As I was stirring my coffee at Starbucks this morning, "The New York Times" caught my eye. See the attached pictures. This is not the first time it has caught my eye, but this morning, I was compelled to buy it. After reading this article about these women, my first thought was, "FORGET THEM! LET EM STAY THERE!!" Almost immediately after, my heart was struck with, "What if it was Taylor?" I grappled with different thoughts at that point. I won't summarize the article but in a nutshell, it was about two women who left their countries to join ISIS, but now want to come home.
If I say, I follow God; believe in His Power and Holy Spirit; follow and claim Jesus as my Savior; and claim to have and live by the Love of Christ, then I also claim His forgiveness. This forgiveness is often times bitter, but it's of God, whom many of us claim to know and serve. The forgiveness that exists within the Love of Christ is inexhaustible. Carnal minds can't fathom this, which is why we struggle with this. Even those of us who keep our minds on whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable and anything excellent or praiseworthy, struggle with forgiveness at times. The battle between spirit and flesh is real and ongoing, until God ends it.
One day, this guy that Jesus knew, asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Then, Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times." Some translations say "seventy times seven." I'm sure you get the gist of the message. Unfortunately, in today's society, flags, politics, feelings and even religion trump Christ's forgiveness. Forgiveness is a way of living, just as Love.
I remember a time when a friend crossed me up something awful. The day he came clean and apologized, he asked for forgiveness. This was one of those moments when I opened my mouth and spoke words, not my own. I told him, "You were forgiven the day we became friends." Yes, it felt like swallowing a baby porcupine with acid dipped quills. As I look back to that day and considering the bigger picture of that moment, I see that God literally saved lives. Knowing now, that on that day, my friend was one harsh word away from a violent snap, I see God's work. You never know the impact of forgiveness until you give it. It's an invitation to another chance. It's an invitation to be better. Not all who receive forgiveness will do better by you or for themselves, but it's not for us to decide who gets it and who doesn't. Was Jesus that way with you, when you came to Him, confessing your life and asking for salvation?
We claim the Love of Christ and in that Love dwells Forgiveness. I hope my point was made.
Those who have ears, let them hear.......
Since I could not sleep in as late as I planned this morning (Thanks Mattie & Leo!), I figured I'd come down and listen to my music. Of course this annoys the kids, as no one likes my music but me, unless it's Queen. The first song I listened to was "Pomps & Pride" by Toots and the Maytals. Being born and raised American, I sometimes find it hard to follow and understand some reggae songs without googling the lyrics. I thought to myself, "I've never known the full lyrics of this song!" So, I googled it. Prior to now, I felt I had a tidbit of understanding. As I was listening and reading, a verse jumped out at me. Follow me on this. The verse goes, "Everybody just crying, crying, sighing, sighing, dying to see this light. And when they see it, they say it's not bright! Can this be right?"
To all you Believers and those of you who know the history of God's chosen folks, does this not sound familiar? For centuries, the people of Israel awaited the Savior whom they had been hearing about since God chastised Adam, Eve, and Satan for what went down in the Garden of Eden. Enoch even wrote about Him. When Jesus arrived on the scene, the religious leaders were so corrupt, full of "pomps and pride", they could not see Him (John 1:9-10). In their minds, the Savior would be of great physical power and strength, and the Kingdom of God would also be as such. This just proves that by this time, Truth was so twisted and distorted by centuries of corruption, misinterpretation, and misunderstanding; some malicious and some not.
Paul admonishes us, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Then he further urges us, "Put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God."
We are spiritual beings in a world, flooded with varying, contrasting, and warring spirits. Yet, there is One Spirit that stands above and is most powerful over all. This is the Spirit, the Light, that came into the world after John the Baptist, also known as "The Voice in the Wilderness", prepared the way. The Light came, and we saw nothing more than our measly selves. For we had not the Spirit to see how great this Light was. Furthermore, we could not see our own potential of being amazing souls. Jesus came to show us the Way, the Truth, and the Life, in human form; OUR form! Can you not see?? He set the bar, the example, the path! All we have to do is set aside the "pomps and pride", the evil and corrupt, the ignorance and hatred, and take on the greatest thing God ever gave us; His Love!
Look at Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Theresa, and others who have accomplished living this Love that surpasses all understanding (Epesians 3:14-19). GREAT things can be accomplished when operating in the Love of Christ. Nations can be changed when we recognize the Light for Who He Is! I'll be doggone if I witness this Light and say, "It's not bright!" Yet, so many of us in this world say it every day. We say it, when we turn to religious leaders and politicians, to be our salvation. We say it, when we believe that the key to happiness is financial stability, having a man/woman, and having material things. Such distances us from where God would like us to be.
Meeting Jesus Christ, and allowing Him to purge my heart, rearrange my mind, and set aright my soul, was the absolute GREATEST thing I've ever experienced in my life. I see the Light for Who He truly is! This is the Light that allows us to have true sight in this world. It gives us the ability to rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2). Having the Light in your heart makes your eyes bright headlights, piercing through the darkness of this world that the sun is incapable of exposing. Yes, there is such a darkness.
The Light is bright y'all! Set aside the "pomps and pride" and allow the Savior in. He will change your life, your heart, and your soul for the better. Stop taking other people's words for it! I can say it all day long! Others can preach it all day long! This does NOTHING for you! You have to be the one to "taste and see" (Psalm 34:8). When all is said and done, no one will be able to speak on your behalf when face to face with God, except the Light of whom so many say, "It's not bright."
God forbid this be you:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"
Before you ask, "The work of God is this: to believe in the One He has sent."
Those who have ears, let them hear.......
The night before the night before last, I had a very vivid dream. I was at a reception of some sort, it looked to be. I was sitting next to a minister from a church I attended years ago. She was speaking with other people, not realizing I was next to her. Once the people she spoke to were gone, she turned and seemed surprised to see me there. After greetings, we began discussing insulin pumps. It was extremely weird, considering that she does not have Type 1 Diabetes. She had this elaborate insulin pump, the latest in insulin pump tech. She showed off all its features and super cool accessories. All I could think was, “That’s just too much! I don’t trust it,” as much of it made no sense to me. After the show, I asked about her insulin and what type she used. A deer in the headlights, she became, as I questioned what was actually going into her body. The minister stuttered and stammered a bit, in effort to change the subject. At that point, I woke up and took Leo out for a quick walk.
As I showered in preparation for work, the next morning, I pondered the dream and its meaning. I knew that the message had nothing to do with diabetes or insulin pumps. So I asked God for the meaning of the dream or what may be learned from it. My thoughts were guided to the church, not the one seen in the Book of Acts, but the modern day religions and denominations that we identify as church. It was not until that afternoon, as my friend and I were discussing Daniel 11 and my dream that something struck me hard in the chest. It was Daniel 11:32, which says, “With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.”
I see this flattery as a form of desensitizing the violators to the severity of the corruption in their hearts. “It’s not so bad Mr./Mrs. Minister, it’s not like you’ve killed someone.” Better yet, “Did Jesus REALLY say for you not to store up treasures on earth?” What about, “It’s not YOUR fault these people exalt and praise you, more than they do God. I mean, you’re just being about your Father’s business, right?” Finally, “As long as you feel good, you ARE good!” My minister friend was all about her pump, the look of it, the expensiveness of it, and the attention it drew. She wore it with pomp and pride, but when asked what was in it and what she was allowing into her body, she was lost and could not talk to me about what’s most important for her disease.
The darkness of this world, and the purveyors of it, continue to lead many astray in convincing us that the look of a thing is more important than the truth of a thing. In allowing this, we move into houses with leaky pipes, faulty wiring, and rotten studs. Yet, we are totally okay with it, because all these things are hidden behind beautifully painted and decorated walls and molding. It’s only a matter time that the Kingdom of good will come upon us as a mountain, like no other. All other mountains of gold, silver, false & incorrect teaching, pride, arrogance, and all things that stand in opposition of our God, Yahweh, will crumble and melt away. On his mountain, you will find the latter of the aforementioned scripture.
Yahweh wants your heart, not your looks, and not your lip service. In a time when fake and phony fuel our society and self-loathing is applauded and glorified, the parts of us that matter remain hidden and trapped under doubt, fear, low self-esteem, shame, guilt, regret, and all other manner of self-destruction. Therefore, we find ourselves on every bandwagon of feel good, held captive in the pockets of those who flatter us the most. Just like Satan, the “violators of the covenant” prey on the minds and emotions of the weak. When it comes to your heart and soul, high and unchecked emotions are more dangerous than the most potent of narcotics. The ministry of Jesus Christ, on earth, was not to make us feel good about or content with the world and its ways.
Hear me on this. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One, understanding (Proverbs 9:10)”. We were made in the image and likeness of our Creator, Yahweh, and we are BEAUTIFUL, AS WE ARE. I entreat each of you to consider these things when you look into your mirrors each day. Eyes, influenced by this dark and dangerous world, will never see the amazing being Jehovah has created in you. Eyes influenced by His Holy Spirit, attached to minds that have been committed to seeking knowledge of the Holy One, beyond their day of Salvation (beyond Sunday service), will always see that there is NOTHING this world can do or offer to make them see anything less than a treasure of a child of God! PLEASE KNOW THAT YOU ARE AMAZINLGY BEAUTIFULLY MADE!!
What's going into your body? What are you permitting into your spirit? What are you allowing in, to sway your mind?
Those who have ears, let them hear.......
Bryan Hollomon Williams