A Message for American Church Folk

Church Fans

Recently, one of my brother’s in Christ posted a message on Facebook regarding the ongoing segregation witnessed in churches across America. He cited the 1960s quote by Dr. King, “the most segregated hour in this nation is Sunday at 11:00 am.” This whole topic of the church being segregated is due to social engineering, which many are still controlled by. The devil’s way of keeping control of the masses is through keeping them divided. He knows there is power in agreement and unity. His strategy is working. The question is, why is this social engineering controlling people who confess to love and serve Christ. It is because it is reinforced from the pulpits. Many church leaders are presenting an American version of the gospel, one that is politically correct and culturally compliant. Any minister that calls America a Christian nation has not seen nor heard Christ.

Many white Americans have the perspective of America being of Christian origin, a godly country. This view of America has a polarizing effect on all those who have been terrorized and dehumanized by her from the beginning. Many white people have not been able to grasp how looking over America’s destruction of people of color is the same as saying their lives do not matter. If a person were to tell you that someone they understood was guilty of killing many of your relatives in the past and is still killing and hurting them today is really a good person, how would you feel about that person. Every time someone says America just needs to get back to its founding values, that is what people of color face. I had a white brother tell me in a bible study that the “Black Lives Matter” movement should be “All Lives Matter” …he doesn’t get it. I had a white sister tell me that for her, America lost its innocents and Camelot fell, when Kennedy was assassinated…she was unconscious.

Let’s look at some of the issues with my people of color. You were once forbidden to read in America and now that you can, many of you still won’t. Many black people haven’t cultivated the habit of studying. I mention this one because it is the biggest problem in the Black community. Please stop talking about what your pastor said, PLEASE read for yourself what thus saith the spirit of GOD. We have some deep wounds in the Black community that constantly get poked, but we must stop turning to sex, drugs, food, and entertainment to medicate, but instead look to the Comforter, the Holy Spirit of GOD. Lastly, though the culture of white supremacy is formidable, greater is He that is within us than he that is in the world. We must get free from the spirit of the ni–er, and it has nothing to do with your address or bank account, whether you believe yourself to be wealthy or poor. Remember, Joseph was in prison and then a servant in the Pharaoh’ house, but GOD used him to deliver Egypt and the children of Israel. If you haven’t read about it, you should go find it in the bible.

What has all this to do with church segregation? People need their minds renewed. You can’t truly see who you are until you can see the GOD in who’s image you were made. You can’t see who I am until you understand who you are. Once you recognize yourself as a child in the family of GOD, you will begin to recognize your kinfolk. It will then be much easier to see yourself in other Hue-mans. This will enable you to love others as you love yourself.

People are in church for too many different reasons. Ministers, if you are serving in church to make people’s lives better, you have missed it. Parishioner, if you are going to church to make your life better, you have missed it. Those that seek GOD must do so because He alone is LIFE.

Faith is not required of humanitarians, but it is for Christians.

humanitarian

I attended a bible study yesterday where we dug into the book of Galatians chapter 1. One of the issues that the Apostle Paul addresses in the chapter is the act of perverting of the Gospel of Christ. As we discussed that subject in the bible study and how it is still a problem today, someone asked, “Why do churches pervert the gospel?” This is an important question because to really embrace the solution you have to understand the problem. The problem stems from people interpreting the person of Christ and His gospel through their humanistic view point. Though YESHUA did things we consider humanitarian, His reasons and objectives went far deeper than just meeting basic human needs. Unfortunately, people’s humanistic orientation stops them from seeing the full person of YESHUA. It also stops them from grasping a full understanding of His gospel. The gospel of Christ will always create a healthy sense of hopelessness to the humanitarian or carnal viewpoint, as in Matthew 19:25, when His disciples ask, “Who then can be saved?” False doctrines come from men trying to humanize the gospel so that it fines wider acceptance. This does not minister the grace of GOD, it frustrates it. The grace of GOD comes in at that point of hopelessness and says, “with me, all things are possible”, which teaches us that we have to stop relying on ourselves and have faith in GOD. When was the last time you heard a sermon end with the words “go, and sin no more”?  Probably not ever, but it was how YESHUA closed ministry in the book of John chapters 5 and 8.

The enemy of doing what is right, is doing what we think is good. Doing what is right is a matter of faith and obedience, doing what is good is a matter of our own reasoning. Humanism is the enemy of righteousness. Humanism is focused on human values and secular concerns, while righteousness is focused on godly values and heavenly concerns. There is nothing humane about what was revealed in the book of Revelations, but it details a future we all need to be preparing for. Spend some time meditating in the book of Revelations and pay attention to the letters to the Churches. Our witness of YESHUA must reflect Him as Christ the King as well as the Lamb of GOD.

The Church needs to get away from “Febreze” Christianity. Today, Christians want to spray the blood of Christ like “Febreze” over the mess of everyone’s lives so that the smell is not as awful as it really is. I think people forget it’s not the smell that kills, rather it is the rotten hearts and deeds. Salvation is the power to save lives through “Changing” lives. That is the message that has been lost. Everyone smells good in church but people are still getting divorced, still being abused, still addicted to pornography and living in sexual immorality, still in love with the world. What we tolerate tends to proliferate. There is no fear of the Lord. That is what is missing today. There is even a false doctrine for “The fear of the Lord”. The humanistic doctrine says, “It’s a reverential fear.”

The grace of GOD is nothing less than the precious and costly blood of His dear son. The Church needs to move away from the “Febreze” mentality. Here is what New Testament scripture says to debunk the false and humanistic doctrine of “reverential fear of GOD”. Hebrew 10:28-31:

He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses: of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

Those same hands are also gentle, kind, patient, merciful, healing, and life giving. Proverbs 19:23 says, “The fear of the Lord tendeth to life: and he that hath it shall abide satisfied; he shall not be visited with evil.” Yahweh promises that if we humble ourselves, His hands will lift us out of trouble.

When Loving Gets Difficult

roses in the trash

Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].  It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening]. (1st Corinthians 13:4-8/Amplified Bible classic edition)

Love endures with patience and serenity, love is kind and thoughtful, and is not jealous or envious; love does not brag and is not proud or arrogant. It is not rude; it is not self-seeking, it is not provoked [nor overly sensitive and easily angered]; it does not take into account a wrong endured. It does not rejoice at injustice, but rejoices with the truth [when right and truth prevail]. Love bears all things [regardless of what comes], believes all things [looking for the best in each one], hopes all things [remaining steadfast during difficult times], endures all things [without weakening] (1st Corinthians 13:4-8/ Amplified bible).

It should be effortless to love our spouses this way, after all, we are to love them as we love our selves. If we have entered the covenant of marriage with them, then we should already be convinced that they always, or at least the majority of the time, have our best interest at heart. Yet there are wars and fighting’s among the married in Christ. What is the problem…Division! Everything about marriage is toward unity and oneness, yet division is permeating in marriage. What does it mean to be divided? Here is the definition from Merriam Webster: “Separated into parts or pieces,”

also “directed or moved toward conflicting interests, states, or objects.”

The word “Divorce” mean to sever or separate. When couples get legally divorced, it is simply the manifestation of their disunity.

One of the definitions above states that divided means, “directed or moved toward conflicting interest, states, or objects.” The key word in the definition above is “conflicting.”  Conflicting means opposed to one another or resisting one another. So, becoming divided happens when a force, either from without or within, moves or directs a couple to interest that are opposed to one another, or this force is causing a couple to be moved into opposing states of mind or being, or the things or objects that they each desire are opposed to one another.

The conditioning of the world causes people to celebrate quantity over quality. People talk about themselves or other couples being married for 30, 40, or 50 years, and it is assumed that these are great unions, or good marriages. Not necessarily so. We seldom know the inner workings of other people’s relationships. We are not always privy to how much compromise or pain was endured. Furthermore, just because a couple never gets a legal divorce doesn’t mean that they have remained married in the true sense of biblical marriage. Christ taught in Matthew 5:27-28, that if a man looks at another woman to lust after her, he has already committed adultery in his heart. Many people who are legally married have actually divorced in their hearts, because they are no longer submitted to one another in unity. They live lives of opposition, in disunity, but still live together and have occasional sex. Some married couples are in such disunity that they no longer have sex, or they may even sleep in separate beds. All this while legally still married. Some couples are divided, but they stay in marriage for the children, or due to financial dependency. These are all very sad and unfortunate circumstances, and do not come close to our Father’s vision for marriage or becoming ONE.

Many people get married having no idea what it really means, or what it will require. Marriage is just one of many things that people get involved in without research, or fully reading the manual (BIBLE- Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth). Existence is the result of biological circumstance, but to live is to answer a call to a vision given by GOD. Being married is just a legal matter, but becoming ONE is a supernatural act only realized through the power of GOD. Unity comes to fruition as a couple submits to His vision for their lives, while living moment to moment by faith. It is impossible to fulfill the requirements of life’s callings without GOD. That which we accomplish in our own strength award us the praise and approval of men, but it is what we accomplish by faith  that please GOD.

There are no 10 steps to a happy marriage, or 20 steps to a successful life; only seeking life through faith in GOD, moment by moment, and day by day. Anything else is manmade and falls short of GOD’s glory. This is what Romans 3:23 is referring too; the sum of our lives when lived in our own strength. On the contrary, the life we live through faith in GOD’s ability is glorious. In the second year of my marriage, I realized it was beyond me. This was even before having children. I fell on my face and cried out for GOD’s anointing to fulfill His vision for me as a husband, and a father.

The “Love” spoken of in 1st Corinthians 13:4-8 is impossible to embody without abiding in GOD, because He is “Love.” We will never be the husband, wife, father, mother, or person we were called to be until we surrender to the governance of GOD’s love, by faith.  Husband, do you think it is impossible to love your wife in sacrificial love the way Christ loves the church…It is unless you surrender to the Word and the Spirit, and allow GOD to do it through you. Wife, do you believe it is impossible to love your husband with sacrificial love as the church loves Christ…It is unless you surrender to the Word and the Spirit, and allow GOD to do it through you. The cost is the same for all…It will cost you everything you have and then some…but you were made for this and the reward is beautiful beyond description.

Stop trying to figure it all out and start focusing on just being in GOD. The rest will work itself out. Through being born again in Christ, we have 1st Corinthians 13:4-8 within us. We just need to work it out, moment by moment, through the awareness given by the Holy Spirit. The motivation to do the work comes from the joy of the vision that GOD sets before us. If the work seems to difficult, then the vision needs to be restored. To have the vision restored, it is necessary to spend some time with GOD in solitude, so you can hear Him. The just shall live by faith, and faith comes from “hearing” the Word of GOD. You will not see clearly, until you hear clearly. In marriage, the husband and wife must have intimate time with GOD, not just with one another, if they are to succeed in fulfilling the vision of GOD for their union. This is the part that is most neglected. A couple can date each other, and have all the intimacy with each other that they can handle, but the love of 1st Corinthians 3 will only come from intimacy with GOD. The Love that never fails is the Love that is sourced from faith in GOD.

holding hands

 

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.

Sweet Somethings

bubble

Sweet nothings are like heart-shaped bubbles that float from your heart through the air and pops on your lover’s nose, releasing a fragrant aroma,

They are ebbs that cascade over the cup of your heart from love yearning to be expressed,

They can be shared verbal kisses and caresses which sustain lovers that hunger for one another,

Sweet nothings are like little star stickers that lovers exchange that say, “I think you are fantastic”,

Sweet nothings can really make you feel special,

You know….Sweet nothings really are something!

I believe as love matures, instead of becoming more practical and toned down, it should increase in brilliance, impact, and expression. This doesn’t necessarily mean a huge display, but just the right thing at the right time or something totally unexpected but that hits the heart right were it was needed. I feel in my life at times, the Lord has often blessed me with sweet somethings right when I needed it, in a way that I knew it was only from Him and personal. I could give some examples, but it’s kind of private..you know…between lovers. Yeshua is the greatest Lover of all times. I believe that is what scriptures speak to when it says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. ”Psalm34:8. When scriptures profess, “The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”. Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV).

I know I started this post talking about lovers sharing sweet nothings, and I ended up talking about the goodness of GOD. It is because nothing or no one frees the heart to love like knowing that you are loved by GOD. The weights and cares of this life tend to smother the flame of love that is meant to warm one another’s heart, but the Love of GOD has a way of lifting those cares so that the flame can get air and burn fervently.

Just like the many sunsets, sunrises, butterflies, and song birds that can go unnoticed by burdened and busy hearts, so can the sweet somethings from your loved ones if you have not given all your cares to GOD. The scriptures say, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” Philippians 4:6 (NKJV),

Revelations from the Eye of the Storm

The Exercise

I had a discussion recently with a white male friend of mine about the different perspectives people can have based on their life experiences. The conversation led to him sharing how he knew he was a beneficiary of white male privilege in America and how that privilege has led to a disconnect sometimes when it comes to him understanding the Black perspective. The next day he sent me a couple of different links to videos of Jane Elliot’s “Brown Eyed/ Blued Eyed” exercises. Some of you may be familiar with the work of Jane Elliot but in case you are not, she is an educator that has done some good work on exposing the racism innate in American culture. Her work began the day after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. She did an exercise with her primary school students, who were all white, to help them understand the struggle Dr. King was involved in, which ultimately cost him his life.

In her exercise, she poses two groups against the other; one group represents people of color (brown-eyed participants) and one group represents white people (blued-eyed participants). Jane Elliot then has the brown-eyed group partner with her as she subjects the blue-eyed group to the reality of American racism as experienced historically by America’s non-white citizens. It was very surprising to see the level of anger and frustration exhibited by the Blue eyed participants as Jane treated them with contempt and disrespect, even though they had been forewarned and knew it was a staged exercise. For me, it had the effect of validating my own experiences in a new way. The experiment showed me how mentally disruptive even small doses of racism could be on its victims in less than 30 minutes, not to mention its potential impact when endured for over 400 plus years. I always knew that Black people were strong, but it was illuminated in a whole new way as I watched people buckle under weights I carried as a child; weights that only got heavier with the increased gravity that comes with age and the responsibilities of life. It reinforced the belief I have that if all men are created equal, then there are external forces creating the large disparities seen throughout American society.

The impetus of racism is the need to justify a system of oppression. Ta-Nehisi Coates in an article from “The Atlantic” quotes David Blight, A Yale Professor, on the subject of The Civil War and Reconstruction. Blight says that at the maturation of Slavery in America it was the largest financial asset in the entire U.S. economy, worth upwards of $3.5 billion, exceeding the profits of all manufacturing and railroads combined. The bible says that the love of money is the root of all evil. This would explain America’s wicked obsession with oppression as a means to profit. See Ava Duvernay’s “13th” production for a well-documented illustration of this point. Racism is perpetuated in America because oppression is still government policy. How can the poor and oppressed gain equality in a society where law and law enforcement favors the rich? Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. He is also an American lawyer and Social Justice Activist. Bryan states that in the USA you are treated better if you are wealthy and guilty, than if you are poor and innocent.

If equality in the pursuit of happiness is to become a realization, the epidemic heart disease of greed must be dealt with. Greed is incubated and hatched through selfishness and nourished by fear. Desire infected with greed distorts perception and perverts judgment. The only cure is Love. Love breaks the power of selfishness and eliminates fear. The kind of Love as taught through biblical principles. The love that gives at the expense of self for the benefit of all, contrary to selfishness which takes for the benefit of self without consideration for anyone else. The false dearth created through racism will continue to ravish society, until we all learn to love one another as ourselves. There is but one race, the human race.

[Image is from janeelliott.com]

 

Learning the lesson of Jonah

whale-usa-3d

Yahweh gave Jonah a commission to go Nineveh and call the people to repentance before he punished them. Jonah wasn’t willing to carry the message of reconciliation to Nineveh because he had judged them as being unworthy of mercy and grace. Without delving into the history of the people of Nineveh and all they had done, our merciful GOD Yahweh decided to reach out and offer them a path to reconciliation. Jonah was very reluctant to carry out the commission he had been given. Jonah had no concern for Nineveh and just wanted GOD to destroy them and be done it.

Jonah called himself a prophet of the Most High GOD, and a descendant of GOD’s chosen people. He obviously felt that he and his people were the only ones worthy of the deep riches of GOD’s mercy and grace. I see Christians today with this same disregard for others and mindset of privilege. These Christians want as many chances as it takes to avoid the wrath of GOD, however when it comes to people of other beliefs they want swift judgment. Like Jonah, these Christians have somehow mistaken the grace they have received in this world as something they have earned. When I see the lack of empathy and compassion in many Christians today, I realize they have not learned the lesson of Jonah. Living on the welfare of GOD, some Christians have the nerve to want to hoard the grace of GOD for themselves. They want to create standards and make others earn what they have received freely. “Send in the troops, squash the uprising, unleash the police, they are disturbing my peace,” say these redeemed.

At the conclusion of the book of Jonah, we see our Lord asking Jonah if it right that Jonah wanted Him to come running to his aid when something disrupted his comfort, but when it came to saving the very lives of others who were lost,  Jonah was indifferent. I don’t expect the unbeliever to care about someone other than themselves, but those that confess to have been saved by GOD’s amazing grace, those who have asked for the innocent blood of the Lamb of GOD to cover their transgressions and have been granted redemption, I expect more.

There is a parable Yeshua taught about a servant that had been forgiven a great debt by his King but turned and would not show compassion to a fellow servant that owed him much less. Here is how the parable ended:

“Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me.  Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’  And his master was angry, and delivered him to the torturers until he should pay all that was due to him.” (Matt 18:32-34)

We should not be like the wicked servant in this parable or Jonah, and allow our hearts to become hardened from too much focus on the debts and wrong doings of others. We have to stay sober-minded and remember the debt Christ paid for us.

It is easy to begin harboring ill feelings for a particular religious group or ethnic group if you just believe information circulating in popular media outlets or popular culture. There is a lot of propaganda in mainstream media circulated to form views that serve special interest. News is often reported without disclosing all the facts and it leaves people with misconceptions. We have to care enough to want to know the whole story and be willing to seek out the truth.

Yeshua says if you are not with Him then you are against Him, and if you aren’t gathering with Him then you are scattering abroad. If you proclaim that you are with Him, then let your conversation and witness be seasoned with compassion, understanding, empathy, humility, mercy, grace, and thanksgiving toward drawing people unto Christ. You will not be able to do this if you are feeding on the news more than the Word of GOD. You will not be able to do this if you have chosen, like so many people, to turn a blind eye to the facts of history which reveal that all people have committed wickedness. None of us are better and have greater value than the other. This is a key message in the testimony of Christ since He paid one price as a ransom for ALL people.

Through a grateful heart for the redemption that has been shared with us, we too should be eager to carry the same gospel of reconciliation to the rest of the world.

“Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.  For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:19-21)