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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”.

 

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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

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The Freedom to Forgive and the Bridge to Reconciliation: Part 2


Psalm 130:3-4 reminds us:

If thou, Lord, shouldest mark our sins, O Lord, who shall stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared.

Reconciliation begins when we forgive those that have trespassed against us.

For it is also written:

For if you forgive others (for) their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others (for) their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Jesus acts as the prophet by way of reminder of Psalm 130:3-4. This prescriptive text provides the reader with the proper perspective…Sin, forgiveness, and our limitations as fallible humans. Moreover, we all have sinned against the Holy and gracious God…and everyone is accountable for our actions.

Continuing our conversation on forgiveness and the bridge to reconciliation, we previously discussed struggle to forgive. We sited Joseph’s remarkable response to his brothers after they conspired to fake his death, leaving him in a pit which resulted in him being sold into slavery.

Today, the struggle to forgive is as it always has been; and though some of us have the benefit of Christ as our mediator, we continue to be challenged.  Our ever present sin nature assures us that it’s better to remain in a place of hurt and self-centeredness; and in that place, we’ve resolved to resent the offender. Especially if the offender is clearly wrong. For many of us, it’s easier to stay there and keep the status quo.

As I walk in the Narrow Way, I’m grateful. This journey of maturity and sanctification continues to provide insight and wisdom that is breaking the fallow ground of my heart. Praise God! On the other hand, these lessons are becoming more difficult. Answered prayers are coming to fuition and I’m coming to fully understand the seriousness, weight, and size of sin.  Unbeknownst to us, much of it is encased in pride. This sin is no different. Choosing not to forgive is a great evil and breaks the heart of the Father, for which I was chastised.  In that chastening, a choice was presented to me.

The Choice: self-centered thoughts verses a more intimate relationship with God and God’s people. I chose the latter.

When resolved to hold on to resentment, it effected my fellowship with the Father and how I connected with Believers. Trust was always an issue.

God is not pleased with this way of thinking.

He has already provded atonement for the sins of mankind so that we may be reconciled to Him; and, in turn, we should extend that same grace to others, especially toward the household of God.

What is the practical application?

For those who are sincerly struggling to be free, please understand without the benefit of God’s wisdom through Christ, you will continue to be tormented because satan has full control over your soul (Eph. 2:3). I beg you to repent of your sin and believe the Gospel. Without God’s Spirit and a regenrated heart, one cannot understand true wisdom from above, which is the only wisdom that is perfect!

Friends, we must be aware of the “little foxes” and resolve to:

  1. Trust Elohim to be the one who will balance the scales of justice, He IS the perfect judge.
  2. Pray daily for a heart to reflect Eph. 4:30-5:2 and die daily,
  3. Starve your flesh and feed your Spirit with the Word of God. Eliminate elements of your life that will not add value to your sanctification, and
  4. Walk in humility.  Don’t think for a moment that we cannot slip and fall into pride and presumption. The struggle is real.

Lastly, the atoning blood of Christ is for all who believe and nothing shall separate us from the love which He so lavishly laid upon us! Therefore, resolve to honour all men. love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King! To forgive today is tomorrow’s reconciliation.

Selah

 

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The Freedom to Forgive and the Bridge to Reconciliation Pt.1

Forgiveness may be THE most difficult of directives to walk and live out daily for Believers; extremely difficult for secular society. So difficult, that the mere mention to forgive an offense often sparks debate. The foolishness of the world teaches that one should forgive to get “free” from the thoughts, or memories of the wrong committed. But what does the Bible teach?

The first mention of the act or request of pardoning of sins or transgressions is found in the 60th chapter of Genesis starting at the 15th verse. Joseph, while serving as the Pharaoh’s treasurer(steward), reconciles with his brothers.

This example would be the essence and substance of what Elohim will do through the Messiah to come. Additionally, it’s a pattern for future generations of Believers…Forgiveness is indeed divine!

If we are honest with ourselves, we know that true forgiveness is a struggle.  More often than not, we’ll say with our mouths that we’ve forgiven those persons that have hurt or betrayed us but inward, we may find it difficult to release the hard feelings. Our minds will reflect on the offense and our flesh kicks in. Even the notion of pardoning somone’s transgression causes angst and contempt. Soon bitterness takes residency in the heart, and those offenses are harder to let go….but God’s grace is sufficient. He is made strong in our weaknesses.

I stand amazed at Joseph’s reaction to his brothers and the joy of reconciliation that it fosters!

Look to the scriptures, it reads:

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “It may be that Joseph will hate us and pay us back for all the evil that we did to him.” so they sent a message to Joseph, saying, “Your father gave this command before he died: Say to Joseph, “Please forgive the transgression of your brothers and their sin, because they did evil to you.”’ And now, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father.” Joseph wept when they spoke to him. His brothers also came and fell down before him and said, “Behold, we are your servants.”But Joseph said to them, “Do not fear, for am I in the place of God? As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. So do not fear; I will provide for you and your little ones.” Thus he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.

What a wonderful example of forgiveness and reconciliation! What would our relationships look like if we chose forgiveness for the purpose of peace and reconciliation?

Selah….to be continued

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Moving on……Maturity Matters, Pt 1.

Narrow is the way

New City, new marriage, new church family……a year of new beginnings with new lessons

Lesson 1, Real Faith: Faith is not a joke or a passive lesson that ebbs and flows with life’s circumstances. Real and active faith in God through Christ must be the Disciples’ reality. Trusting that our Lord God’s sovereign will is perfect, and that He is the all powerful and wise GOD must be the TRUE CHURCH’S resolve to live the rest of our days on this earth.  Tozer writes: 

“Real faith never disappoints because it is in God, grounded on His character, promises, covenant and oath.” 

Maturing in the Faith; by Faith, the Lord is providing an awesome perspective of walking in true discipleship.  Following  the steps of Christ demands little of ourselves with respect to human capabilities, understandings, and intellectualism. Systematic and Reformed Theology can only take you so far. The Spirit must be the…

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Reading Refresher: The Pursuit of Holiness, Jerry Bridges

jb

Too often, we say we are defeated by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated. We are simply disobedient. It might be good if we stop using the terms victory and defeat to describe our progress in holiness. Rather, we should use the terms obedience and disobedience. When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility. I am saying something outside of me has defeated me. But when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me. We may in fact be defeated, but the reason we are defeated is because we have chosen to disobey.

We need to brace ourselves up and to realize that we are responsible for thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us. Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.

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Blowing the Whistle: Ezekiel’s Daughter Returns to Social Media

After careful analysis, keen observation, and contemplation, Ezekiel’s Daughter will be returning to social media.

Why is this so significant?

Well! It’s significant because  many of my contemporaries, friends, and business associates were dumb-founded, or a bit dismayed because I made the decision in 2012 to disconnect all social media outlets and go off the social media grid. With Facebook going public along with the formulation of covenant relationships  between tech companies and Government agencies, I decided it was time to be disengage and observe….which provided me a unique perspective.

Ezekiel’s Daughter is in a unique position to serve the Body of Christ through social media.(but no Facebook!)  It is; no doubt, a shift in time. Our earthly realm is transitioning into a different culture that is ruled by technology and demonic powers that mirrors those in Ancient Babylon. These powers along with technology and efforts to “dumb-down” society,  has effected and continues to effect human’s ability to engage in an organic and at a superior level.  Additionally,  these intiatives with the use of technology will shape social constructs in society, and thus changing our communication styles. Lastly, social media will be the go-to resource with regard to the delivery of news, events, and government affairs. The day is new, the times are changing and we must be strategic and intentional with our efforts of our messenging.

Ezekiel’s Daughter has committed to:

  1. Declare and Proclaim the Gospel, and the Word of God,
  2. Expose the works of the enemy with the purpose to deliver people from the tyranny of sin and its effects on their life here on Earth, and
  3. Love God’s people by the means of grace by faith, and
  4. Pass on information and prayer requests for the advancement of the Gospel and/or other needs.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter! Looking forward to following you 🙂

ED

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The Foolery of the “Women’s March

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

I find it interesting that an overwhelming amount of “reasonably intelligent” people are so gullible in the world today. As hundreds of people converged to the Nation’s Capital; some for the Presidential Inauguration, others for the Women’s March, I experienced a unique perspective while observing human interactions and behaviors.

Now living in the Nation’s capital I find that this on-going  journey to live a devout life for Christ will not be without God’s will for sanctification and spiritual growth. For the Father of Wisdom and Truth, sanctification and growth for His people continues to be paramount. With that said, I pray that those that have a bent toward supporting the so-called women’s agenda will begin to think logically about what this event was really about, the speakers and presenters that were in attendance, and come to the realization of the truth; understanding that this march was as unrighteous as satan himself.

  1. The women’s movement does NOT include all women, and little of what they stand for is actually linked to true freedom and equality.  The majority of women that attended the March were middle to upper class white women out of touch with the common, everyday and the poor women of our country. The fallacy is that they support equal opportunities for women, and yet, the reality is that these same women, would not risk their own comfort to afford job opportunities, offer mentor-ship, or dare I say, disciple a poor black or Hispanic woman during their free time for the purpose to see lasting change in their city’s poor or impoverished communities. As far as I can tell, many of us are invisible to much of the world, with the exception of God’s True Church. I live with this reality every day and the truth of the matter no one has ever asked us how we feel. So I say to the feminist…..”You don’t represent or speak for me nor do you speak for the 100s of 1000s of poor women in the US!
  2. Another interesting observation was discovering that the organizers of this event “uninvited” a women’s pro-life group. What!?  uninvite other women!? Soooo..it’s not about women…it’s about an ideology.
  3. This movement, though noble in their efforts to expose the evil of unequal pay, sexual harassment, and treatment of women in the workplace, it perpetuates dis unity and promotes a segment of secular humanism that is damaging to the human soul. Moreover, it is a snare to the the lost or weak Believer; For it is written:  “The woman Folly is loud, she is seductive and knows nothing. She sits at the door of her house she takes a seat on the highest places of the town, calling to those who pass by who are going straight on their way,  Whoever is simple, let him turn inhere!” And to him who lacks sense she says,“Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant.”But he does not know that the deadare there, that her guests are in the depths of Sheol”
  4. As a woman I am extremely grateful for the grace and protection of God’s order and more grateful for the men and women that have been great examples for equality. This movement never mentions the importance of both sexes, and yet they preach equality for everyone.

The clear folly of the Women’s March was that it was; and is, a tool that was used to advance the enemy’s agenda to kill and distort God’s image and purpose for His creation on the earth.

My prayer is that the people of God’s Kingdom will recognize opportunities for conversations that will lead to the sharing of the Gospel to the deceived.

Selah Continue reading