Understanding that less is more can save lives, including your own.

less is more 2

Today, many are being encouraged to practice social distancing and self-quarantining to limit the possible spread of an infectious virus. This means denying ourselves some of the things we enjoy for the health of everyone else. This is no different from the call of GOD to walk in holiness after the spirit in order to minister life to our neighbors. It comes down to do we have enough love in our hearts to suffer ourselves, so that others may live. Those who have received the love which is from Christ should already be modeling this in their daily lives. The onus is on the Children of GOD to lead the social change needed today to rid the world of the ills which plague society. Those GOD has called to lead change have been to complicit in the perpetuation of immoral social policies and social behavior.

2 Chronicles 7:14 reads,

“If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

“My people, which are called by my name” are those in covenant with GOD. Everything in time happens according to GOD’s promises, as it relates to the covenants He has established with man through the ages. When His people fail to fulfill their part of the covenant, the result is suffering. When you read the book of Revelation’s, you see it begins with letters written unto the churches. These prophetic letters speak to the state of the church and include praise for good behavior and pending judgments for bad behavior. The circumstances upon us in the world today is a wake up call for those who sleep and a call to repentance for the people of GOD.

Clergy, ministers, and spiritual leaders, Revelations 2:12-17 is for you. Many of you are taking the wages of Balaam. The United States and other kingdoms of this world are your king Balac. You hold the truth in unrighteousness that you may maintain the favor of your king Balac.  You refuse to teach the true gospel of Christ, which requires repenting from sin and walking in holiness. You teach the blood of Christ as a covering for sin when the blood of Christ is for the cleansing away and eradication of sin. The effect of the cross of Christ is a new life, not merely a pardoned life. The call to take up the cross and follow Christ is a call to suffer in the flesh that the righteousness of the spirit may be made manifest.

I have seen how this world treats the dying. In hopelessness, they drug them out of their minds to keep them comfortable as they waste away, in the name of being humane. Many church leaders, in hopelessness of seeing resurrection power today, comfort their congregations which are dying in sin with an intoxicating gospel. The aforementioned methodologies are oriented toward carnal life, instead of spiritual life. Christ gives us a living hope and tells us to bear down and push through, travailing in birth, unto the formation of the new man who is after the spirit.

Tribulation is a part of this current life because of the depth of what it reveals. You can see what a person loves by what they are willing to suffer to obtain. Christ endured the cross to obtain us, because His love for us is so IMMENSE.

Let’s look at Philippian’s 3:8-19(NKJV),

Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, 11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.

17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.

The apostle Paul is giving a warning here to be aware of carnal ministers who really are the enemies of the cross of Christ. These ministers are destined for destruction and are leading others to a similar fate. It’s time to judge yourself that you be not judged of GOD. If you are still practicing sin in your life and you believe you are going to escape the judgment of GOD, you are deceived. Salvation has been extended to us at an IMMENSE cost. While it is true, we can never repay it, it doesn’t mean GOD will not hold us accountable for how we value the gift. Take a look at Hebrews 10:26-31,

26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. 28 Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

One of the greatest blessings of GOD’s grace is His warning. To forsake His warning is to forsake His grace. If in reading this you are convicted, and feel a sense of dread, it is a sign that you are in broken fellowship with GOD. GOD wants more than anything to fill your life with joy and pleasure. In fact, He has filled this earth with many things that are good, but He wants us to have these things and not for these things to have us. We have to learn to hold His blessings in the right way or they can take our focus away from Him and we can become lost. Know that the pleasures and joys given by the things created will never match the abundance of joy and pleasure which comes from a relationship with the one who created them. Confess your sins and ask GOD to deliver you from all deception, that you might know Him in spirit and truth. Know that your heart will never be content with creation, for we were made to be filled with the Creator. Our Father GOD wants us to abide in His presence always. The psalmist King David reveals through prophecy what we experience in the presence of GOD. He tells us in Psalm 16:11 that in the presence of GOD is the fulness of joy and at His right hand are pleasures forever more. This is truly what your soul is longing for. To find this new life in the presence of GOD, which is spiritual, you must be willing to bring your carnal life into obedience to the commands of love. Just like changing your diet from a diet filled with unhealthy convenient foods, you will have to fight the cravings of the flesh for the old diet until you develop a healthy appetite and healthy habits for the things of the spirit.

Don’t let anyone tell you it is to hard or impossible to change. The work of Christ was not merely for your life in the hereafter. He gave us power through the seed of His word to transform our heart and mind to experience resurrection life TODAY.

1 Peter 4:17-19,

17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

 

Answering The Call to Life

Call to life

If you can go days without praying or you don’t pray at all, you are most likely not fully engaged with the most important facets of your life. I say this because there is a spiritual war going on for your soul, and for control of the masses. Every moment of this current age is filled with deviant intentionality, so we too have to be intentional every moment about combating their influences, as well as being on the offensive for what is true and righteous.

I focused on prayer being key to this engagement, because once your eyes are opened to this battle, you will see it is bigger than any one individually. You will see that it is on a scale that requires allies and support from a power greater than yourself. Once you engage in works like facing the things that make you feel unhappy, to remove its negative influence, or advocating for fairness and justice, or filling your time with things that benefit others as well as yourself, or speaking up for the oppressed and down trodden, the weight of these issues will demand a strength greater than what you can muster alone. The heart of the Creator is close to all of these issues, and when you open your heart to them, there is an opportunity for a communion which gives hope, strength, and vitality.

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

Dealing constructively with these weighty issues of life will reward you greatly, and they will certainly cause you to draw closer to your Heavenly Father. The deviant forces at work, which I spoke of earlier, would have you be unconscious and inactive in this conflict for life, but you were born for this. We are all present to perpetuate life, for those here with us and for those who follow. We can only accomplish this through connecting with other humans through the love of GOD. Through these connections we establish conduits of living waters to the greater human community, which thirst for Life. We must guard against evil influences that would have us be divided through hate, racism, and xenophobia.

There is a belief that religion is one of the biggest dividers of people in the world today. This belief is not far from the truth, but the problem is not with “true” religion, the problem is with “false” religion. How do you tell the difference? Any religion claiming divine authority will be built on the pillars of faith:

“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. ‘This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:36-40)

Being devoted to love, with all your heart, soul, and mind, strengthens community. Loving you neighbor as yourself also strengthens community. These are the pillars of “true” religion. True religion does require some division, but it is a separation from things that are not life producing and sustainable. Healthy division is a part of life. For example, pruning in a garden to make the plants more fruitful. A religion that won’t identify and reject things which produce death or minimizes life is false. The idea that love embraces everything is complete foolishness. Love is always dedicated to that which sustains and propagates life. If it is intent on restricting life or causing death, love will sever its connection to it. That is the only impetus behind any division true religion is responsible for.

False religion causes division as a result of being complicit with hate, greed, perversions, inequality, lies, and any other evil. This is the reason the cross is the doorway to true religion. The cross is where man surrenders self-interest for the universal and life sustaining interest of the Creator. Don’t reject the idea of seeking fulfillment in true religion because of the preponderance of false religions. Yeshua came to make of all humans, one people in Him. He gave His body on the cross that He might raise from the dead another body, which consist of all people willing to lay down their divisive self-interest for the pillars of faith.

So the Jews answered and said to Him, “What sign do You show to us, since You do these things?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” Then the Jews said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will You raise it up in three days?” But He was speaking of the temple of His body. Therefore, when He had risen from the dead, His disciples remembered that He had said this to them; and they believed the Scripture and the word which Jesus had said. (John 2:18-22)

This is why those born again through the cross of Christ are called the “Body of Christ”. It is time for us all to start living the life we were meant to live, through becoming the people we were meant to be: the children of the Most High GOD. It is our true heritage. A languishing world is waiting.

 

 

 

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!

 

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!

Knowing the Right Direction Begins With Knowing Where You Are

U R Here

You cannot properly plan for your future or plot a correct course for your life, until you have your bearings on where you are. By “where you are,” I am referring to an understanding of your current strengths and weaknesses based on the standards of your Creator; Understanding your values in reference to the mandates of Love; and understanding what you can control and influence in the whole apparatus of your life. Without a grasp on these components of your life, you are ill-prepared to identify a destiny suitable for yourself. There is a plague of narcissism infecting society today which has people’s focus locked on what everyone else has done to impact them, with no sense of what they have done to impact others or themselves. This lack of self-awareness stunts personal growth for the individual, and blocks the development of empathy and unity in the community.

There is one missing element in a person’s life that makes them vulnerable to the state described above, the lack of an ongoing intimate exchange between a person’s soul and the Spirit of GOD. The Holy Spirit is the lamp of GOD in the soul, bringing true awareness to the conditions of the soul, and supplying the strength needed to commit to corrective actions by providing the soul direction, hope, and comfort.  What avails us this opportunity is the death blow to Leviathan by the cross. Leviathan is described in the bible as the King which rules over all of those held captive by pride.  Pride will not allow a person to surrender control of their life to anyone other than themselves. A person ruled by pride is  controlling and tormented by fears.

Only the perfect love of Christ is able dethrone Leviathan and break the power of pride. The love of Christ frees the heart of people from fears, enabling them to trust someone outside of themselves. They become open to accepting the rule of GOD in their lives. The rule of GOD establishes the standards which set a clear path for growth and fulfillment. Reliance on GOD is a firm foundation to building your view of yourself and the world as a whole. This is at the root of the proverb which says, “Commit your ways unto the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.” It is also evident in the proverb which says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not unto your own understanding, and in all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.” Through trusting the counsel of the Lord, you are able to make sound plans for your life which will bring deep fulfillment.

A Glimpse at Real Marriage

threefold

People live together, have sex, share finances, have monogamous relationships, and even have children together but do not consider themselves to be married. People go to work dutifully at corporations and places of employment for upwards of 40 and 50 years, but do not consider themselves married to their jobs. So being loyal to the work in a relationship doesn’t make you married. What then sets marriage apart from these other relationships? The terms of the covenant. In the first example, people enter relationships all the time with no real expressed covenant. It’s often understood, even if not spoken, that either of them can split or go their separate way at any time they feel the need. In the second example of employment, there is a covenant, but it is based on work and some form of compensation and normally doesn’t require ordination by a higher authority like GOD, clergy, or a justice of the peace.  Also, who has ever heard of someone taking a vacation from their marriage, or clocking out from being a spouse until the next day? We probably all have, but I would question if those relationships qualify as marriage at all.  Another important difference to recognize is that everyone needs to work, but everyone does not need to be married. People should only enter a marriage covenant as a result of desiring to be joined to another, not because they need food or shelter, or some other necessity of life.

old couple

People are often praised and esteemed highly if they have been in marriage for many years. Many years of marriage used to be 20 or more years, but due to the pervasion of selfishness in recent times, this has been reduced to ten or more. The principle of quality over quantity has never had a more necessary application than that of marriage. One of my early mentors once said, “Marriage can be the closest thing you experience to either heaven or hell, while still on earth.” How many people have lived unhappily, unfulfilled, or miserably in a marriage relationship for many years, but stayed because divorce was considered a worse option? I have found that many people considering divorce really need to be considering remarriage, because the divorce has actually already taken place; it just has not been formalized. True marriage involves pursuing an intimate knowing of one another, but there are people who consider themselves to be married but are actually strangers, because they never share their true heart with one another. True marriage involves unity or becoming one, but there are couples who consider themselves to be married and they can’t agree or unite on hardly anything. True marriage involves sharing an expression of love for one another, which means each seeks to joyfully fulfill the other at the expense of self, but there are those who consider themselves to be married yet perform the necessities of marriage life grudgingly and painstakingly, only because they feel they have too.

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I am speaking here about basic biblical marriage. If you are either unfamiliar with biblical teaching or do not believe the holy bible has authority, then your idea of marriage can be what ever you imagine. On the other hand, if you want your marriage to have the life-giving blessings of The Creator, The Most High, YAHWEH (the self-existent one), then there are some specific criteria that must be part of the covenant. For the body of Christ, the Church, one of the main misunderstandings leading to missing the mark and unfulfillment, is not understanding their own heart and coming to terms with what they really value. A drug addict looking to remain drug free, focuses on not doing drugs. They are still in bondage to drugs because it is still their main focus. A person not wanting to be a sinner, focuses on not committing sin. They are still in bondage to sin because sin remains their main focus. A person looking to remain married, focuses on avoiding problems and disagreements, to avoid divorce. They are not free to journey into the joyful depths of real marriage because they are focused on the minimums to avoid divorce. This is also bondage. The Apostle Paul talks about being a bondservant to Christ. This means every day, he lives his life thinking, “How can I get closer to Christ? How can I know Christ more? How can I please and be more of a blessing to Christ? How can I love Christ more? This form of bondage leads to indescribable freedom!

So, what is the key to entering real marriage? It is the same key to a fulfilling life with GOD.

SURRENDER, as a result of experiencing TRUE LOVE.

To be clear, I am not speaking of true love with your spouse, I am speaking of true love between a person and GOD. I am also not speaking of surrendering to your spouse but surrendering to GOD. There is a certain amount of mutual submission required between married couples to find harmony, but it will not happen joyfully if surrender to GOD does not come first. GOD is love, so you need union with Him before you can love anyone, including yourself. GOD must be your FIRST love. That is my desire for every human, whether you are considering true marriage or not. It is from the spring of love that flows from GOD that we have the hope, strength, desire, and knowledge to fulfill the covenant of the joyful marriage He has ordained. Only GOD is good. If you want to be a good husband or a good wife, and have a good marriage, don’t focus on your spouse, focus on GOD, and His goodness will permeate your life. It is this same spring that feeds a true civilized society. So then, what is true marriage? It is individuals expressing their relationship with GOD through physical and social intimacy, bound by a covenant, which He has authorized.

Consciously Addressing the Unconscious

turning on the light

I recently took a course on “Unconscious Bias “. I was impressed with the many scientific studies performed which validate this mental phenomenon. The key word being “unconscious”. Somethings are truly too close to see. It is why you are better off sometimes getting someone else to proof your writing. I’m sure we have all looked at an email we sent and realized we left out that missing from the sentence (that was intentional “word”). In humility, we must be opened to having our lives proofed by outside entities, like having our positions fact checked by research, or excepting that our view of something can be improved by receiving information from someone that has a different vantage. Realizing that our world view, as well as our view of ourselves, can me distorted unconsciously by misinformation or a lack of information, we have a moral obligation to consciously seek knowledge to be as truthful as we can be. To say that truth is relative is just an excuse to be immoral. Opinions and feelings are relative, but truth is like math concepts, it is universal and can be applied anywhere to find solutions.

In my book, “True Heritage: Recovering from Spiritual Identity Theft”, I look at some of the consequences suffered by society resulting from not knowing or by ignoring the truth from the Creator. To save civilization, GOD has sent Truth and Light to destroy the darkness which has held humanity captive by deception and the intentional oppression of truth. I appeal to your determination to be the best that you can be, for yourself and your loved ones, and for the community abroad, through an invitation to read this book. You will find a viewpoint that is as ancient as time itself, yet as fresh as this mornings dew.