Two Feet Away from Deeper Intimacy

Reaching-Hand

Christ engaged His disciples in a foot washing ceremony to teach them a few things about how they were to serve each other and to lay a foundation for them to understand a greater purpose for His coming. When He prepared to wash the feet of Simon Peter, Peter reacted saying, “You will never wash my feet.” Peter’s reaction reflects a religious mind set based on a lack of understanding. In that moment, Peter was just like the Sadducees and Pharisees of that day who resisted the person and workings of the Savior. Today there are many followers of Christ, just like Peter, that still resist the washing of the Savior. This resistance is due to a lack of understanding and a religious mind set held instead of the presence of a relationship based on trust and intimacy.

Yeshua’s desire to wash His disciple’s feet was a call to a more personal relationship. Willingly exposing your past and your sins creates intimacy. The resistance to entering the level of intimacy that the Creator is calling us to, creates a barrier between us and the many benefits of His mercy and grace. Yeshua responded to Peter saying, “If I do not wash you, you have no part with me.” So, Peter allowed the washing, but the understanding of what was happening came much later. Yeshua told Peter, “What I am doing you do not understand now, but you will know after this.” We must let Him take away the shame of our dirty past. We must allow Him to take our dirty feet into His pure hands and wash them clean. We must allow the weightiness of His love to break our pride and free us from our independence. We can never clean our own feet because all we have in our possession are filthy rags. The work of Christ is to clean us up and furnish us with white raiment; to empower us to walk in the Spirit, down clean paths. An understanding of His grace assures us, that if we should stumble, He will cleanse us yet again.

Today the Church still struggles to understand the washing by the Savior. When Yeshua washed Peter’s feet, he was in effect erasing the traces of the earthy places Peter had been before. Symbolic of cleansing him from his past sins. Yeshua also wiped Peter’s feet with His own covering. This symbolizes the extension of His righteousness in place of the removed dirt. Today many saints are still living soiled in the past, because they fail to grasp the understanding of the Savior’s washing. Christians all around the world celebrate the resurrection of Christ and His redeeming blood, but still have not excepted resurrection power into their own lives. Our resurrection to new life is in the moment we believe He can cleanse our souls, and transform us from the dirty people we have been in the past into the righteous children of the Father.

It is written in 2nd Corinthians 5:17, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. This teaching is in direct conflict with the consensus I often hear among the confessing Christians of today. I have heard Christians saying of the Church that all have wicked hearts, all continue to be bound by sin, that there are none righteous, as if the Church is just as filthy as when Christ redeemed her.

Don’t confuse old testament references to the children of Israel with the resurrected Church of Christ. We must enter our calling of being the holy and righteous people of GOD. The ones who show forth the righteousness of Yahweh, by manifesting His good and perfect will through obedience. Yahweh sowed a Son that he might get a harvest of righteous children. We are the planting of GOD and should be bringing forth righteous fruit. Now, in this present life! We are the evidence of the Savior’s resurrected life. We are not just sinners that have been forgiven. We are the redeemed of the Lord who have been cleansed from our sins and endowed with power by His spirit to walk in newness of life.

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Empathy: The Power of Greater Vision

 

greater vision

I wrote a piece recently about hoping empathy will rise in this New Year, looks like it is beginning with my own heart. Due to all the exposure of racially motivated violence in the past couple of years, I have heard many white people saying they didn’t realize black people still had it so bad. I have also had many white men say to me that they are just realizing that male white privilege is not just a mythical politically motivated assertion. Initially, my reaction to those having these epiphanies was – C’mon really.

I am beginning to see how when you are immersed in something from birth, it is hard to recognize it as unnatural, foreign, or harmfully infectious. I have advocated for the better treatment of women through writing and through speaking directly to men. I have spoken to women about their immeasurable value, above and beyond physical beauty. However in all that I have come to understand, I know that I have not fully grasped the depth and scope of the mental and physical impact centuries of oppression has had on women. By accepting that fact, hopefully I have increased my ability to hear and understand my sisters unto deeper and more fulfilling relationships.

When you consider that from the founding of America, most of the information propagated in this society from the imagery, writings, entertainment, public policy, education, and so forth has been generated out the oppressive source. Our social environment is so thoroughly contaminated with certain biases and prejudice ideologies that it is almost impossible not to normalize some of it in your psyche. That goes for those who are oppressed, as well as the oppressors. This is true in every instance where America has historically practiced injustice and inequality.

Our moral compass has to align with an influence higher than just the survival instinct, if we are to reach the promise land of liberty and justice for all. Creatures like jackals and snakes know how to survive, but it has been ordained for man to have Life. To “have”, is defined as to hold or maintain as a possession, privilege, or entitlement. Every person is entitled to the freedom and means to realize the potential of their being. Anytime someone purposely hinders another person’s progression in this sacred right it is reprehensible. We have to respect everyone else’s entitlement to live as we do our own. That is why the golden rule is so vital to humanity. The commandment of GOD, to love our neighbor as ourselves, invokes the power of empathy. The power of empathy gives us the ability of greater vision through the use of many lenses. This why hate blinds us but love shows us the way.

Secure Your Life By Securing Your Heart

 

Heart-shaped_lockThe kind of life you live is determined by what you value. Your values are determined by what you treasure. The scripture says in Matt 6:21,

“Where a man’s treasure is there his heart will be also.”

A man will set his aspirations, his affections, and his focus around that which he treasures. Your heart becomes filled with what you focus on and that consequently affects everything that comes out of it. Proverbs 4:23 says keep your heart with all diligence, because out it flows the issues of life. What this looks like lived out is making every effort to ensure that the things you set your heart on add “real” value to your life.

Would you agree that having peace of mind and good health adds extra value to anything you can experience in life? I think so. Peace of mind comes from living harmoniously with the one that governs all things. This means seeking the knowledge of GOD to understand your purpose, the provisions He has made for you to live, and what He expects of you, as well as what you can expect from Him. Here is what Proverbs 8:11 says about the wisdom of GOD:

“For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.”

This knowledge should be your treasure and primary focus. The book of Matthew chapter 6 speaks to this when it concludes that we should seek the kingdom of GOD and His righteousness first and foremost and everything else we need will flow into our lives.

If we will make our treasure the knowledge and wisdom of GOD, then our hearts will be focused on that which is truly valuable. This heavenly focus will enable our hearts to produce many blessings in our lives and in the lives of those around us.

For all of this to make since, we first have to realize that we are living souls placed in vessels of flesh. Just as these physical vessels have needs, so does our eternal souls. Most people live focused on the needs of the flesh while their eternal soul languishes. Since the true longing of the soul isn’t satisfied through carnal pleasures, the tendency is to seek carnal pleasures even more intensely. This disconnect from understanding the source of the true longing causes many to treasure the physical things of the world more than the spiritual things. The strongest and deepest longings come from the thirst of the soul. The soul has an innate thirst for righteousness, peace, and joy. This thirst can only be filled by the love of GOD.

So keeping our hearts with all diligence means making sure our focus and values stay aligned with the kingdom of GOD instead of being subverted to the things of this world. The treasures of this world tend to be temporal, unstable, corruptible, and destructible. If your heart is set on worldly things, consequently you will have little peace in your life and unstable rest. There will always be the nagging feeling of there has to be more.

Yeshua speaks to the dissatisfied and weary soul in Matthew 11:27-29:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

Don’t become enslaved to this by the deceitfulness of riches. Follow the guidance of Yeshua in John 10:10 and live well.

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.”

Hoping Empathy Will Rise

Daybreak New

2017 has been a year full of events that have caused people to reconsider actually how far America has progressed toward a more civil society. You don’t have to journey far pass the fog of sports and entertainment to see the challenges we face as a society with violence, inequality, and social misconduct. My prayer for this nation is that its citizens would learn to practice more EMPATHY.

One of Webster’s definitions of empathy does a good job describing what it looks like in operation. Empathy is defined as, “the imaginative projection of a subjective state into an object so that the object appears to be infused with it.” What this looks like socially is projecting yourself into someone else’s situation through consideration, until you feel to some degree what they may be feeling, and from that place you’ll find you can relate better to them toward unification.

The “imaginative projection of a subjective state” sounds deep but it is just entering into someone’s words as they speak; really listening to what someone else has to say about their experience. Empathy will only come when we are humble and unselfish enough to hear a voice other than our own. Wishing everyone love, compassion, and more empathy this holiday season and throughout 2018!

Learning to Bask In the Light

basking in light

In my office I have a Christian sister that shared a testimony with me recently. She had been praying that GOD would bring healing to a lot of people she knows. The answer to her prayer came in the form of a river of knowledge dealing with how to get healthy. She was exposed to a lot of knowledge dealing with good nutrition, natural supplements, and other cures for a host of ailments, from diabetes to cancer and has been sharing this information with those she feels compelled too. The information wasn’t mystical, just good information shared from sources like YouTube and websites.

From her testimony and my own experience, I have come to see a pattern in how Yahweh often chooses to answer prayers. It is line with Hosea chapter 4 where it is written, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” Often when people pray, they are looking for a full manifestation of what they requested. Our Heavenly Father, as a good parent, takes advantage of every opportunity to help us reach fulfillment. So often when we pray, He gives us the knowledge and power to acquire what is needed. The process of acquisition will in some way stretch us beyond our comfort zones and challenge us to grow in our knowledge of ourselves and the Father. The journey is equally as important as the destination. The journey is what prepares us to get the most out of the destination.

Don’t forsake or resent knowledge when it comes and nudges you from your comfort zone. It is often answered prayer coming to provide passage to your blessing. Salvation for the world came as the Word manifest in the flesh; the manifest knowledge of GOD. I have come to understand that true maturity is living your knowledge. The scripture tells us not to be merely hearers of the Word but doers also. In the season that knowledge comes to you, have the faith that your Heavenly Father has given you the power to perform it as well. One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 2:12-14:

“Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

Reflecting On Thanksgiving

wampanoag

In 1863, President Lincoln made Thanksgiving Day a national holiday to be observed on the last Thursday of November. The focus of the holiday was to reflect on the travesties of the Civil War and to mourn the humongous loss of life. It was a day to pray GOD’s healing for the nation.

In 1939, President Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week to boost the economy during the Great Depression. After fervent opposition to the change, the holiday was moved back to the last Thursday two years later. Four Square, a corporation that provides statistics on consumer foot traffic to merchandisers, reported that businesses that open on Thanksgiving day are at a greater advantage to profit over the “Black Friday” shopping weekend. If stores open, the shoppers will show up. It appears there has been a shift in how Americans value the holiday.

Thanksgiving, like many other holidays, seems to take on its own meaning with different families and communities. The first national observance was over one hundred and fifty years ago. America is still in need of much healing as a result of racism and inequality. Just as in the early 1900’s, the contender for reflection and focus toward national healing is making a buck.

The facts of history tell us that the first colonist would not have survived if not for the assistance of Native Americans. At the center of any government observance of Thanksgiving there should be an extravagant display of gratitude to the Native Americans. Thanks to the countless unsung contributors and heroes that have helped to bring the United States the success it enjoys today.

Parenting for Life

Trinty of the motherland

It is estimated that there are over seven billion people on earth. Of these seven billion, all of them can be potential friends, with the exception of two. The two out of seven billion are your parents. Parents are meant to be parents, not friends. The role of a parent should never be confused with the role of a friend. The first commandment with the promise of a reward does not say, “Honor your friend, that your life may be long.” It says, “Honor your mother and your father that your life may be long.” Parents are ordained of the Creator as the first guardians of your life. In their role as guardians, they will have commandments and guidelines that should be respectfully heeded unto the preservation of your life. I know that there are circumstances where parents are abusive or negligent, and that is an awful perversion of purpose which often calls for others to step in and fulfill the role.

If parents have a GOD complex, it is only because they serve by design as archetypes of the Most High. Parents and their children create a model of the relationship that will be later replicated with the Heavenly Father. When parents speak to their children with definitive and absolute authority, they are rightfully representing GOD in the children’s life. If the children do not learn to submit to this parental authority, they will inevitably rebel against GOD’s authority as well.

Parents, I encourage you to stand uncompromisingly in the place of authority you have been given by GOD, that you may save the lives of your children in the long run. Do not relinquish your authoritative role as parents for a less confrontational role as friend to pacify your child or to try to maintain a “feel good” relationship. Resist the compromising influence that comes from a world that disregards the preeminent authority of the Creator to its own destruction. Mankind has created many unsustainable structures, both socially and physically, due stiff-necked irreverence to the authority of the Creator.

In the most natural sense, a man and a woman must become one before they can become parents. Through the unity of the act of marriage, parents become one and represent one authority; the authority of THE Creator. GOD gave authority to mankind, which consist of families (father-mother-children), to subdue and rule the earth. This is symbolic of the Father, the Holy Spirit, and Yeshua ruling all creation. The physical is an example of the spiritual and the hidden things of GOD can clearly be seen through the things He has made. The perversion and destruction of natural order and other constructs of GOD by the wicked one are meant to hinder our ability to perceive and understand divine principles. The fallen angel, called Lucifer, wants mankind to be alienated from the Truth so that his lies may have power. Yeshua came to earth as Truth and Light to make the way of life clear. Salvation has been brought to the world in the context of a loving family. We see a relationship between an obedient and beloved Son and a faithful, loving Father. Love personified through a family displaying order and harmony in selflessness.

(Pictured called “The Trinity of the Motherland” artist unknown to me)