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 Revelations, 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 are 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 repentin 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 Philippians 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 fullness 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.

 

It’s Too Great For You

Too Great

I was reading in the book of 1st Kings chapter 19 recently and a familiar message from the Holy Spirit resonated once again with me. It is so apropos for today I felt compelled to share it yet again. This chapter recounts the peril Elijah felt at the opposition of evil in his day. The spiritual attacks on his soul, from within and without, left him feeling hopeless to the extent he just wanted to die. Our compassionate and merciful GOD sent Elijah an angel with bread and drink to nourish his soul and body. The message the angel delivered was, “Arise and eat; because the journey is too great for thee.” Elijah did eat and drink the meal prepared by the angel. He went on the strength of that divine meal for 40 days.

Each of us has a journey before us which is too great for us, and like Elijah, we need divine nourishment to make it to our destinations. Nothing we get from this earth can sustain us adequately for the tomorrows ahead. There is a quality of being ordained for us to abide in, which enables us to get the most out of each day, so that life is not just survived but lived. One of the promises of our Savior Yeshua is that He would enable us to live more fully or as scripture says, “to have life more abundantly”. When Yeshua taught His disciples to pray, one part of that prayer was a request for “daily bread”. This request for daily bread is not for bread made with human hands, but bread from heaven. This same bread is symbolized through the actual bread given to Elijah, and the manna given to the children of Israel, and the bread given at the last supper. Look here at 1 Corinthians 10:1-4,

“Moreover, brethren, I do not want you to be unaware that all our fathers were under the cloud, all passed through the sea, all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, all ate the same spiritual food, and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them, and that Rock was Christ.”

The bread and drank which is set before us is the life found in Christ, even the Word of GOD. It is written in Deuteronomy 8:3,

“So He humbled you, allowed you to hunger, and fed you with manna which you did not know nor did your fathers know, that He might make you know that man shall not live by bread alone; but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord.”

The first chapter of John tells us that the Savior Yeshua was the Word, in bodily form. The Word of GOD equips us for the demanding journey set before us by changing us internally, so that we become immune to the evil effects of the external. Without the power of the Word within, carnal nature takes over, and we become selfish and hateful, and begin to strive with those around us for the scraps of existence. By the transforming power of the Word, we see things the way they were meant to be seen and understand things the way they were meant to be understood, and therefore we live life as life was meant to be lived, according to the will of the Creator, who reigns in Love. The Word of GOD changes our perspective from the physical and temporal, to the spiritual and eternal. Children of GOD are governed by faith in His Word, not merely physical stimuli. The journey is too great to finish well, that is without the power of GOD’s Word inside, preserving us in Love.

So, every day that you awake, “Arise and eat”. Seek YAHWEH for instructions to live, and for the grace and mercy which comes through the sacrifice of the Lamb of GOD, for strength to successfully complete the journey of the present day. Except that the journey is too great for you alone. Get to know the Savior Yeshua as your Shepherd and daily companion. In this way, whether it is pandemic, famine, or war, through reliance on the Spirit of GOD, you can live the way you were meant to live, in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Receiving Love

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Love is splendid gracious favor, adoration, and kindness, which comes to us as a blessing from heaven. It must be received in surrender and humility or else you will resist it unconsciously, trying to find fault with it, because the awareness of your own faults and shortcomings will tell you, it is too good to be true. GOD is the source of all “true” love, and He pours it on us directly, and through His creation, and through those who know Him. Receive this life changing Love with a grateful heart, and let it graciously overflow to those around you.

“Just Mercy” …A Nice Peep

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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….

 

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

 

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.