Friday, June 6, 2014

Beyond You

Galatians 6:2
2Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
When Jesus said you are to love thy neighbor as thyself, it meant to treat everyone the way in which you desire to be treated. Now it may seem easy enough but the person who does not love their own self, will not understand. And the one who is so self-absorbed and consumed with their own self-love does not understand either. The person who doesn't love their own self has to learn how to love and the one who is consumed with self-love has to learn humility and sacrifice. Loving someone else takes a level of humility. The only way to learn how to love is through Christ. 1John 4:8 says that God is love and also says that if you know love then you know God. So He is the very definition of love and demonstrated as the word says through the sacrifice of Jesus. Without sitting at the feet of Jesus and really learning, bearing one another's burden seems like too great of a task. If you are having a great moment, you want those around you to celebrate you. If you are having a not so great moment you want those around you to help lift you up, encourage, pray and even cry with you. Just as you desire that support, so do those around you. But some people just really choose not to do so.  If it is not about what you can do for them, they have no interest in you. Love is a choice. Once you know who Christ is, how much He loves you and what He has done for you, your willingness to love becomes a choice. Yes we are commanded to love being a follower of Christ but n order to bear one another's burdens sincerely, you have to love. Without love, you cannot bear another person's burden. To bear means to carry, endure, sustain as defined by Merriam-Webster's Dictionary.  Attempting to do it to say you are a good Christian or make yourself look good in the eyes of others will not sustain. You will walk away before God says it is time to do so. In the newly released film, X-Men: Days of Future Past, the young Charles Xavier refused to use his gifts and said it was to painful. The future Professor X told the younger Professor X, "You're not talking about their pain but yours. You must learn to bear the pain without it consuming you."  1Corinithians 13 says that love is not self-seeking. Love is not about you. It is about the willingness to get beyond you. That's what God did. He put aside His desire for the sake of you and I. Christ allowed His blood to be shed for the sake of you and I.
P.S. Remember this Sunday, June 8th at 7pm EST to tune into my interview on Village Connector TV's Between the Covers for Book Lovers via the link here:

Thursday, June 5, 2014

From Your Heart

Psalm 104:33-34
33I will sing to the Lord as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. 34May my meditation be sweet to Him; I will be glad in the Lord.
The Lord enjoys hearing praises to His name. He enjoys hearing songs that lift up His holy name. He enjoys hearing songs that show gratitude for his loving kindness. Some of you reading this have extremely beautiful voices and it is a gift He gave you. Some of you may not be as gifted in the area of song but it does not mean that God didn't bless you. It doesn't mean that you can't have a song in your heart. If sound can come forth from your mouth, you are still blessed. If a song about the Lord's love stirs in your heart then you can still sing or hum it. When it's for Him, it's still great because it means He is on your mind and in your heart. 
I may have been singing in front of crowds/stages since I was five years old, writing stories and poems since I was eleven and dancing on stage since junior high school  but my weak link is drawing and making figures with my hands. I made a clay tray in school many years ago for my mom. I knew it wasn't great but my mom loved it and used it. She still has it because I made it. Before my departure, one of my former Sunday school students created a painting for me. I still have it. My godchildren have made and sent me cards. I still have them on display. Why? Because it came from them and they had me in mind. Your personal song to the Lord doesn't have to sound like the great artists on radio and in concert halls. It only has to be from your heart. Rest assured, He loves it because you are His and it's coming from you.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What Are You Giving Life To?

Romans 12:1-2
1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
Those in the area of personal development are well aware of the concept about what you take in through your ears and your eyes flood into your mind and becomes the primary mode of your thinking. Well God knew this more than anyone else and teaches us this concept in the Bible (Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth). What is so surprising is that many in the body of Christ do not give it much thought in their walk with Christ in every aspect of life. In every area of your life, you are to focus on moving forward in Christ and the old man is dead. But how much of your old man are you still living with? The things you deem as harmless, the media has just proved how harmless they are not. For example, a twelve year old Milwaukee girl and her friend stabbed another because it was seen as an initiation on some horror website. The authorities are doing an extensive psychological evaluation on the young girl. The parents are wondering if they missed any warning signs. What is the main issue? Why is a twelve year old girl engaging in some horror website? Horror websites, movies, etc focus on demonic forces, etc. They are not harmful you say? Well many of the very demonic forces represented in horror films are the very things God says we are to guard against engaging in. Please reference Deuteronomy 18:9-14, Leviticus 19:26 and 1Samuel 15:23. Do you know when you open your eyes and ears to such things that you have given a doorway to demonic forces in your life? The apostle Paul said in Ephesians 6 that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness.  Let's break this down. What is the definition of spirit? The Greek word for spirit is pneuma. It refers to breathe or in religious context as spirit. In Hebrew the word is ruach which literally means wind or breath as stated in the NKJ Study Bible. The Merriam-Webster's Dictionary gives the Latin word spiritus. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines spirit as a life-giving force, also the animating principle: soul. There are several other definitions but the main focus is the first definition. So a spirit is a life-giving force. So basically a spirit is force by itself. Remember the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, the mother of Jesus. Genesis 1:2 first speaks of the Spirit of God. Now let's look at the other side, Jesus cast what out of people? Demonic spirits. So a spirit is a life-giving force. The Holy Spirit gives life to holiness and godliness, what is true and righteous. The demonic spirits give life to things evil and unholy. Remember, a spirit doesn't have to touch your natural man, it can enter through a window. The windows are your ears and eyes.  If you or your child are taking in demonic films and shows, then you have given a window to your mind which is part of your spirit. This is why we are to be "transformed by the renewing of our minds." You and I are to pay close attention to what we absorb. You and I are to focus on what is in Christ and what is beautiful in Him that it may transcend in and through you. The apostle Paul said in 1Corinthians 6 that all things are permissible but not beneficial. What that young girl absorbed she acted out. Harmless isn't so harmless when lives are at stake. You just never stop to realize that those watching are also putting their spiritual lives at stake. What are you giving life to within you?

The Beautiful Gift of Life

Isaiah 42:5
Thus says God the Lord, Who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and that which comes from it, who gives breath to the people on it, and spirit to those who walk on it:
The Lord is saying who He is and what He has done regarding His servant, the prophet Isaiah. This is still true no matter what your birth name is. If God decides your time is up, He would take away your breath. That is correct, no matter what violence befalls a person, no matter what accident occurs, God has the final say on who continues to live out their earthly life and who has completed it no matter what we in our finite minds think. Isaiah 55:8 says that His ways are not our ways. So we cannot always comprehend why someone leaves us sooner than "we think" they should. People who assume that they are who they are because they are so great forget that they are grass that withers as the word of the Lord says.  
There are so many people who are wandering around aimlessly even in the body of Christ thinking they can do whatever, whenever, however with whom and whatever.  Sure you have a choice. We all have a choice. But I love the way the NKJ Study Bible phrases part of the translation referencing back to Exodus 19, "The Lord's purpose from the beginning was for His people to function as instruments of His salvation." Now, how can you truly be an instrument for the Lord if you continue to keep Him at bay? How can you be utilized to the fullest extent the Lord desires to use in if you wish not to depart from your former ways? Does that not imply that you are refusing to live out the purpose He created you for which would bring you greater fulfillment and peace? The apostle Paul stated in 1Corinithians 6:12 that he would not be brought under the power of anything. He also said that he was only the willing bond servant of Christ. Christ was his only master, nothing and no one else. Who is your master? What and whom have you allowed yourself to be a slave to that you hinder your relationship with the Lord, who put breath into you to use you what He created you for? When you see Him face to face, do you think that excuse will fly regarding the beautiful gift of life He set before you?  Are you bringing Him glory?

Monday, June 2, 2014

Is It Sincere?

Matthew 6:2
2Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound the trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogue and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.
What did Jesus mean? When you do something good or decide to help someone, are you doing it because you really care and God has laid it on your heart? If your motive for doing something good or helping someone is about being seen by man and drawing attention to yourself, then that indeed will be the only reward you receive. God rewards sincerity and love not vanity and greed. God is the only one who can truly bless you for any good deeds you have done. Doing it for God still keeps Him in the forefront. Doing it for attention is an attempt to put you in the forefront and get photo ops. But what about when the cameras aren't rolling or when no one is around? Would you still help? Would you do something good or help someone if earthly man is not around to applaud you? That's what makes it sincere and that is what God will reward in His time.