” to God throughout the day

• praise and accolades to God

• Recite positive antidotes

There is only one way to happiness and that is to cease worrying about things which are beyond the power of our will. - Epictetus

Don’t Worry you can be happy!

I don’t know your state of affairs or if you are one of the millions who go to sleep worried, tossing with sleepless nights. You wake up perplexed and depressed. Find your peace and joy! A person thrives on joy and happiness and cannot allow Satan to continue stealing that from you. Today is the tomorrow you worried about yesterday. - Anonymous

• Take time to listen to love ones and fellow Christians who have encouraged, consoled and attempted to pull you from your pit of despair. No true person of God wants to see anyone suffer.

• Take each moment to pull yourself from the doldrums not by yourself but with the help of God

• Seek God as David did; Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Psalms 25:4-5.

So ask yourself why do you still take matters into your hands and worry? Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. - Glenn Turner

“In every life we have some trouble When you worry you make it double” so when it is all said and done, find the peace with God and “Don't worry, be happy."

Let us pray:
Father God in the name of Jesus I come before you today wanting to break strongholds of worry. I ask Father God that you will remove worry, doubts and fear from me as well as the readers. Pour your spirit into us Father God and let the words manifest in our spirit. In the Jesus name Amen.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Biblical Sound Bites can be detrimental to your life!

During my subconscious daily tasks of getting ready God placed in my spirit a topic of discussion, Biblical sound bites. 

While brushing my teeth I meditated and analyzed these words to gain a broader perspective. 

The secular world provides  the most appropriate word - sound bites. A true definition; Sound bites are short speeches usually used on radio or television as part of a news story. 

Often during the rebroadcasting, common phrases are taken out of context simply because the entire message was not heard. When a statement is given by a politician, during an interview it is misconstrued when transmitted to the viewers. These snippets are perceived as the truth thus leading to an altered state of mind by constituents and non-constituents alike. Likewise Christians and part time Christians fall victim to biblical sound bites. 

Babes in Christ, new followers or seasoned disciples fall in the same sound bite trap by taking scripture out of context. When sacred passages are twisted, it gives way to opinion and not fact and once we allow this concept to reach our mind we allow it to to become real or actual. It is during water cooler debates that conjured up theories come to life and we don't take time to hear (or read) the entire story to get the full perspective. Some theologians call this act ‘script hopping’, which is simply reading a passage and coming up with your own interpretation without reading the entire chapter. 

I have also heard many good Pastors say the best way to get an understanding of a particular passage is to read at lease two or three verses before and after to formulate a better understanding of God’s word.

Where am I going with this? There are many examples in the bible which illustrate text people use in their day to day journey and simply misquote the meaning. One verse that I believe is most often taken out of context as well as paraphrased is Psalms 37:4He will give you the desires of your heart. This passage is often quoted, used as affirmations, as well as the epitome to God answering prayers. However, by simply applying the two verses before and two verses after rule the reader would discover a deeper meaning.

Verse one tells us …do not fret of those who are evil or be envious

Verse twolike grass they will wither…

Verse threeTrust in the Lord and do good…

Verse fourhe will give you the desires of your heart …

Verse fiveCommit your way to the Lord trust in him

Verse six ...He will make your righteous reward shine.

Now, if you take time to read the six verses of Psalms 37 in their entirety one will realize that to get the desires of your heart there are several steps a Christian has to take.

 In most cases many of us are not applying any of the steps in our relationship with God the Father. We are doing the exact opposite:

1. We fret daily

2. we worry about how the evil ones prosper and you don’t

3. we don’t trust God fully

4. we don’t take delight in God (yet we ask for our desires)

5. we don’t commit our way to God nor trust in him

6. So how can he make your righteous shine when we have not applied any of the five aforementioned steps?

We all know of family, friends, and other Christians who use passages such as this as a catalyst to validate their desires yet becoming upset and often angry with God when he does not grant the prayer. “Lord I want this, I deserve that, why have I not received it yet!” Let us all be clear, David wrote and told us how God gave him his desires however it came with a prerequisite. 

Remember the true purpose of us even existing has nothing to do with getting the desires of our heart (more money, bigger house, better job, or other material things) but everything to do with serving and worshiping God daily.

Surrendering all to Jesus

All to Jesus I surrender; all to Him I freely give; I will ever love and trust Him, In His presence daily live. These words confirm what Jesus said “if any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his own cross and follow me” Luke 9:23. Judson W. Van DeVenter’s hymn, describes what we as believers must do daily; All to Jesus I surrender; humbly at His feet I bow, Worldly pleasures all forsaken; take me, Jesus, take me now

As students of the gospel, when we text hop and manipulate the verses to confirm to “our” understanding time and again we loose focus or do not identify God’s plan/purpose for us. God’s desire is for us to willingly and freely come to him and worship as this classic hymn renders. By surrendering, praising, giving honor, and glory unto his name makes him happy. In exchange of surrendering our will unto God we often get the desires that loiter around in our vivid imagination called the mind.

An excellent example of submitting oneself for the betterment of God verses self gratification is Solomon (read 1 Kings 3:1-15). During a time when Solomon was building a new temple and marrying Pharaoh’s daughter, he also had to deal with people and their shenanigans. In a dream, God came to Solomon and stated “Ask for whatever you want me to give you.” Now, if any one us would have experienced this, we would have asked for the desires of our heart; six figure income, cars, money, and longevity. Instead, Solomon first thanked God for his father David, continuing his kindness unto him and bestowing kingship even though Solomon was only a child. He asks God to “give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong.” The Lord was pleased that Solomon had not asked for long life or wealth for himself, nor asked for the death of his enemies so God blessed him based on what was asked. On the backside of seeking to please God, he gave Solomon things not ask for; “Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for—both wealth and honor” This paints a great picture of what God can do if we surrender unto him, take time to study the word and continuously praise his Holy name!

I speak for myself and those who can relate. For years I lived upon the verse asking for the desires of my heart. When God didn’t deliver my ‘personal’ wishes I became frustrated, bitter, enraged, and ultimately withdrawing from God. The battle became an all out war attempting to justify why God refuses to respond. In the midst of my struggle, I slowly realized my mind was inadequate to the majestic mind of God and my arms where too short to box. In the middle of my resistance I begin to seek God’s will oppose to mine.

The point I’m attempting to make today for those who are guilty of “text hopping”, and struggling with your relationship with Christ, take time to study the word in detail. Understand that biblical sound bites can be detrimental. By reading and twisting the word to your understanding it can cause you to miss what God truly has for you. Seize the opportunity to read more than just the verse, remember the two before and two after rule as well as study to show you are approved unto God. These practical study tips will align you with God’s will and in due season you will get the desires of your heart!

Tigner Rand

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Jamie-Grace: A Pink boot, guitar playing, Christian artist singing with the Doves

2012 Dove Awards
Images by: Tigner J.

 Every so often the music industry is graced with a unique voice, sound, personality and image which captures all; “she has this style that can’t be put into a typical label box,” says Gotee Record’s TobyMac. Not to mention, a seasoned Christian singer-songwriter who happened to be the youngest (19 years) songwriting nominee at the GRAMMY ® Awards this year, earning a nod for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song for “Hold Me.”  The list of accolades continues to grow, from blowing up Billboard charts, radio play, concert dates and not to leave out four GMA Dove Award nominations; “Song of the Year,” “New Artist of the Year,” “Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year” and “Pop/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year.” Jamie-Grace is that girl.  I think that’s called the WOW factor! 

Jamie-Grace & Eli Smith
WYZE Gospel Radio
To be perfectly honest, Jamie-Grace slipped under my ‘keen ear for music radar”.  Where have I been to miss this fresh new talent, under a rock or just not paying attention?  Well, during the GMA artist announcement all the buzz and great anticipation was all about Jamie-Grace. My ignorance of not knowing was disguised by perusing the crowd and eavesdropping on conversations, who is Jamie-Grace? Thanks to my friend Eli Smith, Gospel Radio WYZE 1480am radio personality, for filling the gaps and bringing me up to speed. There was obvious excitement in the room when Ms. Jamie-Grace entered wearing her famous pink cowboy boots along with Pastor Montell Jordan and A.J. Styles.  Yes I said Montell Jordan “This is how we do it.”  After the announcement of the 2012 Dove Award nominees, for our listening pleasure Ms. Grace performed a few of her songs.  

Jamie-Grace’s strong yet pleasurable effect on Christian music fans was not an overnight success it begins at a very young age, learning to play guitar, along with five other instruments. “As a PK (Preacher’s Kid) I grew up singing in church.”  Her journey also came with a few obstacles which have not slowed her down.  It was around the age of eight; Jamie-Grace noticed involuntary movements and sounds most commonly associated with Tourette’s. From multiple tests it has determined that she was not only suffering from Tourette’s but also Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) and Echolalia. It’s safe to assume this news was hard to bear as well as a list of questions to God.   Over the next several years Jamie-Grace grew up and “realized not to be bitter about my situation but enjoy life.”  Jamie-Grace took pains and seemingly incurable problems and turned them into the one thing she loved – singing by sharing life’s struggle through music and song, thus the birth of her debut album One Song at a Time.  Now that her focus is on praising God through music and song Jamie-Grace also feels it befitting to advise others. A few words of wisdom to aspiring artist “know why you do it [your calling] and once you know you’re calling make sure to have fun doing it.”  No matter if performing for twenty or two hundred thousand people, know you are doing it for the Lord.”

Jamie-Grace's Pink boots
 The crescendo of this year’s Dove Awards is only days away, April 19, 2012, Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theatre and Ms. Grace still don’t believe it’s true her song has been nominated as song of the year, she states “If I don’t win I wouldn’t become disappointed.”  My prediction on the star-studded night, don’t be surprised to see Jamie-Grace walk across the stage with her ‘pink boots ‘accepting the famous Dove Award. In summing up this Gala Night, I have to take a few verses from her song:  I’m so grateful and thankful for all you have done Wish I could tell you in a short story or poem but, all I have is my voice and this guitar And You have my heart.”

Tigner James

Friday, April 6, 2012

God is Omnipresent at 8 a.m.

Driver walked way from this accident
Parents are over come by fear and emotional turmoil when a telephone ring echoes extremely loud while incredibly close during the darkest hour of a night.  In a split second the mind is consumed with every negative conceivable thought known to man. It is always a blessing as well as a relief to find out all is well or better yet a person had dialed in error the wrong number. 

I firmly believe in the power of prayer.  Most recently my dear friend had a testimony on this area under discussion of phone calls and prayer. Setting the scene: Harold and I always begin our conversation with a positive affirmation; me, asking how he is doing followed by his sincere statementit’s the best day of my life”, which always brings a smile to my face.  On this night, nothing was any different except this time his tone was concise and clearly expressed.

A testimony is a public declaration regarding a religious experience, which I may add, we never know how God will move or bless a person’s life from such encounters.  There is no rhyme or reason and not to leave out God often times don’t make sense of his decisions.  Harold told me his son was in a terrible accident.  Of course, as a parent, friend, and most importantly a Christian my heart dropped with a hope that all was well.  The infamous call came one Sunday morning at 9 o’clock a.m., with the grim news “your son and three friends were in a terrible accident.”  One cannot imagine the sinking filling which overcomes a person when such calls come be it day or night.  Experiencing a horrid death or illness telephone call is indescribable; the emotions and thoughts which run a mile a second through your mind cannot be explained. Until you personally experience one my commentary will never make sense. Sadly, individuals attempt to pay their respects yet fall short because they don’t know how to address those who are suffering or grieving correctly. It is not until such situations personally knock on their door that they will finally get it. Well this is another article for a later date… 

The bible demonstrates many examples of the power of prayer:  God answering many of Moses' prayers, parting the Red Sea Exodus 14:13-22, God agreed to spare Sodom and Gomorrah if Abraham could find ten righteous people Genesis 18:22-32.  Daniel spent his whole life praying and was ultimately thrown in the lions den because he would not stop praying to God and worship the king. Because he continually prayed God spared him Daniel 6:4-24 God miraculously answered the prayers of the early Christians by sending an angel to free Peter from prison Acts 12:5-10.  In contrast, Jesus prayer at Gethsemane clearly showed him praying if it was possible, the hour might pass from him Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou will Mark 14:32-42. Jesus prayer was not granted. Nevertheless, through out the bible there are countless situations of people praying and God responding. Like wise we are afforded the opportunity of partitioning God directly in prayer.  So, if you don’t get anything else from this testimonial learn how and remember to pray daily. As stated, there is power in prayer…

This brings me back to my friend Harold, who was up praying at 8 o’clock a.m Sunday morning, thanking God for all his blessings, the very same day his son played bumper cars with a concrete median.  Harold went on to say he appealed a special prayer to cover his son that morning.  One can only imagine the feeling of such a conversation when a police officer tells you of an accident.  In this case, thank God, everyone was okay. The officer duly noted, “It was a miracle that everyone walked away with only scratches and shaken nerves considering the entire left side was completely demolished. Our dialog ended with “God is omnipresent he was covering my son at the time I was praying” Stated Harold.  I’m sending you a photo of the car so you can see how great God is…

The lesson learned is to pray without ceasing thanking God and never taking anything for granted.  Will God answer all your request maybe, maybe not the point is to always pray and seek to be in God’s will. And by all means it is always a joyous moment for a parent knowing their child has cheated death during a horrific traffic altercation. Now, besides praying and talking about my friend’s testimony, what makes this story so wondrous, Harold’s son accident occurred at  8 o’clock a.m. the same time Harold was praying!

Tigner Rand


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