30 Days of Prayer and Praise–6!

30 Days of Prayer and Praise–6!

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It is like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the LORD bestows his blessing, even life forevermore. Psalm 133 NIV

Day Six

Lord God our Father,

As we come before You again, with great expectation because of Your love for us, we thank You for giving us a mind to see our world as You desire it to be. That we are–one–in You–one race, one blood, united by our faith in You. Though You have poured into each of us–various gifts–both natural and spiritual–we have but one purpose and that is to please You–united by Love for You are Love!

Thank You for speaking to hearts and the message absorbed in our hearts, navigating to our minds and expressing itself in all we say and do in honor of You.

We thank You for giving us discernment–understanding the difference between just and unjust laws; between righteousness and unrighteousness, between morality and legality, and between love and hate.

We thank You for providing for every person that loves and honors You in the beauty of holiness and in the glory of Your Truth.

We thank You for ordering our steps in Your Word, releasing us from the dictates of man’s laws to follow You and You alone–for who on earth has heaven or hell for us?

We thank You for righting all wrongs by whatever method You deem necessary and for allowing us to be used by You in all that we do to encourage the hearts of many who are fearful and discouraged.

Lord, grant all who are willing to hear You respond in obedience to all You speak to them in order to preserve their faith in You and love for all.

We thank You for giving us hearts of compassion and desire to serve others as a means of promoting Your love.

We thank You for pouring Your wisdom into willing vessels who will acknowledge it is You, and not us, who knows all things, sees all things, and hears all things. And with the wisdom You provide, we are able to speak to others–sharing with them what You have shared with us–not for our glory, but for Yours alone.

Fill us right now and provide a constant refilling of wisdom and love, running down like the oil used to anoint Aaron, seeping into hearts and minds, so that everywhere we go today, wherever our words are heard or seen–people will recognize You as the Author and Finisher of our faith.

We thank You for allowing the mind of Christ to rule in us by day and by night and that we will endeavor to live in unity–loving one another as You love us–all the days of our lives–recognizing that all who have called upon You are indeed our brothers and sisters in Your family. 

We give You all the praise, glory and honor for hearing and answering our prayers because You are the only One worthy of our praise! In Jesus’ name, we pray and thank You, Amen!

 

Can We Talk, Again?

Can We Talk, Again?

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive.No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.  Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.” I am referring to the other person’s conscience, not yours. For why is my freedom being judged by another’s conscience? I Corinthians 10:223-26, 29 NIV

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NIV

A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold. Proverbs 22:1 NIV

I have been paying attention to probably far too many news items and commentaries, but what I’ve seen grieves my spirit. For in this country, we are supposed to have certain guaranteed rights, and as long as we don’t infringe upon the rights of others–those rights should be respected, not vilified.

We have freedom of speech–but that doesn’t mean we should have a foul mouth and express hateful rhetoric towards others or about others. So, when the QB of the San Francisco 49ers decides that he doesn’t want to stand while the National Anthem is playing, that is his right and since he is not infringing upon the rights of others–none of the rest of us should anything to say. Why is it that there are those who think they have a right to impose their consciences upon others in judging what we do?

Speaking of which–the imposition placed upon Black Americans–and how we’re labeled has become a topic of conflict. On more than one occasion and in more than one venue, I have seen people complain about the use of a hyphen in the African-American identity. One person went so far as to say, the use of the hyphen is the cause of all the racism in this country. I beg to differ with them. No hyphen was used when we were classified: slave, or colored or even the hated “nigger” or a number of other hateful terms, when referencing who we were. Racism has its roots in the hatred of people of color and the fact that White people have long held beliefs they are superior to any other race of people. We see that in the treatment of Natives of the Land, and with all other minorities–and other immigrants who came to this country. While there are many people of color who have a preference to what they are called or how they are identified, I simply choose to be a Black American until “we are all considered Americans.”

What is astounding to me is that while people are clamoring about other people coming into this country to “take jobs,” not many are saying anything about those who came into this country and “took land” from those who were already living here. Who were those who came here–European immigrants–the colonists–who established themselves as the only right-living group of people and called those who were already here–savages–because they did not do things they way they did them.

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The inscription on Lady Liberty–our gift from France–across the Atlantic from which many came was a recognition that many would come and we should welcome them, not debase them. And the only group of people that have been denied this liberty expressed are those who were “forcefully brought to this land” without having a choice in the matter.

And with all of the hateful rhetoric being stoked right now–by those who proclaim to be Christians, where exactly is the “spirit of The Lord” dwelling? Certainly not in the hearts of all those who hate and promote hatred. Not in the hearts of those who manufacture lies to make themselves look better. Not in the hearts of those who manipulate others into buying into their lies. Not in the hearts of those who crave attention and will do anything to get it.

How do we know? For where the Spirit of The Lord dwells–there is liberty and love–no hatred. Whatever abides in our heart will come forth like a mighty rushing river and pour into our immediacy and people will see and hear what is hidden in our heart–whether it is the Love of God or evil.

If we never learn to live God’s Word the way He intended us to live–loving all unconditionally, we don’t deserve to be called Christians. In fact, if we are not living The Word, we make a mockery out of being Christians because we are not following Christ when we choose to impose our consciences, our way of doing things upon others–negating their right to do things their own way. This is the “religious way of doing things” and Jesus called out the Pharisees for doing this.

I believe it’s reckoning time. We need to look at ourselves in the mirror and ask God to show us who we really are, accept it and be willing to allow Him to change us–being who He wants us to be, not what we have constructed ourselves to be with all of our built-in hate and animosity.

Until we get to this one point–there is only one race of people–the human race and like I said to someone yesterday who claimed the use of a hyphen is keeping us separated, it is not. “Until America accepts Black Americans as Americans, we will be always be a separate class of people. It is not the Black American who is creating a racial divide, but the White race who lives out their superiority complex and treats us as second class citizens.

My commentary today is not an indictment against all White people or all Black people or any other group of people, but it is a warning about where our country is headed if we don’t realize what we’re doing to one another. As a nation, we cannot afford to be divided in our purposes and intent for all Americans to be treated with equality. And if we exist as a divided nation rather than a nation unified with common goals, we will be captured by the evil that exist–inside and outside–our borders.

History has a way of repeating itself–especially if we refuse to learn from it. I suggest we all review the history of the land, recognize the wrongs committed and determine not to repeat them–again, and again, and again.

We don’t need a nation of people who are religious; we need a nation of people who are in relationship with God, living His Word,  and following His lead in all things.

What Are You Wearing?

What Are You Wearing?

But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Colossians 3:8-14 NIV

Styles–what we wear–in clothes, shoes, and other apparel–often change as rapidly as we can blink our eyes. But whether we follow the trendiness of all these changes doesn’t matter. It’s not the clothes who make us who we are–it is who we are that makes a difference in what we wear–not only materially, but spiritually.

I know some people can hardly wait for the new fashion seasons to start and those with money–big money–have a “must-have” mentality and will go anywhere and pay any amount to have what they want to wear–to make sure people pay attention to them. We know this because “red carpet” events always emphasize what people are wearing–on the outside. But what resides on the inside of the person? That’s what usually comes out and determines the character of the person.

If a person looks good on the outside, but nothing worth having resides on the inside–bitterness, anger, unforgiveness, rage, jealousy, bigotry and hatred–nothing they put on the shell of the body will make a difference in the greater scheme of things. Why? Because God looks upon the heart–not the outside–of anyone.

It won’t matter how much money a person spends to make themselves look good on the outside if the inside–the spirit person–is in need of cleansing and renewal. What happens in the “renewal process” of the sinner to the saint–cannot be purchased for any amount of money–we either submit to God’s leading or we don’t.

So, if we think we are something when we are nothing–we only fool ourselves and the real “us” will be seen in how we treat others. Time to change clothes yet?

If we ever expect to see unity–of all mankind–determined to be submitted to Holy Spirit and do things out of obedience–we must learn to wear love as  a tightly knit garment to hold in the virtues of compassion, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, peace, humility, and righteousness--keeping out all of the old stuff–belonging to the un-regenerated person.

Now, what are you wearing?

Looking Out For Others In The Lord!

Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. Philippians 2:1-4 NIV

From what we see–surrounding us–within churches, families, and especially politicians, the only interest some people have is what will make them “somebody” in the eyes of others. When the interest is self-centered, and not Christ-centered, then we recognize, by their actions, who is and who is not–united with Christ.

Being Christ-centered does not mean we don’t make mistakes, but we recognize our mistakes and missteps, apologize and correct, seeking forgiveness where needed and repenting of the behavior. Those who are self-centered–never recognize themselves from one moment to another when they make missteps and certainly won’t apologize to anyone, because in their eyes, they are always right.

Christ-centered people understand how we are to treat others and we know how to put our ambitions aside for the sake of helping others accomplish their goals. That does not mean we shouldn’t have goals, but when we see others–in Christ–struggle to achieve and we can help–we should.

Self-centered people are only interested in what they can accomplish and will walk on and over people to reach their goals, never caring about who they hurt and certainly never caring enough to help another.

Considering the time in which we live–there is a great need for those of us who know Jesus to step up and assist others in need. That assistance can be material, as well as spiritual–offering support to those who have taken a stand for righteousness–and are not caving to political correctness. We can make our support known through social media, open letters to media outlets, and by praying for wisdom and endurance to maintain stances against evil.

It is the responsibility of every Believer to defend the rights of the poor and needy, not the rich and greedy. What are we waiting for? Let’s take care of those who are united in Christ!

Living In Unity!

How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! Psalm 133:1 NIV

My immediate thoughts are about the marvelous work that can be accomplished when people can work together–focused on the same goals. Assembly line work also comes to mind–everyone knowing exactly what their role is and how what they do impacts the final product–the car that comes off the line, ready to be driven.

This is how God’s people–all The Believers–should live in unity–each knowing their role and how what we do impacts the end result–promotion of The Gospel and perpetuation of peace.

If we all understand our individual giftings and work within them and everyone focuses on what the end result should be and determines to make it happen–more people would be introduced to Christ and the more we know Him, the greater the opportunity for us to experience peace.

We’ve heard songs about coming together for the greater good of the whole by various artists; we’ve read poetry and books about the importance of being united; and now–it’s time for us to practice what we preach and what we’ve heard. For as long as we refuse to live in unity–on one accord–the enemy will continue to divide and defeat us–at every turn. Isn’t it about time we recognize who our real enemy is and fight back by unifying the Body of Christ?

I’m reminded of the song, “We Shall Overcome” and wonder when that day will happen. If we cannot live in unity, without bickering, complaining, backbiting, and tale-bearing, how will we truly ever–overcome–anything?

Let unity begin with us–those who Believe in the power of Holy Spirit working within us and focus on bringing unity in the lives of all around us--especially the Body of Christ, no matter what denominationalism reigns–the goal is unity–being on one accord, living The Word!

Living Life’s Blessings!

“How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! It’s like precious oil poured on the head, running down on the beard, running down on Aaron’s beard, down on the collar of his robe. It is as if the dew of Hermon were falling on Mount Zion. For there the Lord bestows his blessing, even life forevermore.” (Psalm 133:1-3 NIV)

What happens when people are living in unity?

Peace, sweet peace–no violence, no rudeness, no killing, no wars, no rumors of wars, just calmness, clarity of communication, and sustaining respect–one for another.

People look after each other–making sure everyone’s needs are met. There is no poverty, no lack, for anyone.

Politicians take their jobs seriously and work to find the means to protect and serve the needs of all the people.

Pastors and preachers teach The Word of God and not their own messages, attempting to deceive or manipulate God’s children.

Parents take care of their children–teaching and guiding them in the right way of doing things and disciplining their children when necessary.

What happens when people are living in unity?

There is no need for complaints and grumbling about anything because logic and common sense prevail.

Communication is on-going so there is no need for misunderstandings and everyone’s opinion is respected.

Fear is not option because no one would be afraid to walk in the light of day or the darkness of night–free to come and go without concern about who might harm them.

Love overflows onto all and no one is hated because of differences of skin color, religion, ethnicity, gender or anything else.

Why can’t we live live unity?

Whenever there is a group of people–regardless of nationality or any other distinction, who think they are superior to others who are not like them–they belittle and manipulate others–to feel good about themselves.

Controlling others becomes a lifetime effort and any time people discover they don’t like being controlled, they rebel. When rebellion occurs there is no more peace.

So the answer my friends is listening to those who have experienced God’s blessings and learning to hear God when He speaks. When we love ourselves, we can love others. When we love God, He makes our paths straight and keeps us on the straight and narrow one–blessing us because of our obedience.

His anointing–like the oil used to indicate a new king or the priests as part of the protocol–flows down our heads onto our shoulders into our hearts--His Spirit–interconnected to our spirit–and we know that we can unite in goals for peace and prosperity–basic human needs provided–for all.

And just like the dew that glistens in the early morning sun, our love will shine and glisten–covering the earth, soaking the roots of discouragement with encouragement; the roots of hate with love, and roots of hopelessness with hope.

We can do all things together better, with each other, when we respect and love one another. Let’s give it a try and watch how God pours on the anointing so all will be blessed beyond measure.

United For The Cause!

“I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (I Coriinthians 1:10 NIV).

This appeal from Paul to all church leaders–was in response to those who thought they had a claim of superiority over others–simply because of who the leader was. For whatever reason–then as now–people tend to think that if they belong to a certain church or denomination that they have bragging rights and feel superior to any other Believers.

The truth of the matter is–if ALL claim to be Believers in the Work on the Cross, in salvation, repentance, spreading The Word and LIVING according to The Word–then NONE are superior or inferior. ALL are equal in the sight of God since He has no respect of persons.

People who have worship services on Sunday have no more access to God than those who have worship services on Saturday or any other day of the week–we all have equal access to God through the Son, Jesus Christ.

How a person is baptized is a matter between them and God, but if we look at the Scriptures and desire to be like Christ, who was submerged when baptized, then we would have to know, submersion is  the acceptable baptismal method. But this is not to argue, sprinkling or submersion–the act of baptism is supposed to symbolic of our “being buried with Him (to sin), and rising again (to live for Him)” to do the good works He said we would do. If we cannot do the works–ignited by love–for God and others–our baptism means nothing.

I can perfectly understand Paul’s response to the church at Corinth–it doesn’t matter who does the baptism or under what banner–it is the BAPTISM itself that matters–not who did it. If a person’s heart is not right–it won’t matter who does the baptizing. Some have gone into the water a dry devil and come up a wet one–there is no change of heart and so there can be no change of action.

Since none–but Jesus–has ever died for us–why do we pay so much attention to people in leadership positions? They have no heaven or hell for us. Their opinion of us–matters not–especially those who simply love to have authority over others, but have no relationship with God and it is evident in how they conduct themselves in their various churches. Having authority over people does not make them gods–it usually means God’s favor–but more often it means, someone has erred in judgment by putting a godless person over others. We know this happens because we see the results every day when they are reported in the media. Why can’t we choose leaders by praying until God shows us who is to lead?

Okay, that’s a topic by itself and I will explore it, but the important thing for all BELIEVERS is that we are saying what God says–in total agreement–without any division. When the Body of Christ (everyone who proclaims to be believe in Him) unites in thought, purpose and deed, we will indeed change the world for the better.

Until then, let’s not get caught up in people–who lead–but in the Leader we follow–Jesus Christ and learn to be united for the cause–encouraging everyone to live according to The Word of God!