Profoundly Ugly and Ignorant

And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. but the one who endures to the end will be saved.

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Every time there is a tragedy lately, themockers and scoffersraise their voices in outrage…

“Prayers don’t work. We need legislation.” This has beenmany secularprogressives’ mantra in response to recent mass shootings in America. On Sunday, after a gunmanmurdered more than 20 peopleduring a church service in Sutherland Springs, Texas, some of them found proof of the powerlessness of prayer. Here are a few highlights:

People of goodwill can certainly disagree over the merits of gun control legislation, just as we can disagree over how long we should wait after a tragedy to discuss its political ramifications. However, we should all recognize that pointing to a couple dozen warm corpses and saying, “Fat lot of good yourJebus-beggingdid you” is an act of profound ugliness.

It’s also an act of profound ignorance. For those with little understanding of and less regard for the Christian faith, there may be no greater…

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The BIG DEAL About Voting: Blessed is the Poor

In recent times it seems that the act of voting has risen to a high level of importance for so many. People have become very passionate about it; even to the point of blame-shaming on social media.

The question I would propose: Is the act of voting a moral issue or just another social construct for assimilation?

Patriotic vs Obligation

Over the years, I’ve participated in the so-called American Democratic process. Respective to its history in terms of the Black American experience, I still find myself disconnected from its purpose. Factors such as corruption, partiality, elitism are evident because of the intended outcome. The “will of the people” is still limited to a select few…even on local levels. With that said, I can definitively rule out the moral issue.

With respect to establishing a social construct, most American citizens are taught early on that voting is a right, privilege, and a means to “be heard”. What we don’t learn is the whole history and how individual life experiences can have a profound effect on what we value with respect to these ideas. Just ask a Vietnam Veteran.

If one actively researches, most will find that the origins and purpose of the American voting system were used to create a social construct. Today, the spectacle of elections are more useful to distract the masses.

The only thing that is constant is change….selah

Lulling of Ignorance

As  famed fiction writer Vera Nazarian notes:

“It’s a fact—everyone is ignorant in some way or another.
Ignorance is our deepest secret. And it is one of the scariest things out there because those of us who are most ignorant are also the ones who often don’t know it or don’t want to admit it”.

Ignorance; a by-product of pride, continues to blind-side the Believer.

When one resolves to walk in God’s Truth one must submit this simple but profound truth: There is more to the story and we don’t have all the facts. If it doesn’t make sense, it’s not sensible.

God’s truth fosters the realization that says: Are you willing to renounce human tradition? This renunciation requires a steadfast faith in the Father through Christ!

Without Christ people don’t have the ability to see Truth, and Believers of Christ should walk in compassion toward them; but for those of us that are in the light and love of God’s truth, we have the benefit of His wisdom that is found for those that fear and obey Him (Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in your truth; unite my heart to fear your name).

A robust study of the voting system in its totality provides a full viable argument of why voting it is futile, particularly for the poor.  Though the origins of the Voting Right’s Act appeared to have retributive effects, it was never intended to act as a fair and just system for the American election process.  Further study shows that Federal “Executive Orders” and “Acts” are not enforced locally. If there’s no enforcement how can we conclude that the wishes of the EO or Act have been carried out? By local police? …PLEASE!!! If you dedicate the time and research, you quickly conclude that voices or votes of the poor people never really mattered, and most likely, never will. Generally speaking, poor people are invisible and expendable. Conservatives think all poor people are lazy and Democrats think all poor people are helpless. Both sides have an agenda and that agenda is under the grand agenda of the NWO. Bush #2 announced its induction on Sept 11, 1991.

Moreover; based on the purpose and origin of why voting exists, I have a personal conflict knowing that my “vote” is an act of allegiance to an individual that I don’t know. I don’t know how he treats his wife, children, or if he lives life Biblically. With respect to these standards, the vote or voice of the vote is an outward declaration and allegiance to an idea or an individual.

Let’s look at voting in the simplistic terms:

The following source is from the website Online Etymology

vote (n.)

vote (v.): mid-15c., “formal expression of one’s wish or choice with regard to a proposal, candidate, etc.,” from Latin votum “a vow, wish, promise to a god, solemn pledge, dedication,” noun use of neuter of votus, past participle of vovere “to promise, dedicate” (see vow (n.)). Meaning “totality of voters of a certain class or type” is from 1888.vote (v.)

vote (v.)

1550s, “give a vote to;” 1560s, “enact or establish by vote,”; see vote (n.). Earlier it meant “to vow” to do something (mid-15c.). Related: Votedvoting

Biblical Application

My family on the Caucasian side says “consideration should be made with respect to God’s sovereign grace. Therefore, gratitude should be the motive”.  On the other side, I hear:  “Black people died for the right to vote!”, so the conclusion is….. I’m obligated to vote. (as If my vote should be some sort of homage to another human!?) That argument conflicts with my resolve to live in the identity that is in Christ Jesus.

Again…I’m struggling to connect.  So now, voting has become an object of focus and a choice between patriotism or obligation..identifying as an Evangelical or a Negro!?…..why!?

“If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your1 life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory”.

Though Paul is referring to deceptive teaching to the Colossae church, this exhortation is applicable in terms of culture; particularly in these last days and I am comforted and confronted by it. 

So……the Narrow way continues

Once again, I am faced with that reality of Christ’s clarion call to enter the narrow way. This time: recognizing that human traditions can conflict with the worship of the One True God; always looking at Christ as the example.

Sufficient is the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, teaching, and guidance in the Word of God! When we view the world’s system through the eyes of God’s love and wisdom, your eyes will conform to that which it watches…and in that view, there is great Freedom!

With careful research, study, and a resolve to walk in love, I was granted the privilege to understand the Amercian voting system in its totality; not for the purpose of throwing stones, but because it provides an evidentiary example of human depravity and the argument that people do not “grow in goodness” with time. Over time society will not move toward a positive change, it will become worse..this includes the elites of the world.  The doctrine of Human Depravity teaches this. Human depravity is real and it pervades every area of human society; domestic and abroad. Having a grasp of solid doctrine is useless if Biblical love is not preeminent. If we love people we must share the truth of God’s word and all its ugliness. Biblical love is compassion and its Truth. Even at the risk of losing everything.

Finally, the question becomes: How can you be so sure that Christ did not participate in the election process?

The scriptures do not say, but we are certain that this type of activity was not chief among priorities, nor was it a priority for the early church. Therefore, I choose to enter the narrow way, no matter the backlash.

 

What I’ve Been Learning About “Father Wounds”

The Isaiah 53:5 Project

Married mom and dad best for children

I’ve been mildly obsessing over this topic for the past few months.

Recently I went to an intense and unusual men’s conference. There was almost no verbal teaching there. Instead it was very hands-on and experiential. That weekend I saw man after man experience emotional release around the issue of his relationship with his father. Some of these were mature Christian men who had been stuffing their feelings down for decades. Since then I feel I’ve been noticing the father wound issue everywhere, in friends, family, and strangers, and in seemingly every movie I see.

On the ride home from the conference, our carload of guys debriefed each other and compared our experiences for 12 hours. When I got home I wanted to learn more. I began meeting with all of my adult children to be sure I hadn’t wounded them as I had seen so many others wounded. I…

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Narrow Way Chronicles: Exclusivity of Inclusion

In a recent tweet I shared:

#Pride, #Presumption, and #Partiality create a culture of self-righteousness and hidden agendas. #churchpolitics”.

I thought it appropriate to elaborate because intent can be misconstrued and I wanted to allow for robust discussion.

Today, the term “inclusivity” does not prompt ideas of church unity. Opponents of the Way continue to do a “bang-up” job in hijacking and perverting the Creator’s intent on certain ideologies that is designed to reflect His glory. The ideology of “Inclusivity” is no different. History teaches that diversity and inclusivity have existed since the beginning of time. The Old and New Testament scriptures clearly show examples of communities that included all races and social-economic backgrounds.  It is only after the coming of the Anointed One, Jesus the Christ, do we see intentionality of this idea of Inclusive Communities. ….so let’s not get it twisted. ;-).

The intention of the tweet; however, was addressing my limited time and experience with the subject with regard to church unity. My sincere hope and prayer is that the Holy Spirit will be active in guiding my hand to write; as well as an active guide to those who are reading these thoughts.

It is written, He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the Churches:

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Compassion and True Fellowship

The issue: Are our churches TRULY inclusive? With our drive to expose evil, false doctrine and plant churches, have we created a culture of elite communities? Is the mission still about the Gospel or has the mission become about growing a denomination, positioning for political leverage or making your brand known? Do we reflect true Koinonia or is the local church another social construct that is intended have a “positive” effect on the community? If true Koinonia is the intent, what should it look like and how much of our application is modeled biblically?

I have often been engaged in conversations with persons that boastfully share that they are socially connected with”like-minded” Believers. Notice I didn’t say, fellowship; and, that gave me pause to think (Hence the #ChurchPolitics).

What does the idea of being like-minded mean?

Secular society uses this phrase often. Should I assume that this idea takes on a different connotation because I perceive a spin of conservative Christianity or It is safe to assume that being like-minded is a belief or series of beliefs that is shared commonly through a connection of cultural norms to one may be accustomed; and if not accustomed, Idolize?  We’ve seen this in Charismatic circles.

It is elitism; BKA partiality.

If you initiate a Google search the topic, you will find little teaching or exhortation that addresses this, especially in conservative circles. Largely because most of our siblings still have that big plank in their eye.

Partiality is a sin and it greatly displeases Elohim our God. Because it is hidden, it is easy to deny that we have issues. When we choose to “do life” with people that do not foster sanctification, we stifle growth. Not only of ourselves but others that desire true sanctification.  Jerry Bridges exhorts: “It is not the fact that we are united in common goals or purposes that make(s) us a community. Rather, it is the fact that we share a common life in Christ.

Partiality convinces us that God’s choice isn’t good enough, smart enough, pretty or handsome enough, not quiet enough, or charismatic enough. Partiality says this person is not acceptable to my standards. Partiality shows no grace and therefore, shows no love. This is wickedness.

When we opt in for partiality instead of inclusivity we become complacent in our relationships. We are not intentional with the put offs and put-ons, and we do no “one anothering”.  The result is isolation among the saints. This is a dichotomy of true fellowship. Koinonia and sharing the Gospel is what the Father wants and desires for His children. Lastly, partiality is hidden and presumptuous sins. Partiality is heinous and damaging to the Body of Christ.  In Psalm 19:13 the writer prays:

Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me! Then I shall be blameless, and innocent of great transgression. 

The church is not as inclusive as we like to think we are. Partiality is a real issue, more than we would like to admit. People choose not to bind themselves to a local body because they do not feel loved or safe.  At any rate, Jesus teaches compassion. Though the Savior operated as a prophet, he was remarkably compassionate to sinners. Do we desire or display that same compassion or do we make assumptions about people based on limited information or gossip? Moreover, what are we willing to risk or sacrifice to engage in true Koinonia? If your local body struggles in this area please check out this teaching by Arturo Azurdia of TCP titled “The Antioch Paradigm”.

 

Exodus 15: The Songs at the Sea

A well written piece on the Songs of Exodus

Sign of the Rose

Ivan Aivazovsky, The Passage of the Jews through the Red Sea (1891)

Exodus 15: 1-19 The Song of the People

Then Moses and the Israelites sang this song to the LORD:
“I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously;
horse and rider he has thrown into the sea.
 2 The LORD is my strength and my might,1 and he has become my salvation;
this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
 3 The LORD is a warrior; the LORD is his name.
 4 “Pharaoh’s chariots and his army he cast into the sea;
his picked officers were sunk in the Red Sea.1
 5 The floods covered them; they went down into the depths like a stone.
 6 Your right hand, O LORD, glorious in power –
your right hand, O LORD…

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The Desire and Danger of Jealousy…

The Urban Witness

Jealousy at its most basic level is the desire for the glory that someone else is receiving. When we see others elevated in anyway and we desire the glory they are receiving we are displaying jealousy. All of creation was created by Christ, through Him and for Him (Col 1:15); Christ is the focal point of all creation and deserves all glory present within creation. When He is denied that glory rightly due Him, God becomes jealous. As a result, jealousy in and of itself is not necessarily bad, as long as it has as its result the desire for God’s glory. For instance, if an event occurs and no one attributes glory to God in that situation, then we might be right to be jealous (on behalf of God) that God receive the glory for the event. This might best be translated as zeal, or being zealous for God…

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Social Media: The Marauder of Genuine Relationships

Narrow is the way

Shall we bid “au revoirue” to realistic and genuine relationships? Since the invention of chat rooms and social media, genuine and organic relationships have seemingly escaped the human experience. A few years ago, my family made the decision to deactivate our Facebook and Twitter accounts. At first there was much defiance (my children were teens at the time). Later on, we all discovered it’s effects on our spiritual and relational growth. This sacrifice allowed us to build a stronger family foundation, more intimacy with the Father, and added more time for family discipleship. This became our time to engage in challenging conversations, and has brought lots of laughter in our home. This also allowed for very transparent conversations about life, relationships, and hard-core questions about my past mistakes. Unbeknownst to me this would be a crucial time for my family’s growth. It was instrumental in the aversion of generational influences.

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Pride and Social Media (You may want to share this on Facebook) LOL

Narrow is the way

The following is an excerpt of Dr. John Barrett’s blog on http://www.dtbm.org. You can hear the full sermon on sermonaudio.com:

In light of my previous post concerning the effects of social media. I felt the following resource was very insightful and explains why this medium is detrimental to ones spiritual walk.

How To Identify My Pride 

The best source of insight into pride is an examination of your self asking honestly—Which of these areas apply to me?
Pride always makes me think that the sermon was for someone else other than me—because I’m okay!
Pride makes me always critique church (and any other teaching) on the basis of “what I got” rather than “what I gave”.
Pride makes me think of myself first and others second.
Pride makes me always look for my name on a list, always look for my face in a picture…

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The Beauty of Hymns: Jesus, I my Cross I’ve Taken (Music written by Bill Moore, Lyrics Henry Lyte)

Narrow is the way

1. Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.

2. Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.

3. Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,

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Excellence of God’s People: Doing Our Best

I stumbled upon the below text in my studies. It orginates from a book called  “Excellence: The Character of God and the Pursuit of Scholarly Virtue” and thought..AMEN! See if you agree 😉

“In this spirit (of excellence), therefore, let us pursue excellence. As we have seen, far from being optional, excellence is in fact a divine mandate that applies to every aspect of our lives, for God himself is characterized by excellence. Mediocrity, sloppy workmanship, and a half-hearted effort do not bring glory to God or advance his kingdom”.

Powerful statement!

How many of us wake up with a focus to be excellent for God? The daily grind of employment, home-schooling, ministry commitments, and activities keeps us in a routine of tasks. Do we ever take a moment of pause and ask, “Am I doing my best?” More importantly, “Is my best a reflection of God’s glory here on the earth?” In the midst of the struggle to balance all of our activities, we often become distracted regarding our fellowship with the Spirit of God, especially throughout the day. He is our Beloved One, it is only fitting that He receives worship by way of mindful work in the Spirit of Excellence?

Included in Believer’s love for the Father through Christ our Lord, there should be a desire to do our best for Him; not from a works-based motive, but from a sincere organic closeness to engage with Him as the leader and active participant; and as the writer stated, of every aspect of our lives. If Emmanuel was with you every day, how would you operate? Would mediocrity be your norm?

The focus of Excellence in terms of it’s effect on the Church along with her individual members can be a bit blurry. Societial norms coupled with pride of life has had its effect on our efforts operate in excellence. The result is either an exaltation of excellence or a complete dismissal of the idea of Excellence in the life of the Believer. It can be viewed as legalistic, however, if we look closer to this idea we can soundly argue that excellence does not equate legalism.

For it is written:

Psalm 16:3 – As for the saints in the land, they are the excellent ones, in whom is all my delight.

Proverbs 12:4 – An excellent wife is the crown of her husband, but she who brings shame is like rottenness in his bones.

Daniel 6:3 – Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

Secular vs. Sacred

Both secular and sacred(church) culture has provided contributions to the perversion of Excellence. I’m speaking specifically to the perception of our effectiveness in secular society, the tools we may use as expressions of worship, and our ability to execute in Faith.

Traditionally, secular society has tagged persons with exceptional abilities or talents as persons are “gifted”.  The same goes for American church culture. It’s often said that a person is “gifted” in things like accounting, or singing; we’ve even said that preachers are gifted. The perversion also includes exalting spiritual gifts above the Gospel. If we are truthful, God himself has not defined or delegated many of these skills as “gifts”. The result: A culture that exalts or worships exceptional skills, talents and abilities; or, we worship the person(s) with the skill. The perversion of Excellence happens when God the Creator and Soverign Lord is no longer the object of our affections.

On the flip side, you may have a church culture that unconciously surpresses the idea of Excellence, resulting in mediocrity. If Excellence is percieved as legalism the result will be sloppy workmanship and half-hearted efforts which can be as equally sinful. Mediocrity can’t be an option for God’s people….because He is Excellent!

Therefore, service unto the Lord and His people is done with joy and, with excellence. Whether working in secular society or ministry, inside the home or the Arts, the idea of serving the Lord and His people with excellence should be in consideration in all that we do. It’s a part of stewardship and it is worship!

 For it is written:

Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to curry their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord.Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

Lastly, the idea of Excellence in the preaching of God’s word is not left out of this equation. The same issues of idolatry and lukewarmness is evident when Elohim is not the object of worship. Preaching is worship. Excellence in preaching is achived when the Holy Spirit is in charge and there is a resolve to trust God’s Word. Faith in God and full confience in His word (logos) by the Power of the Holy Spirit is the foundation of humility. Preparation is a key component because we know that the those that preach (teach) the Word will be judged with more strictness (James 3:1). I’d like to think that most preachers and teachers of the Word rely on God’s grace, the Word and the Holy Sprit, however, I still have an expectation that ministers of the Word are dilligent to ensure proper preparation that includes sound doctrine.

The Believer’s decision to be Excellent isn’t based on how we do things; but who we do it for.  More importantly, Excellence is a vehicle by which we reflect his glory during our exile here on earth.

Selah

click Propaganda’s Excellent