Life Minus Drama Makes You Dull

Drama

I hear a lot of people saying today that they don’t need any drama in their life. Have you ever really considered what that means? Consider the meaning of the word “drama”: a composition in verse intended to portray LIFE, a story usually involving conflicts and emotions through action and dialogue, typically for a theatrical performance. I took out some of the repetitive and extraneous verbiage to give you the meat of the meaning. Theatrical drama is a form of art portraying LIFE. It is funny many people say they don’t want drama in their life, however they spend a lot of their life watching theatrical drama. That’s just an observation, and not at all related to my point that being free from drama can make for dull living.

Conflicts and emotions are a part of any healthy relationship. Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” In any relationship, where people are being genuine, honest, and transparent about their thoughts and feelings, conflicts will arise. When we commit to relationships, and work through conflicts, and shoulder one another’s burdens, it strengthens our patience, empathy, temperance, kindness, and faith. As our love becomes stronger, we learn to persevere. This enables us to reap the harvest of real and fulfilling relationships. Relationships that have matured and are characterized by liberty, unity, peace, and abounding hope. The drama of real relationships challenges you to stretch and expand in ways that are uncomfortable, yet you are better for it because you experience growth. Proverbs 27:16 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

You can choose to associate with people who let you stay comfortable and surface. People that don’t push you to be your best. People that let your flaws turn into weakness and failure. People you don’t really know, and that don’t really know you, because you all have stayed away from those weighty conversations that expose weaknesses. Relationships without true intimacy because real knowing has been hindered by secrecy. The Word of GOD says he that seeks his life will lose it, and he that loses his life will find it. The just shall live by faith. Trusting GOD means living beyond yourself. Let the drama unfold, and enjoy the liberty of knowing and being known. Real intimacy occurs in the light, not in darkness. Real intimacy only occurs in spirit and truth.

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Independence In Perspective

red-white-blue-sheep

I was thinking the other day on how much individual success has made us independent. When you look back at our grandparent’s generation, during the 1940s through the 1960s, they relied heavily on one another through necessity. Now in the 21st century, most of that generations grandchildren who have benefited from their united struggle are highly independent. This new independence has resulted in much of the momentum for collective social justice being lost. It’s like if GOD doesn’t allow the wolf to be at our door, we forget who the Shepherd is and that we are all called to be one flock. Many of us in pursuit of our on patch of grass have forgotten about the benefits of living in the flock. I know there is drama in the flock, but drama stretches us and causes us to grow in love. It causes us to draw nearer to the Good Shepherd. Even a lion has a better chance at survival in a pride. I watched a wildlife special about a pride led by three brother lions, and together they were pretty much invincible.

Just for clarity, I am not talking about cleaving to physical family, because everyone like us is not of us, and every one of us is not like us. I’m speaking about those of us who have agreed that following the Good Shepherd is where life is…period; that’s your flock. You can try to sustain relationships with people not dedicated to the Shepherd, but it won’t be intimate. I’m not talking just getting along. That’s what most people today call friendship. Anyone can get along, if you are a professional, you do it 40 or more hours a week with co-workers. Everyone stays in their lane, out of each other’s way, and we get along with them fine. That’s not friendship or family.

If you feel like no one is really close to you because no one understands you, it’s most likely because you are not making any sense. There is nothing new under sun, and there is no temptation that is unique to any one of us. There are occasions when the Lord is doing something new in the earth through someone, and no one in their flock gets it. Like when Noah was building the Ark, when the prophet Samuel was saying Israel didn’t need a king, when Paul was trying to convince the Jews to accept the New Covenant. Now if GOD is doing something in your life of that magnitude, I get it, but if not…admit it…you “trippin”. The bible says faithful are the wounds of a friend. Friends and family step on one another’s toes and collide a lot from close proximity, but underneath they know they are just trying to keep each other on path with the Shepherd. The check, “the Shepherd is clearly going this way, where you think you’re going.” We are never full-grown until we can’t grow anymore. So, let’s continue to grow up and stop acting so grown. I’m talking about maintaining some humility, so we can be corrected and continue to grow in unity. If we all concentrated more on following the Shepherd; stopping when He stops, moving when He moves, turning when He turns, we wouldn’t collide so often.

the shepherd

Let’s be in this world but not of this world and recognize, true freedom comes from working together in dependence, not everyone pursuing their own independence.

 

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.

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.”