Humility Is the Path to Life, End Foolish Pride

We live in the times where lies and all manner of deception abound. At the root of this darkness is widespread pride. Pride which declares its own truth despite the word of GOD and the light of the Spirit. The only way man can be reconciled to GOD is to come to Him in total surrender, but this pride keeps man from bowing. You can confess a sinner’s prayer, be baptized, get circumcised, shave your head, or perform any other sacrament, but if you are not ready to surrender control of your life to GOD then you are just going through religious motions. Taking up your cross in surrender is the beginning of the Christian walk and if you haven’t taken that step you haven’t begun to follow Christ. If your spiritual leader, pastor, bishop, or elder didn’t explain it to you this way, then you were not fully informed. Here is what Christ says,

24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. (Matthew 16:24-25 KJV)

It is written that GOD resist the proud but a contrite heart He will not despise. A contrite heart is a heart that has bowed to GOD. A heart bowed to GOD is ready for the work of regeneration. A contrite heart is a heart ready to have its values redefined. A contrite heart is a heart ready to be filled with light because it is ready to have a single focus on GOD. It is this condition that qualifies a person as ready to be born again by the spirit of GOD. This is what John 1:12-13 (KJV) is referring to:

12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

This is different than deciding to be a better person and trying to do the right thing. That is just the will of man. When a person’s heart is bowed before GOD, they give GOD authority in their life to define what “better” is and what “right” looks like, and there is the acknowledgement that they are insufficient of themselves to be what they need to be and they are ready to allow “The Potter” to shape them. 

The first stronghold in a man’s life which must be broken before the true work of the Lord can begin is the spirit of pride. Holy Scriptures calls this spirit the stronghold of Leviathan. Leviathan is described as a serpent like creature with impenetrable scales. It is written that Leviathan is king over all those ruled by pride. Pride is the self-reliance and ego which drives and serves to protect all those not surrendered to GOD.  This spirit of pride in the self-reliant heart decides independently of GOD what qualifies as truth and what is false. I have shared scriptures with people before which didn’t require interpretation because it was already in their language and was straight forward, yet they still denied its meaning as written. Their heart wasn’t ready to bow to the word. Here is an example. Look at Galatians 5:19-24 (NKJV):

19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

The scripture cited above doesn’t require interpretation. It is clearly stated. If you have not crucified your flesh through denying it these manifestations, you have not given yourself to Christ. If this feels like condemnation it is because life in the flesh has been condemned and you still identify with it. Those who are Christ identify with living after the spirit. Repent now or you will not be found worthy to enter the Kingdom of GOD. None of the works of the flesh mentioned above are necessary or vital for your life. All these things in one way or another contributes to the decay of society. The contrite heart doesn’t require lengthy explanations because it has already surrendered. Don’t be deceived by others and don’t deceive yourself. GOD gives us the ability through His spirit to walk upright and pleasing before Him. We must learn to take our heart aches and pains to Him and stop self-medicating. Look what GOD says about enjoyment and good things:

 11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (Psalm 84:11 KJV)

17 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18 That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19 Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 KJV)

GOD is not calling us to live a boring or dull life, He is calling us to order and decency, and to enjoying things in constructive ways instead of in destructive ways.

The Lord has fitted us perfectly with garments of righteousness, but we have to put them on. We must strip ourselves of the old garments of sin and wash in His forgiveness and put on our wedding garments. Our Savior has provided white raiment, fitted us exactly, and put the garments within our reach. If we deceive ourselves or listen to the vain deceit of others and fail to dress ourselves properly, we are in for a rude awakening. This parable, spoken by YESHUA, sums up all I have been writing about. The reason parables are given is to aid with understanding, it is put in terms easy to understand. Heed the warning given in this parable. Just because YESHUA washes our feet doesn’t mean He will allow us to walk all over him.

Matthew 22: 1-14 (KJV)

22 And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. 10 So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. 11 And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: 12 And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. 13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 14 For many are called, but few are chosen.

GOD is not a respecter of persons, though He called the guest a Friend, He still had him castaway because he failed to humble himself and make proper preparations. The serpent is telling the same lie he told Adam and Eve in the garden, and people are still believing it. People still believe they can willingly disobey GOD and not face dire consequences. There is a shaking going on in the earth right now to get our attention. Humble yourself and repent of the things you know are not right and surrender your life to the savior to allow Him to establish you in spirit and truth, which is real life. Put on your raiment of righteousness given to you in Christ so that you can be received into the wedding feast that has been prepared for those who humbled themselves to the truth of GOD. Study Hebrews chapter 10 .

What Does Real Freedom Look Like?

Fake Freedom

In the Black Community, there is sometimes teasing about one’s worthiness to carry the Black Card. The meaning has strayed from its true roots in the struggle for Civil Rights.  One of the chants often heard by protesters during Civil Rights rallies was “A PEOPLE…UNITED…WILL NEVER BE DEFEATED!!” To be a proud Black Card carrying American meant that you were identified with the struggle, and no matter what it cost you individually, you were going to stand in solidarity with the persecuted Black race, until they all overcame. The Black folk that broke ranks to avoid persecution or took a bribe to be silenced were considered sell outs, so their Black Cards were revoked. By bribe, I’m not talking about a few hundred dollars, people often had to choose between a job to feed their families and risking their lives or taking a stand against injustices in the community. Nowadays, references of a Black Card are thrown around by the children and grandchildren of those early activist in relation to mere cultural taboos like; if you didn’t watch the NAACP awards, if you are unfamiliar with some trending Black icon, or if you don’t fit into any of the branded stereotypes like having great rhythm, being athletic, or understanding the latest slang terms. Truth is, if the Black Card was still enforced by the old standard, millions would be considered “sell outs” today because the efforts used to break up the solidarity in the Black Community has been enormously successful.

I have done volunteer work at a transition home for men recovering from chronic homelessness and addiction for over a decade. I have also served as Chairman of the organization, and over the time I have worked there, the predominant supporters have been White churches and the White community. Why is that significant…Because over that same period and from its beginning, Black men have made up 99% of the clients receiving service. Where is the support from the Black community? I told a group of black men about the organization once after a round of golf and invited them to come down to the organization to offer some support and encouragement. Their response, to summarize, “they got themselves into that mess and they need to get themselves out.” Also, “if we made it through with hard work, so can they.” The lack of empathy and understanding shown by these men was somewhat disappointing. I say only somewhat because I understand the origin of the disconnect. These men have souls wounded by the shame and disgrace of four centuries of enslavement, followed by decades of systematic oppression. Their wounded souls have not received the proper care or attention because of a lack of self-awareness in the light of truth. The cigars, expensive liquor, and constant posturing is nothing more than the jangling chains of the enslaved proclaiming, “See, I’m a man too!”. Proverbs 3:31 says, “Envy thou not the oppressor, and choose none of his ways.” I say they are still enslaved because they have a mindset shaped by their oppressor. You are owned by whomever manufactures your treasure. The reason those golfers can’t see the value in those homeless men is because the homeless lack the treasures from which the golfers themselves draw their own value.

One of the signs that you are truly free is that you have learned to see your innate value as a being created in the image of GOD without any relation to the trappings of this present world system. This will also enable you to see the value in others regardless of their social status or current circumstances. You will even find that you have a burden for those who are suffering as a result of not knowing their true value. Christ stated that His main interest was to liberate the captives, and to give sight to the blind, and to mend the broken hearted. These are the world’s castaways. One of my oldest friends is a master mechanic. He owns and operates his own repair shop. Once he saw an old rusted out car in a lady’s yard and offered to buy it. She sold it to him for a meager price. After he finished restoring this car that the previous owner had pretty much discarded, and which hundreds of people had driven by every day without interest, it was published in a calendar for winning first place in a car show. When he showed the restored car to the former owner, she was so astonished that she actually cried. This is the same response I have seen repeatedly from family members of the graduates that complete the program from the outreach ministry I mentioned earlier. We have to develop the vision to see the potential in every human, based on the power of GOD. When your heart is closed off from the true light of GOD, it is easier to see the value in an old car that’s been neglected, than a human that’s been broken by this world.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s dream was inspired by the word of GOD. We will all be free at last when we learn to see and value one another as one human family. When we learn to stand against oppression and injustice with everyone carrying a human card, then things will really change. The race card will then be much less significant. This will only happen when our minds are renewed by the word of GOD. This is what the scripture means when it says in John 8:36, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.”

Where is the Church that Christ built?

Easter after Easter, Resurrection Sunday after Resurrection Sunday, Christians reflect on the death and resurrection of Christ yet they still don’t understand it. I say this because the resurrection life that Yeshua made available to us is not being lived NOW. Yeshua told the religious leaders if they tore down the temple or church, that he would rebuild it in three days. Where is the Church rebuilt by Christ? Where is the Church filled with the righteousness of Christ, the Love of Christ, the obedience of Christ, the faithfulness of Christ, the power of Christ, the glory of the Son? I am not talking about a building somewhere with a congregation. The church that Christ rebuilt is made of living stones instead of lifeless stones. Where are the individuals who fulfill the righteousness of the Law through living by the Spirit: glorifying Yahweh as the resurrected body of Christ?

Most people today that say they believe on the Son of God, (Jesus-Messiah-Yeshua) aren’t willing to suffer for righteousness sake.  The death of the cross has been limited to somethimg experienced only by Yeshua. Consequently, the resurrection life that comes after the cross has also been limited to a life lived only by Yeshua. Churches today don’t hold their members accountable to living like Yeshua. The understanding is that we all try to be like Yeshua while knowing it is impossible; it’s just the religious thing to do. How does this mindset compare to what Yeshua said when He declared that those that believed on Him would be able to do even greater works than what He performed. In fact, most confessing Christians have the misconception that we won’t be able to live like Yeshua until we get to Heaven. Church members are taught they will only be free from sin once they get to heaven; after shedding the flesh. Yeshua didn’t say, tear down this church and I will rebuild it again in the Kingdom of Heaven; He said He would rebuild it in three days!

On the third day after Yeshua was crucified, He was raised again. After His resurrection, He ascended to Heaven to make available the same resurrection power to any man that would be willing to be an extension of His body in the earth. To be an extension of His body, you have to submit your body to the rulership of His mind. This is what is meant by making Yeshua Lord and Savior. Yeshua is the head of the body or the mind of the church. The believer surrenders his body to serve the will of Christ. Resurrection life is the life of Christ flowing through a believer that has surrendered his body to be governed by the mind of Christ. Since no man knows the mind of Yahweh but the spirit of Yahweh, the Holy Spirit has been sent to indwell and fill all those that make room by getting off of the throne through taking up the cross.

Romans 6:5-7

For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.

The death of Christ was on this wise; no man took His life but He laid it down. To be buried in the likeness of His death is to lay your life down through taking up your own cross. It follows that as the Spirit quickened Christ and raised Him again, if we deny carnal living through mortifying the deeds of the flesh then the Spirit will quicken us with new life to live spiritually. So then, after we bury our old habits through the baptism of repentance, we then look for the baptism of fire; the power of the Holy Spirit unto newness of life. Just as Christ was grieved in Gethsemane, we will be grieved in denying the cravings of the flesh but they that wait upon the Lord will renew in strength and mount up with wings as eagles. This is to say, if we will put our bodies on the alter, sprinkled with the blood of the lamb, fire will come down from Heaven and consume the offering; we will be filled with the Spirit. He that has an ear let him hear the good news of the Gospel. Resurrection life for NOW!

Don’t let another observance of the resurrection of Christ pass by without embracing your own cross and realizing that resurrection life is available now. Resurrection life is real. I am intentionally not referencing a bunch of scriptures to support what I have written here, because every man is going to have to subdue His own flesh, along with all the carnal reasoning the mind can muster, until they come to the same conclusion as Yeshua… “Not my will but yours be done.” I am a new creature in Christ. I am living a life that only Yahweh could show me. I am learning things from the Holy Spirit that no man has taught me. Taking up the cross is a very personal and intimate experience, between an individual and the God-head. The decision to take up the cross is made alone in an obscure place, but the resurrection life that follows shines for all to see, bringing glory to Yeshua.

Let go and let God Almighty.

Being Hard Core Requires Firm Decisions

The subject of the previous post “To Soar in the Spirit You Have to Be Hardcore” deals more with the preparation needed to effectively deal with the nature of sin rather than the subject of dealing with sin directly. A key part of aligning ourselves for deliverance from sin is making a firm decision on whether we are going to yield our bodies to serve sin or if we are going to yield our bodies to serve righteousness as discussed in Romans 6.  Yielding to the power of the Holy Spirit leads to righteousness and life, while yielding to the carnal nature leads to sin and death.

Before the Holy Spirit comes, we don’t even have the light to identify what carnal is because there is only the carnal nature and the carnal mind driving our actions. We do have a conscience that lets us know when we are treating someone in a lesser way than what we would like to be treated but that is fathoms below the heavenly ways of the spirit of Yahweh. When the Holy Spirit comes we are illuminated and understand when we are being compelled to be selfish, or lustful, or greedy, or spiteful or idolatrous. Once we are aware, we still have to make a decision on how we will respond. Remember, the spirit is subject to the prophet, we have to yield to the moving of the spirit. If we have not made a firm decision on whether we are done serving the flesh, we may choose to ignore the compelling of the spirit and satisfy the carnal appetite. When the scriptures speak of crucifying the flesh, it is speaking to exactly what Christ speaks of when he says, “If any man will be my disciple let him take up his cross and deny himself and follow me.” The crucifixion of the carnal man occurs anytime we deny ourselves the freedom to serve the flesh to obey the compelling of the spirit. As Yeshua mandated, to be His disciple, you have to give up your tendency to wander about and follow him only.  As followers of Christ, we choose to take up our cross daily which mindset is, I will look for and obey the compelling of the Spirit that Yahweh’s will is done and not my own.

Before the Spirit of Truth comes we are fettered to the lies and deceits about what we are and what we are capable of along with all the rejection and condemnation that comes with all of that, BUT after we are quickened by the spirit, we come to understand that we were created in the image of Yahweh and even as He is Holy we CAN be holy too, and even as He is Righteousness, we can be righteous also. We gain the ability to discern what is of the spirit and what is of the flesh. We then have a choice. Even though now we have the power to live spiritually and fulfill the law, we still have to choose to obey. If we have taken up our cross and the time comes, we do what is holy and righteous. If we have not taken up the cross and the time comes then we are double minded, meaning we may choose to serve our flesh sometimes we and we may do what we know to be right other times depending on the level of discomfort to the flesh.

To mortify the flesh means to subdue it or deaden it especially by abstinence or self-inflicted pain or discomfort (Merriam Webster).

1 Peter 4:1,

“Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”

We have to be willing to suffer in the flesh for the reward of righteousness the way we suffered in the flesh to fulfill the lust and pride of carnal living. You have heard the expression that people will cut off their nose to spite their face, it comes from watching people endure pain and suffering out of spite or pride. Animals and people fight and endure pain for the chance to mate. Men fight wars for riches and land. People go on crash diets and workout hard to prepare their bodies for display on the beach. There are numerous examples of people subjecting themselves to sufferings willfully for causes that are fleshy. We just have to be honest with ourselves about what we really believe and were our allegiance really lies because Yahweh deals in spirit and in truth. People stand in awe of Yeshua for what He suffered but the glory and beauty really lies in why He suffered. He endured it all so that we could be set free and have an opportunity to have true life in abundance. He knew that some of us would still reject Him and not value the benefits that He purchased with His own flesh but he did it anyway. The suffering of the flesh that is required of us is just reasonable to sustain life, unity, and peace for our self and with our fellow man according to the Word.