Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)
I have to admit, the songs that have stayed with me the longest are those hymns we sang in Catholic School and Church growing up. Though I've had my differences with Catholicism in the past, I'd be lying if I said it were not the foundation of my current relationship with Jesus Christ. The songs themselves were scripture, which I didn't realize until I took it upon myself to read and know scripture. We had religion classes every day, in Catholic School, and then Mass on Wednesdays. So, I thank God for the consistent and heavy doses of Jesus that I received at Saint James Major Catholic School and Church, in the heart of Prichard, Alabama!
This song, "The King of Glory", came to mind this morning as I read Psalm 48. Then I thought about all the other hymns we sang regularly at Saint James and how we praised and gave glory to God OFTEN! True, as kids, we hardly understood religion, and scripture, and church. It was just something we were "made" to do. As an adult, I am grateful that my Mother and Father made us go to church. For they could see the purpose, as we parents tend to do, better than our kids. Verse 8 of Psalm 48 says, "As we have heard, so we have seen in the city of the Lord Almighty, in the city of our God: God makes her secure forever." Secure, forever, I am in the Lord! I look at the history of Jerusalem, the city of God, and how many times it has risen and fallen. Yet, God still calls her HIS!! God is there! No matter what we put Him through, He is there! No matter what we put ourselves through; our failures, fears, and forfeits, God is there! He is as constant and consistent as the Sun, sitting at the center of our universe.
Then, I think back to my life; my losses. I fathom the things that have been destroyed around me, my things that have been burned to the ground or swindled away from me. As I feel the regret, anger, and depression swirling in my gut, trying to find my heart, I put my hand in my pocket. I still have seeds to sow. God says, "Keep it moving. Keep scattering the seed I've been filling your heart with since the first day you saw Me at St. James." I say again, "Secure, forever, I am in the Lord!" I imagine there are those who are weary of loss, just as the people of Israel, when their city kept getting sacked and taken. Look at it this way, seed was scattered farther and farther away each and every time the city was conquered, by those taken prisoner and those who fled. Does the grass not grow greener after it has been burned?? We'll never see it if our eyes are ever trained on the scorch marks. Ponder it this way; you scatter seed on solid ground, only to have it washed away by a hard rain. The seed isn't gone. It's just been transported a little further down the road. Eventually, you'll come to it and see what an awesome thing it has become, and you'll reach it the time you were meant to do so.
Today, I am reminded of the King of Glory! I am reminded of God and how I am secure in His arms! I am also reminded that it is not my mission to regret or focus on the past. I am reminded that I have a pocket full of seed that only my hands can sow. I urge each and every one of you to give your minds over to God for at least a few minutes today, in prayer, meditation, or reading scripture. Afterwards, put your hands into the pockets of your hearts and find the seed you are meant to share. I give honor, glory and praise to the King of Glory; our Creator; our God! Amen!!
Those who have ears, let them hear.......
In my life, I have seen and heard the Word of God, preached, quoted, interpreted, and used to prove points and justify actions. I have seen and heard such things done, correctly and incorrectly. I have seen and heard them done maliciously. Dr. Dre's invention of the Beats headphones came to mind earlier today. From what I understood when they first hit the market, costing $900 and up, he wanted the best quality in music studios and music production. They were designed for professionals such as himself, then for those willing to pay the price. Now we have cheaper, watered down versions of absolute greatness in the ears of millions. Unless you're a pro or an expert in sound, you'd never know that the reason your less than $100 Beats sound so much better than the last pair of el cheapos you had, is simply that they're Beats; not because of supreme quality. It's like an audible placebo. We'll move on while that one marinates.
The same is so when it comes to the Word of God. There are those that know it and its fullness, and there are those who simply regurgitate what somebody else said that sounded very good, having never studied to show themselves approved. Where a mind is vacant of knowledge and understanding, one should also find a mouth, vacant of sound and words. Yet, such is not so in our society. This can be proven by spending 1 hour on social media, or 1 hour looking at politicians, or even 1 hour watching the news. Long lesson made short, where there is no knowledge, there should be silence. We all struggle with this because we are often times driven by selfish emotions. Someone hurts our feelings, and we depart from all wisdom, knowledge, logic, and reason in pursuit of payback, vengeance, and even defending nonsense. Another thing I've come to learn in life is that Truth never considers how the people will feel upon Him leaving His home and stepping out into society. Today, we fight harder to defend feelings and please feelings, than we do to stand for Truth. As fleeting as beauty is, it has nothing on feelings.
Sorry folks, this one is going to be long, but relieving the pressure from my brain and getting this weight off my chest is imperative. I see posts, too regularly, about the sin of homosexuality, as though it's in a category all its own. I hate to see God's Word misused, abused, twisted, added to and taken from, in selfish ambitions of individuals who obviously have yet to know Jesus. To know Jesus is to know the Word of God. To know the Word of God is to know Jesus, not just from the Gospels but all the way from Genesis to Revelations. Is Jesus NOT the Word made flesh (John 1:1-14)? Truth is Truth.
Now, when condemning the homosexual community, the hypocrites love to mention what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah. For many, this illustrates God's special hate for homosexuality. Seriously, if you listen to or read what many thieves, adulterers, fornicators, liars, and sinful sinners have to say about how God feels about homosexuality, you'd think that homosexuality was THE unforgivable sin. Unfortunately, for these self-proclaimed judges, God has no "Sin-o_Meter" by which sins are categorized! SIN is SIN, in God's eyes!! According to these folks, homosexuality is the ONLY reason the two cities were destroyed. I will be bold in saying that the stench of sin that led to the great flood in Noah's day was very similar to, if not the same as, the stench rising from these two cities of sin. Let's look at what God actually said about them (NIV, NKJV, HCSB, NRSV, and TNIV are the versions I've consulted):
"Then the Lord said, “The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me. If not, I will know."
Yes, later in the story, chapter 19, verse 5, it says men surrounded Lot's house looking for his visitors so that they may have sex with them. My point is simply this, God did not destroy Sodom and Gomorrah because of HOMOSEXUALITY! He destroyed them because of grievous sin; sin in such great amounts and potency, He could no longer stand it! Knowing this keeps my eyes to the sky, thinking, "any day now." (Yeah, let that marinate too!) If you look at Jeremiah 23:13-14, you see the following:
"Among the prophets of Samaria
I saw this repulsive thing:
They prophesied by Baal
and led my people Israel astray.
And among the prophets of Jerusalem
I have seen something horrible:
They commit adultery and live a lie.
They strengthen the hands of evildoers,
so that not one of them turns from their wickedness.
They are all like Sodom to me;
the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah."
Again, SIN is what drove God to laying waste to the two Cities that we only see as gay. Jesus said it best in John 8:7, "When they kept on questioning Him, He straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." There is nothing conditional about the Love that Jesus commands of us. Jesus is God's Word, plain and simple. Too many of us are preaching, teaching, and proclaiming God's Word with Jesus coupons, discounting the very essence and purpose of the Word. To say that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of homosexuality is misuse, misinterpretation, and misguidance. We have got to stop Jim Jonesing, David Koreshing, and Marshall Applewhiting people. I don't claim to know it all but I know enough to say that not one of us is perfect and not one of is qualified or authorized to pass judgment on another. I also know what good "kool-aid" looks like and smells like!
We have all sinned and fall short of the glory!! PLEASE stop misusing the Word of God! If you are unable to see and understand the clear and common thread that runs through your Bible from Genesis to Revelation, please do not speak, preach, or post things concerning God's Word. For the one bent on arguing or debating, I'm sharing Jude 1:7 for extra measure:
"In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire."
Sexual IMMORALITY is a whole package of sin, inclusive of fornication (of which 99.9% of human beings are guilty or will be guilty, depending on age), adultery, pornography, masturbation, etc. Now, tell me which of you is clear to cast a stone! Ultimately, we need to be careful of what we say and how we choose to use the Word of God. That's ultimately the purpose of this post. God's Word is Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ taught us this:
"One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important? The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these (Mark 12:28-31)."
Those who have ears, let them hear.......
Bryan Hollomon Williams