“Just Mercy” …A Nice Peep

JM

I saw the movie “Just Mercy” yesterday. It is the story of Bryan Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative organization. There is a scripture that says, the Lord is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. GOD is Truth and Light, and this movie does a great job of telling how Mr. Stevenson has spent his life in pursuit of truth to bring liberation to those held captive by darkness. The movie is set in Alabama. A state that has historically depicted the heart of Jim Crow segregation and racism. The movie brings to light the true stories of horror which black people have experienced, being subjected to a judicial system which considers them unworthy of justice; equal protection under the law. Justice, equal protection under the law, is a right of all citizens of the United States. The fact that black people of color currently and historically have been denied that right demonstrates an unwillingness to grant us full citizenship. The evidence is not in the exception of the few but in the status quo of the millions.

A PEW study revealed that in 2017, blacks represented 12% of the U.S. adult population but 33% of the sentenced prison population. Whites accounted for 64% of adults but 30% of prisoners. Another way to represent these numbers is there were 1,549 black prisoners for every 100,000 black adults – nearly six times the imprisonment rate for whites (272 per 100,000) and nearly double the rate for Hispanics (823 per 100,000). Over the past couple of years, the disparity in these numbers has shrunk. It has been suggested by a few studies that this is due to a decline in the use of crack in the black community, curtailing incarceration in connection with drugs. Another contributor to the gap closing is the incarceration of white males has starkly increased due to methamphetamine, prescription opioid and heroin use, combined with the prosecution of white males doubling for sex crimes.

I was moved by the number of white movie goers in the theater to see this film. It stirred hope in me that there is growing interest in understanding the root causes of the disparities seen across this nation in the quality of life between the masses of blacks and whites. I also hope that more of my white sisters and brothers will venture beyond regular news sources to documentaries, films, and articles that publish truth not aired in the mainstream, which go a long way in explaining the catalyst for protest carried out by black people. Instead of seeing the protesting of blacks as unpatriotic, maybe people will begin to see it as a reasonable response to the hypocrisy displayed by a country that boast one nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Some films and documentaries I would recommend are “13th” by Ava DuVernay, “Black In Latin America” by Henry Louis Gates Jr., “The Way They See Us” by Ava DuVernay, and of course “Just Mercy” by Destin Daniel Cretton.

The Official Theme of Black History Month is “The Vote”

The Vote

The theme for Black History month this year is “The Vote”. This is the sesquicentennial of the Black vote or its 150th anniversary. This month the founders of Black History month, The Association for the Study of African American Life and History, brings focus to the historical inclusion of African Americans into the category of “people” with certain unalienable rights. The Declaration of Independence, known as one of the founding Charters of Freedom, declared, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

It took the U.S. 346 years to finally acknowledge Black Americans as humans with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. From the first documented ship that arrived in Virginia with the human trafficked from Africa (1619), until the Voting Rights Act (1965), was 346 years. This is an indictment on the Christian roots of this nation. If the framers were truly enlightened, and this was a Christian nation, it would not have taken over 350 years to see that Black people are heirs of Christ as well. The fact that many confessing Christians view America as a Christian nations exposes a deep root of delusion, and the lack of a true relationship with Christ the Savior. The Book of 1st John states that whoever says they love GOD, yet hate their brother is a liar.

Even after the passing of the Voting Rights Act, there were still many obstacles to the polls, from terrorism by white supremacist to voter suppression by governing bodies. The latter is still n issue today in the former Jim Crow states. In 2013, Alabama officials argued before the U.S. Supreme Court in Shelby versus Holder, that the protections provided under the Voting Rights Act were no longer needed to prevent discrimination, and on June 25th of that year the court agreed. This has opened the door for polling changes previously blocked by the VRA to be instituted, like the “exact match” policy which has been proven to disproportionately affect the black community.

The struggle continues….

 

Life is GREAT!

God is GREAT 3

A close brother of mine recently remarked that “Life” is fragile, and that “Life” is hard. Both statements just rubbed me the wrong way. It is because for me “Life” is YAHWEH; the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. YAHWEH is not easily broken or destroyed as defined by the word fragile. He is my firm foundation and the solid Rock on which I stand, He is from everlasting to everlasting, and of His kingdom there will be no end. YAHWEH is not hard, as He told us in Yeshua, by saying His yoke was easy and His burden was light, and He provides rest for our souls.

Perception and perspective are reflections of the heart. This is why if we are to see truth, our hearts have to be renewed and remain pure. Pure from the values and treasures of this world. If your hope in GOD is predominantly for the things of this temporary life, you will surely feel that your life is less than abundant and rarely beyond what you can dare ask or think. The Apostle Paul called the tribulations of this present time a “light affliction”. He could only have had that view point if his affections had shifted from his carnal existence to the eternal things of the spirit. Especially considering that he was shipwrecked, imprisoned, and beaten during his time on earth. This is evident as he concluded that these experiences were just a “light affliction” which lasted but for a “moment”.  His consciousness had already shifted in to the spans of eternity as he considered his time on earth but a “moment”.

One of the foundational works of salvation is the freeing of our minds. This can only happen through the surrender symbolized in the cross. We have to learn the lesson of the Children of Israel, Egypt released them, but they would not release Egypt. Holding on to Egypt kept them from grasping the things of GOD. They forfeited their inheritance. Christ has broken the powers of the world which held the church, now the church must release the world. Until the church does, it will be filled with the same desires, affection, fears and biases held by the deceived of the world. When you understand this as the problem, it makes sense why there is racism, greed, lust, anxiety, and hate rampant in the church. Christ has called us to inherit His life as heirs of the Kingdom of GOD, but we must release our lives to lay hold on His. You do this by opening your heart to the Truth of His word as revealed by the Spirit of GOD. Accept that the Word of GOD, which is Truth, is the only enduring reality. This will break the power of deception which obscures true vision. I am not advocating becoming more religious. Going to church and reading the bible will not change you unless the Word received is mixed with “faith”. The belief that your Heavenly Father loves you, even when the temporal things you see in your life seem to indicate otherwise. We can’t define the whole path based on where we currently stand in time. We must keep the perspective of the Word of GOD, since it comes from a viewpoint of the whole path. When we begin to see our lives from the viewpoint of GOD, then our testimony of life will reflect who He is, and in case you haven’t heard lately, GOD is GREAT!

 

Get Real in Order to Get Free

get free

Salvation is real, but in order to realize deliverance, we must get real too. Your problem is not addiction to pornography, your problem is clicking the link. Your problem is not alcoholism, your problem is buying the alcohol. Your problem is not addiction to sex, your problem is hooking up. Before you judge me as being insensitive, uncompassionate, and legalistic, please read the words of the Lamb of GOD as recorded in Matthew 5:29-31,

 “And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.  And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.”

The Lord is not expecting any of you to pluck out your eyes or cut off your hands, He knows if you were that serious about turning away from the evil holding you captive, you would break free without such an extreme act. He is letting us know the mindset needed to walk with Him, because He expects us to be all in. This sobering mind set is captured in the message of Hebrews 12:1-4,

“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”

In verse one we see sin described as something which easily ensnares us, which WE must lay aside. The power of sin is broken in our lives through our love for Christ. It is our reciprocal love for Yeshua which compels us to take up our cross. The problem is that there are few willing to suffer for righteousness sake. There are few willing to suffer to please the Heavenly Father. Yeshua did not suffer on the cross for man to enjoy sin, however that is how the gospel has been perverted, as evidenced in the way most church people live. Every time you willingly click, go to, or touch, that sinful thing, you are asking GOD to bleed and suffer that you might have a little more carnal comfort. That is the reality of it. It is choice. Until you learn to see sin in that way, it will always have an irresistible allure. The Lord knows you need comforting, which is why He sent The Comforter.

“But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:” (John 16:6-8)

The church has to rebuke the seducing doctrines of devils which teach a lower standard than that which YAHWEH expects. If we don’t except that He expects us to walk perfectly in obedience before Him, we will be as one of those servants whom the Lord will tell, “Get away from me you workers of iniquity, I know you not.” If we make a mistake or stumble, our Heavenly Father will not reject us, but let’s be real, when we with forethought, plan and carry out acts of disobedience, it is rebellion not a mistake. Look at this verse in Revelations chapter 3:1-2,

And unto the angel of the church in Sardis write; These things saith he that hath the seven Spirits of God, and the seven stars; I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead. Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God.

The issue of dealing with sin covered above is rooted in a lack of understanding the Truth of GOD’s word. Yeshua taught, to be set free, you must know the Truth. Today’s religious organizations are guilty of not teaching the Truth, which is why there is so much bondage in congregations. There is a natural part of us which hates to see anyone struggle, but there are times when struggle is essential to life. Like the struggle to get free from life robbing sin. Struggle isn’t comfortable, but the Comforter knows how to encourage and strengthen us through our transition.  Don’t comfort yourself or others with pleasing words that are empty and void of real life. There is plenty of comfort in the Spirit of Truth, just as Yeshua promised. We just need to embrace Truth in belief, with a resolve to endure the hardness. This means you must study the Word. If we don’t know the Word for ourselves, we will be deceived and seduced by the false doctrines proclaimed by those not willing to suffer for the hope of salvation.

Lust is the other part of the equation. The bible says we are tempted by sin when we are drawn away by our own lust. Lust is man’s attempt to fulfill himself in a way not founded in love. It is the result of us trying to manage our existence without GOD’s governance. If what you desire cannot be obtained through obedience to GOD, it is evil in root and exposes you to bondage and death through alienation from GOD. Our strongest and deepest desire is to know the love of GOD in an experiential way. This is the void in people’s heart which leads them on conquest after conquest, obtaining but never finding lasting fulfillment. Creation is good, but our hearts were made for the ONE that is beyond good, and truly YAHWEH is GREAT. Turn your inner thirst to GOD, and He will give you living waters that will nourish your soul and brake the power of sin in your life.

The cross is where life can become real, if you are ready to release the death embodied in your independence from GOD. Christ has given us the sword of the Spirit, but it is up to us to apply it to the cords of sin that bind us. If you will lay down your life so that the cup of your soul can be emptied from the soiled waters of carnal living, Yeshua will stand you up again and fill your soul with living waters of His life. We can live victoriously by this,

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” (2 Peter 1:3)

For some supportive reading for what I have shared hear, take some time study 2 Timothy chapter 2 and read the related article at the link posted below.

https://theinscribedheart.com/2016/06/21/let-no-man-take-your-crown/

 

Roaring For Peace

Remembering the Lion King!

Men Need To Know Y

Remembering the Lion King!

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is memorialized as a drum major of peace, and rightly so, as all drum majors do, he brought the noise. The noise that he brought was music to the people but an awful ruckus to the powers of this age. The sounds of justice and equality were so disturbing to the government of his day that he was assassinated. Malcolm X is the one that is always thought of as the militant one but I propose that King was just as militant, if not more so, he just chose different weaponry. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. combated the evil of his day with a barrage of love. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew that his actions would most likely take him away from those he loved dearly, yet he didn’t relent. “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay…

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Making The Choice To Be Human

humans

To treat someone humane means to treat someone as you would want to be treated. It means to show others the same sympathy, consideration, and regard you desire for yourself. Any time you fail to show this to another person, in that moment, you are being inhumane. I know what it is like to be treated inhumanely; to have someone look toward you but never actually see you, because they have projected on you an image conjured from ingrained ignorance and misinformation; to have your voice deflected by a belief that it is inherently missing a tone of relevance. These examples may not seem significant however, they identify the underlying darkness which enables one person to mistreat another or for one part of society to abuse another. This includes all forms of injustice rooted in inequality and hate, for example, the enslavement of humans, the general marginalization of humans, and all forms of human exploitation.

I said earlier that I know what it is like to be treated inhumanely, but I also know what it is like to be inhumane. I grew up in a culture where the dehumanization of others has been normalized. I grew up watching the genocide of the indigenous people of North America as entertainment in “Cowboy and Indian” movies. I watched sporting events which debased the humanity of Native Americans like the “Red Skins” and the “Braves”. As a kid, at a Braves game, I would watch “Chief Knock-a-Homer” arrayed in eagle’s feathers and beads do a dance on top of the Braves dugout to summon a home-run. It doesn’t matter if “Chief Knock-a-Homer” was Native American or not, it was unconscionable. As a child I watched “Looney Tune” and “Warner Brothers” cartoons objectify female characters as sex symbols and stigmatize them as helpless nagging dim wits. In these same cartoons, Mexicans were often portrayed as lazy, slow speaking people, often surrounded by flies. These inhumane images, as a form of entertainment, was an attack on my own humanity in the form of desensitization. The destruction of Black humanity has been so prevalent and obvious I don’t think it’s necessary to site an example, but just in case there is an extraordinary chance that someone is scratching their head over this, let’s take the U.S. Government. It should be unnecessary for there to be constitutional amendments and Civil Rights Acts and Voting Rights Acts and Anti-Lynching laws to ensure the obvious, that all men are created equal and should have equal citizenship, but that is not the case. There must be authoritative monitoring and enforcement of individual’s civil rights or people get destroyed. We wouldn’t need big government if the majority of Americans didn’t have such small hearts.

You are not dehumanized until you replicate the cold-hearted acts of the inhumane. The power to be human and remain humane is yours. Preserve your humanity through the wisdom of GOD shared in 2 Peter 1:2-8 (KJV):

“Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

January has been cited as Human Trafficking Awareness month. Many people aren’t aware of how prevalent and close to us human trafficking is. It is like a raging sewer of human rights violations happening right beneath our feet. February has been cited as Black History month. This observance is necessary because many of the vital contributions Black people have made to the establishment and development of America, at great sacrifice, go unheralded and uncelebrated. These are two of many socially conscious observances that occur throughout the calendar year. Below, I have listed several similar observances recognized in America. Don’t allow yourself to be alienated from these ethnic and social observances which serve to bring us all closer together through the eradication of ignorance and the disruption of ingrained unconscious bias. The more we learn about each other and the events that have shaped this world, the more it is affirmed that the human race is the only race, and all our lives are connected.

 

January

Human Trafficking Awareness Month

February

National Black History Month

March

Greek-American Heritage Month

Irish-American Heritage Month

Women’s History Month

May

Asian Pacific American History Month

Jewish-American Heritage Month

September

National Hispanic Heritage Month

October

German-American Heritage Month

National Italian-American Heritage Month

Polish-American Heritage Month

November

National American Indian Heritage Month

 

Being Strong in the Power of His Might

footstool 2

Isaiah 66:1
Thus saith the Lord, “The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool…”

I was asked by a brother recently for help understanding the Apostle Paul’s thorn in the flesh, spoken of in 2 Corinthian’s 12:7-10. When looking at this block of scripture, I have found that conversation often looms around what the thorn was, however it is not as important as why the thorn was there. The “Why” is always more important than the “What”. We look at certain frailties as deficiencies but it is often those frailties that keep us safe. People often talk about the strength of trees like the oak but never mention the palm tree, however the palm tree can survive much stronger storms than the oak, because it bends and bows with the wind. Our frailties often cause us to bend and bow to GOD, who is the true source of our strength. Many people trusting in their own prowess have fallen because they wouldn’t bow to the principles of GOD.

GOD revealed to the Apostle Paul that His strength was perfected in weakness. Based on that revelation, we should reconsider how we view our weaknesses and what we consider perfect to be. Your Creator new what he was doing when he fashioned you, with your particular strengths and weaknesses. You are made perfectly for what you are called to do. In humility, we have to surrender both our strengths and weaknesses to GOD. GOD is greatest in our lives when we live surrendered to His ability through us, instead of leaning on our own limited abilities. We are in a better position to succeed when we stay in close proximity to Him, in acknowledgement of our weakness, than when we venture away from Him in self-confidence on account of our strengths.

If people had their way, they would all be like the fictional superman, but there is a reason GOD allows man’s thorns. The first reason is that learning to love one another and building godly character is more important than anything else, because NOTHING is sustainable without the principles of Love. We learn love best through understanding relationships. Virtuous interrelationship is the dynamic of life. Learning how to virtuously interact with one another through relationship teaches us the principles of Love. If it were not for frailties, pride in selfish ignorance would keep us divided and unfulfilled. This is why Yeshua taught that the rich seldom enter the Kingdom of Heaven, because they often believe their relationship to money is more important than any other.

The second reason is because GOD has to get all the glory, because He alone is the source of life. Our allegiance, devotion, focus has to remain with GOD, first and foremost. If we are to be of any real benefit to our loved ones or the world in general, it will come from our virtuous interrelation with GOD. If we put our trust in a person because we thought our lives hinged on them, the focus on them would hinder us from reflecting the light of GOD meant to lead others to Him. GOD commands us against idolatry for our own good, and everything exalted against GOD will be brought down.

When YAHWEH is your hero you don’t need your own super powers. Anytime you experience weakness in your life, embrace it as an opportunity to encounter the strength of your Creator in a new way. He wants to show you the strength derived from interrelation with Him, to establish greater intimacy with Him and greater fulfillment through Him. I believe this dynamic is what was behind the intrepid exploits of the Apostle Paul, and also the inspiration behind what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” So, do not shy away or be deterred when you find yourself faced with a situation which seems greater than you, see it as an opportunity to grow in your relationship with GOD, which will inevitably strengthen you and bring him glory.