Looking Ahead Begins With Looking Back

Sankofa 2

The fact that it will soon be year 2020 has prompted many people to have dialogue surrounding vision. These conversations cover everything from visions of businesses, to family and personal wellness. It is always good to aspire and plan, but without clear vision, you could reach your destination only to find it was not really what the soul needed for fulfillment. Clear vision comes from a clear heart. A clear heart is obtained in the same way as clearing a view for your eyes. It involves removing obstructions which hinder a clear view of the focal point.

When we speak of a vision for our life or business etc., we have to en-vision it because it is not yet physically tangible. Envisioning involves looking inside to view something you desire to see outside. So, your internal make up will determine what you are capable of envisioning for your life. Actually, your internal make up dictates how you perceive everything in life. This is why Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” Your heart is your mind’s eye, so clear vision begins with getting your heart right. Life experiences, over time, can leave our hearts cluttered if we don’t process them properly. An unwillingness to deal with the past keeps it present.

Properly compartmentalizing your past is not an easy task, but it has to be done. Compartmentalizing your past keeps experiences contained in a way that gives you control over their influence. When this work is not done, bad experiences from the past can influence your emotions negatively today. Good experiences can hold you captive too long, hindering you from experiencing even greater experiences today. By compartmentalizing your past experiences, they are neatly stored a way for constructive reference if needed. Make sure you choose some healthy containers like: [Out of my control], [the best I could do at the time], [I was wrong, but I have repented], [God will help me with this one in time], [Job well done, ready for what’s next], [Thankful for that accomplishment], [Lesson learned, I’ll handle it differently in the future], [I am not that person anymore]. These are some containers that will allow you to bring closure to past experiences that could be cluttering your heart.

This is not a work you do alone. You need the light of GOD’s spirit, His mercy, and grace, to help you sort through the database of your soul. You also need the support of people with GOD’s love in their heart giving affirmation, encouragement, and counsel.  We did not get here alone; therefore it stands to reason we need help making it through.

This process reminds me of the ancient African practice of “Sankofa”. The word is derived from the language of Ghana, which relates to the process of looking back to the past, in order to bring understanding gained to bear on the present, to ensure positive progress moving forward. This meaning is captured in the symbol of a bird looking back, retrieving an egg from her wings, with her feet facing forward.

Wishing you GOD’s best in the near and distant future!

Desiring A Match Made In Heaven

cloud heart

You know, if you want someone to love you, the first thing you have to do is reveal yourself to them.  After all, how can someone love you if they don’t know who you are? Once you reveal yourself, it is their values, knowledge, and understanding, which will determine if they choose to love you.

“The gospel of Christ illuminates God’s love in a way that renews faith toward God and restores hope in God’s promises. It is a daunting task to believe that the being who created the massive universe, in all of its wonder, has genuine love and concern for man individually, as well as collectively. What makes this so unbelievable is the rejection we receive from our fellow man. On earth, we see that we are physically alike, and see that we have the same needs, yet we hate and dehumanize one another. Some of these people who reject us and hurt us are family members we feel a definite connection to. So, carrying what you learned from those experiences, you try to process how the Supreme Being could love you, whom you have never seen, whom you strain to relate to, and it seems impossible. It is the wounds from the evil around us that stifle our ability to obtain unto the love of God. The amazing grace shown through the cross of Yeshua the Christ brings the Father’s love within reach. The passion of Christ begins to stir us to the realization of God’s divine love. It is also the divine love demonstrated by those born again through Christ that bares further witness to the prevailing love of God the Father.” (An excerpt from my book, “True Heritage” https://www.amazon.com/True-Heritage-Recovering-Spiritual-Identity/dp/1641114576)

YAHWEH has revealed Himself to us in a very relatable way, by coming to Earth in the form of a human with frailties, and then suffering the death of the cross. He suffered the death on the cross to show the depth of His love for us. Now that He has revealed Himself, the question is, will we love Him. What determines this is how much we value the knowledge of His love, and the relationship He is trying to establish with us. Another factor is, if we understand that an opportunity to know YAHWEH, our Heavenly Father, is the gift of life. The religious and the gospel sensationalist believe and teach that GOD’s love for us is everything, but Yeshua taught that it is our love in return which completes the connection, and opens the conduit of life.

 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.  Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me.” (John 14:21-24)

By the power of the Spirit of Truth which is in me, I can introduce a person to God, but it is their choice to love Him. It is their own love for Him that will determine the sacrifices they are willing to make in order to fulfill the relationship. It is their own adoration and longing for God which will determine the time and effort spent pursuing the knowledge of Him.  It is how much an individual values God which determines if priorities are set before a relationship with Him. A love for this current world, with all of its carnal entrapments, will compete for your focus and affections, but I tell you the things of this world are only lying wonders, and they will never satisfy or fulfill you the way a relationship with your Heavenly Father can. Our Heavenly Father new the carnal mind would emphasize the sacrifice in what is required to know Him, instead of what is gained. That is why He said, “Delight yourself in Him and He would give you the desires of your heart,” and He also said, “Seek first the Dominion of His love, and then everything that pertains to life will be added to you.” It is my hope that what I am sharing here with you will introduce GOD in a way that reveals His sincere love and yearning for you, and that you would choose to love Him back, and that you with Him, will be one of the matches made in heaven.

When Solving for Your Future

 

New Math

The anointing of GOD is greater than the person it works through. Don’t miss your blessing by quantifying a person without considering the power of “Y”.  The equation above illustrates that a person to the power of YAHWEH has infinite possibilities. If you haven’t learned to factor in the power of Y , you will get the wrong solution. I completed a training recently on how to recognize and correct unconscious bias. I really enjoyed it. There has been a lot of studies done to validate the reality of biases operating below people’s consciousness, which can impair their ability to process evident facts. One way to put this is that people will often see what they expect to see. If they expect to see nothing that is what they will see, even if something is present. Likewise, if they expect to see something, they will see it even if nothing is there. If you do not believe someone is capable of something, you could be placing yourself in a place unconsciously that will cause you to miss the manifestation of that which you doubt. When Christ went to Nazareth, not many people were healed or set free, because the people of His country only saw Him as a carpenter’s son. The explanation Yeshua gave is seen in Matthew 13:57,

“And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.”

People in your own family, as well as those who have known you for many years can often miss your transformation; the work of the Holy Spirit transforming you from glory to glory. Friends and family can miss benefitting from the supernatural call on your life as the anointing works through you. What is worst, you can fall short of your calling in life due to doubting yourself, and what GOD can do through you.  Matthew 19:26 basically says that for a man to transform himself is impossible, but with GOD all things are possible.

Several years back, I can remember feeling very challenged as I reflected on my life, searching for the substance to carry me to callings beyond the horizon.  Being raised by a second-generation single, black, teenage mother, comes with a lot of challenges in America. We are talking government assistance, pay check to pay check, eviction notice apartment living. That is to say nothing of the missing affirmations a young man needs from his father as he faces the responsibilities of manhood. Kudos to my mom for her courage and determination. It is good to know where you have come from as long as you don’t allow it to dictate your future. I love the scripture that proclaims that now that you are born again “BEHOLD, ALL THINGS HAVE BECOME NEW!” (The emphasis is all mine). Here is the scripture from 1st Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

Don’t allow the narrative of your life to be set in the vision of the blind; those who do not yet see by faith. “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrew 11:1. As you calculate the next steps in your life, remember the equation of faith and factor in the power of “Y”.

Love, Pure From the Source

cloud heart

My first Love and most intimate friend is Yeshua, the Savior and Redeemer. No one that I know or has ever known can compete with the  love he has shown me. He never ever tires of me. Every time I reach out to Him, He is eager to engage me. Every detail of my life is significant to Him, no matter how small. He never entertains accusations brought against me, not even for a second. He is my greatest advocate. His responses to me are always based on what is best for me, no matter what the cost is to Him.

Just from the characteristics of His love I have mentioned so far, no one I know can approach the fervency of His love. This is not to diminish the love from my wife or my family or friends, but it is to show the strength, depth, and excellency of my Savior’s love for me, and there is still more. His love is not stifled by the ugliest of my flaws. In full view of who I am, His love has had the same intensity for me, for every moment of my existence. He pursues me relentlessly. He prepares a heavenly banquet of blessings for me every day of my life, regardless of how much I leave on the table due to my evolving earthly palate. He is Love and He is faithful and true to himself regardless of me.

If you are looking to anyone else or anything else to fill the boundless cup of your soul, you will never be truly satisfied. I am a grateful benefactor of Yeshua’s boundless grace and mercy and I just want to give the greatest lover of my soul a shout out during this Valentine’s weekend. After the roses have wilted, the candy has been eaten, and the candles are all burnt out, there is one still willing to celebrate the most intimate love with you every day, GOD. The best lovers are those that learn from the best, Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).  Never settle for less.

Only God Is Good

Crown in the sky

The truth that only God is good does not disqualify the goodness we could have inside as some purport. The truth that God is good defines the source of all goodness. We don’t have to be bread in order to share bread with someone who is hungry, we just need to have bread. We don’t have to be water to share water with someone who thirst, we just need to have water. We don’t have to be God to share goodness with another soul, we just need to have God in us.

There are many situation we encounter in life that calls for the goodness of God, however what is often applied in those situations is a counterfeit of good. This counterfeit is what we have been oriented through our senses to believe is good. There is a humanitarian spirit in the world that has an intent to do good but instead of looking to God it draws from an imagination  based in human feeling. In application, humanitarian efforts feel good but afterwards we find the power of the spirit unto life was not imparted. You can give someone bread and water so that there stomach is full but there soul can still be famished in what it needs  because life is of the spirit. Our flesh does need bread and water to be nourished but our souls needs the goodness that comes from the spirit of God to be nourished.

I have found in my own life when I have faced the depravity of man, there are times when my mind conjures a solution that would feel good to all but in the end would only serve as a sedative and not address the underlying need for the spirit of life that comes from God through His goodness. There are times when people need to feel the pain of a bad decision so that they will learn to change their thinking however when they are simply bailed out by the humanitarian spirit the learning is aborted. Often times the goodness of God does not appeal to the senses therefore it is not attractive and that is where faith is needed. We have to trust in the goodness of God even when we can’t sense the good. We have to learn to walk in the spirit by abasing the carnal and worldly instincts.

The mandates of Love for human behavior exceeds the rudimentary acts of being humane.  Loving involves complying with universal spiritual laws which is a lot different from just doing what you feel or just fulfilling basic human needs. It has somehow been forgotten that we are sojourners here in these bodies of flesh and that we are spiritual in origin. God is the source of all life, so if we are going to have life in order to minister life to others then God has to be our source. As good can be the enemy of the best, so is the good imagined by man often opposed to the goodness of God. The good ordained of God through His Word is best.

In Book of Matthew Chapter 19, there is an account of a man running up to Jesus calling him “Good Master” and inquiring what good he could do to inherit eternal life. Jesus replied, “Why do you call me good, for there is none good but one, that is God.”  Jesus instructed the man to keep the commandments to inherit eternal life. The man stated that he had kept the commandments from his youth and wanted to know if there was more he should do. Jesus replied, if you will be perfect (spiritually mature) go and sell all that you have and give the money to the poor and then come follow me. The scriptures tell us the man went away grieved because he had many possessions.  The man failed to see the “good” in what the “Good master” had advised. It is evident that the man had some preconceived notions about “good” that got checked.  We need to humble ourselves in order to source our solutions from the spirit of God which is one with His word. You can always check your “good” by how it lines up with Holy scripture inspired by the spirit of God.  

Here is 2 Timothy 3:16-18,

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

God is love, so everything He does is an expression of love but God’s love is not always received or acknowledged by man. Man is often like a rebellious child despising the standards, guidance, and correction handed down by their parents. If we truly want to be good and virtuous to benefit those we have affection and concern for then we have to lay our intent in the hands of God and except His love and guidance.

The KISS of Salvation

HersheysKiss_2

We definitely have a part in our salvation. One of the main evidences of this is that all men will not be saved. The scripture is clear that God would have all men to be saved as in the Book of 1 Timothy 2:1-6. What keeps all men from being saved is the fact that the Lord gives us a choice and some men opt out. God has ordained that we enter life (Jesus Christ) through the surrender of our will. If you think about it, it is the only way we can be saved. God is LIFE and we have to be willing to follow the ways of life in order to live. If we refuse to follow the ways of life then what is the alternative…..Death. It really is that simple. The beauty is that as we surrender our will to God He empowers us to live in His ways. He empowers us through the spirit in the word we submit too through obedience. The Lord says His word is spirit. So our part is to daily surrender our will in obedience to the leading of the spirit expressed through written word, audible word, inner witness, signs and examples through creation; however the Lord chooses to influence us toward life. When the Lord causes light to shine in your darkness it is your part to surrender to it.

 

Now some men would argue that we have no power to choose that which is good because we are totally evil or dead in sin. It is apparent that the expressions of God to us have enough power to pierce our darkness and penetrate dead ears to give us acknowledgement of truth. The reprobate mind is one that rejects truth after it has been presented several times. It cracks me up sometimes to see how the intellectual mind can perplex things due to too much contemplation and not enough doing or simply trusting. We are warned in 2 Timothy about the effects of too much dialogue through the reasoning of men versus studying word of truth.

 

2 Timothy 2: 15-26

15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;

18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

20 But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.

21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.

24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient,

25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.

 

The word of truth is the word of God. We need to be patient and temperate and allow God to give us proper understanding instead of immersing ourselves in the mental babbling of men trying to force understanding, moving ahead of the wonderful counselor. Always being able to give a reason for the hope you have to anyone that asks is not referring to being able to explain everything you believe. The reason for your hope should be that you are convinced of God’s indestructible love for you because He died for you while you were His enemy, so you know all the more now that you are seeking Him He will facilitate your salvation and redemption. God has won our hearts through Christ so we follow Him even in that which is unreasonable. The mind has to be renewed but the heart is already on fire and convinced that is if you have heard Him speak of His amazing love. What I am talking about is nicely captured in Hebrews 13.

 

Hebrew 13:9

Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

 

We have to fight the natural man’s tendency of reaching for the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil or wanting to lean on our own understanding versus just trusting the Lord as dear children. By the grace of God let us K-I-S-S (Keep It Simple Saints).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You Watching

What does it mean to watch as the Lord commands in Matthew 24:42?
“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”
We are cautioned to watch so that the coming of the Lord does not take us as a thief in the night. It says in scripture that no man knows the day or the hour that the Lord will return but it is given to those who watch to know the season. If you know the season then you can be like the 5 wise virgins of Matthew chapter 25 that had their lamps trimmed and filled with oil and found their way into the marriage supper when they heard the cry. Now the night is symbolic of dark times when evil pervades, not the middle of the night, and the marriage supper is the catching away of Christ’s bride, the church, and the cry is when the Archangel will ascend from heaven with a trump.
The book of Matthew chapter 24 gives a good account of Christ teaching about His eventual return and the rapture of the church. Since Christ teaches this, it is clear that it is something that we should be mindful of however, He also teaches that we should take up our cross daily and follow Him which ensures that whenever He calls for us we will be ready. In fact, many have and will continue to be called home before He returns. So it is imperative that we “watch” every day so that we are ready if we are called together with the rest of the saints or if we are called individually.
In the book of Genesis our Lord tells us that He created the lights in heaven that separates day and night (the sun and the moon) for signs, seasons and times. So we are not to ignore the blood moons and eclipses and holy days because the Lord does use all of these to communicate to us. I do believe that we are living in the culmination of the church age however nothing takes precedence over the sign of waking up in the morning and realizing we have been blessed with the present of the current day. So while I am excited about the signs of heaven I am most occupied with the moment at hand and what the Holy Spirit is saying about right now. So here in is the secret of watching for the Lord.
To watch for the Lord means to stay alert, living consciously in the reality that the Lord is always WATCHING US. So we should always be about doing the things we are appointed to do that whenever we meet Him we can have our conscious clear knowing we were doing what we were supposed to be doing. Awake in comparison to unconscious. Unconscious, living as though God is not watching us always with an intent to hold us accountable to our actions. Asleep, in the dreamland of over indulgence: too much TV, movies, sports, video games, eating, sexual pleasures, wealth seeking. Walking as one drunken from the intoxicating effect of sensory overload in carnal pleasures to the extent that you are numb to the prodding and convicting of the spirit. As a drunk person unable to walk on a straight path stumbling often from the path of righteousness or just lights out unconscious.

I know there is a lot of pain and suffering in this world but we have to stop self-medicating with the spirit dulling drugs of this world. We have to seek the comfort given by God through the Holy Spirit that strengthens us to endure the pain in soberness of mind. When we suffer in the flesh righteously, it generates spiritual life.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 reads,
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”
The Holy Spirit comforts us through giving us assurance in the knowledge of truth which gives us hope and inspiration to endure these temporal sufferings as we look forward to the rewards to come. Watching means we are focused on the eternal as we live through the temporal. To watch is to maintain a vigilance over our lives to ensure we are living our faith out in a real and tangible way evidenced through what we do each day. By the grace of God, if we live in this way we can be confident that whenever we meet the Lord it will be an anticipated and joyous occasion.