Color: It’s a Moot Point

As human beings we do not all grow the same height, weigh the same, or learn at the same speed and capacity. The texture of our hair varies from one person to the next and so does the color of our skin. There is nothing inherently wrong with that because we are all made to reflect the uniqueness of God’s creation. For some, that cultural mixture is a problem.

I recently came across a man who within a matter of moments, recognized had a problem with people of color. I know this because the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to the issue the root cause being fear that manifested as personal insecurity. It would be natural to avoid a person like this, but the Lord strategically positioned me to train him. As such I plotted to wiggle my way out of it with the “he has already been trained” but based on the questions I received, they were assessing his inability to grasp the content rather than his need to be trained. Knowing that, I could provide the constructive feedback they needed but not escape the inevitability of training him.

Training day came and I acknowledged the awkwardness between us by saying, “Oh boy “John Doe” it’s gonna be rough today” only to be met with him saying, “I will need my crucifix for demons.” He shouldn’t have said that because what he does not know is that I can verbally slit his throat and won’t lose a good night’s sleep over it, but instead I replied, “I am not a demon and you will not need a crucifix.” I can tell by the look on his face my response caught him off guard.

Little did I know the Lord would teach me a lesson about the unlovable. The Lord God is gracious, kind, and patient. These people are battling demons within. They oppose themselves and deflect seeing other people as the problem. To further downplay their feelings of inferiority, they one-up others by playing the race card.

At the end of the day, he acknowledged my “Christian-ess” and thanked me for being extremely patient. He then asked where I went to church. I told him where but I am also looking for a new place of worship to attend. He gave me the name of a few churches but then showed his true colors (pun intended). He said, “they are of other nationalities.” That was the door the Lord needed. I replied, “you know God is no respecter of persons. He doesn’t care about your color, gender, or title. If you cannot love the Lord God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself than you are lost.” That had to strike a nerve because he said “you know if I do wrong, I will know.”

That response is a cop out. God does not care about what you know. He cares about what you know and what you will do with what you know. This person has a case of the “Peter syndrome.” He thinks Christianity is exclusive to him because of the whiteness of his skin. You know, the good ole inclusion versus exclusion. Survival of the fittest. The white privilege card and the list goes on and on. Now, I will tell you as an African-American (or black woman) I could give a rip about the superiority of anyone’s race and here is why: God never said anyone of us where better than our fellow neighbor because of the color of our skin. I would be just as guilty as he is if I played the race card and screamed “black power in the name of Jesus!”

I am not cut from the cloth of the “color blind clan” because the whole philosophy of not seeing color is a cop out to avoid the weightier racial issues that keep the body of Christ divided. In God’s eyes, no one race is superior to another. You may ask, what about the KKK? My question to you is whose report do you believe? Is your faith based on the Holy Scriptures or doctrine of devils? If anyone brings some other “good news,” whether it be the color of one’s skin, the power of prosperity or the preference of one gender to another, and it is not about Jesus Christ and his resurrection power, then let him or her be damned because it is nothing more than a delusion sent from the wicked one.

Heaven will be populated with all nationalities and we need to accept that reality. If we think heaven will be filled with only one race, let us take heed to the Holy Text:

“After this I beheld and lo, a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands; and cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Salvation to our God, which sitteth upon the throne and unto the Lamb.” (Revelation 7:9-10)

The Ugliness of Humanity

I heard a preacher say, “the flesh competes, the flesh prophesies” and she was right. The flesh, or put in another way, the nature and character of a person is ambivalent toward people and God. We abhor each other one moment and praise out of the same breath. Competition is the cannabis of America. The elusive elixir of the moment and we refuse to admit this fault. For the most part, we are more willing to dislike, disapprove without provocation and live a sub-par existence that feeds off of negativism and distrust.

I don’t think most people wake up in the morning and say, “who can I hate today?” However, it is not what we say, but what we do to prove this fluctuation. Of course all of this stems from a very nasty problem: we hate God. Subsequently, it is only natural to hate and treat our fellow person as we feel about ourselves.

I admit that I have some pretty ugly moments. In fact, if it were not for God putting me in the proverbial headlock and wrestling me around like Jacob at Penuel; if it were not for the omnipresence of the Holy Spirit and his truth, left to my own devices, I too would spread this hostility like cream cheese on a bagel.

Now here is a surprising thought. The more of my own ugliness I encounter, the less tolerant I become of others. Why is that? Because at some point we must take responsibility for who we are and what we have become. What role have you created in your drama? How much have you personally contributed to your own affliction? These are the hard questions we must ask ourselves if we are to become people of character. And that is another issue. People are more interested in who got kicked off the island than working on making them a better person to live and work with.

I am intrinsically responsible for my own life and no one owes me anything. Not a compliment. Not a hand out. Not even a smile. If I receive any measure of grace, it is because the Lord is good and his mercy endures forever. Not because of some person who felt good for the moment. That fickleness can be attributed more to predicting how strong the wind will blow from one day to the next. It is because God has gifted his graciousness to fallen humanity and we are recipients of it, whether we agree, believe it or not.

What the apostle Paul and James the brother of Jesus both penned were right. There is no good thing in our humanity and where there is confusion, there is self-seeking and every evil work.

Get Your Head Out of the Bible

There is a time to read. A time to learn and a time to apply. When it comes to the bible, I believe many of us are content with the body of knowledge without the experience of negative circumstances. We all love sunshine and frown when it rains. Yet, how can we appreciate the benefits of the sun if we do not take part in enduring the wetness of the rain?

In my early Christian years, believers took pride in graduating from the “Holy Ghost School of Hard Knocks.” They would testify about the goodness of God, his graciousness, and ability to keep them from satanic influences. Nowadays, people testify about their biblical knowledge and various theological perspectives. The Apostle Paul wrote that having a lot of knowledge only puffs up one’s intellect and I have come to the conclusion that no amount of degrees heals a broken heart and feeds an empty belly.

Lately, I have not been reading my bible. For some that is Christian blasphemy. For others that is the norm. As much as I love to search the scriptures, there comes a time to walk out the word and learn of the Lord in real time. This has given me a chance to reflect on my thoughts and know God. So here I share some of my thoughts with you. In time I hope to reveal how I came to know these things.

Lady Dunamis’ Log

4/18/2015

Lord, I am not as nimble and quick as I thought. In fact, I was thinking about a few things you impressed upon me this morning concerning what took place last week. One, leaning on my understanding cripples me to the extent I overestimate financially and underestimate in all the other areas of my life. Two, I need to balance between instinct and carefully thought out plans. Three, I carry WAY TOO MUCH STUFF. This is a reflection of what is going on with me spiritually. Four, I repeat the same scenarios so I am missing something, thereby not hitting the mark. Five, I believe you want me to share in your knowledge of what is going on in the world. Even if I do not care to know. Selfish of me? Yes, because now I am held accountable to do something. Isn’t that what Christianity is all about?

We Americans are still blessed in spite of the fact we constantly reject your ways. You feed us well, provide us with good things and despite your goodness, we refuse to repent and submit. It is heartbreaking; nevertheless, you choose to suffer with us in our affliction. All do not suffer equally, but in some measure we bear the brunt of sin be it self-inflicted, unintentional, or on purpose by evil men. These things as Christians we need to know and remember.

You remember the poor even when they do not remember you. It is not that you require people to live in substandard conditions to be spiritual, but you require us to keep your commandments and remain sympathetic and empathetic, especially to those who are less fortunate. You do not want us to have hardened hearts. You want us to be an extension of your goodness so that people may come to know Jesus Christ in the pardon of their sins.

Design Determines Function

Yesterday I watched an episode of Botched where individuals who had extreme plastic surgery cases were looking for reconstruction. This one particular episode peeked my interest.

One client who was a transgender had breasts and cheek implants. It was an extreme case. The cheek implants made of a grade of cement that distorted the facial structure and the breast implants were disproportioned to the extent that the areola was underneath the flap of skin. But there was something the client said that caused me to lean in closer. She said, “You know taking hormones can only do so much.”

For clarity, this “she” is really a he and was cosmetically altered to become a woman. As I reflected on creation in the book of Genesis, I remembered how God formed Adam from the dust of the ground and Eve from the rib of Adam. This is key to understanding how God made our bodies. When God formed Adam and built Eve, however God constructed them that defined their purpose. Simply put, a man cannot be a woman no more than a woman can be a man. When man alters God’s design, he places himself as God and seeks to undermine all that God says is right and good.

Now when I talk about function, I mean in terms of biological function; a man’s ability to produce sperm and a woman’s ability to produce eggs and when the two come together in marriage, they produce children. If you created a masterpiece and said you were pleased with it and someone came along and decided to do some alterations, I am sure you would take offense to it. After all, as the architect you know exactly how it is supposed to work.

This is a very sensitive subject and has been labeled as a human rights issue. However, from a biblical perspective, this is not a human rights issue. It is a sin issue. To be more specific, this is a rejection of God and what he has revealed as his original divine design. When man chooses to bless the creature more than the Creator, conflict of belief and ideology is inevitable.

Unfortunately for the client, the doctors could not perform the surgery because it would have proven too life threatening, so she has to walk around with cement in her cheeks and excessively large breasts for the remainder of her days. Was the original plastic surgery really worth it?

No matter how we try to define God’s blue print, when we die and an autopsy is performed, human hands may have made her a woman but the biological make up will reveal her as a man.

Now that is something to think about.

The Holy Spirit: Don’t Take Him For Granted

WARNING: The Wonderful, The Perfect Righteous, The Prosperous, and Christian Zealots  will be offended by this post. Read at your own risk.

After a very trying year I have come to this one conclusion: I am not a God-seeker.

In fact, my “zeal” for the Lord was nothing but a religious demonstration fueled by a wish list that in time I came to realize God honored none of my requests. After being successfully disappointed, I prayed less, became weary and ceased from being cheerful like a good little Christian should. Disappointed with God, even angry, it became increasingly challenging not to project negativism upon God.

Unlike many who profess to love the Lord with all their heart and wake up in the morning to have coffee with God, I found myself engrossed with the day to day transactions of life. Surviving one day at a time. Making sure I didn’t have too much or too little. Paying attention to details that matter and disregarding those that didn’t. And most importantly, purposefully ignoring the overly developed carnality that reeks from the contentious and dis-eased.

I am no king David who sought the counsel of God or righteous Job who held fast to his integrity. Not that I did a 180 degree turn and lived a life completely opposite of being led by the Holy Spirit. I disconnected and stopped caring.

And here God wakes me up 3:50 this morning to type this post.

Pleasing God is counter-intuitive to my desires and saying “to live is Christ but to die is gain” sounds better than living it.

But there is one thing I have learned. The Holy Spirit is the differentiating factor between a believer and non-believer. He goes far beyond our profession of Jesus Christ. He is the sustaining power and strong arm of God. He is not a divine butler executing our orders or spiritual grandpa who pats us on the head for being good grandkids. He is the sin checker and saint preserver. It is because of the presence of the Holy Spirit and God’s faithfulness to himself, which becomes the anchor of our souls, spiritual existence, and the reason behind our longevity.

Without his presence, we would not think about God, let alone worship Him.

 

All I need is $65 Million

Usually, I like to steer clear of controversial topics; however, I find that this one leaves me unsettled to the point I must blog about it.

It should be no secret that Pastor Creflo Dollar of World Changers Ministries has asked his congregation to provide an offering of $300 or more towards the purchase of a Gulfstream G650 jet. ( http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/16/opinions/posner-creflo-dollar-gulfstream/) There have been parties who oppose the idea while others support it. Here are my thoughts.

  1. The church (Body of Christ) are not “executors of estate” or a Ponzi Scheme for a pastor’s luxury item. We are called to exercise proper stewardship. That entails ensuring that your needs and that of your household are taken cared of FIRST. Paul gave Timothy various instructions and he stated, “…if any provide not for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (I Timothy 5:8) In other words, you are no better than one who does not believe the gospel.
  1. Pastors are servants, just like every member of the Body of Christ. They are not better than you nor do they hold some special kind of anointing because of the title pastor. They are your fellow servants, not God or Lord over the flock of God.

They are not Pentecostal celebrities of whom we should give undying, unwavering loyalty. In the Book of Revelation, the Apostle John was about “to worship before the feet of the angel which showed [him certain things but the angel said to him], ‘See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.’ “(Revelation 22:8)

  1. The concept of provision is always unfolding in the bible and is in accordance to God’s sovereignty. We have Naomi returning back to Bethlehem for sustenance. (Ruth) Joseph being sent to Egypt in chains was released by Pharoah to rule over his people and provide for Israel in the time of famine. (Psalm 105: 17-23) God providing manna in the wilderness for over 650,000 men, excluding women and children. (Exodus) And the biblical list is endless.

In other words, if it is not within your means, there are no opportunities granting access, and the Lord doesn’t permit it, then it is not meant for you to have.

  1. This goes back to my first point. Your household comes first, not the church or anything related to the church. The church is God’s responsibility, not yours so never feel pressured to give any financial contribution under the “message of faith.” There are plenty of biblical examples of church members supporting the needs of others, and while we are supposed to do this, we cannot give out of what we do not have. The order is this: God, your household, and then if you are able, contribute to worthy causes of which minister to the needs of church members first and then the community. Never put your mortgage aside and give a “love offering” because the building fund needs a few more hundred dollars, and never compromise your family for ministering in the “name of the Lord.” Because if you do, you have lost respect from those who matter the most and your witness means absolutely nothing.
  1. Use discernment and good ole common sense. Many times in the faith community we over spiritualize and under analyze. When it comes to the “needs” of the pastor, we will reason, he/she is the “Man/Woman of God” doing the work of the ministry. In reality, he/she is one person(member) relying upon many members to minister to the needs of people. First, as a servant that is our reasonable service. That is what we are supposed to do. We get no gold star from Jesus for that. Second, God does not rely upon modes of transportation. It is the work of the Holy Spirit through the body of Christ that performs the work of the ministry to edify the body of Christ. (Ephesians 4:12) We are blessed and fortunate that he wants to use us to promote the gospel of the kingdom. Third, we are called to serve one another in love, not place those who hold administrative/pastoral positions to live like “big ballers and shot callers.”

Of which leads me to my point about under analyzing. To justify a $65 million jet, many have compared pastors to celebrities, i.e. rap artists. This is an unfair comparison. Not because of the nature of the work or service, but because God never compares his bride to a harlot. The two are different. God calls the church to himself, meaning she is sanctified and holy. A harlot is not set apart for God’s purposes. Besides, we are never to compare as it is an unwise practice.

Let us see this for what it really is. A rerun of another “minister of God” trying to build a kingdom on earth. Wake up church!

Psalm 126 – Thanksgiving of Restoration

When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.

Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, the Lord hath done great things for them.

The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.

Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the south.

They that sow in tears shall reap in joy.

He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.