Clemson's Head Coach, Dabo Swinney, spoke at our church yesterday. Better yet, the man preached, giving me a new and greater respect for him that goes beyond his coaching success and ability. I initially planned to build a post off of one of his statements on yesterday, but I awoke this morning with a greater commission. Mr. Swinney pushed through a lot of the world issues we are facing today, arrived at and shared these simple verses: "Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
We've seen so much personal, uncultivated opinion spewed all over every outlet of media, fueled by the ignorant and uneducated. Yes, you might have finished high school, or even college, but you can still prove yourself uneducated, simply by commenting on ANYTHING, you've never taken the time to research. There are a lot of things I choose not to comment on or even respond to, because I haven't taken time to do any research.......partly due to the fact that arguing with a fool would prove me a fool. Yet, I can and will always speak on my personal experiences, in this life, in this country. Today, I want to make a very plain and simple point. I hope this strikes a chord in the hearts of everyone who allows their eyes to see it, and this does not require a degree or any extensive level of learning to grasp.
The scripture above, comes from the Book of Matthew, chapter 22, verses 37 through 40. According to Jesus, our Lord and Savior, whom you all claim to Love, Serve, and Believe in, THESE TWO commandments sum up the whole duty of mankind. READ THEM NOW!! Read them at least three times, aloud to yourself. Now, close your eyes to imagine what that looks like; to love ALL as you love yourself; to love God with everything about you; to love unconditionally. Open your eyes and look at our country, the great America, also known as a world super power. Can you honestly say that this country, our government, and YOU live by the commands of our God?
Now, examine your hearts and minds. Scrutinize every opinion you've posted online, expressed in your break rooms, ranted about with your kinfolk, and grumbled over in your own chest. Does any of it line up with anything God has shared with us, and given to us, in Christ Jesus? BE HONEST WITH YOURSELVES! If one finds no value or conviction in the Word of God (Jesus Christ), then he/she neither knows Him, nor loves Him.
"If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?" -1 John 4:20-
Need there be more said?
Shower thought: Your true nature is sometimes found in how you treat or react to "different." Think about it. When seeing something different, our guards either go up or down. When Europeans began "discovering" the Americas, Native Americas, ORIGINAL Americas, some of the Natives fought and some welcomed. When Europeans began exploring Africa and Australia, some found lesser beings, while others found a beautiful and fascinating people. When Christians meet atheists, some of us see people no different from ourselves, while others of us see hell-bound heathens.
What it boils down to is judgment. Many of us judge, rather than get to know. It's a cowardly thing to do, if you ask me. There are many people who never see beyond their city's limits, yet place judgment concerning lives that exist so far beyond them, based on the the media posts. Through experience in traveling and studying beyond what the school says and beyond what the news says, and beyond the gossip circles, I know not to place judgment based on appearance and hearsay. Often times, it's like shooting yourself in the foot, just before the cap gun goes off, for the 100 meter dash. I'm just saying. God will reach out to you via the thing, the person, the people, the beliefs you've so harshly judged as lesser than you or even evil. He reached me through Taoism (Lao-Tzu), while in school at Xavier. I'm just saying.
I had a friend in high school who was very judgmental of all white people and everything considered "white". I remember having a conversation with him around 1993 or 1994. I advised him that one day he will fall and the only hand that will be there to lift him up would be that of a white man. We cast blankets of judgments over the things that are different from us, different from what we believe, and different from what we are used to. Judgment puts us in danger. For it is not ours to pass, against another's life or soul. Long story short, different ain't always bad. Different can be what saves your soul. Different could possibly lead you into a better relationship with God. Different can kill your ignorance and lack of intelligence. Different could even cure your blindness and selective amnesia when it comes to truth of history and origins of many things. You never know.
"But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If the church of today does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authentic ring, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. I meet young people every day whose disappointment with the church has risen to outright disgust." -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-
I've been analyzing "Letter from Birmingham Jail" over the past couple days, and I figured I'd share the quote above. Just think.......A lot of the time we celebrate the successes of those we deem as our greatest leaders and champions of justice, equality, and freedom, while never digging deeper into the minds or makeups of these individuals to begin to gather why they are/were who they are/were. I may be safe in saying that the majority of those who celebrate this man's holiday every year, have never read this letter, listened to or read his "I Have a Dream Speech" in full. Did anyone know that he spent two Summers in Connecticut, working tobacco fields, while a student at Morehouse?
The following are more excerpts from King's famous letter. As you read them, simply think. Think about our current society. I pray that your minds can be something other than shallow as you ponder.......
"Beyond this, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here. Just as the eighth-century prophets left their little villages and carried their "thus saith the Lord" far beyond the boundaries of their hometowns; and just as the Apostle Paul left his little village of Tarsus and carried the gospel of Jesus Christ to practically every hamlet and city of the Greco-Roman world, I too am compelled to carry the gospel of freedom beyond my particular hometown. Like Paul, I must constantly respond to the Macedonian call for aid." -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-
"You may well ask, "Why direct action, why sit-ins, marches, and so forth? Isn't negotiation a better path?" You are exactly right in your call for negotiation. Indeed, this is the purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community that has consistently refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored." -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-
"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have never yet engaged in a direct-action movement that was "well timed" according to the timetable of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation" -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-
"I MUST make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can't agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection." -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.-
In not learning or heeding the lessons of our past, our past becomes our future.......on steroids.
I have no idea why, at 3 a.m. this title is in my head, or why it could not wait until sunrise to push its way out of me. I'll just go with it. By 3:30 a.m., words of illustration have swarmed and swirled and this is what comes of it. I'm a truck driver, and I've made man my partner on the road of life. The trailer I'm pulling is a flatbed. On it, lies my most precious cargo. I rely on man to secure it to the trailer, making sure all straps are tight and no give is given. We head down the highway of this life. My focus is on the road, and man is supposed to be watching the load.
After a while of rolling, I ask, "How's it looking man?" Man responds, "Lookin good boss!" Yet, a strap has come loose. We keep it moving. Later on, I ask the same question of man. He says again, "Looking good boss!" This goes on for thousands of miles, until I hear a big crash. Pulling over and stopping as quickly as I can, I find my cargo off the trailer and busted up, in the middle of the highway. I look at man, as he's texting on his phone, consumed by whatever/whomever. I ask, "What we lookin like, man?" "Lookin good boss!", he says.
Crazy, I know, but this thought would not let me go.......back to sleep, that is! Anyway, faith in man won't serve you as well as faith in God. Man will often tell you that things are fine when they are not, that he has done what he says but has not, or that he hasn't done something, but has . Man does not love or care for you as much as God does. Man knows not what God knows. In choosing to have faith in anything or anyone, I choose faith in God, not faulted and flawed man. Man will lie to you, but God will never withhold truth. God protects your life, your home, your family, and your heart, while man would open the back door and allow robbers in, to steal, kill, and destroy all that you hold near and dear.
Are all men trifling? No, but I choose to place faith and trust in perfection, rather than imperfection. I choose my backing to be One who cannot lie or be corrupted by the ways of this world; One whom I know to be 100% real and true. My Faith is in God, and those whom He directs onto my path and into my life for HIS purpose.
"But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are my God.” -Psalm 31:14-
"In God is my salvation and my glory; The rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God." -Psalm 62:7-
"The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." -Psalm 18:2-
"The Lord is my strength and my shield; My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him." -Psalm 28:7-
"In God I have put my trust; I will not be afraid. What can man do to me?" -Psalm 56:11-
A former Pastor of mine believes that a lot of the movies we see, that deal with the future of mankind, are prophetic. From what I've seen of many of these movies, I'd agree. Sunday, while at Church, the Matrix came to mind. I was thinking about different scenes, after Neo took the pill of freedom, and how very similar they were to what it was like after giving my life to Christ, God's Word, years ago. There is a new perspective and new meaning to everything. Second Corinthians 5:17 applies here, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." You begin to see deeper into this thing called life. Remember the screens on the Nebuchadnezzar, of green gibberish? That's what the Word of God seems to be, to many who have yet to accept Jesus as Savior. Face value is all that can be understood. Imagine looking at those screens of green gobbledygook, but seeing trees, oceans, blue skies, and such. The Word brings insight to life below the surface, understanding of the undercurrents running through our society, and the true intent of the honey drippers we call politicians, pastors, and preachers.
"They" said that the Bible contradicts itself. I joined that bandwagon in high school, not because I believed such to be true, but because I was angry at my church for turning away my best friend due to his lack of denominational likeness to mine. Sometimes, those who are drawn into the Word are run off by denominational flea markets; "You don't want that weak god over there! I got that bomb god over here, and it only costs you.......!", or "That's not how you Christian! This is how you do it, and how God wants you to be!" I believe that denominations and religions are simply divisions in the church that the Word itself speaks against. It's just my opinion.
Anyway, context is what the Spirit of God brings to His Word. Accepting Christ gives you a direct plug-in to the Holy Spirit which pulses through you with every beat of God's heart. The Word will begin to unfold before your eyes and you will find yourself amazed at how it is and has been in full operation around you, every day, in all of your life. You will see that the Word is life itself, and there is nothing that you will ever experience, see or go through that has not already been dealt with in the history of mankind, found in your Bible. If I knew nothing of God, or of His Word, the Matrix would have simply been a great science fiction movie. Believe it or not, such a movie as this or as "i Robot" could not have been made without some knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Again, it's my opinion.
I pray that these ramblings ignite at least an inkling of interest in some of you; to see what this Word talk is all about. In the spirit of the Matrix:
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:1-5)." God spoke life into existence, early on, in Genesis. He spoke directly to mankind, often times via prophets and specifically chosen servants. He gave us laws, guidance and direction in speaking it to us. Yet, there was still much darkness in the world and many who turned away from Him.
The Word Reloaded:
"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John bore witness of Him and cried out, saying, “This was He of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was before me.’ And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He has declared Him (John 1:14-18)." God sent His Word to dwell among us, calling upon the lost and those who have strayed, and also to call those who know better into repentance of their chosen sinful ways of life. The Word, in the form of Jesus Christ, gave us a tangible example of the life we should live. He was proof that a godly life was possible and proof that God was real and truly does exist. The Way, He is for us, to this very day.
The Word Revolutions:
"I, John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet, saying, 'I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,' and, 'What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.' Then I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and in the midst of the seven lampstands One like the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the feet and girded about the chest with a golden band. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and His eyes like a flame of fire; His feet were like fine brass, as if refined in a furnace, and His voice as the sound of many waters; He had in His right hand seven stars, out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as dead. But He laid His right hand on me, saying to me, 'Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death. Write the things which you have seen, and the things which are, and the things which will take place after this. The mystery of the seven stars which you saw in My right hand, and the seven golden lampstands: The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches, and the seven lampstands which you saw are the seven churches.'" This final installment of the Word will be far greater than the final one of the Matrix series. The Book of Revelation is a MUST READ! It is the continued and concluding fulfillment of God's Word.
What I've shared in this post are barely fractions of a fraction of a ripple, in the ocean of God's Word.
There are many out there who love to argue against the Word and against God Himself, without any knowledge of that to which they stand in opposition. If I were your enemy and you wanted to gain victory over me, would you not take time to observe and study my ways, my habits, my routines, in hopes of finding a window of weakness to exploit? You may find weakness in me or my abilities, but you will never find such in God or His mighty Word. I invite you in, to get to know Him, whom I believe to be the greatest of all, the most amazing of all, and the God of all.
Yesterday was emotionally heavy, at church and even after. While we praised and worshiped God, here in Georgia, a younger friend of mine was being eulogized and buried in Alabama. It wasn't just the loss of a good man, that brought forth the undisciplined tears, but it was also the culmination worry, doubt, and depression, bottled up in my chest, kissed by the grace of God, offered through Jesus Christ. A huge weight as lifted, not by my hands or any human's ability, but by God.
Once I was emancipated from my self-imposed mental slavery, He began to feed me thoughts. He reminded me of who He is, in comparison to my trials and worry, and anxiety, and all other things that combine to form the Voltron of ill thinking. He, then, reminded me of who I am, in Him! I am blessed, and YES, I am highly favored! My citadel is filled with fantastic family and flanked by fabulous friend. I am good, He calls to my recollection.
As He led me to review my dreams, my aspirations, and everywhere He stood and stands in my life, I see the fact of my limited sight. One dream always stands out the most: my dream of her, the she with whom He'd have me to be. In the home that He built, there was peace and tranquility. In my past relationships, I followed not His leads. I built my own homes, how I wanted, and expected Him to be pleased. In the homes of my own design, I'd draw nearer to Him and tensions would rise. To keep the peace, I'd simply compromise.
Rather than deafen my ears to the sources of tremendous strife, I muted the song of my heart from my soul; from my life. My peace, my happiness; it was forfeiture, not theft. In Church yesterday, everything was right, and I looked to my left:
She clings to me!
Through the storms and through the rain; in my sorrow and in my pain,
She clings to me!
On the ups and in the downs; in the drama all arounds,
She clings to me!
In my pursuits of my passion and happiness; with my swan dives into the depths of God,
She clings to me!
In places where others abandoned and betrayed,
She clings to me!
In all my doubt and in all my dread,
She clings to me!
When God lifted my eye above the cloud of me, I could clearly see,
She clings to me!
In our church and in the presence of Christ,
She clings to me!
When you make a choice to seek God, there are those that draw closer to you for the journey. There are also those who pull away. Some even do what it takes to run you off the road you've chosen. Pray to God for discernment to know who is which. As you recognize the good, hold on to them, as they are holding on to you. When you determine the parasites and tumors, by all means, let them go. Cut them out of your lives. Inviting God into a relationship or into a house, not established by Him, drama occurs. Know the true reasons. I used to blame the storms on the others, but in truth, it was God's way of showing me the consequences of my pride and disobedience. It was His way of saying that what I had built without Him, could not stand with Him.
God = Power Plant:
"And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers, He will crush your head and you will strike His heel." - Genesis 3:15 -
Jesus = Transformer:
"This is why I speak to them in parables: "Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says:
‘Hearing you will hear and shall not understand,
And seeing you will see and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.’
But blessed are your eyes for they see, and your ears for they hear; for assuredly, I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it." - Matthew 13:13-17 -
Parents = Breaker Box:
"The Lord our God, the Lord is one! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates." - Deuteronomy 6:4-9 -
God is a steam plant of unfathomable power and might. If such power, in full, were to be plugged directly into the mind of man, it would surely explode. So, He gave us Jesus, His Transformer. Jesus was able to show us how we can surely live by the power of God without the fry factor. We'd have to plug directly into the Son, who is able to break down the power of the Father into currents we can sustain. When this power hits us, the parents, the husbands and wives, the life partners, the common laws, etc, we are able to provide necessary power and knowledge to our households; our children, visitors and even strangers in our homes. It's up to us, as the leaders of our houses to determine how much power our members can take. Too much, too soon can cause damage, just as too little, too late can cause various failures and shortcomings.
I believe I've shared this before, but I'll share it again for anyone who missed it. Whenever I think about the power of God, I am reminded of a "dream" that I had about three or four years ago. Even now, my left arm tenses, as my chest braces, just thinking about it. I was in a pitch dark place. I could see absolutely nothing, not even my own thoughts. I heard a faint whisper, asking, "Who is God?" Not really knowing how to answer, I inhale deeply. Before my lungs were filled, there came the thundering voice (louder than anything I've ever heard in my life and shaking the ground), along with a blinding flash of lightning, saying "I AM!" I felt as though the electricity of His voice passed right through my heart. The most excruciating pain I could possibly imagine, was now in my chest. To my knees I fell, as I awoke from this "dream", in agony. No more sleep was to be had that night. This surge remained in my chest for at least two weeks.
Therefore, I thank God for Jesus Christ, His Word, whom is able to live among and in us without killing us. He spoke two words, two very short words, and almost erased me. I thank God for proper order, outlined in His Word. God's Word is truly a matter of life or death. In it lies paths to both, and we are given the freedom to choose either. Let "I AM" be all you need, in order to believe in and trust in God. "And God said to Moses, 'I AM WHO I AM.' And He said, 'Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you (Exodus 3:14).’” I don't know how Moses survived, but two words were good enough for me. I don't want to even partially imagine an imagination of what a third would have felt like. "I AM" is good enough for me.
In my Joshua voice, "And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
If you've ever been to a wedding, then you've likely heard this phrase in the wedding vows, "forsaking all others." This one bit of vow stresses the priority one should place on his/her spouse. Scripture tells us, "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’; so then they are no longer two, but one flesh (Mark 10:7-8)." One flesh, you are to be with whomever God has chosen for you. Key: "Whomever God has chosen for you." Many of us yoke up with folks never meant to be ours, but that's another story. Remember my post, "Ribs On The Wrong Plates"? Look it up, when you can.
Speaking of this "one flesh" concept, in becoming one flesh, a man and woman become vital organs to one another. It should be looked at as though your very lives depend on one another. This is what God intended for marriage to be. It's in His Word. Also, in becoming one, you can't necessarily go anywhere without taking your spouse with you, that's if the love is 100. We've allowed marriage to be so defiled and diluted in our world society that there is no true respect for it. Wedding rings make some folks targets of malignant tumors of people who would come against the body of a marriage, to sicken it, weaken it, and eventually kill it; but only if allowed. Remember my post, "Chapters & Doggie Paddlers"? After marriage or at the point of committing yourself to another, certain chapters SHOULD be closed, and there will always be potential dangers doggy paddling around your yacht of marriage. Life lines should never be thrown to them, no matter how cool they are or used to be, no matter the memories shared in the past, and no matter the relationship that once existed. If a person's presence in your life or intent for you causes ill to your relationship with your spouse, then treat him/he like that loaf of bread which is on "the turn" and trash it.
Back to "forsaking all others": I think that forsaking all others has more to do with trusting God, than we may initially think. The first thought for many of us is that it simply means to put our spouses above all others, choosing him/her over mom and dad, or kicking all friends to the curb for this person. I think it's more about God telling us to be committed to one another, making one another priority, and moving forward with the life that HE has mapped out. But He also asks us to trust HIM to take care of all others who might have been priority before, and all of those we love and care for. The following may not be the best example, but I think it's relevant in the area of trusting God.
In January of 2010, I began praying for direction concerning my marriage. It was a turbulent one, and honestly, toxic one. It was not until April that I woke up from a vision of my kids and I standing on a clear horizon, just us, and happy. I was overcome with a sure peace of mind and of heart. I thanked God and asked that He bring my kids home to me, knowing I'd have to be willing to give them up in order to end our terminal disease of a marriage. This peace came to me on a Tuesday. It was the following Sunday when I went to my wife and told her I wanted a divorce and that our lives would be better without each other. I advised her that she could have primary custody and I could have the kids on the weekends, and we'd work out all the other details. Things didn't quite work out the way I was prepared to go. Like Isaac being given back to Abraham, Taylor and Davyd were given back to me, without my ever having to let them go. I thanked and praised God for keeping my children with me.
Trusting God is key to all. God will never steer you wrong. When a man leaves his mother and father to cling to his wife, he is simply trusting God to take care of those who can no longer sit at #1 on his priority list. Family and friends are not totally removed, unless those relationship pose threat to the marriage.
Many of us find ourselves struggling to do what it is God would have us do, simply because of our worry about family and friendships we think will suffer from our obedience. This is normal. Paul even talks a bit about it in 1 Corinthians, chapter 7: "But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife." This is not meant to speak ill of being married. It's simply a human reality. When you have a spouse, and kids in some cases, you have more on your plate than would a person who has no wife or husband. Time and attention is divided into more slices, but we have to make certain that God still gets the big piece of chicken.
In truth, giving your all to God is not necessarily forsaking all others. Giving your heart to God makes you better able and capable of taking care of all those you love. Placing God first in your marriage will lead you into oneness and a love that benefits all, including the would be forsaken. Getting your priorities in order is what it's all about.
Thinking on the "Human Factor", perfection among us, we will never find. At least not in one another. Perfection is found in none but God.
I remember my younger years and how naive I was in thinking that all I had to do was be & give all the things I wanted in return, and it would be so. Fool, I was on several occasions. Giving your heart, fully, does not mean you'll be fully given one in return. Being 100% loyal does not beget reciprocation to the same extent. Making folk priority doesn't necessarily place you at the the top of their list. Hell, you may not even make the top ten. Your love unconditional will likely always come back without the "un".
We often feel that if we follow the rules and all the laws, then justice, fairness, and understanding will be our return. Not so, among men, but in God. We have to keep in mind that mankind is generally tainted, generally corrupt, and generally weak. Ever since we took on knowledge before we were ready for it, we've been given over to a nature, less than godly. Human nature is a nature of destruction, deceit, and detriment. Think about it and then simply look around, in all the places you find yourself over the next few days. This world suffers the virus of man, and there is only one remedy, but God holds that shot in His hands, to be given on the day of which only He knows.
I think about the two years of my life, prior to God's reaching me, through Jesus Christ. It was a breaking point for me. I literally saw nothing, in terms of a future. I began to forfeit myself to the ways of the world. I felt that the "now" was all that mattered. Being faithful became a joke, because no chick had ever been faithful to me, or placed priority on me. I didn't trust that any female was as much into the heart of me, as they were the idea of me at their sides or the images of us together. The folks I considered friends were there when they needed, but too busy when I needed. I was done with trying to make relationships, that only I seemed to be interested in, work. Less considerate of others' feelings and hearts, I became. Hurt them before they hurt you. Better yet, always have "one in your back pocket, Bryan." I could only see, at that time, what my human nature allowed.
The few months prior to my official introduction to Jesus Christ, I began to "feel" different. Thanks to God's working through my Aunts Stella and Terry, and my best friend Lawrence, I became interested in knowing more about the Bible, which happens to be the Word of God, which happens to be Jesus Christ Himself. The edge of the low cliff, upon which I stood, got farther and farther away, as I was taken to greater heights. The more I studied the Word, the more I learned that God had this life already mapped out, predicted and predetermined. I learned the my future could not be seen without Him, hence the darkness before. He caught me at a point I had not yet gone completely over to the dark side.
Realizing that God's Word is life, I gave mine over to Him, in the hands of Jesus. I learned to expect the ills of this world, but to do so without altering who I was created to be, a good man. I began to give my focus to more of the good going on than the bad; to see the hearts of people, more so than their actions. It is out of the hurt of the heart, that many of us act. I learned to expect my returns and reciprocation from God and not people. People fail us, more often than not.
To be continued.......
Not the movie though. I was thinking this morning, about much of what's been going on this year. Yeah, Bryan, when are you ever NOT thinking?? "What can I say to encourage people to focus on certain truths that seem to drown in the shallow puddles of ill in the world?", I fathomed. Then, out of nowhere the San Andreas fault line came to mind:
What if this fault went berserk and cut the tail end of California off from the rest of the country? Take a look at the attached picture, and compare what we'd lose, to what would remain. Now imagine this butt end of Cali being the evil cops we see and read about in the news, killing people left and right. Look at how small this group is, in comparison to all the good cops. I think about how this nonsense taking place in the streets, and try to see it from various perspectives. What is it like to be a good cop, but hated by your community that physically sits hundreds or thousands of miles away from where the evil ones run rampant? What's it like for the grandmother who sits on her porch, only to watch the youth of her community turn against a cop who has patrolled her street for years, respecting and protecting its residents?
I don't know. These are just thoughts. I think about people I've known personally who now work in law enforcement. Dwayne Shaw, Cleo Robinson, and Danielle Bowman Outlaw are just a few (I've prayed a lot for these folks over time). I know that there are thousands of good cops for every bad one, and this is one of the things of which we should never lose sight. The media outlets are all in competition for higher ratings and more followers, which leads to more sponsorship, and ultimately more money. The root, remember? They will show you, tell you, and lead you to what sells. Good has never sold as much as evil in this nation. Think about it for yourselves. It's very obvious.
Let's go just a bit further with this analogy of comparison. That little speck of phlegm to the west of the San Andrea fault is now the evil/criminal population (inclusive of evil folks and criminals of all races, social standing, tax brackets, etc) of this country. There is so much more good to be seen and had, than what we are shown in the media. At least, I believe so. The only area of America that I choose not to apply this analogy to is our political system. It has been so NOT for the people for so long, my trust is kept away from it. Again, it's just my opinion.
If evil had its way, we all would remain indoors and out of sight; hindered from seeing the Light of day. Sitting in church yesterday, I thought of myself, and how at times in my life I've allowed myself to be beaten into corners and just accepting things dished at me and shoved down my throat. In those times of darkness, I forfeit my life to whatever power/person I thought I loved, trusted, or cared about, other than God. If anything or any person you want to do or be with, in life, requires you to forfeit your dreams or your soul, then it or he or she does not love you, or care for you, and will only be bad for you. It's like yoking up with terminal cancer. This, I know to be fact. There is so much to be done and had in the Light of day, which is always present. There is no darkness in the Light. The only time we suffer darkness is when we close our eyes to the Truth and the Light.
Eyes up people!! Back and down are not options; only up and forward! KEEP IT MOVING!! Great things lie ahead for each of us, but we can only get there by recognizing and taking hold of the good, the positive, the helpful, the beneficial, the love, and all other things of life in the Light!
Bryan Hollomon Williams