All posts by roylayman

Pastor of Grace Bible Fellowship, Gunter Texas Teach the Word. Love people. Pray for the Spirit to move. I am not ashamed of the gospel... Romans 1:16 I'm just a common man who is true to his beliefs. -John Wooden Twitter: @RoyLayman

There’s power in forgiveness

There’s power in forgiveness, and bondage in bitterness, friends!

God’s Word says: Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:32

Forgiving others, especially when they don’t deserve it, is a godly, Christlike thing to do. It’s not easy, but by God’s grace it is possible! Many times forgiveness is a process you have to commit to and nurture for a LONG time. You gotta keep forgiving tho. It’s worth it.

Sadly, there’s not a lot of people in the forgiveness cheering section. Bitter, unforgiving people with a lot of enemies are miserable, and misery loves company. But when you seek to be a forgiver you’ve got the only one who really matters on your side, GOD.

Love y’all.

#LookUp

A prayer for revival and renewal…

Father in Heaven, we need a revival and renewal that only you can bring. We need a spiritual awakening and nothing else will do. Please turn our hearts away from darkness and toward your light.

Lord Jesus, on the Cross you took the worst situation and made it work for your glory and our good. We believe you can put that same resurrection power to work in our lives and in our world right now. We don’t deserve your goodness, God. But by your loving kindness, please help us. Change our hearts and minds. Make us a people of mercy, forgiveness, compassion and truth. Teach us to love you and our neighbors the way you love us. Lord, saying we need you feels like such an understatement right now. We’re desperate for you, Lord. Because of you, we remain thankful and hopeful. We have faith in you.

In Jesus name we pray, Amen.

Adversity…

If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small. – Proverbs 24:10

Doesn’t matter how strong, intelligent, talented, or prepared you are—it’s all negated if you let FEAR take you out and you “faint” when adversity comes. It takes COURAGE to use what we have. Bill Parcells use to yell at his lineman “THIS IS WHY YOU LIFT ALL THOSE WEIGHTS.” 😂

Winston Churchill said “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities… because it is the quality which guarantees all others.”

And most important, God told Joshua “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9) God didn’t give us a spirit of fear, friends! (See 2Tim 1:7)

Rightly fear God, but fear nothing else.

#LookUp

We’re more than our differences…

Here’s something. Social media and news media tend to make everything issue based. The result can be ongoing division and deterioration of relationships. It’s like everyone is putting each other in file folders, labeled with issues we disagree on. I’m not saying issues don’t need to be talked about and addressed (Don’t put me in that file folder 😆). I’m saying that each of us are MORE THAN a handful of issues that we agree/disagree on. And it’s actually that “MORE THAN” part that many times makes room for us to grow toward one another on issues that we disagree on. Seems like we’ve settled into just writing people off, left and right! This can’t be good.

Here’s what I need you to know — I’m not looking for a reason to be against you. I’m trying to focus on things we have in common too. Even when I see you post something or say something I think is asinine, I’m not gonna file folder you and use that as the one brush to paint you with. I want to like you. Chances are, if we have spent time around one another, even for a short time, I have GOOD thoughts and memories of you and have even learned things from you.

I’m not all super servant-hearted for taking this approach, because it’s actually very self-serving as well. Ugly anger is exhausting. Labeling people and writing them off wears us down. Keeping a catalog of people you think are against you will either make you ticked off all the time or feeling doomed. Bitterness eats you up on the inside. Admittedly, finding things to love about others (inluding me) can sometimes be difficult 😅, but nurturing hatered is even harder. Giving thought to things you admire and enjoy about people feels good!

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not just a spineless jellyfish or a wet sandwich of a person! 😂 I have strong beliefs and convictions, especially what I believe about God. I think that is the most important thing about me. And when I need to, I will defend myself, my family, and my faith. But even if you do “come at me” or even cheap shot me, as soon as I can, I’m gonna need to begin the work of seeking God’s help to overlook the offense, or forgive you, and even forgetting about it whenever possible, asap, even if you dont ask for it. Not just for you and our relationship, but for me and my obligations to God, who has forgiven me of so much, continues to bear with me and calls me to do the same for others.

I don’t always get all this right, for sure. I’m still learning. Probably always will be. But for now I just wanna say, I don’t want to be mad at y’all 😎. I like you, even if we disagree. We can have differences, but still be MORE THAN our differences. Nothing wrong with having strong convictions, but we can’t keep labeling and filing people away and writing them off. We’re hurting ourselves and each other. As we address issues and we find ourselves in opposition, I hope I/we can remember that we still need each other, and we have a lot of things in common that need to be remembered and focused on too.

That’s it. Thanks for letting me share. God bless.

Are you happy?

Are you happy? A recent study showed that Americans are less happy than ever. Only around 15% described themselves as happy, down from around 30% a couple of years ago. So even when the economy was great and we weren’t navigating the throws of 2020, 70% of Americans were unhappy. What’s the deal? When the Bible talks about happiness it doesn’t start with the things we tend to measure happiness by—money, power, possessions, comfort, approval of others. The Bible is much more simple than that.

Psalm 128:1 says: Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord and walks in his ways. That word “blessed” could also be translated happy — a deeper, more full, joyful, abiding happiness. The key to happiness? “Fear the Lord and walk in his ways.” Don’t let that word fear scare you. It’s not a run and hide kind of fear. It’s a reverent dependent fear. To fear the Lord simply means to take him seriously. And to “walk in his ways” is to live according to God, in reflection and response to Him and his Word. The key to happiness, according to what many of us believe to be God’s Word, is to take God seriously and live according to Him.

Psalm 128 was originally a song that was sang by God’s people on their way to worship. Imagine that, singing on the way to a place of worship. You know who generally sings a lot? Happy people. Songs are the poetry of our heart, put to music. I was trying to think of a more modern song that carried the message of Psalm 128. Not exactly modern, but I thought of the song ‘Trust and Obey’ that was penned in the 1800’s. The chorus says:

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Simple right? That’s essentially the message of Psalm 128. Fear the Lord and walk in his ways = trust and obey. Notice the lyrics “happy in Jesus.” That’s it! That’s what we need!

Here’s a few more lyrics from the song. And if you know the tune to this I hope it gets stuck in your head ALL. DAY. LONG 😎

🎶Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,

But His smile quickly drives it away;

Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,

Can abide while we trust and obey.

Trust and obey, for there’s no other way

To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey🎶

Let me leave you with this thought—What if happiness isn’t something we accomplish or discover but rather something that is revealed to us by God, and God alone? True happiness is found in a deep relationship with God by faith in Jesus Christ. Happiness is more abiding than fleeting. It’s found more in the unseen, than the seen. It’s more eternal than temporal. Happiness is a person—his name is Jesus Christ. We won’t be happy apart from him.

Imagine a life of simple trust and obedience. Think of the glorious implications. How would your life look different, today and in the future if you resolved to trust and obey and live happy in Him?

#LookUp #TrustAndObey #OneDayAtATime

YOU HAVE A GOOD GOOD FATHER

No matter the circumstances, YOU HAVE A GOOD GOOD FATHER

Dads can be great can’t they? My dad taught me so much. He introduced me to fishing early 🎣 I was taking fish off the hook for other people when I was like 7 😎 He gave me my first “real” gun too — a single shot bolt action .22, and he made sure I could hit something with it, before he gave me a bigger one. He showed me how to clean fish, squirrel, rabbit and deer. He taught me throw “step into it.” Taught me how to shoot a basketball “bend your knees, follow through.” He taught me that I shouldn’t back down, which can be misused, but I’m still glad he did it. When I heard Tom Petty sing “I Won’t Back Down” I knew exactly what he was saying, my dad had taught me that.

Dad’s can be great, and there’s a confidence that comes from things passed down to us by our dads and others who serve as father figures in our life. But no matter how good a dad is, he’ll never come close to matching the love and wisdom of having a Heavenly Father. All humans, even dads, let us down at some level. I love being a dad and I try hard, but I’m not enough. I let my kids down. My kids, and all of us, need more than what an earthly father can give.

Maybe your dad showed you all the things my dad did and whole lot more. Or you maybe you don’t even know who your dad is. Maybe he left you when you were young, or there’s just so much hurt between y’all that right now y’all arent even talking. I know for a lot of people your dad has passed on and you are missing him today. Maybe your hurting because this is your first Father’s Day without him. For a number of reasons, you may feel like you dont have a father— But you do. Through faith in Jesus Christ, YOU DO HAVE A FATHER, the GOOD GOOD HEAVENLY FATHER that we sing about. And He loves you SO MUCH! ❤️ 🙏🏼 ✝️

So if you had a great dad–he pointed you toward your need for an even better Father in God. If you had a dad who “no showed” or caused a lot of unnecessary pain–he also pointed you to your need for an even better Father in God.

Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also…See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1Jn 2:23, 1Jn 3:1

As great as dad’s can be, they cant even compare to the confidence we can have through having God as our father.

Here’s 5 amazing benefits that come with having God as Father:

1. When God is your father your more than forgiven, you’re family. 2Cor 6:18, John 1:12

2. When God is your father he’s going to give you what’s best for you. Matthew 7:9-11

3. When God is your father your future is secure. Roman 8:17

4. When God is your father your identity is set. 1John3:1

Eph 2:10

5. When God is your father there’s no such thing as a fair fight with you. Whoever and whatever you are up against, is also up against God. 2Kings 6:15-17, Romans 8:31-39

Living out here

I love living “out here.” I’d be in better shape if I didn’t interrupt cardio to take pictures of sunsets, hay bales, old fence posts, and all the critters I see crossing the road. But I love it. And not just the scenery. I love the people too. I love the small town in north Texas “vibe.” I guess I’m a lifer out here. I went to preschool in Whitewright, Kindergarten in Tom Bean, 1st and 2nd grade in Whitesboro, 3rd-12th in Howe, took nearly every class GCC offers, lived in apts on 1417 (that was a thing in the 90’s), and lived here in Gunter for 12 + years. I’ve got family and friends like family in VA, Tioga, Celina, Sherman, Denison, Bells, and just about every other town around here. Folks don’t live in little towns like ours because of the amenities or modern conveniences. 😅 But we do know about life “out there.” 😆 We have internet access, read books, go “into town” and a lot of us have traveled abroad and seen much of the world. But yet, we still live “out here.” Why? I think we just tend to see things a little different than some.

Here are some examples of the differences in perspective:

Some: Stuck behind a tractor on the highway!?!? Can’t they drive somewhere else?
Us: Sure is nice to slow down and enjoy the drive along the countryside. Wonder how their crop is this year? 🚜

Some: I couldnt live in a small town, too many people in your personal business
Us: It’s a blessing to have people know what a mess I am and still accept me and care about me. ☺️

Some: There’s no restaurants out here.
Us: There’s nothing like a meal on your own back patio with good friends 🥘

Some: You’re stuck out here in the middle of nowhere
Us: Sure enjoy this peace and quiet 🌳

Some: Some of these people are kind of backwoods.
Us: My cousins. Gotta love ‘em 😎

Some: Where is the nearest Starbucks?
Us: Wow. Look at that sunset 🌅

These views certainly don’t represent everyone’s personal small town experience. And if we are honest, we know there’s some really great things about city life we’re missing out on. But it’s a good life “out here” too.

My appreciation for the people and place that I live has only increased with time. I still love living “out here.” 🙂

Open Our Eyes

This passage was one of our references in this morning’s Men’s Bible study. Such encouragement in this.

When the servant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, behold, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. And the servant said, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” He said, “Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” Then Elisha prayed and said, “O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the LORD opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw, and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. – 2 Kings 6:15-17

By faith in Christ, we are children of God and He is with us and for us, always. There’s a lot more at work, on our side than we can see with our limited, physical eyes.

Sadly, some of us went to bed last night fretting and woke up this morning worrying, milling around in our head a thousand ways things are going to go wrong, we are going to fail, and all is going to end in tragedy. That thinking is not for you. If God is for us who can be against us? No one and nothing. (See Romans 8:31-39)

Open our eyes, Lord, that we may see. Amen.

LookUp

Look at the birds…

do not be anxious about your life…Look at the birds of the air…your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? – Matthew 6:25-27

If you’ve had a chance be outside this morning you’ve likely seen or heard the activity of “the birds of the air.” They’re goin nuts at my house right now. From my back porch I can hear so many different birds singing it’s hard to distinguish which one is which! Every once in a while I see one of them hitting up the little bird-feeders we have out, or landing in the yard and pecking out who knows what, I hope their eating chiggers 😅. All these species of birds, with all their songs, all of them have needs, and not one of them doing without. It reminds me of Jesus’ words to us, “Don’t worry. Look at the birds. I’m taking care of them. I’ll take care of you too.” Jesus says “you’re more important than birds. Calm down.” The birds aren’t riddled with anxiety. Simple creatures like birds sometimes have better practical theology than we do—just enjoying the provision they have, and singing. We can learn something from them, a little more trust and a lot less worry. A little less fretting and a lot more singing.

Jesus loves you, friends.

#LookUp

Seasons.

Seasons (winter, spring, summer, fall) sometimes serve as reminders of loss. I miss my friends and family that have passed on more intensely during the season that they passed. Each year there’s more. It’s good to miss people. Being reminded and missing people is a “good grief” that shouldn’t be dismissed or neglected. Rather than dread an approaching season filled with reminders, we can remember, celebrate, smile, laugh—and yes, grieve, hurt and cry, bc we miss our loved ones. Doesn’t make us weak or faithless, it makes us human and causes us seek and trust God more. God made us to value people. We move forward, but we never fully move on without them. That’s a good thing. With God at the center of our life we don’t have to fear grief, bc we can grieve, but we never do so without hope.

Also, we don’t know what people are going through. If someone doesn’t seem themselves or seems short with us, it’s reasonable for us to think to ourselves—“I think I’ll show them grace. They may be struggling in a unique, intense way right now bc they’ve been recently reminded of a loved one they lost.”

Who knows, maybe they weren’t struggling or grieving and you just gave grace to someone who didn’t deserve it. Kinda like Jesus gives us grace, every. single. day.

#LookUp