September 3, 2020

Healed From the Pain of Death

You know, yesterday (September 2, 2020), the craziest thing happened to me. I called my Mom just to check on her, you know, to see how she was doing and I didn't think much about the specific day other than the fact that I had not spoken to her in a while. What was strange about the conversation was that at the end she said that she was doing fine and then she asked how was I doing today? So, I thought it was the weirdest thing because we had already spoken on the phone for about 40 minutes. And then it hit me: yesterday would have been five years ago that my father passed away. 

Typically, on that day I would call my Mom to check on her just to make sure that she was okay. So, I told her that until she mention it that it was the first time I had even thought about it at all. At first, I felt bad for not recognizing the day and so after I got off the phone with her, I texted my brother to check on him (we had made it customary to just check on each other). To my surprise, he had the same reaction that I had - until I mentioned it he had not thought of the specific day either! 

This made both my brother and I realize that there had been some healing for us. No longer did the sting of the day of our father's death impact us. It took us five years to get to this point and this is not to say that we will ever think about it again, but this was the first time it had never crossed our minds on the day. This is the beauty about our Lord and the Holy Spirit. Yes, we as humans will grieve and we will deal with human emotions, but in due time God will take away the pain that we've felt due to the loss of a loved one. We will never forget them, but the pain that we felt on that day no longer holds us captive and that is healing only God can provide. I think my brother summed it up best when he said, me I don't want to think about today if I don't have to, don't want to think about the sad thing about daddy but celebrate the happy moments... --Adrian Hall

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, I know that we heal in our own times, but I would encourage you to think how my brother stated it.  Celebrate the happy moments and don't focus on the sting of the sadness of loss. I guarantee there is more celebrate than the one day of pain.

Be Blessed Folks.

Antoine E. Hall


September 1, 2020

Out of Grief and into Comfort

Let's face it. This year, 2020, has been a doozy. It seems like Murphy's Law definitely applies for this year. It is as if anything that you can think could go wrong, seems to have gone wrong up to this point. With shock and awe in society, racial tensions, numerous public figure deaths, family deaths and economic uncertainty, I feel that one of the emotions that may describe many of us at this time is one of grief. Grief can be described as "an emotional reaction to change. It may entail many different feelings or changes in behavior. You may grieve a loss that has happened or one that you know is coming if, for example, a loved one is terminally ill. Depending on how close you were to the person who passed, you will notice varying degrees of grief." (from Mary Elizabeth Dean's article "Learning The Grief Definition Is The First Step To Finding Peace" at I mean, we are human beings and as such we will experience various ranges of emotions. The bigger question is one of how we deal with them. However, no matter what we may be experiencing, there is One who can comfort us at all times. Christ has sent the Holy Spirit to comfort us and as we become better, we learn how to help comfort others during times of trials. Yes, these are trying times, but we cannot lose faith and hope in God who knows it all. Again, it has been a crazy year, but the things we are experiencing are not above the power of Yahweh. If we are at the end of the rope, in despair, and believing nothing can fix us, then we are saying that God has a limitation which is far from the truth. Know that He knows where you are and He knows how much you can bear. It is up to us to trust that God's love, mercy, and grace is sufficient enough to get you through these times and as you are built up, you are able to help lift up someone else as well. Be Blessed Folks. Antoine Hall


April 3, 2020

Do Not Quench the Spirit

You know, it's funny how the Holy Spirit works. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to read from 1 Thessalonians (I mistakenly stated that it was from 2 Thessalonians) and a part of that included verse 19. Something about that verse stuck out to me among the others, so I intended to come back to it for study.  I mean it seemed so simple and straight to the point, I wanted to double check that I wasn't missing something.

Well, little did I know that the Holy Spirit would bring me back here because of my own thought process.

Back Story

Since we have been back to Raleigh, NC back in 2013, we have been renting our home. We have taken slow steps of getting to build, but it has taken a lot longer than we'd liked.  We have gone into purchased land which we maintain, but we do not live on at the moment.  We've been looking at plans, we've talked to builders, but just waiting for all the finances to line up for us. Again it's goinn slowly that we would like.

Last Night

So, being the High-I (Optimistic, Influencing, Outgoing, Visionary) type personality that my wife is, she boldly says (and I am paraphrasing some):
What month is it? Oh yeah, we need to get started building by next month.
My response?
Well, we will see what this economy does first.
She says, "Oh, forgot about that" and we moved on to other things. Considering that we are in the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 and pretty much the US economy has shut down, I am thinking about the residual effect of the economy. You see, I am the High-C (Contemplating, Cautious, Detailed Oriented) type personality and I think about the "down-the-road" scenarios.  For us, while our personality types differ, they help us to balance each other out.  While I might overthink things and have analysis paralysis, she can see above the details and drag me out of being stuck. While she is the visionary and might not think of the details at times, I can add some "meat" around her ideas to help understand the small stuff.  We balance each other out.

Dousing the Fire

Now that you understand our relationship dynamic, you might see my response as "thinking about the details".  However, if you don't look further, you may miss how my response could have squelched her enthusiasm. This very same idea is what is meant by quenching the spirit.  The Holy Spirit is like a fire and He moves and guides us, but we at times put our own reasoning above the movement of the Holy Spirit. By my response, I pretty much ruled out the fact that my wife's bold statement may have been from the Holy Spirit. Despite what the economy looks like or what happens around us, what is planned for us is for us. I may be standing in my own way and putting out that fire of the Holy Spirit to do the good that is meant for my family!

The Conclusion

In Matthew Henry's commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5, I think he summed it up best by saying:
" is this Spirit of grace and supplication that helpeth our infirmities, that assisteth us in our prayers and thanksgivings. Christians are said to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. He worketh as fire, by enlightening, enlivening, and purifying the souls of men. We must be careful not to quench this holy fire. As fire is put out by withdrawing fuel, so we quench the Spirit if we do not stir up our spirits, and all that is within us, to comply with the motions of the good Spirit; and as fire is quenched by pouring water, or putting a great quantity of dirt upon it, so we must be careful not to quench the Holy Spirit by indulging carnal lusts and affections, or minding only earthly things."
We all make mistakes, but this is also why it is good to have the humility to admit when you're wrong. I was wrong to assume that my thought process was the right one. I mean, even the best of us have the best intentions, but our plans are is God's plan which must ultimately prevail.

Be Blessed Folks.



December 3, 2019

In a Instance, It Was Gone

Broken Glass
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay 
I remember it like it was yesterday. I woke up that morning like any other, walked out to my car only to see my seats flipped forward, and my back window busted out. My sound system was gone; stolen; not to be had any more and I was upset to say the least.  Did I mention that I was upset? That is probably putting it mildly.


Let's rewind back to when I was in high school.  This was my 1987 Ford Escort with 5-Star rims on it and it was rightly named, "Da 'Scort". I worked as a teenager and so I paid for the car, but I was also interested in car sound systems. My interests were triggered by my cousins who had systems as well.

Over time, I managed to build quite the system.  I had two 12" Sub woofers taking up the entire trunk, nice mid-range speakers in the doors, a 12-Disc CD changer, two amplifiers (one under each seat), and a Pioneer radio with a removable face and alarm. Yes, all of that was inside an Escort and on the surface you couldn't even tell. However, when it turned on my parents would say they could hear me coming into the neighborhood.  It would rattle windows if I was close by. It was loud and it was my baby. To top it all off, I did all the installation work myself, so there was much pride in what I had.


Da 'Scort
Da 'Scort
That summer I was in summer school at NC State and that night I came home blasting my music like normal and went in the house. Out of all nights, I forgot to take the face off my radio, which if the face wasn't put on the radio in 10 seconds the alarm (horn) would go off.

So, when I walked to the car and saw what happened, my heart dropped. The only thing that they left for me were the speakers in the doors, but that was only because they were behind the factory covers. There was anger, sadness, disbelief, and so many emotions running through my head. I had felt so violated. Something that I had worked so hard to create over years was gone in just an overnight nap. So, for a long time, I drove around in silence with wires hanging out of my dashboard where a radio used to be, which was a constant reminder of what had happened that summer.

So, why the pain? Why the heartache? Why did I feel like I had lost everything? The reasoning was because of how I treated my car and my sound system.  It was my treasure on earth and like a king with riches, it was my vault that held all my valuables.  In Matthew 6:19-21, the Bible says:
(19) “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; (20) but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. (21) For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I did exactly what the scripture said not to do. I wasn't saved back then, so these verses didn't register to me, however, even as a non-believer I learned something.  The things you have on this earth can be gone in an instant. The things that you build up that are material can be lost in a matter of minutes. If your heart, soul, and everything are in those things, you will feel defeated and demoralized when they are gone.

Yes, this life changing event is still vivid to me, but what has changed is where I put my value. Yes, I do own things, but my worth isn't wrapped up in them. My walk with Christ and the love of my family tops my list now-a-days and that's what matters most.  Yep, I still have treasures - it's just that now I store them in a different place.

Be Blessed folks.


November 7, 2019

The Blame Game

Humans are great at blaming others for their problems or short-comings and we have no greater example than Adam and Eve. In Genesis 3, we find that the two have eaten from the tree of Knowledge, to which both were given direct instructions on not to eat. Adam was told directly from Yahweh and Eve by Adam, however, before we go any further, let's look specifically at verses 12 and 13:
(12) Then the man said, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” (13) And the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
The passages above follow as they both have eaten the fruit of the tree of knowledge.  Now, while there was some deception at play, we also know that the Lord always provides us with a way to escape temptation (see 1 Corinthians 10:13). It's up to us to take His offer and escape!

While the two hid from the Lord (because they knew what they did was wrong), God called out to them and asked why they were hiding.  He knew the answer, but it was a matter of whether or not they would be truthful.  We start off with Adam responding to the Lord and he does two things:

  1. He indirectly blames God for providing the woman too him, and then
  2. He directly blames Eve for the reason he ate the fruit.
While all the blame was pointing at Eve, she says, "The serpent deceived me".  She essentially passed the buck too.

In both cases, they displayed this new found desire for man to cover and/or protect themselves when they knew they had done wrong.  This is the reason why Adam and Even covered themselves with leaves when Yahweh called out to them. They felt ashamed because they were naked. Now, had they not ate from the tree, they would not have this knowledge of being naked or have a feeling of being ashamed!

You see, it is easier to blame others for our problems, but it takes a mature person to look inward and ask what was your role in a particular situation. Instead of blaming others for your problems, why not see how you can fix your part of the problem. Do a little self-reflection and if we are honest with ourselves, there are enough issues to solve within ourselves without pointing fingers at others.


November 1, 2019

He Calms the Storms

Throughout our lives we will all have rough patches.  We will have moments of smooth sailing and we will have bouts of stormy weather.  This will happen to us both physically and spiritually.

For Instance. Last night in North Carolina, we had a line of storms to come through that produced tornadoes. We were on a level 3 (out of 5) alert in our area. The good thing is that the weather predictions prepared us for what was to come. Even if nothing happened, we were prepared for if it did.  Now, today the weather is cool, crisp, and sunny.

In our spiritual walk there are times when you may be minding your own business and without warning, a storm seemingly comes out of nowhere.  In the physical, when people are not warned ahead of time there can be many injured and loss of life if the storms are bad enough.  Spiritually, you may not lose your life, but you can suffer great emotional and spiritual injury if you aren't prepared to endure and the aftermath. 

However, despite how bad the storms may appear in our lives, Yahweh is always there to make them pass away.  Let's look at Psalm 107:23-30.
(23) Those who go down to the sea in ships, Who do business on great waters, (24) They see the works of the Lord, And His wonders in the deep. (25) For He commands and raises the stormy wind, Which lifts up the waves of the sea. (26) They mount up to the heavens, They go down again to the depths; Their soul melts because of trouble. (27) They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, And are at their wits’ end. (28) Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. (29) He calms the storm, So that its waves are still. (30) Then they are glad because they are quiet; So He guides them to their desired haven.
Despite the damage that may be caused, God is there to bring us out of our distress. The Holy Spirit allows us to pass through the calm after the storm and He guides us to a desired haven. However, the only way this happens is that we understand who is in control and that the desired outcome for our lives is His will.  We just have to be patient and a willing vessel so that we may learn, grow, and have a testimony to share with others.

Storms will come and there is no doubt about that. It's in the aftermath of the recovery period that shows our true character and how we are really walking out this Christian faith.


October 22, 2019

Opening Doors That Cannot Be Closed

This past Sunday while on our way home from the kids swim practice, my family stopped to eat out for dinner. In the establishment, there were a couple of televisions and one had two shows, back-to-back, that we do not allow our children to watch.  We monitor what our kids take in at their ages because we firmly believe that they can see and hear things that their brains are not mature enough to process.

On the drive home, this led to a discussion with our kids (who are 14 and 12 respectively) about why we do not allow them to watch certain TV shows and it boiled down to this. There are some things that are shown on TV that may well look innocent, but has adult language and content.  There brains may not be ready to handle that type of information yet, and with children today they look things up.  With the internet, everything is right at people's finger tips to get all the information they want - both good and bad.  One thing can lead to another and the next thing you know, you've gone down a rabbit whole and opened up doors to seeing things that you should not have seen in the first place.  And, once you see something, it is very hard to "unsee" it.

As the parents, we want to help our kids to avoid opening doors that can spiritually, emotionally, and physically have a negative impact on their lives. In Genesis 2:15-17, Yahweh gave specific instructions to Adam about what he could and could not have in the Garden of Eden.  He said,
(15) Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. (16) And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
This was the Father doing the same job that we as parents try do for our kids, however, we know that life is never simple.  In the very next chapter we see that temptation in the form of a serpent comes and plants doubt into the mind of Eve.  It said, "...You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." (Gen 3:4-5).  In her naivety, Eve goes along with it and not only did she eat of the tree, but she then gave it to Adam. Even though Adam was given the instruction, directly from God, HE STILL ATE THE FRUIT!!!

Once they both ate of the tree of knowledge, something immediately happened.  Their eyes became opened just as the serpent said, but they now had to deal with things that they didn't have to worry about before.  When God approached them in the garden, Adam and Eve hid and in Genesis 3:10-11, it says,
(10) So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” (11) And He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten from the tree of which I commanded you that you should not eat?”
Yahweh knew what they had done because his response was, "who told you that you were naked?"  They covered themselves in shame, but if we go back at the end of Genesis 2 after God had created woman, it said,
"And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed."
If you gloss over the end of chapter 2, you will miss the impact that it has in Genesis 3:10-11.  You see, for us to think about walking around naked today is weird. Even when talking to our kids in the car, our daughter said how strange it would be for everyone to be naked. However, our response was that had Adam and Eve not opened that door, none of us would know any different. We went on to talk about how they hid and tried to cover themselves, but that's when my wife, in her brilliance, recognized something. She said (and I am paraphrasing) that usually when someone does something wrong, they spend time trying to cover themselves. Whether it be to find cover and hide from their actions or to cover up and hide their actions through deception or silence, time is spent doing a cover up. Why would people do this?  It is because they are aware of their wrongs!

By them eating of the tree of knowledge, it opened a single door that led to the fallen state of man today. It started with temptation, but temptation is all around us and it is upon us to recognize it.  Even as adults, it is our job to find the door that God provides to avoid temptation when it comes our way. As a parent, we are to help our kids avoid the pitfalls of life and to keep doors closed that could lead them to knowledge that they are not prepared to handle.  If we ever forget what could happen, we have to look no further than Adam and Eve as an example of what could happen. Some doors may give shiny appetizing reasons to open them, but not all doors are meant to be opened.


October 10, 2019

Go Earn It!

In Ruth's time, to go out into the fields to "glean after the reapers" signified that those people went out in the fields after the reapers had gone through to pick up what was left behind.  Those people were poor and working to feed their family. See, in Leviticus 19:9-10, the Lord commanded the farmers to not harvest their entire field, but to leave a corner for the poor. Not only that, but whatever bundles of grain they dropped, they were to leave them for the poor as well.  This was an awesome way of having a farmer to provide for his family, but also left means for the poor to go and work to provide for their family as well. No one gave the poor anything, but they put in the hard work to do so.

When we see Ruth becoming closer to Boaz, he didn't spoil her by giving her anything. Ruth didn't ask for anything either. He still allowed her to work for all the grain she needed for herself and Naomi (her mother-in-law), but was nice in providing extra for her to gather.  Granted, it was the law that said the portion of the field was for the poor, but Ruth didn't feel that she was entitled to it.

Contrast that to today. There is a ton of entitlement going on. So many people feel that they are owed certain things just because.  And to think that today, there are no laws that says that someone owes you anything. The point that I am getting at is that there are opportunities for many to work to provide for themselves. The work may not be elegant or beautiful, but could be rather difficult and ugly labor. Whatever it may be, do what you have to do and go earn it for yourself and for your family because if someone gives it to you, you will not appreciate it.


October 3, 2019

Idols Give You False Hope

We as a humans have an innate quality to worship things that give us hope.  This is a good quality but it also is a bad quality. You may be wondering how is it bad, but first let's start with the good.

The good thing about the desire for hope is that it gives us motivation. It drives us to continue in the face of adversity. It allows us to dream even when the dreams seem far fetched. It let us to believe in Yeshua (Jesus) the Christ and understand what Yahweh did so that we could have everlasting life.  God has been trying to have his people love Him,since the beginning of time, but even in the midst of all the miracles the hope we have in Him tends to waiver.

This leads us to the bad quality about worshiping things that give us hope.  In times when it appears that God is silent, we tend to navigate towards things that appear to make us happy. Or, we put things up on pedestals and make them the gods over our lives.  What do I mean by this? Well, I am referring to things such as jobs, money, material things, objects, etc. Anything that takes our focus off the Lord has become our idol and our idols can never save us.

Let's look at Micah in the book of Judges.  In Judges 18:22-24, it says:
(22) When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house gathered together and overtook the children of Dan. 23 And they called out to the children of Dan. So they turned around and said to Micah, “What ails you, that you have gathered such a company?” (24) So he said, “You have taken away my [a]gods which I made, and the priest, and you have gone away. Now what more do I have? How can you say to me, ‘What ails you?’ ”
Now, I could go on with my own explanation here, but I think David Guzik does an excellent job of breaking down these verses and shedding some like on Micah's situation in his Commentary Study Guide on Judges 18. He states:
You have taken away my gods which I made: This is powerful irony. Micah had to rescue his own gods. Obviously, his gods should be able to care for themselves. We wonder if Micah saw the foolishness of this. 
  1. We each either worship a god of our own making or we worship the true God who made us. But the gods we make are always less than we are. Idol worship is just another way of worshipping self. 
  2. And the priest: Micah was foolish enough to have a priest who could be taken away, and it reminds us of how wonderful it is to have a High Priest who cannot change, and who can never be taken away from us. As F.B. Meyer wrote, “Whatever can be taken from us has the mark and signature of man upon it.” Yet Jesus Christ, our High Priest, can never change; will never leave us out of a concern for someone else; and our sins and failures cannot rob us of Him.
Now what more do I have? This shows how empty Micah’s idolatry was. His false gods didn’t bring him any lasting good.
I think the biggest takeaway here is that your idols cannot save you and that they cannot bring you lasting good. Idol worship is only temporary and if you hope isn't in Christ who can save you, then you will find yourself creating new idols to take the place of the old ones.


September 30, 2019

Fear, Even When God's Power is Present

It's funny that people seem to follow the same patterns. In this case, it is with Samson and the Israelites.  It is one of those things where fear has caused them to give up or turn over the thing that they thought would cause them pain. In reality, that very thing is what can save and keep them.

In the previous verses, Samson had burned the Philistines grains in anger of his wife being given to his friend by his father-in-law. Albeit, Samson did give her to the friend and left for a while, but when he came back there was an expectation that he'd be able to "go into her" (or have sex with her).  Once the father-in-law informed him that the friend had already done so, he offered Samson his younger daughter instead. This upset Samson, so he set tails of alive foxes on fire, then sent them running through a field of grains, vineyards and olive groves.

Once the Philistine's found out what happened, they in-turn went up to the wife and father-in-law and killed them by setting them on fire. Yes, you heard that right.  They killed them both by setting them on fire. In return, Samson killed quite a few Philistines because they took the lives of his wife and father-in-law. Afterwards, he went to dwell in the "cleft of the rock of Etam".  It had become an escalated case of tit for tat.

This brings us to where today's verses start. Bare in mind that during this time period, the children of Israel were living under the rule of the Philistines. They had turned their backs on Yahweh (again) and their punishment was servitude to them. So, by this time the Philistines are angry and they go up to the land of Judah to encamp in it which caused the men of Judah to fear being attacked.  When they questioned the reason for their prescence, the Philistines told them they came to arrest Samson.

At this point, the men of Judah are thinking, why should they fight this? So, they go find Samson and explain to him why they have come to arrest him. Now, at this point there are a few things that stand out:

  1. They knew exactly where Samson was located,
  2. They sent 3,000 men down to Etam to retrieve Samson, and
  3. They never seem to bat an eye at the fact that Samson allowed them to bind him only with the promise that he wouldn't be killed.
One could say that the men were trying to preserve their lives and Judah, however I choose to look at what they ignored. Given points 1 & 2 above, this tells me that Samson was a known individual.  They knew exactly where to find him and there wasn't a huge search. In addition, they sent 3,000 men down to get Samson. If they did not know who he was or recognize his strength, they would have only sent a hand full of men to bring him back. They didn't do that. They went as though they were prepared to use as many men as possible to subdue him.

It never dawned on the men that Samson never resisted their demands. He only required that they not kill him. If they knew Samson's history, then they knew his strength. If they knew his strength, why did they not question the lack of resistance? It was as though the only thing they were focused on was how they could preserve their lives by any means. Later, they would take Samson back to the Philistines only to see him break out of the ropes and kill a thousand men with the skull of a donkey.

It is amazing how we miss the presence and power of God when it is around.  Despite the miracles of strength Samson put on display, the men of Judah were frustrated and willing to arrest him because of fearing their captors.  Instead of turning to Samson in support and belief, they seemed to need a little bit more evidence of who he was and from where his power came. 

Can you recognize when the power and presence of Yahweh is around you?

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