Live Love Life

Must Be the Music by Michael Owens

One day while I was chilling at a friend’s house, I was introduced to a new music group. They were called NWA, which stood for “Niggaz With Attitudes.” My friend cranked up the music. The walls rumbled and the floor shook as the tight beats filled the room and captivated my attention.

I was caught up by the music. The vulgar and violent lyrics penetrated my subconscious, and I began to visualize the lyrics. I saw myself participate in a drive-by shooting, watched as a young lady was violated, and then stood by as the police were gunned down. Did I mention that I also got high from marijuana? It proved to be an interesting day full of new experiences.

This happened when I was 14 years old. I first imagined these events in my mind while listening to the lyrics of the music. Unfortunately, some of what I imagined later became a reality in my life. You see, as time went on and I continued to listen to that kind of music, I decided to smoke marijuana and lost my virginity to a girl I barely knew.


Music’s Influence

Music has more influence over your thought life than you may think. Whenever you listen to any type of music, you begin to paint pictures of what you are hearing on the canvas of your imagination. You begin to see the images of what is being portrayed in the song. This is one of the reasons why it is so important that you make wise choices when choosing the music you listen to.

Many of you reading this are thinking I don’t listen to the words. The beats are just tight. That’s the same thing I used to say to my mother when she didn’t like the music I listened to.

The tight beats are the bait that is used to get you hooked on the lyrics. Eventually, you’ll begin to listen to the words. Sadly, many young people begin to play these things out in their lives. The truth of the matter is that a lot of the songs are fictional stories that glorify the lives of a musician or an ungodly situation.

It’s also a money game. Record companies know that young people love to hear trash and will buy it. They create trash to fill a demand. Unfortunately, this demand also comes from the Christian community. Many young Christians purchase spiritually unhealthy music, or music that corrupts their spirits.

Every time you buy this type of music, you are supporting the lifestyles of unsaved musicians and are endorsing everything they “preach” over their beats. You are also helping other young people receive these negative words into their spirits. Think about it. If recording artists did not make any money from their music, they would no longer be in business!



It is important to realize the power of words. The Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue, and we shall eat the fruit of our lips (Proverbs 18:21). Words have creative power. God demonstrated this in Genesis 1 when He spoke the world into existence. When He spoke, His words created everything He said.

This same principle also happens when lyrics are sung. They get into your spirit and begin to affect the way you think. Think about the times you have listened to a slow jam. As you’re getting your groove on, you began to imagine the different things that you hear being sung. If you have a boyfriend or girlfriend, you’ll probably allow your emotions to run wild and begin to imagine yourself in a compromising position. At this point, the words in that song have taken root in your mind. I guarantee you that you will eventually act out your thoughts. That’s why Jesus said in Matthew 5:28 (The New Living Translation) that if you look at a girl and think about having sex with her, you’ve already sinned in your heart. The Apostle Paul further warns young people to “run from anything that stimulates youthful lust…” (2 Timothy 2:22, NLT). First Corinthians 6:19 also states that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Defiling, or polluting, your temple begins long before the actual act. It starts with a thought.

Your imagination is a powerful tool. God gave it to you so that you could be creative. The word imagination means “the formation of a mental image of something that is neither perceived as real nor present to the senses.”

Genesis 11 records the story of the tower of Babel. A group of men decided to build a tower that would reach heaven. When God saw their plans and realized that they were of one mind, He saw that He needed to deal with the situation. He said, “…nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them” (verse 6, NIV).

If you allow your imagination to run wild, it will get you into all kinds of trouble. Music has the ability to control the imagination. That’s why it’s so important to listen to music that will cause you to imagine things that are pure. Philippians 4:8 (NKJV) says, “Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” If you find yourself meditating on unhealthy things while you’re listening to music, know that this goes against the Word of God and can cause you to get into a lot of trouble.

If you take the time to research, there is a lot of alternative Christian hip-hop, rock, and R&B music available. This music has the phat tracks that you are looking for. The lyrics are even tighter! That way you can bump this at any time and still get a healthy dose of pure imagination. So when it comes to music, listen to it, but use some wisdom in your selections.

I along with some friends own a record label called “Restorical Entertainment” please go out to our web site and check out some great music and artists at WWW.Restoricalent.com

Wounded Spirit Overcoming the Effects of Negative Words by Michael Owens

After getting off of the school bus, Michael walked to his house, put his key in the lock and slowly opened the door. He called out to see if his mother was home. No one answered; he was home alone.

Closing the door behind him, he dropped his stuff at the front door and dragged his tired body up the stairs to his room. Although he could barely keep his eyes open, his mind was racing with thoughts about the day.

It had been a rough day at school. Even though he was a junior, he was only 14 years old. He had skipped two grades, but was now having a hard time keeping up with the classes. School was not as easy as he would have liked.

He smiled at the thought of Mrs. Williamson, the assistant principal, falling down in the middle of the lunchroom, her food flying everywhere. He would have laughed aloud, but he was too tired.

What bothered him the most was the fight he had with his dad earlier that morning. Actually, it was their series of fights that bothered him. That seemed to be their constant method of conversation. Michael felt like he could never please his father, no matter how hard he tried. His dad wanted to make a “man” out of him and thought the best way to do so was by continually harping on him. Tyrone tried to erase all of the negative things his father had said to him about his looks, personality and grades, but they kept echoing through his brain like a bad dream.

Once inside his room, he kicked off his shoes and collapsed onto the bed, throwing the comforter over his head to shut out the light.

The stress and tension of the day began to slowly melt away as Michael drifted off to sleep. In his dream, he stood before a cheering crowd of thousands of people who were throwing roses at him. He looked around and saw his name on a brightly colored banner. His heart fluttered as he realized that he was holding the hand of a beautiful woman. He looked at both of their hands and saw that they were wearing matching diamond and platinum wedding rings.

Taking a moment to gaze into her face, he thought to himself, She’s mine! She looked at him with admiration, pride and love. Tears burned Michael’s eyes as he kissed her hand. Their private moment was quickly interrupted by the booming voice of the emcee: “Please welcome Dr. Michael Watson!”

A thunderous applause roared through the auditorium as Michael walked to the podium. Adjusting the microphone, he said, “I would first like to thank God for being everything that I have ever needed. Without Him I would not be here.”

Suddenly the applause turned to pounding. What was that noise? Michael groaned as he realized it was his mother banging on his bedroom door. “Michael, get out here right now. If I told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times: Don’t leave your stuff at the front door! Why are you so lazy?” Throwing back the covers, he crawled out of bed and back into the reality of his miserable life.

The Power of Words

Many young people have dreams, goals and aspirations. They see themselves as judges, lawyers, doctors, rappers, singers, athletes and ministers. Some of them simply want to live in a nice home and own their own business.

With each dream, however, comes an obstacle. Some of the biggest obstacles to dreams are words—mainly the negative words that have been spoken by people we love as well as by people we hardly know. If we constantly hear and dwell on unkind words, we will eventually begin to believe them and then wonder if we will ever amount to anything in life.

There’s an old saying that goes, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Parents often share this phrase with their kids after their children have been teased. Parents want their children to quickly “get over” unkind words and move on. How important are words? Are they as harmless as this saying would have us believe?

No. Words are very powerful. They have the power to create or destroy, build up or tear down. In the first chapter of Genesis we see that God created the world with words. Every moving, breathing, living thing on the earth was created because God spoke it into existence.

Proverbs 15:4 says, “Kind words heal and help; cutting words wound and maim” (The Message Bible). Proverbs 18:21 also states that life and death are in the power of the tongue. We either live or die by the words we speak and hear.


Getting Over It

Everything in life starts with a decision, and if you are ready to live, you first have to decide that no matter what negative thing anybody has said about or to you, you will not allow it to affect how you think about yourself.

Proverbs 23:7 says, “…For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.…” How do you think about yourself—positively or negatively? If you allow yourself to dwell on the negative things that someone said about you, you will eventually see yourself in the wrong way. God, however, never looks at you negatively. In Jeremiah 29:11, He says, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you…thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” God’s words and thoughts should be the only ones that really matter to you. This scripture shows you that He wants to see you happy and prosperous.

David realized that God had good thoughts toward him when he said, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! How great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17). He goes on to say if he could count all of God’s thoughts toward him, they would outnumber all of the grains of sand on the earth (verse 18).

God is not a respecter of persons (Acts 10:34). If He had good thoughts about David, He also thinks about you in the same way. God’s thoughts and words are not determined by who you are. He loves everybody the same. What does God saying about His children?

In Genesis 12:2, God told Abraham that He wanted to make his name great. God wants to make your name great, too! When God created Adam in Genesis 1:26, He said that He made him in His image. Likewise, you are made in His image! This scripture also shows you that you have the same ability to create things with the words you speak!

After making a decision to think about yourself in the same way that God sees you, search the scriptures to find everything that God has said about you. Then speak those words aloud to remind yourself of God’s thoughts. As you do this, you will be creating a new life for yourself through the words you speak.

* * * * *

Take time to confess the Word of God over your life every day. You will soon notice a difference in the way you think, act and live. You will be able to overcome any negative words that people have said about you. Ultimately, you will be a changed person and achieve the success you desire. Remember that God loves you, and He wants to use you to do great and mighty things!

Unholy Alliances By Michael Owens

As a teenager, a large part of your life revolves around your friends and what you do when you’re with them. Your companions are “alliances,” or relationships that have the potential to influence you either for God or Satan. Therefore, it is important that you choose them carefully.

An alliance is “a close association, or an ally; a person who is joined to you for a common purpose.” A holy alliance is a friendship that is spiritually pure. In it, you and your friend come together for a common purpose that glorifies God. Unholy alliances, on the other hand, don’t reflect God’s purposes and lead you down the wrong path, causing you to compromise your values.

The Word of God must be your final authority for you to be able to recognize and get rid of unholy alliances. Beware of how God feels about the people in your life so that you have a clear standard established. Anyone who doesn’t encourage you in your walk with Him or who leads you into compromising situations and activities has the potential to destroy your relationship with God.

Don’t think that an unholy alliance is a person who you barely know; the person could very well be someone you’ve known all your life. No matter how long you’ve known him or her, if it is an unholy alliance, you need to cut it loose.

The choices you make now, particularly where your friends are concerned, have the potential to affect every area of your life. When you are led by your emotions, or by what feels good at the time, you are setting yourself up to fall. Your feelings will change, but God’s Word doesn’t. He wants the best for you, even in your friendships. 

Beside all of the bad things that can result from hanging out with the wrong crowd, like getting into trouble with the law, hurting your family, an unwanted pregnancy and addictions, your spiritual future is on the line when you hook up with the wrong folks. First Corinthians 15:33 (AMP) says, “Do not be so deceived and misled! Evil companionships (communion, associations) corrupt and deprave good manners and morals and character.” When you link up with people who are headed toward hell, you corrupt your own spiritual life and run the risk of following them as well. You don’t want to take that chance. 

If you are walking in disobedience to God, you are walking with the Devil—this is the ultimate unholy alliance. As a result, you separate yourself from God and His protection. This leaves you wide open for the enemy to destroy you. Satan may try to deceive you by sending the “cutest” guy or girl in school your way only to eventually ruin your life by leading you into sexual sin.

Unholy alliances usually start with a very casual or innocent invitation to “have fun” in a way that goes against God’s Word. There are countless reports of young people who have gone “joy riding,” and before the night was over, their parents received a call to either come to the police station, the hospital or the morgue. Taking that first hit of weed or trying sex just once will open the door to a lifestyle that will be hard to break free from. Usually, your “first” time doing anything is introduced through an unholy alliance. 

Not being a part of the “in” crowd right now may not be winning you a lot of popularity points, but remember that while sin has its pleasure for a season, the Devil always requires a pay back (Hebrews 11:25; Romans 6:23). When you stay connected to God’s way of doing things, you have a greater reward promised to you—eternal life. I know that no one wants to be alone or unpopular, but it is better to stand alone and live right than to face the consequences of wrong relationships.

The Bible shows us that we should not be in close fellowship with people who don’t share our lifestyles. Second Corinthians 6:14-17 (NIV) says, “Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?...For we are the temple of the living God...Therefore come out from them and be separate…Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you.” Don’t you want God to receive you? Then honor Him by separating yourself from people who aren’t living right. It’s not to say that you shouldn’t walk in love toward them, but don’t allow them to get close to the point that they begin affecting your walk with God.

You should be the type of friend that sets an example of light, not darkness; power, not poor character. Matthew 5:14 says, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.” Don’t let your light be hidden by unholy alliances.

To have holy friendships, you must make a decision to change your mind about the types of people with whom you fellowship. To determine if you are in an unholy alliance, ask yourself these questions:

1.                  Have my friends asked me to do things that I know are wrong?

2.                  Am I always getting in trouble when I’m around certain friends?

3.                  When I am with this person, do I cause or in any way help to cause embarrassment, pain or harm to others?

4.                  Do I have conversations with my friends that I would not feel comfortable with my parents hearing?

5.                  Do my friends serve the same God I serve or do we believe differently and are going separate ways? (Not to say that you don’t love them, but it must be an understanding of your love for Jesus and His finished works for everyone)

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you are in an unholy alliance, and you need to walk away from it. You probably feel reluctant to just “drop” your friends, but count the cost. Is holding on to an unholy alliance worth sacrificing your walk with God? Of course not! Break free by following these practical steps:

1.                  Repent for your own behavior.

2.                  Pray for your friends before you approach them, and ask God about what to say, how to say it and when to talk to them. He will give you the right words.

3.                  Tell your friends about the choices you are making in your own life.

4.                  Share the love of God by giving your testimony about how you’ve changed as a result of coming to know Jesus.

5.                  Give them the option of walking with you.

6.                  If your friends refuse to change, let them know that you understand that it’s not easy and that you love them and will be there for them if they need to talk, but that you can’t hang with them like you used to.

7.                  Pray for God to send you new friends.

8.                  If your friends invite you to do things that you know are wrong, let them know that you can’t participate.

Letting go of unhealthy relationships isn’t easy. However, it is your relationship with Jesus that will give you the advantage and courage you need to stand strong while making the change. If you stay true to your convictions, God will send friendships your way that build you up and glorify Him.

Roar! by Michael Owens

Young men face many pressures in life that can be overwhelming. When these pressures begin to get them down, they often don’t know how to react. Unfortunately, when that happens, they often lash out.

Anger is a deadly enemy that creeps in and robs us of peace. It interrupts our thought process and causes us to make bad decisions in the heat of the moment. It is vital that we get a hold of our tempers before they cause us a lot of grief and unnecessary pain.

The prison system is filled with angry young men who made bad choices in the heat of the moment. Many of these men never had a father to show them how to respond to difficult situations.

It is a known fact that a son’s first definition of manhood is set by his father. When that valuable link is missing, these sons are left to figure things out on their own.

Unfortunately, some fathers who are in the home have taught their sons to deal with problems through anger. For these young men, anger is the only example they have seen. It is not a mystery then that they perpetuate their father’s example by abusing others, both verbally and physically. It’s just like the old saying, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.”

It’s easy to look around and see many angry people. Whether it’s our friends who are constantly getting into physical altercations, our female relatives who are being physically abused by their boyfriends, fiancés or husbands, or even the young person next door who is always yelling at his parents. Anger is a poison that will kill if the right antidote is not found. The good news is that there is a cure.

The cure for anger, as well as for any problem in life, is the Word of God. The Bible has a lot to say about it. Sadly, too many young men become angry when their pride has been attacked or their egos have been bruised. Proverbs 16:18 says, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Anger can lead to destruction and ultimately cause us to fall out of fellowship with family, friends and acquaintances.

When we give in to anger, we are leaning to our own understanding and taking the matter into our own hands. We must allow God to fight our battles for us. Romans 12:19 states, “…Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.” Too often we find ourselves ready to “go off” on people. We say the first thing that comes to our minds instead of taking the time to think of a correct response. As a result, we say and do things that can be hard to take back once things have cooled off.

Ecclesiastes 7:9 (NIV) says, “Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools.” Proverbs 14:17 (NIV) also says, “A quick-tempered man does foolish things….” From these two Bible verses, we can clearly see God’s point of view about anger and people who operate in anger. Simply put, He calls them fools. According to Vines Expository Dictionary, the word fool describes a person “who lacks wisdom and who is a morally undesirable individual that despises wisdom and discipline.” Clearly, we do not want to aspire to be this type of person or to be associated with someone who has this type of personality.

Take a moment to evaluate your friends and the company you keep. Are they always angry? It’s interesting to note that the people in street gangs are always a bunch of angry young men who make bad decisions. Most of the guys I knew in street gangs when I was younger are either now dead or in jail. Anger led every one of them down a path of destruction.

When you think about all of the young men who carry guns, its amazing that it never crosses their minds that one twitch of a finger in a moment of rage can put them in prison for life or in a permanent hole in the ground.

It’s only by relying on the Word of God that you can keep anger from dominating your life. We see in Proverbs 15:18 (NIV) that a “…hot-tempered man stirs up dissension, but a patient man calms a quarrel,” while James 1:19-20 (NIV) says, “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.”

God does not want us to take revenge for what others have done to us. If we step back and allow God to handle the situation, we open the door for Him to avenge us. He instructs us to feed our enemies when they are hungry and give them something to drink when they are thirsty. If you follow God’s way, Scripture tells us that it will be as though you heaped burning coals on his head (Romans 12:20).

We are instructed in Ephesians 4:31-32 to, “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” The next time you feel yourself getting angry, pause for a minute and walk away from the situation. Take as much time as you need to calm down and contemplate a godly response. In the long run, you’ll be glad that you did!

Originally You! by Michael Owens

Have you ever wondered why you do the things you do? What makes you buy the clothes you wear? What makes you style your hair a certain way?

What kind of image do you project? When people look at you, how do they “read” you? What type of statements are you consciously or subconsciously making?

Television, radio, magazines and billboards continually bombard our senses with images. All of these images affect the way we think and feel. You may not realize it, but someone or something influences everything we do and say.

Another source of influence that has a huge impact on our lives are our families. Many of our likes and dislikes are picked up from our parents. For example, I prefer Pepsi® over Coca-Cola®. Why? When I was growing up, my mother only drank Pepsi®. As a result of her only buying this soft drink, Pepsi® is what I also choose to drink.

I love to watch people. Sometimes while my wife is shopping, I’ll sit on a bench in a mall and just watch the people. I like to observe the way they dress and how they act. Whether we realize it or not, someone is always watching us. Whether it’s our siblings, friends or complete strangers, somebody is paying attention to how we dress, what we say and how we treat others.

Young people watch other people to find out how they should carry themselves. Take for example a young boy. Usually his first impression of masculinity comes from his father or whoever the male role model is in his life. The same goes for a young lady. She learns how to be a woman from her mother or from someone she admires.

Role models can affect us in positive and negative ways. If our role models have a positive influence on us, the result will be a healthy self-image. Negative role models lead us astray. Their influence may lead us to think that we are acting “cool,” but in reality we end up doing stupid things that only lead to a self-destructive lifestyle.

For example, you may not think there is anything wrong with drinking, taking drugs or having sex before marriage, especially since this is what your “role model” does. However, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted pregnancies and addictions aren’t fun. What you may not realize is that instead of graduating from college and getting a good-paying job, your role model’s life is messed up. He or she may be in a rehabilitation program or struggling to make ends meet as a single parent.


Who Are You Following?

Over the past 12 years, I have met all kinds of young people. There have been several times when I met individuals and wondered who they had as their role models. Why? These students had bad attitudes, used foul language, were either barely clothed or had their clothes hanging off their bodies and so on. Many times the guys were trying to imitate their favorite rap artist or rock band leader while the girls were trying to imitate some half-dressed TV personality.

When I was a teenager, my image underwent several changes. At one point I wanted to be like an artist named Kwamé. I cut my hair like his and then dyed it with a blonde streak down the middle. Another time I wanted to be like MC Hammer, so I invested in the same style of parachute pants that he wore. When I got on the dance floor, however, I only succeeded in tripping over my feet!

I have many stories that I could tell you. I went through a lot trying to find my own style and self-image. I came to the conclusion, though, that it’s not good to be a cheap copy of a great original. I’d rather be a great original.


What’s In An Image?

The Word says that we have been created in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:26). The word image means “a representation of the form and features of someone or something.” The word likeness means, “to resemble or copy.”

Is the person you allow to influence your life a good representation or copy of our Father in heaven? If not, then maybe you need to reconsider some of the relationships that you are involved in.

We must be mindful about who we allow to influence who we are. A lot of times we choose to follow a popular person or the latest fad just to be accepted. If you would stop and think about it for a moment and then take a good look at yourself, you would realize that you have just as much to offer as that other person does. In looking back, I’ve come to the conclusion that many times a popular person is not always the best person to follow.

It is critical that you use wisdom when choosing whom you allow to become a part of your social circle. There is an old saying that says, “Birds of a feather flock together.” Did you ever notice that eagles don’t hang around pigeons? Pigeons are dirty birds. They eat trash, make a mess everywhere they go and fly in packs. They are nuisances. 

Do your friends remind you of pigeons? Do they have questionable characters? If you hang around them long enough, their dirt will begin to rub off on you.



Flying Above the Crowd

An eagle, on the other hand, is a majestic bird. It soars high in the atmosphere. It stands alone and is beautiful. The eagle’s reputation is that of courage and is often said to be the “king of the skies.”

This is the type of image that you should seek after. Why hang around with pigeons when you can soar like an eagle?

As you develop your self-image, you should invest more in your character and less in your reputation. Your reputation is who people say you are; your character is who you really are. In other words, character is who you are when nobody is looking. It’s always doing what’s right because it’s right.

The Word of God instructs us to “Abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22). If the people who are influencing your thinking have even an ounce of an appearance of evil, get as far away from them as you can. Allow the Lord to define who you are.

First Timothy 4:12 says, “Let no man despise thy youth [or make little of you because you are young, (The Bible in Basic English)] but be thou an example of the believers, [see that they look up to you because you are an example to them, (J. B. Phillips)] in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity, [by your conversation, your conduct, your love, your faith, and your purity (Twentieth Century New Testament)].”

To put it plainly, walk in the image and likeness of God, and you will never go wrong. He accepts you for who you are, and He ultimately knows who you will become. Imitate Christ, not others. Remember, don’t be a cheap copy of a great original. Just be a great original!