Martyr Me Not

Romans 12:1,2
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice” the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Because last month is set aside for Black History, I thought it would be a great idea to get “Amistad” through Netflix. I had forgotten how good of a movie this was. My absolute favorite scene has to be when the one guy was showing Cinque (Djimon Hounsou), what he understood of the Gospel message through the pictures inside of the Bible. However, this time as I watched the movie with my family, I couldn’t help but linger on a particular scene that took place after the second round of trials had been won. It should have been a time of celebration because the abolitionist had finally seen justice. These brave African slaves found liberty not once but on three different occasions, only to have freedom snatched from them yet another time. Then, Tappan (Stellan SkarsgÃ¥rd) who was a champion of the cause for the African’s said to Theodore Johnson (Morgan Freeman) himself a former slave, “They may be of more value to our struggle in death than in life”.

My jaw dropped open again as if this was the first time I had saw this scene. This idiot, I thought. Then soon after a spiritual context camped out in my brain, these are what I call a “David & Nathan Moment”. These are those moments, when you throw your hands in the air and say, “I’m guilty”. I’ve found myself making a similar statement not with my words, but with my lifestyle.

The old written covenant ends in death; but under the new covenant, the Spirit gives life. (2 Corinthians 3:6b)

It’s a tale of two sacrifices. The old covenant called for many sacrifices, death was imminent. Death is demanded. But, the new and greater covenant that we now have in Christ brings life through the Spirit. His sacrifice was the final sacrifice. Why do we insist on moving towards the old, when the new is better? I can only reason its because the new, is much more difficult. In our human thinking, we sadistically, hold onto and try to fulfill the law. Help us, Lord! Why do we feel as if we have to die for Christ and not visa versa at times?

Death may be scary, but once it’s done, it’s final. However, to live for someone other than yourself is not an easy task at all. It’s a decision that has to be made every day of the rest of my life. Each day we need, say and mean “Today Lord, I chose to accept your sacrifice, and live for you”.

“The problem with a Living sacrifice is….. it keeps getting up off the alter” – unknown

Eternal Prayer

Hebrews 7:25 — “Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.”

Prayer on a mt

“Pray for Me”. These three words are heard very often in Christian circles, as they should be. The scripture is clear that we ought to pray for one another (James 5:16, Ephesians 6:18). There is a certain comfort that strengthens believers when we know that our brothers and sisters are petitioning God on our behalf. However, there is no greater joy than knowing we serve a God who “Lives Forever”, and prays for us foremost. What a comfort to know when I am without strength, and quite frankly don’t know how God is working things out. There is an intercessor who knows exactly what I need.

Peter is one of the most colorful characters in the New Testament. Many are able to relate to his passionate outbursts, that seem to backfire on him. Just think about how many folks would not be able to quote, “Take up your cross and follow me”, if he had not attempted to reprimand the Lord for going to the cross. Tons of folks who quote that scripture leaves off the part about self-denial, but that’s another topic for another time. Also, consider had Peter not cut off Malchus’ servants’ ear, how we would never see, “Live by the Sword, Die By the Sword”, tattoos all over the place. As you can see Peter has had some pretty significant things happen in his walk with the Lord, which have impacted lots of people, but none stand out to me more than his denial of the Lord.

How traumatic that must have been for Peter to have denied the Lord, who he followed with so much fervor. But even in his weakest recorded hour, we see that Jesus had already made provision to keep Peter’s faith intact, through prayer.

Luke 22: 31-32
“31 Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat. 32 But I have pleaded in prayer for you, Simon, that your faith should not fail. So when you have repented and turned to me again, strengthen your brothers.” – NLT

Thank God for the prayers of Jesus. After the period of turmoil, Peter was restored and became instrumental in the founding of the Church (God’s people). Despite, what the situation looks like, and our inability to see our way out. God is still sovereign.

Prayer: Father, thank you for being sovereign. Help me to realize that you are in Heaven praying for your Church. And that you live forever, and don’t get tired of praying. Reveal yourself in a life-changing way to someone who is reading this blog. Lord, I pray that it will cause your presence to rest upon someone in a life-altering way. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Secret Millionaire

2 Corinthians 4:7 – “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.”

Secret Millionaire

I just finished watching an episode of Secret Millionaire, on Fox Reality TV. A married couple who have accrued millions of dollars in wealth spent some time in an impoverished neighborhood. They left behind their million-dollar home and walked a mile in the shoes of a person from Watts, California. At the end of their experience, the husband said, “A lot of things we have are worthless.” He had come to see that in his accumulation of wealth, and many luxuries, he lost sight of the things that are important in life. At the end of the show, he wrote three $50,000 checks for women, in the community who were making an impact on the lives of those in their community.

I am not a fan of Fox Reality TV, but this episode caused something inside of me to stir. I began to think about the impact we are called to make in our communities as Christians. However, all too often the Church is confined to the church building. We live in a fallen world, where people are hurting and need to know of the wealth we possess in Christ. Make it a point to write a spiritual check to those in your community. Impact those whom you meet daily, with the Spirit of God who dwells within you.

Prayer: Father, open my eyes so I can see how you want to use your Church in our communities. I thank you for the treasure found in this earthen vessel. I thank you that you have gifted me with abilities and talents, to make an impact in the lives of others so they can see you through me. I love and thank you, Lord. You are truly an awesome God. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Sick Hearts

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire is fulfilled, it is a tree of life.”

Proverbs 13:12 (Amplified Bible)

Have you ever waited patiently on something to take place in your life, and then given notice that it would be delayed?  How did it make you feel?  Often in our lives as believers, we trust in a trustworthy God to deliver on a promise only to experience a delay in the things we hope for.  It is almost a certainty that every believer has had to endure some sort of delay when it comes to our spiritual growth.   If we are not careful we will find ourselves, moving away from the grace that is so prevalent in our salvation, and we will begin to work for those things we desire ourselves.  The sense of accomplishment fades and we find our heart condition, is quite possibly more depressed than what it felt like to wait.

What are we to do?  How are we to get out of this cycle? According to the proverb, it is only when our desire is fulfilled, that we will experience something greater than our present situation,   Right? 

I am persuaded that too often I have misunderstood the process, in which God uses to mature, and strengthen me.  God knows exactly what I need, and he uses deferrals, in my life, so that I can see “Life” through the eyes of Christ.  When we are sick we seek medical assistance for the things that ail us.   When Our hearts are sick we attempt to self medicate by indulging in activities that often make matters worse , instead of trusting in God who hears and heals.

Trust me, when God is at work it may leave a bad taste in your mouth, but its good for you.

Prayer:
Father, help me to understand that You are not bound by time, nor are You driven by progress reports.  Your ways are truly above my ways, and beyond tracing out.  I can’t understand how you operate unless you illuminate my understanding.  I thank You for sending Your Son Jesus, to fulfill the Law.  I thank You for extending Your grace towards us because it is truly amazing.  Lord, continue to give me fresh insight so that Your children will be edified.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.