We all know her, the mother of Jesus. She’s probably the most well-known woman in the Bible throughout the world.
I was having a discussion with someone the other day about a conversation between Mary and a certain angel. You may have heard of him, his name is Gabriel. And you’ve probably heard the conversation before. If not, you can read it here.
Our discussion centered around Verse 37, which is quite popular:
“For with God, nothing will be impossible.”
As Christians, we reference this scripture quite often. It is mentioned in various ways throughout the Bible: the sheer ability of God is so overwhelming that we often operate in ways that contradict it. We place God in a box. We may acknowledge that He can do anything, yet often times we put a ‘but’ in there for good measure.
Personally, I’ve never doubted God’s ability in a general sense – in my nature, the question is never can God do this, but will He do it….and will He do it for me?
As Christmas is a few days away, my mind is on Mary. What was so special about her? I don’t think there was anything particularly special about her, except her humanity and willingness to be obedient. Her obedience cast her into a load of responsibility that changed the face of the world. And all she did was say yes.
How much can God work miracles in our lives, if only we will cast fear and doubt aside, and say yes? Can we also be impregnated with a remarkable destiny if only we believe?
We had a great service on Resurrection Sunday last week, and today we had an awesome service that including a moving baby dedication.
I realized that even though the time set aside for celebrating the extraordinary sacrifice Jesus made for his people out of love has come and gone, the feeling of overwhelming gratitude and appreciation is still felt…and as follower of Christ, I want to celebrate this victory FOREVER!
This is the poem I wrote for Easter, I hope it blesses you! Selah.
Jesus is the epitome of love
And I pray that every heart will reflect the gift of Your sacrifice
A gift no other being could fathom, that no other being could bear
to lay down for Your brother Your own innocent life
That all may know God, that all may come to hear
The good news of Jesus Christ, the epitome of love
The filthy rags of my soul are only made beautiful
By Your blood
Thick, heavy, fragrant like oil
It covers us and makes us whole
And is nothing but impossible
But what is impossible is more than possible with You, Jesus
With You alone
No one should have to tell us to worship Christ
Because the whips and the nails and thorns more than suffice
And yet we still reject the gift of life
That only Jesus can give us, why?
Today is a day to reflect on missed opportunity
Every moment we live is closer to eternity
Not just for you, but every soul on this blessed earth
Every soul – each loved and cared for through grace
Can you count them all? Can you even imagine?
The time we could be embracing God and spreading the love of Jesus
Who is the epitome of everything?
So many wandering around lost, with great chasms in their souls
Where only Jesus can fit
And fit He will, because He is alive, He is alive
It gives me so much joy to shout that He is alive
The King is not dead, He is risen
Because His perfect love has won us all the victory
We have the victory
The truth be told: A little leaven leavens the whole lump. (Galatians 5:9)
We often wonder why we have to deal with so many challenging situations. Why do I have to deal with so many problems? I am a good person and yet I have this weight carrying. That’s what’s wrong, the weight I am carrying. A problem is defined as an unintended deviation from a plan or objective. Without complete trust in the leadership of the Blessed Holy Spirit, it is very difficult to identify and appropriately deal with the devil’s traps. His traps are specifically and meticulously designed to cause problems for US. The devil’s goal is that we end up living in our deviation not or destiny.
So, brothers and sisters, I implore us all to put the weight down, without which we will never be able to objectively run this race to a successful conclusion.
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)
Proverbs 14:11 “The house of the wicked will be destroyed, but the tent of the upright will flourish.”
I came across this scripture, and it made me think about the immigration situation, particularly in the United States.
It takes at truly selfless person to understand the plight of an immigrant, especially a refugee. But to concern yourself with the oppression of others is not only a selfless thing to do, but it is one of the most Christ like. Jesus loved us so much that He took on our oppression as a price for our freedom – and all we have to do is accept Him.
We don’t have to pass a test or go through an obstacle course to get to Jesus, all we have to do is say yes. We don’t have to fill out any papers or pass some background check. He has already done all the work. He has been standing at the door, waiting to let us in. All we need to do is knock.
This Proverb stood out to me because it says the house of the wicked and then refers to the tent of the upright; and the tent made me think about refugee camps. The camps where refugees live in tents, watching as their homes are destroyed or dealing with the separation from their families. Not sure where their next meal will come from or what their next move should be.
In Matthew 25, Jesus directly identifies himself with the downtrodden: 34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world.35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”
This is the measure of the final judgement before God. Sit back and think on your life: What have I don’t to people? What am I doing to aid those who are suffering? This was so important to God that Jesus repeats himself in order for there to be no confusion: Help People. That’s it. It doesn’t matter who they are or what they have done. Because it is not about them or you. It is about God’s Kingdom and pouring out the love of Jesus.
Matthew 25:40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,[c] you were doing it to me!’
Matthew 25:45 “And he will answer, ‘I tell you the truth, when you refused to help the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were refusing to help me.’
We can only be like Christ when we learn to identify with those He also identified with. Jesus knew that he was a King, the Son of the Most High God. He knew he wasn’t merely an ordinary man by any standard, but those were His people. Jesus loved them all, and it is this unexplainable love that led Him to lay down His life in the hopes that people would be free. So why do we continue to accept excuses for oppression when we are in a place to offer freedom? Lord, I pray:
Titus 3:5 “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,”
John 8:32Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.
What we the body of Christ embraces as truth is only the flavor of the truth. We continue to live in bondage even after we are converted because we don’t like the truth, we can’t accept the truth and we certainly are not living the truth. The truth be told many of what we do and say in our churches has nothing to do with the truth of God’s word. We lie to people about God, the Blessed Holy Spirit and our Messiah Jesus Christ. Woe to those who lead my people astray.
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.
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.