Relate: Take all the money I have made this year. Add a few zeros to the end. Then double it a few times. I will almost have enough money to buy that car pictured above. Almost. I do not know about this year, but the Koenigsegg Trevita was rated the most expensive street legal car on the market in 2015. In addition to all the other specifications that go into the making of ridiculously expensive cars, like 1,000+ horsepower, this car is painted with diamonds. No, I’m serious. Apparently they have mixed diamond dust into the paint that makes this car’s outer coat. On the…
There is a battle between the spirit of love and the spirit of evil.
Its in the small things. It encroaches on our peace and turns the tide quicker than the moon.
Romans 14:17 says: “for the Kingdom is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
In life we learn to prioritize certain things, especially those that edify our bodies. As children, parents work to make sure we are well dressed, clean and healthy. To the best of their ability, they work to ensure that we learn basic skills such as ready and writing and math; they send us to school to further enhance those skills – thinking that this will lead to our success. As we grow, we learn to take pride in ourselves and our presentation, developing our style along with our personality – so that when people see us, they know who we are. And its true; certain success is statistically more attainable when these standards are in place. There many factors to ensure success in the world.
Yet, the Bible is constantly getting us to shift our focus from the temporary success in the world to spiritual edification [the instruction or improvement of a person morally or intellectually]. Why? Because the kingdom of God, the kingdom of heaven, is a spiritual place. It is our ultimate goal in life, it is our eternal destiny – if we are so willing. Ephesians 6:12 tells us that our fight is not against flesh and blood, but spiritual principalities and powers. Romans 8: 6 tells us that a carnal mind leads to death but a spiritual mind is life and peace.
So why do we focus so much on eating and drinking, neglecting the opportunities to be led and empowered by the Holy Spirit?
One of the reasons I believe is because of what I stated earlier: its in the small things. Its in the tiniest details of our life, but is those details that make up our life. What I mean is, it is natural and normal for us to take care of our bodies – and the Bible says that we should honor the temple God has given us. But what we tend to forget is that our natural state is not only our most familiar, but it is at odds with the Holy Spirit. Our natural desires conflict with the will of God.
Salvation reconciles us with God, and baptism fills us with the Holy Spirit – and we are commanded to walk a spiritual life. Condemning our flesh should be a daily occurance.
Remember Luke 9:23-24: “23 Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily,[a] and follow Me. 24 For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. 25 For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost.”
Sin separates us from God. That is the entire purpose of sin, and separation from God is death. Our flesh is cursed by sin to death, but Jesus overcame the power of that death and separation by walking blamelessly on the earth. He did it so that there would be a path to God, to righteousness, so that salvation can happen to our souls despite the unchangeable condition of our flesh.
In Christ, we are new creatures – we are spiritual beings. Before salvlations, we were zombies. We would edify our flesh by being consumed with desires that had nothing to do with the kingdom of God. We were walking around feeding and cleaning and clothing dead, rotten flesh. But Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice to that we could live our life filled with the Holy Spirit and surrounded by the kingdom of heaven.
As humans, we can’t escape the condition of our bodies on earth – but we OVERCOME it with the power of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is left up to us to ensure that we are constantly reading our Bible – hiding it in our hearts and staying in prayer – developing and strengthening our relationship with God.
It is up to us to live a life that is spiritual. Amen.
Six degrees of separation
That’s where we are
That’s where I stand, Black
In this American land
There’s no curse stronger than in a place
Covered in blood
How much longer will we bleed?
One hundred and fifty years past
My ancestors were professed free
Yet the essence of their spirit comes out of my own throat
I can’t breathe and I can’t see and I can’t be
Because we had to demand equality
Because we have to keep demanding equality
Not a hand out or a leg up or even a damn sorry
Just that the same justices afforded all
Be afforded to US
We the people, who had to sit at the back of the bus
Shackled to those ships, flesh burned and branded, cotton picked
The collar had been fit, to Jim Crow and segregation
Six degrees of separation
Between the hues of our flesh
All of which the uniforms in blue are sworn to protect
And yet, my so-called free brothers and sisters are dead
Bullets to their chest with a gun
At the hands of a promise to serve
And yet cold are the eyes of the oppressor
Whose predecessors they will boast to our redemption
But what have they really saved us from?
Or have they just changed the condition of our chains?
Because it’s clear that for too many, they never came off
The steel rustling haunts us as we live and die
Together, my brothers and sisters, of this black life
The bible says to “seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and everything else will be added unto you.” Before this proclamation, Jesus is saying that we shouldn’t worry about life and the troubles that come along with it, that God will always take care of His people. He is saying that we should seek God and His righteousness first, and everything else will be handled and answered.
So I’ve decided to take that approach in how I’m feeling today. Here’s a short list: angry, confused, violent, unsure, skeptical, oppressed, limited, unprotected, ignored…I could go on but the point of this post is to work through these feelings the best way I know how, and that is through Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 12 gives doctrine about faith, discipline, renewing our spirit, and the second coming of Christ. It starts out by defining our faith through Jesus, warning us that the path of the righteous is not easy but that Jesus did it through faith so that we as followers of Christ would be able as well. We are commanded to endure the race and embrace the pain, because it chastens us. The scripture explains that this chastening leads to peace, and ultimately that is what I need right now.
Peace. It’s an eluding word as I think about the world right now, trying to understand it as a young, black woman in America. Trying to come to terms with events, which at first glance don’t seem to directly affect me, but in the grand scheme of things touch every aspect of my life – in ways I know that I don’t fully understand.
The bible says that the peace of God surpasses all understanding, guarding our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. As I right this, I’m praying to be overtaken by that kind of peace. I’m praying that flows from heaven to guard the hearts and minds of all of those who woke up this morning lost and hurt and confused and angry. That it settles our spirits and soothes our souls.
Hebrews 12 warns us that the chastening will be painful, but that it is the ultimate sign of God’s love for us – if He didn’t do it, that means he doesn’t care. If we consider Jesus, his walk on earth those 33 years was tragic and beautiful all at the same time. If anyone knows the plight of a black man, it would be Jesus. He was ridiculed and questioned daily. For all of his followers, he had twice as many people who hated him and wanted him dead. For all the good he did, he had skeptics who couldn’t see the miracles for what they were but instead mocked him at every turn. His enemies plotted against him and his own friends betrayed him. He was beaten, battered, and bruised for our iniquities…the more I think about this in the context of Hebrews 12, the more I realize how much God loves Jesus – and how much God loves us. God walked with him, and maintained his peace.
Just for us.
I feel the peace in that, I embrace the comfort. I don’t want to ignore the plight of those living in the same messed up world that I am, but instead I want the peace to be passed on. For people to know that just like the pleasures of the world, the pain of the world is also temporary. Its not this life and this world we should be anguished and concerned about, but our souls and eternity. Its not the death of flesh that matters, but the destination of our soul. The chastening we go through now is the prepare us for eternal life. The fruit to be yielded from the process God puts us through is the “peaceable fruit of righteousness” – without which no man will enter the kingdom of heaven.
“…if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”
Several weeks ago, I had an experience where I encountered this particular scripture multiples times within a short period and, coincidentally, right after speaking with my dad at length about the Christian responsibility in the current state of the world.
I felt small, appropriately in such a big world, as well as helpless. I had this profound truth that makes my heart beat fast and gives rest to my soul: Jesus loves me. Jesus loves us all. He died to prove that, and the result is a gift called salvation.
Having that knowledge makes me feel as light as a feather, but on the other side I’m weighed down by the massive amounts of lost souls who have no idea of this truth. How can I reach them? How can they be saved? I may love them, but what can that really do from a far?
And by far, I don’t necessarily mean distance. The true doctrine of the Bible can be so far removed from what the world accepts that it can be hard to follow or believe. I mean, did Peter really walk on water? And that ark Noah built? You mean to tell me Moses split an entire sea? It sounds like a fairy-tale or myth because we’ve never seen anything like it since, but as a Christian I know the God I serve can do exceedingly abundantly above all that I could ask or think.
So how do I live a miraculous life like Jesus and the disciples? — The HOLY SPIRIT. God loves us so much that he sent Jesus to die for us and left The Holy Spirit to navigate us through life in the same manner that Jesus did. That means that we are supposed to be doing the impossible and reaching out to the lost, everyday.
This scripture made me realize that the power of The Holy Spirit – who roams throughout all the earth – is activated through us by humility and prayer. We line our will up with God’s plan for our lives when we seek him out and repent of our sins. Sins literally block God from speaking to us, but sin separates us from Him. Once we’ve turned away from out wicked ways and sought out forgiveness, God can do an work in us and heal the land.
That is how we reach the unreachable. So let’s pray that the Lord will melt our hearts and humble our spirits, that the Holy Spirit living within in us can do a work that touches the lost and brings someone closer to Him. Amen.
bal·ance –ˈbaləns noun 1. an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. 2. a condition in which different elements are equal or in the correct proportions.
God doesn’t give us more than we can bear.
When Jesus lived on earth, he brought the Kingdom of God with him and shook up the people, the culture, and the perspective of the nation. He was miraculous and bold and loving and wise and, most importantly, focused. And when he ascended, he charged his followers to be the same.
Being a Christian means that you choose to not only believe that Jesus died for you on the cross that you may have the gift and promise of salvation, but that you strive everyday to be like Christ – spreading the gospel of truth and love for all to hear.
How do we accomplish this? BALANCE: The Father. The Son. The Holy Spirit.
An even distribution of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit as the focus of our lives will keep us upright and steady.
These three persons equally comprehend the essence of God, but they are not the same – the more we understand this complexity, the closer and more intimate we become with God and align our wills with His.
We must work every day to keep balance in our lives in many ways, and holds true for our spirit man as well. We can’t do it overnight or by ourselves, but we can do it because God sent Jesus to do it, loving us and believing that we could be empowered by his example, and Jesus left the Holy Spirit to guide our path to righteousness.
Proverbs 11 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the Lord, But a just weight is His delight. When pride comes, then comes shame; But with the humble is wisdom. The integrity of the upright will guide them, But the perversity of the unfaithful will destroy them. …
Proverbs 11 warns us of what happens when we become unbalanced and emphasizes – as does much of the Bible – the importance of remaining humble and having integrity.
So let us pray for humility and integrity in our walks, that the Holy Spirit may do a work in us transforming our minds and conforming our hearts to be closer to God and true followers of Christ. Amen.