La Lucha Es Real

La lucha es real Enseño un estudio bíblico para mujeres semanalmente, la beca de estudio bíblico para mujeres Titus 2 a través de Zoom. Hemos comenzado un estudio del Pentateuco. Acabamos de terminar el capítulo 3 de Génesis. Hemos sido muy bendecidos al volver a visitar Génesis cuando Moisés narra cómo Dios creó algo a partir de un vacío, oscuro, sin forma y sin nada, Génesis 1: 1. Muy a menudo, el pecado y la caída del hombre domina muchas discusiones sobre Génesis, pero el Espíritu ha dirigido el estudio y ha fijado nuestros corazones hacia la bondad, la gracia, la misericordia, el amor y la compasión del Dios perfecto. Dios pudo haber desatado toda su ira sobre Adán y Eva; podría haber sido la muerte y la completa alienación de inmediato. En cambio, Él castigó con gracia y misericordia mientras hacía provisiones para ellos, y luego nos incluyó en el plan total de redención. Alabanza descanso…. Ok, para continuar…

Me recuerda tanto Efesios 2: 8-10, tengan paciencia conmigo, lo he hecho personal, “es por gracia que soy salvo por la fe, no por mí mismo, es un regalo de Dios, no por obras, para que no Me jacto Soy hechura suya, creado en Cristo Jesús para buenas obras, que Dios preparó de antemano, por lo tanto, debo andar en ellas “. El estudio de Génesis solidifica aún más el don de la salvación para mí. La perfección ya no es mi objetivo. Ya no estoy esclavizado por mis intentos fallidos de ser perfecto. Parece que la perfección estaba en la parte superior de la lista de mi agenda diaria. Mi error fue olvidar que excelencia y perfección no son sinónimos. Solo el Señor nuestro Dios tiene el título de verdadera perfección.

Mi prioridad es realizar mis tareas diarias para la gloria de Dios regido por las especificaciones delineadas en la Palabra de Dios que debe brotar de mi corazón. “Tu palabra he guardado en mi corazón para no pecar contra ti”, Salmo 119: 11. Por eso la prioridad de las prioridades es el estandarte de la oración con el lavamiento de la Palabra, ya que me recuerda que mi perfección proviene de una mancha permanente de la sangre de Jesús.

Muchos días, mi ritual de autoexamen se había convertido en un gran peso, incluso después de la confesión y el arrepentimiento, en lugar de regocijarme con gratitud por la reparación de la comunión con Dios y la provisión de la confesión y el arrepentimiento de Dios, me aferraba a la culpa y la vergüenza. demasiado tiempo. Repitiendo la transgresión en mi mente hasta el punto de cansarme. No tanto porque pequé contra Dios, sino porque volví a errar el blanco, por lo tanto … perfección. Señor, sálvame de mí mismo.

Bucear y desempacar las escrituras en Génesis me ha hecho madurar en mi trato con las luchas constantes, sin ceder a las excusas, sino aceptando las oposiciones en la guerra en curso entre Dios y Sus enemigos (a veces yo mismo), y el Ángel de las tinieblas, es decir, Satanás con sus demonios. “Pondré enemistad entre ti y la mujer, y entre tu simiente y su simiente; Él te herirá en la cabeza y tú le herirás en el calcañar ”, Génesis 3:15.

El Señor me ha dado poder para ser más misericordioso conmigo mismo y recordar que a veces lucharé, tropezaré e incluso caeré por completo. Dios me ha dado poder y aumenta mi fuerza. Con eso, Isaías 40: 29-31, “Él da poder al débil, y al que no tiene fuerzas, aumenta sus fuerzas, el joven se desmayará y se fatigará, el joven caerá del todo, pero los que esperan sobre el Señor se remontarán con alas como un águila, correrán y no se cansarán, caminarán y no se fatigarán ”.

Todavía estoy en esta lucha diaria mientras el Señor me condiciona con sus manos providenciales. Él es el alfarero y yo soy el barro. Él hace provisiones para mí mientras me moldea y me da forma para que el mundo pueda reconocerme como Su portador de la imagen. Hay mucho trabajo por hacer, pero hoy me regocijo por las cosas que ha hecho y por lo lejos que me ha llevado. Incluso es gracias a Su gracia que puedo hacer esta observación.

La lucha es real. En adelante, estoy muy agradecido por mi abogado, nuestro Señor Jesús el Cristo, que se sienta a la diestra de Dios el Padre, intercediendo por mí sin cesar. “Hijitos míos, estas cosas os escribo para que no pequéis. Y si alguno hubiere pecado, abogado tenemos para con el Padre, a Jesucristo el justo ”1 Juan 2: 1. Para que no me olvide, en mis momentos más débiles, el Espíritu Santo intercede por mí, Romanos 8:34. Oremos unos por otros mientras ganamos estas batallas.

El viaje fluye,

Zephany

The Struggle is Real

I teach a Women’s Bible study weekly, Titus 2 Women’s Bible Study Fellowship via Zoom. We have started a study of the Pentateuch. We have just finished chapter 3 of Genesis. We have been so blessed by revisiting Genesis as Moses narrates how God created something from an empty dark formless and void nothing, Genesis 1:1. So often the sin and downfall of man dominates many discussions about Genesis, but the Spirit has led the study and fixed our hearts toward the goodness, grace, mercy, love, and compassion of the perfect God. God could have unleashed his full wrath on Adam and Eve; it could have been death and complete alienation immediately. Instead, He punished graciously and mercifully while making provisions for them, then to included us in the total plan of redemption. Praise break…. Ok, to continue…

I am so reminded of Ephesians 2:8-10, bear with me, I have made it personal, “It is by grace that I am saved through faith, not of myself, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest I boast; I am His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before-hand, therefore, I should walk in them.” The study in Genesis solidifies the gift of salvation even more for me. Perfection is no longer my aim. No longer am I in bondage to my failing attempts to be perfect. Seems as though, perfection was at the top of the list of my daily agenda. My mistake was forgetting that excellence and perfection are not synonymous. Only the Lord our God holds the title of true perfection.

My priority is to perform my daily tasks to the glory of God governed by the specifications outlined in the Word of God that should spring forth from my heart. “Thy word, I have hidden in my heart that I may not sin against Thee”, Psalm 119:11. Therefore the priority of priorities is the banner of prayer with the washing of the Word as it reminds me that my perfection comes from a permanent stain of the blood of Jesus.

Many days, my ritual of self-examination had become a heavy weight, even after confession and repentance, instead of rejoicing with gratefulness for the mending of fellowship with God and the provision of confession and repentance from God, I would hang onto guilt and shame way too long.  Replaying the transgression in my mind to the point of weariness. Not so much because I sinned against God, but because I missed the mark again, hence… perfection. Lord save me from myself. 

Diving into and unpacking the scriptures in Genesis have been maturing me in my dealing with constant struggles, not giving into excuses, but accepting the oppositions in the ongoing war between God and His enemies (sometimes self), and the Angel of darkness, i.e., Satan with his demons.  “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel”, Genesis 3:15.

The Lord has empowered me to be more gracious to myself and to remember that I will struggle at times, I will stumble and even utterly fall. God has given me power and increases my strength. With that, Isaiah 40:29-31, “He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might, he increases their strength, the youth will faint and is weary, the young man will utterly fall, but they that wait upon the Lord will mount up with wings like an eagle, they shall run and not grow weary and walk and not faint”.

 I am still in this daily fight as the Lord conditions me with His providential hands. He is the potter and I am the clay. He makes provisions for me as He molds and shapes me into being recognizable to the world as His image bearer. There is much work to be done, yet I rejoice today for the things that He has done and for how far He has brought me. It is even because of His grace that I can make this observation.

The struggle is real. Onward, I am most grateful for my advocate our Lord Jesus the Christ, who sits at the right hand of God the Father making intercessions on my behalf without ceasing.  “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” 1 John 2:1. Lest I forget, in my weakest times, the Holy Spirit makes intercessions for me, Romans 8:34. Let us pray for one another as we win these battles.

The journey flows,

Zephany

Body Shame

I have a post to share with you ladies and gentlemen. I am purposeful to share it here for growth purpose not for Facebook mania. This post is from one of my role models of my youth. As a teenager, my aspirations were to become an anchor. I wanted to broadcast the news on a local or national platform. Maggie Wade, little did she know that she was my inspiration when I was completing my internship at WLBT, TV station in Jackson, MS. In fact, she was the object of many lessons in my broadcast journalism class at Alcorn State University. Maggie was a class ‘act’ then and continues to be one now.

Who is Maggie, “Maggie Wade is an Anchor for the WLBT-TV3, Jackson, MS with two videos in the C-SPAN Video Library; the first appearance was a 2011 Public Affairs Event. The year with the highest average number of views per program was 2018 with an average of 2,901 views per program”(https://www.google.com/search?q=maggie+wade&oq=maggie+Wade). This is just a snapshot of who this beautiful woman is and is becoming.

I admired her as a professional, but the following post has made me admire her all the more. Ladies and gentleman as you read this, please do some self-reflecting and ask yourselves have you been guilty of anything pertaining to this article. If so, confess, repent, and grow from it as I have. There are so many nuggets from this, don’t let them go to waste. Thank you Maggie, for sharing and being so transparent.

29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:29-30a;32

The journey flows..

Maggie Wade, WLBT (From Maggie Wade’s Facebook Page).

September 16  ·From Maggie: I must admit there are days that I don’t like the way I look. I have bad hair days and yes I struggle with my weight. I am not getting perms as often because I want to keep my hair healthy. But when will people learn it is never positive or constructive to body shame another person. I share this only as a learning opportunity. Because we all should think twice before taking the time to use email, social media or the phone to body shame or criticize the way another person looks. We are all beautiful and unique in our own way.

The Email to Maggie: Here is the email I received today and my response is at the bottom. I continue to pray for people! Email sent to me at work this evening: Maggie, I have struggled with what to say to you regarding how you represent yourself as a professional black women. I remember in 1991 when I first moved to Mississippi and saw you on the news and in public I was impressed and I called you and asked you where you got your hair done. You were kind enough to tell me since I was new to the area. Over the years I have watched your appearance change and I wanted to reach out to you and let you know that young black and brown girls are watching you hoping that one day they might be able to be a newscaster in prime time. Please do not take my observation negatively because you impact young women. Your appearance has been on a rapid decline year after year. Specifically your hair, your weight and how you dress. I want you to know that your hair looks terrible and your weight gain is offensive. You used to look like someone that my daughter used to strive to be like. She asked me what happened to Maggie? So I’m asking you to please take more time with your hair, try to loose some weight and consider what you wear. You do impact a large number of women. I’m only writing because I tried to call to speak to you but I was not able to get through. A little constructive criticism does not hurt, don’t you think?

Maggie’s Response: My response: Thank you for your email. While I don’t think it is constructive or positive to body shame any woman, you have a right to your opinion and I respect that. In this day and time women choose many ways to wear their hair, it does not define who we are. My goal each day is to look professional, and pray that each viewer will focus more on the information than what I’m wearing, my weight or how I wear my hair. It is my hope that you will tell your daughter that I am proud of who I am and what God has blessed me with including a career that I love and continue to work hard in each and every day. I am a wife, mother and grandmother, my greatest blessings. I would hope that we would be proud of each other for what’s in our hearts and our brain rather than appearances. One of the reasons I have volunteered for years and worked with young people is to remind them they are beautiful no matter the size, what they wear or how society tries to identify or label them. I want them to love themselves, to be healthy and to strive to be the very best people they can be which means being compassionate, respectful, and treating people the way they want to be treated. One of my very favorite quotes is from the amazing Maya Angelou, “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” I try to live by that and making every single person feel valued, important and relevant regardless of circumstances. Thank you again and blessings to you and your family,

Maggie,

May the Lord continues to bless you Maggie!

Being a Good ‘Thang’

Shavuos: When Torah Was Given and Not Received - Jewish Holidays
…and He brought her to the man. Gen. 3:22c

“… And God saw that it was good.” Over-and-over-again during the six-day creation, God repeated this statement after specific segments. Finally, after speaking everything into existence (…and it was so), He made a final analysis of His creation; it was not just good, but indeed, it was VERY good. “31 Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day” Gen. 1:31.

After God allowed Man to make a ‘go of it’ (life without a comparable helper), He saw that it was not good. The first negative in the garden. 18 And the Lord God said, “It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.” Gen. 1:18. God had created everything from the earth, but woman was uniquely designed and created from the rib of Adam. Rib in the ancient Sumerian language means life. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. Gen. 1:22. Again, God had created another life from the living.

Eve was created comparable to Adam, her husband. The Lord had given Adam a precious gift… a helper, a wife, a ‘good thang’. Proverbs 18:22 says, “He who finds a wife finds a good thing and receives favor from the Lord”. How significant, vital, and essential is the wife to marriage, to her husband, and to the Lord. This is not only an important position, but a powerful one.

Wives, we have been described as a ‘good thing’. We were created to make the life and existence of our husbands good. Our husbands need us. It is difficult in life to ‘go it alone”. God gave Adam & Eve both a charge, to have dominion (radah) over the earth and to subdue (kabash) it. As our husbands exercise their rule over the earth, by making it a safe and productive place for their fruitful offspring, i.e. humanity. wives, we are helpers in this charge, even down to the subjugation of it, especially when things get out of hand.

God handed Eve to Adam. She was a gift. We are a gift to our husbands, whether it was a divine setup or a permissive mess-up (disobedient choice). Wives are good gifts and we should understand the sweetness of such a position as a form of stewardship. The outcome should bring God glory and the betterment of His creation.

What our husbands need: a friend, a helper to respectfully encourage him agriculturally, environmentally, and/or vocationally, a partner to speak words that adds to his life not tear him down or subtract. They need a listener, not someone to talk, talk, talk, and talk, yet failing to listen and hear him, (ladies, please… silence is golden) too much talking can become an irritant. They need a wife to feel safe enough to express tender emotions that may produce tears, a physical partner to desire him and to express it, a recreational partner to release energy and laughter. Last, but not least, a spiritual partner, one who prays with him, but has her own personal prayer life to stand in the gap when he gets weary and falters. That can be a tricky assessment; sometimes this can appear as one thing and means another. Always, the key is reconciliation. After all, that is our ministry; we are called to be peacekeepers. We must seek forgiveness (giving and receiving), all covered by grace. “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” Romans 12;18. Finally, never keep score. Scorecards are unreliable and one-sided.

This is not an inventory… only the quintessence of a portrait of marriage. I could go on and on. I know you have more examples of what it ‘look likes’ to walk out being a ‘good thang’ and a God given gift to your husband. Marriage is beautiful, don’t allow anyone to tell you differently, that’s what I call false teaching. Marriage is not easy, but it is possible. Lord help us all!

The journey flows…

Your Slip is Showing

I grew up in a very small humble community in Mississippi in the latter sixties through the mid-eighties. During those days of my youth, we had a ‘clothes line’ or in some areas it was called a ‘washing line’.  Even though we had a washing machine and eventually an electric dryer, my mom insisted that we continue to hang our clothes on the clothes line to allow them to air-dry. Not like in many homes of today, there was no room inside the house to accommodate the machines, so there was a literal wash-house behind our house where the machines were located. Inside the wash-house was an indoor clothes line for our unmentionables. You know the kind of clothing that, ‘back in a day’,  were either too embarrassing or too offensive for accidental viewing. You know like your underwear, bloomers, drawers, panties, brassieres, etc. Of course, there were four females in the house and I could assure you neighbors or pedestrians did not want to have an extended visual of our underwear flapping in the wind creating a neurological pathway for later recall.  Hence the name, underwear… not meant to be a public spectacle.  

Unlike then, now we are allowing our underwear and our unmentionables to flap in the wind, metaphorically speaking.  We have allowed social media to create an environment of relaxation to where our comfort level, when it relates to private thoughts, have become way to public. Too much information is a gateway to confusion, arguments and disagreements that can escalate to violence and death. Everybody is not mature enough to handle our thoughts. We had a phrase for when people allow their words and behavior to self-condemn. You know how when you let certain things slip, sometimes due to rage and impulsivity, it was coined as ‘letting your slip show’. There is a lot of offensive information just hanging out there on social media. It did not get there by itself. So before you post anything on social media, ask yourself: Can I verify validity, could it actually be a lie since I wasn’t there, do I have the entire story or is this a clip, am I a pawn for Satan, is this bringing restoration or division, am I being a good witness for Christ?

Make no mistake, I believe in being transparent, however even with transparency there is a responsibility to know your audience. Every thought isn’t meant to be shared with the public. Has it become taboo to keep your anger and verbal lashings from public consumption? Some thoughts should only be shared with pre-approved audiences.  Whatever happened to bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 2 Corinthians 10:5b?

For example, if I totally disagree with someone or believe an individual’s behavior is not in line with human reasoning, must I call the person “stupid” or “dumb”? Although, this would be considered a mild form of verbiage that has become acceptable among the public, even from the lips of the Saints. 

Loving reminder: Saints our speech should be edifying at all times. This does not preclude personal opinions or agreeing to disagree, but what it does preclude is putting limits on edification. Someone could argue that edification is subjective. The goal of edification is considering how to spur on each other into love and good works, Hebrews 10:24. Therefore, if that end goal isn’t met then the communication that is coming from the mouth is corrupt, to say the least. Ephesians 4:25-30, “25 Therefore, putting away lying, “Let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor,” for we are members of one another. 26 “Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath, 27 nor give place to the devil. 28 Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. 29 Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. 32 And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.” 

I realize this is the era of the information age, but the word of God transcends any era and cannot be put on a shelf to satisfy and justify the carnal desire of simply being heard. Please allow your words to stand for something other than a personal agenda. If you must have an agenda, make sure the goal and the motivation benefit the kingdom and it reaches eternity. After all, only what we do for Christ will last. I had to delete my face-book account because my heart was breaking daily as I read posts from my brothers and sisters in Christ that did not resemble stretching across the aisle to offer long-suffering, grace, mercy, compassion, love and peace. I don’t know if anybody told you… but, “your slip is showing”. Pray for me as I pray for you.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, Lord have mercy on us all. In Jesus name, amen! 

The journey flows… 

The Imbalanced Scales of Life

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If the reaping and the sowing were truly fair for all today, which would you prefer, justice for all or do you prefer grace & mercy for all? Hmm…

There are certain things in life that one can predict and there are other times that situations in life simply happen. The simplistic nature of the discovery or revelation is not happenstance to God. He is sovereign and nothing that happens in this life escapes His knowledge. Man has studied variant phenomenon to arrive at theories relative to cause and effect and coined as laws. For example, some of these principles are known as Laws of Physics, Laws of Nature, Theories of Relativity, Laws of Gravity, even the old adage that if something can go wrong, it will… Murphy’s Law. Even with these systematic structured physical and/or natural studies of behavior, man had to observe an organized level of experiments before considering it science. However, with God’s word, we can take it at face value, no further proof is needed, we must take Him at His word.

With that, if the latter is true… taking God’s word as the truth, then we should respond as such. There are several verses in the bible that reflect the law/principle of ‘reaping and sowing’. It has been tried and is true. Galatians 6:7-10 reads, “7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10 So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.  

The principle: do not fool ourselves to believe that God does not see the motives of our hearts when we sow seeds, God will not be mocked. If we sow fleshly seeds that appears to be seeds sown to the Spirit, only God can assess justly. Man can only see and attempt to assess the outside actions with incomplete knowledge and tainted biases. Man has the potential to see the beautiful blessings which God graciously gives. Even in that, how is man to know that all ‘good fortune’ comes from God? Man doesn’t know. Man can try to assess others’ blessings or demise, in the case of sowing, for that matter reaping as well. If we are spending that much energy, time, and passion in other people’s business that would mean that we are not putting as much time needed with God to make sure that our own sowing is in the Spirit. After all, we do want a bountiful harvest. “6 The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good word, 2 Corinthians 9:6-8.  

In a nutshell, the law of reaping and sowing is all about the heart. Sowing with a good and cheerful heart takes work. The amount of time and effort it takes to respond to other people’s actions in grace does not leave time to passionately asses the dealings of others’ blessings or demise. We can only be responsible for our own actions and our own responses. However, we can spur others to love and good works, but we can’t make people do right. The harvest from good seeds will produce eternal rewards, but also produce a rewarding and abundant life on earth/partial reaping. The beauty of reaping is that God is ‘just’ (right) in His rewards, yet gracious. We never get exactly what we deserve (punishment/discipline) and always get more than we deserve (rewards/blessings). Since we know this to be true, trust God and do not grow weary and faint in doing what is right and good. God will bless us with a harvest according to His will and the purpose will always be for the kingdom and His glory.

Finally, let us look for opportunities while we still have sound minds and capabilities. Keep doing good to all of mankind, especially to our brother’s and sister’s in Christ. Leave the reaping to God and be mindful of our own personal sowing. God is so good, The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. 11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; 12 as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us,” Psalm 103:8-12.

Heavenly Father, thank you for never giving me the discipline that is according to my times of wickedness and fleshly seeds. Thank you for the grace that is so amazing day after day. Forgive me for when I have taken for granted your grace and rebelled against that which I know to be right and times in my ignorance failed to tread with your wisdom and guidance, but that of compromise and weakness. I am your daughter and you are my God. Thank you, Jesus for opening the door for me to have a relationship to your Father. Now God, help me not grow weary in well doing and to press and not faint as I wait for the harvest. Help me look not to what kind of harvest, but trust that it will a gracious and right one. You are so good to me in your sovereignty. Thank you for hearing my prayer, in Jesus’ majestic name, I do pray and believe. Amen!

The journey flows…

What Really Happened That Day?

The current state of affairs may resemble mayhem to almost borderline anarchy. When the condition of society is without government and law, there is political and social disorder due to the absence of governmental control. What can follow is anarchy. Even if there is not a full-blown anarchy, lack of respect and refusal to follow official mandates has the potential to cause similar affects.

 In the Old Testament, from Genesis to Malachi, from the priesthood of Melchizedek to Jesus the High Priest, from prophets, to judges, and kings, the Lord was the governing authority in a theocratic system. God, the King, Lawgiver and Judge was the voice of influence and divine authority. With that, even with God’s chosen men and women in leadership, the environment still seemed to consist of unrestrained chaos, confusion, and disorder. When the leaders did right, the people thrived, but when the leaders were disobedient and idolatrous, the people looked a lot like their leaders and suffered greatly. The people either benefited or lost at the hands of their leader. When a platform is the embodiment of ungodly principles with a pattern of blatant self-centeredness, people tend to operate as if there is no leader at all. “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did that which was right in his own eyes”, Judges 21:25. But, how could all of this be if the Lord was considered the governing authority?

In the New Testament, we began to read about Jewish sects and catch a glimpse of the subtle encroachment of separation of church and state. The leaders were Sadducees (priests and wealthy influential people), Pharisees (more common people, traditionalist, religious leaders expecting Torah application in life based on their understanding) and Essenes (self-identified as sole and faithful remnant of Israel, generally shunning marriage). There were also kings, nobles, emperors, etc. etc. My point is that before there were presidents of countries, there were governing authorities that began with Adam in the Garden of Eden, “Then the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and keep it” Genesis 2:15. We all know what happened next. God’s plan for His theocratic system of ruling was perfect and would have remained perfect until Adam disobeyed God. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” Genesis 2:16-17.  

I believe that sometimes we forget what really happened on that day. 12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13 (For until the law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come” Romans 5:12-14. Sin entered the world on that day and has continued. It is perpetual and universal. The evil that is before us today that looks as if it is unchecked should be no surprise. The same enemy that wreaked havoc in the Garden of Eden is the same enemy that is upsetting the world today and attempting the same to your personal peace. Do not let him!

“12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places Ephesians 6:12.  Our battles are not simply against a physical enemy. Even in the Garden of Eden, evil was brought to Adam at the hands of Eve and its originator the serpent because of Satanic influence.  If Eve had only known what she was about to contribute to… e.g. the state of the world that we are in today. But God…

There is no leader from the past, present or future who will govern in a way that will promote personal or universal peace. Look to the Lord.  As long as we look to leaders for remedies and expect consistent impartial protection and safety from any governing authority, we will continue to be disappointed. After all they are ‘men’. I know… I know… you are not expecting lasting peace here on earth… really? Now search deeply, not even a little bit?

Finally, remember Adam, Eve, the serpent, and satanic forces on that day.  There is sin and death in Adam, but salvation and life in Christ. “17 For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous” Romans 5:17-19.

Be encouraged and marvel not at what we see with our eyes. “Be angry and sin not“, Ephesians 4:26a. Do not forget what actually happened in the Garden. What you see now is clearly evidence of the fall of man. Let’s be the light and salt so the world can see the resurrection of Christ. Make the gospel attractive in the midst of mayhem so there won’t be a total anarchy. God is still in control… try to live righteously and let Him reign. 

The journey flows…

Feels Like Chains to Me

I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ; just as it is right for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart, inasmuch as both in my chains and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel, you all are partakers with me of grace. For God is my witness, how greatly I long for you all with the affection of Jesus Christ. Phil. 1:3-8

I woke up this morning longing for my church family and friends. The Lord led me to spend time in Philippians. While reading, I began to inwardly relate to Apostle Paul being in chains. Initially, I began to have a ‘pity party’.  After I meditated on Apostle Paul’s joyful attitude while in prison, I settled into confession and repentance after owning up to my sinful attitude accepting my conviction by the Holy Spirit. Paul was illegally arrested, beaten, placed in stocks, and humiliated before the people; instead of dwelling on the obvious which led him to his chains, he meditated on the fellowship of the Saints, which he was enjoying even miles away being in chains.

Paul’s fellowship with the church of Philippi transcended the chains and distance. His fellowship with the Saints began with the Gospel and ended there. From which there is no ending, only eternity. Paul understood that it didn’t matter what happened to him as long as Christ is glorified and the gospel being shared with others. Paul rejoiced in spite of his chains. His rejoicing included the gift of fellowship of eternal life within the heart, fellowship of the gospel, and fellowship of the same sufferings.

This passage and Paul’s example comforted me by reminding me that Christian fellowship is much more than being present at a worship service in a church building or the anticipation of a new worship format. It doesn’t matter what the new format will be, what matters is that no matter the chains, (COvid-19, isolation, social distancing… no hugs, or no smiles from behind a mask), true fellowship has not been affected. Basically, that which I grieve is no comparison to the true fellowship of that which can never be lost.

Like Apostle Paul, I will continue to serve, worship, remain joyful with the Christian fellowship that we as believers have within Jesus Christ.  Paul was in Rome with his friends/brethren being miles away in Philippi. Their spiritual fellowship, being distant, was still satisfying. I am learning to rejoice in having a unified mind and not be anxious in my spirit about the situation. I embrace what God is doing in each individual life to strengthen the fellowship of the gospel.  I am confident that He who has begun a good work in me (us) will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus, Phil. 1:6.

I thank God in all of my remembrance of you in prayer and supplication with joy in my heart for you all. It is ok for me to grieve, but focus on God not the situation or the uncomfortable affects of the current state of affairs.  With all of this being said, I still struggle with and pray about so many aspects of my position and the position of the church during this time, but for now, I will take a pause and enjoy the peace of today. Lord help me as I look to you for all of my help, Amen! 

The journey flows…

Live Each Day to the Fullest

There is a song by a Country music singer that has lyrics with the potential to influence perspective on living each day to the fullest. A poor diagnosis can change one’s perspective and shift priorities for many, if not all. We do not know what life will be like tomorrow, James 4:14a.

The lyrics:

Verse: He said,
“I was in my early forties
With a lot of life before me
And a moment came that stopped me on a dime
I spent most of the next days
Looking at the x-rays
Talkin’ ’bout the options
And talkin’ ’bout sweet time”
I asked him
“When it sank in
That this might really be the real end
How’s it hit you
When you get that kind of news?
Man, what’d you do?”

Chorus: He said
“I went skydiving
I went Rocky Mountain climbing
I went 2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu
And I loved deeper
And I spoke sweeter
And I gave forgiveness I’d been denying”
And he said
“Someday I hope you get the chance
To live like you were dying”

Verse: He said
“I was finally the husband
That most of the time I wasn’t
And I became a friend a friend would like to have
And all of a sudden going fishin’
Wasn’t such an imposition
And I went three times that year I lost my dad
I finally read the Good Book, and I
Took a good, long, hard look
At what I’d do if I could do it all again
And then

Chorus repeated… ~ Tim McGraw

If you notice in this song, the man received news that altered his existence (stopped life on a dime). Taking in account the news that he had a progressive illness with a very poor prognosis, the man started to live each day as if it were his last. What will it take for you to live each day as if it were your last? What would that look like? Would you do like the man in the song? His days became sweeter. He began to check-off items on his bucket list: skydiving, mountain climbing, riding a bull, and going fishing. He renewed his commitment to loving deeper and talking sweeter, and giving forgiveness that he had refused to give in the past. He finally read the bible. His relationships became a priority. After assessing them, he realized that he needed to be a better son, husband and friend. Finally, he began to muse over his life with remorse… only if I could do it all again.

When I think of the finality of each day with this man, I asked myself do I live each day as if it were my last. I asked myself what would that look like in the life of a believer. Before the current days of pandemic, COvid-19 and quarantine, my life-lense was narrow with less depth of field. My attempt to look past tomorrow extensively into future destinies was futile. As I experienced each day, by mid-noon, that day was already becoming yesterday. I was already living into tomorrow with plans, worries, anxieties, and celebrations. My afternoons and evenings were filled with “what will I do tomorrow” concerning blah, blah, and blah… you fill in the blank? I neglected to live according to Matthew 6:27 and 34, 27 “Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?” and  34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”. There are times when I am anxiety-driven with excessive worry about the “what if’s” and “what abouts”, and “what will I do” rather than to allow the Lord’s peace to reign in my life. I cannot rest comfortably in today’s peace for borrowing tomorrows troubles.

Lord I thank you for causing ALL things to work together for good to those who love YOU, to those who are called according to YOUR purpose, Romans 8:28. Somewhere within these last eight weeks, my life-lense has become broader with greater depth of field. I don’t gaze so far into my future endeavors but I live in the moment with a broader scope ‘taking in’ the advantages as well as the disadvantages, the splendor and the unattractiveness, also the captivating moments as well as the repelling ones. Life is so much simpler when walking with faith as my retina. If I allow faith to drive my destiny, my only future gaze is eternity. “So we fix our eyes on not what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporal, but what is unseen is eternal” 2 Corinthians 2:18.

I do not know if I would do any rocky mountain climbing, riding bulls, or even fishing for that matter, but there are some things that I would like to do before I transition into my eternal life that I have put off for another day. There are words that I want to say and questions that I want to ask, but have not because of fear. Anticipatory anxiety has been my retina far too long. It is time for me to put to rest life-imbalances, worry, stressful and distracting thoughts to replace them with greater faith, peaceful thinking, and daily contentment. Don’t just live for today, but live for God while living today. Pray for me. 🙂

Finally, planning is essential to life on earth, but that’s beyond current context.

C.S. Lewis, “All that is not eternal is eternally useless.” Hmm….

The journey flows…

Unsung Heroes

I am so grateful for all the workers who are mandated to ‘clock in’ during this season of variant. However, I would like to introduce to you the Unsung Heroes of today. It is no surprise that any task or responsibility that has to do with keeping the family sane and safe holds the position of ‘last but not least’. “I thank God upon every remembrance of you”, Phil. 1:3. To all the mothers and fathers who take risks upon your grocery store visits, thank you. You don’t have a second thought to this matter. It is essential; it has to be done. The initial thought is normally, what must I do to be safe as I go to the store? How must I glove and mask up; are there any disinfectant wipes? Do I leave the items in their original packet or do I change it out before I take it inside? Do I wipe the package off with wipes? Darn it, I have to wash my hands. This mental process is primary when it comes to making sure the family has something to eat. Your love, commitment and sacrifice for your family is to be honored. I honor you !

Another, “thank you” for taking up the mantle for the teachers. Although, there are variations of virtual teacher-student communication to ensure learning, still the parents are much more involved in their children’s learning than ever before. I can only imagine the stress for some of you. You are courageous! Thank you!

Thank you to all of the Pastors, Ministers, and church Leaders who are continuing to minister to the spirit-man. This includes discerning how to keep the body unified at a distance or deciding when to open the church for worship. No easy feat. This also includes ministering to encourage the saints to live holy lives as they themselves remain the same.  Stay encouraged. You are fearless. You are another Unsung Hero.

Thank you to the mental health, addiction, and abuse counselors who are tirelessly finding creative ways to provide therapy for those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to function at their best. Families and the community thank you!

Thank you to the Sanitation Engineers who continue to keep the environment clean from the mounds of trash that would be accumulating in our homes from the excess trash, rubbish, and debris. You are crucial. Thank you!

There are many others in other industries: banks, department stores, grocery stores, home good stores, gas stations, pharmacies, restaurants, coffee shops, mechanics, towing companies, plumbers, electricians, and postal workers. Because of my narrow scope, I am certain that I have left out many.  I congratulate you too! Thank you all and congratulations for being chosen as an Unsung Hero of the COvid-19 crisis and beyond. I honor you!   “…And to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves”, 1 Thessalonians 5:13.  May the Lord continue to bless you and your loved ones.

The journey flows…