Tag Archives: Hope

The Truth Be Told…

The truth be told:  A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)
Leaven : (A pervasive influence that modifies something, or transforms it for the better)
This is a wonderful use of metaphor. There are things (Especially ones we consider small and harmless) in our lives that are modifying and transforming God’s plans for our growth and development (blessing) and causes us to focus on our ability to acquire (prosperity). These can be people, habits, misguided desires, works of the flesh (Gal 5), and poor choices.  The scriptures teach us to lay aside every weight and sin. Today we are talking about weight, and how God will not take away any weight we don’t first lay down.(Heb 12:1)

Photo provided by: unsplash-logoArtur Rutkowski

Perfection.

Do Not Judge.

Matthew 7:1-3 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?

Its simple, when you are perfect, cast the first stone. Followers of Christ live their lives chasing after Jesus and learning to live in His truth. However one of the things we constantly fail to realize is how much we are not like Him.:

How many of us would really lay down our lives for anyone?

How many of us have mastered forgiveness?

How many of us love unconditionally?

So, how many of us are worthy or righteousness enough to judge?

Its simple, none of us. The Bible is full of ways for us to improve ourselves, yet one of the biggest stigmas on Christian culture is how judgemental we are – that we know what is best for others. In reality, the only thing we know for certain is that Christ died on the cross in the hopes that all would come to repentance and have eternal life. We also know that while he was on Earth, He spent a majority of His limited time with people, showing them the love of God and the value they have within themselves.

Chasing after Jesus means that we Christ left the Holy Spirit with us to give us power beyond our weaknesses, and being filled with the Holy Spirit is the closest to perfection that we will ever reach on earth. This not to say that we shouldn’t be held accountable, but being a Christian takes going so much furter. It takes consistent, daily transformation of our own lives. That is what our focus should be — filling our entire lives with the light of God…then we can be a beacon of light to draw all men to Him.

Spiritual.

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.

Hebrews 12: Part One

Hebrews 12:11
Heb 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

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.

Pray.

13475194_1788012928086425_668099269722809058_o
James 5:15-16 “And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16 Confess your trespasses[a] to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
What do you pray for daily? I once heard a preacher ask this question in reflection of prayer, and it stuck with me:
If God answers your prayer, will it change your life or will it change the world?
What is your ultimate goal in prayer? Is is always about you, your situation, your family – and do you have a heart that is compassionate for those you’ve never even met?
The scripture says that the fervent – hot, on-fire, constant, burning – prayer of a righteous man can do many, many things. And knowing God, they will lead to miraculaous, never seen before events that reaffirm belief in the power of our Savior.
And as the Lord is always just and thorough, the scripture implies the importance of a righteous man by reminding us of the need for forgiveness. We should hold each other accountable for our lives and if we sin, confess them so that we may be forgiven.
Christ healed the sick while he roamed the earth, and so must we if we are striving to be like him. We can accomplish all of this through prayer.
So lets vow to come together and pray not only for our own circumstances to change, but that our cup will overflow in ways – as promised in the Bible – that will CHANGE THE WORLD.
I’ve got goosebumps just thinking about it. Amen.

Balance.

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.

  1. An even distribution of the Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit as the focus of our lives will keep us upright and steady.
  2. 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.