10 Things I Learned While Walking Pt. 3

This is the final post of the three part feature from our brother-in-Christ Daunte Henderson.

Click here for Part 1 and Part 2

7. Love Everybody….Are You Serious???

Family, Friends, and regular people will challenge your patience and compassion DAILY. You will be ready to say “thats why i dont ******* with you forreal forreal” BUT you must make a pact with yourself to Love. Oftentimes we put other people on pedestals that they can’t live up to. Humans make mistakes. We all fall short to the men/women that God and our peers want us to be. Forgive even if an apology hasn’t been issued. Let it go and Love. It’s hard to do but EVERYTHING centers around love. It’s our core as human beings. Mark 11:25 calls us to turn the other cheek by praying for those individuals who fall short.

“And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

8. No excuses

We make a million excuses to why we CANT do things. On December 8th we are waiting to get our lives right, so that we can change our lives on New Year’s Day. Do it NOW. If you have something on your heart today, DO IT. Stop playing. You ever see one of the ideas in your head come to fruition by SOMEONE ELSE. Well they decided to act upon what they visualized in their head. The same God that blessed Beyoncé, Jay Z and whoever else you THINK is raw, can bless YOU. Stop making excuses for why you CAN’T do something.

“Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature — have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse”. (Romans 1:20) We have CLEAR evidence in front of our eyes the awesome complexity of God’s power. If we are made in his image and he has given us the ABILIITY to be GREAT, TAKE FULL ADVANTAGE of it.

9. Nothing happens by Mistake but don’t make the same mistakes

God has written our movies. We can be the stars he made us to be or we can be the extras. Your life’s experiences are supposed to teach you how to be better. Don’t keep making the same mistakes. Be better. Learn. Stop hanging out with the people that get you nowhere, stop smoking weed when you KNOW you can’t get a job like that, stop having sex when all it does is confuse things etc. etc. Life doesn’t stop for your mistakes so don’t press Rewind either.

10. 100%

God KNOWS wholeheartedly that we will never be perfect, yet we should try to become the best people we can. If you don’t try 100% at anything that you do then you will never get 100% gratification from ANYTHING that you do. Go hard or Go home. ESPECIALLY when seeking the Lord. When I finally decided to seek the Lord with a 100% heart my peace was restored to me; like an infant who never had a concept of a hungry night. God is waiting for your best. Seek the Lord with a 100% open heart and you shall start to experience great PEACE in ALL areas of your life.

“You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You.” (Isaiah 26: 3)

chained slaves.

2 Peter 3:19
they promise them freedom, but they themselves are not free.
they are slaves of things that will be destroyed.
for people are slaves of anything that controls them.

you see, we are screaming, yearning, howling to be set free. failing to fully understand we are our own masters. we place things before ourselves that hold us bondage, unintentionally. our own emotions keep us locked up behind unbreakable bars. we are the builders. we are the facilitators. we are the manufacturers of our own prisons. walking blindly in a world full of gaping holes ready to vacuum our souls and temporarily relieve our chaotic thoughts. addictions+obsessions+misunderstanding+depression. regression becomes the inevitable result of the sabotaged equations we set up, daily. living in ignorance, submitting to self-hatred, bowing down to pride, these are all chains that keep us locked behind our own bars we’ve pieced together and constructed in an attempt of seeking freedom. the Light we constantly seek, we dim with our selfish needs. our selfish desires. our selfish fears. our selfish fulfillments. our selfishness is the hindrance of our liberation. our tranquility. our freedom. constantly chasing after the worlds gifts which are, in actuality, transparent and already destroyed, because it is scripted in The Scripture, “… things that will be destroyed.”

are you really willing to put your life, that has already been promised eternity, on the line for miscellaneous nothings that will ultimately burn in the fiery pits of destruction?

we are entitled to living free. out of bondage. out of captivity. out of confinement. not locked up. not chained up. a prisoner in our own penitentiary. freeing ourselves [the slaves], from ourselves, [the masters]. we have the privilege to be … free.

2 Peter 3:20
they were made free from evil in the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. but if they return to those evil things and those things control them, then it is worse for them than it was before.
His words, not mine. if we are yearning to be free people, free humans, we’ve got to let GO of those evil things that have been set on earth to intercede the connection with the Spirit that guides us. the Spirit that holds us. we’ve become so attached to worldly items and feeble feelings that we forget there’s more in life to live for. if we allow evil things to control our every move, thought, and decision … we become smothered in evilness and we begin to spread evil around. if we leave it up to Him, we have absolutely no reason to fret. He has already created the blueprint of our lives. STOP altering what has already been orchestrated. faith is more than speech. faith is more than sight. faith is more than a suggestion. it is believing with our hearts. we’ve got to make the sacrifice for Him just as He did for our salvation. our lives are only temporary on this earth. what residues and remnants will you leave for the world to pick up where you left off? … evil? or righteousness?

we’ve got to choose to be set free eternally through Him. not through ourselves.

*it was a challenge to refrain the useage of “you, they, them, etc.” i’ve got to constantly remind myself, i am walking the same trail as those i long to uplift and enLighten. we are unified under One. we are a major organ in One Body. i refuse to be the vessel that collapse, knowingly. i will not fail my people. most importantly, i will not fail You.*

the gods of love and relationships, part II

Dating & relationships are the most discussed subjects, ever.

It seems as if people seek relationships & love more than they seek God at times. This is when love becomes an idol and the response to the idol is worship. (as stated in part I)

For instance, some of us get into relationships with unbelievers. A sin punishable by death, and death on a cross.

Jesus died for that sin just as He did for drunkenness, bad breath, homosexuality, lying, & murder. All were sins that Christ was brutally punished for, but that doesn’t mean you should still do them. You were washed by the blood of the Lamb and created as a new creature in Christ. The Holy Spirit now resides in you, sealing you until the day Jesus returns in all majesty as we marvel at His power.

“It keeps me up at night, I cry about it, I pray about it, I fast about it.”

This is not an issue to take lightly and it will keep you up at night, crying.

The issue plain and simple is that the unbeliever has now become a god. You have placed that person as a god disobeying the very first commandment.

“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. “You shall have no other gods before me.” – Exodus 20:2-3

Understanding what Christ has done for us on the cross will push us to constant repentance, the turning away from sin. For some people one sin is easier to conquer than others but for some it is as if there is no hope.

“Will I be thrown into the pits of hell & turned away from those pearly gates for marrying him?”

Psalm 65:3 says, “When iniquities prevail against me, You atone for our transgressions.” Though sin is conquering you, as long as Jesus Christ is seated on the throne there is still hope. Jesus has atoned, paid the penalty, for our sin and said, “if you love me you’ll keep my commandments.” Yes, you will sin. We are perfect in God’s eyes but, and that is a BIG BUT, we are being made into the image of His Son Jesus. I emphasize the BUT because though we are positionally perfect we are in the process of being made perfect, and won’t be perfect till we enter our glorified bodies. (don’t just take my word for it!)

Dating an unbeliever, and even marrying one, will not exclude you from The Pearly Gates. We are saved not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to His own mercy. God had mercy on us by not killing us but killing His own Son.

“I don’t want to be without him but I don’t want to disobey God either.”

The theology behind marrying an unbeliever is plainly stated in the Bible as being unequally yoked (II Cor 6:4). An ox would be joined with another ox with a yoke. The yoke is easy if the partners are of equal strength, but if not the yoke is hard and burdensome.

Honestly what is truly on my heart to say to someone dating an unbeliever is dump them, please. They may tell you everything you want to hear but men lie, women lie, & Jesus is the Truth. I can tell you now that it will not work for several reasons, unless God divinely intervenes:

  • An unbeliever is a false idol who cannot save you. (Isa 46:3-13)
  • An unbeliever will not grow in Christ with you.
  • An unbeliever has no true standard of what constitutes being a true husband.
  • An unbeliever cannot be the Pastor of his house. (II Cor 11:3)
  • An unbeliever cannot love you like Christ did the Church. (Eph 5:25)
  • An unbeliever will make it confusing for children.
  • An unbeliever cannot take part in what should be the largest part of a believers life.

In the end it will hurt. From experience, personal and based on testimonies, unbelievers will complicate your life. I know of people who are scared to have children because of fear.  There is hope and Jesus does save, but He only saves those who repent & believe. I love you all and if it is in my power to convince you, through Christ, may it be so.

[here are some resources to check out:

http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/religionsaves/dating http://www.marshillchurch.org/media/1st-corinthians/under-authority-like-christ http://www.desiringgod.org/ResourceLibrary/TasteAndSee/ByDate/2007/2163_Married_or_Single_For_Better_or_Worse/]

My Life as a Step Show

Alpha Step. Omega Step. Kappa Step. Sigma StepIf you don’t know, that’s the opening of Kanye West’s School Spirit off of what is argued as his greatest album, College Dropout.

Ever consider your life as a step show?

No matter who or where you are, you are stepping in line or in association with someone or something. If we had to do a parody of Yeezy’s song for some of us it would sound like…Career Step. School Step. Relationships Step. Mula Step. Whether you’re a student, a mechanic, artist, drug dealer, or pastor you are following, worshiping, praising, and stepping to someone, some idea, or something.

As Christians we’re striving to be like Christ and the easiest way to do that is to be in step with the Holy Spirit. When you’re in step with something or someone you’re following their every move. They turn left, you turn left, they put their hands up in a formation, you mimic that formation with your hands. The Bible has given us the opportunity to study Christ’s moves and through our everyday living we are able to put those moves into practice. We’re given daily opportunities to step in love, just as Christ loved, opportunities to step in evangelism, just as Christ evangelized to the lost.

But sometimes we miss-step. We allow idols, distractions, and attractions to sin to throw off our intentions of remaining in step with the Holy Spirit.

“You were running a good race. Who cut in on you and kept you from obeying the truth?” Gal. 5:7

The flesh and Spirit desire different things, their step routines look completely different. Following the steps of the world can have you strolling down the wrong path (corny pun intended). In stepping with the world your moves no longer honor or glorify the God that has created you. And the difference will be evident by the fruits that will be produced in your life. Because after all when you’re in step with the Spirit then you bear the fruit of the Spirit-love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, faithfulness, self-control, and meekness! All of which are the kind of fruit the Lord loves to see on our trees!

“Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25

All I can do is urge you to make a prayer commitment, a Bible reading commitment, do whatever it takes to keep yourself in step with the Holy Spirit because these days are evil (Eph. 5:16). Don’t you wish you could have more peace, more patience, be more kind, with more self-control, make moves in the Spirit so that you can get there! If that’s what you want and who you want to be then don’t let anything stop you from getting on Christ’s line and Stompin’ the Yard!-ok I got a little carried away on that one, but seriously- Wake up daily deciding you’re gonna step with Christ!

What’s The Big Idea?

“So let me tell you the difference between me and them.”

Often times a large complaint of Christianity is something like this:

“The God of the Bible is so pagan, demanding a blood sacrifice of a seemingly innocent person to appease his wrath upon others. There’s no real difference in this god and all the others.”

Honestly: For awhile, I didn’t know what to say to that. I mean, in the Old Testament there were a lot of blood sacrifices people made so God wouldn’t punish them, and then Jesus comes along and is the final sacrifice….right?

Well…sort of…

When I actually picked up my Bible and read it (specifically Hebrews 9) I saw that (1) all of those sacrifices back in the gap weren’t paying for any sins, more like putting them on lay-away, or on hold until a certain time when the sins on lay-away could be paid for, that certain time being the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

With that being said,  that still doesn’t resolve the charge of similarity to the other pagan gods does it?

The Big Idea…

When we grasp the idea that Jesus is actually who He claimed to be multiple times (God), we see the gravity of His sacrifice. He, being God, took upon God’s wrath for all who will ever believe in Him. In other words, God did not punish another, but rather created an avenue where He Himself would be under the perfect judgement meant for wicked folk like you and I.

Religion is all about a god demanding you meet them where they are. Relationship is about a being who reasons with us and makes a way for us to be with Him. His name is Jesus, and the only thing you have to do is repent and believe.

………..Will you?

Isaiah 1:18
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:though your sins are like scarlet,they shall be as white as snow;though they are red like crimson, they shall become like wool.

Media Junkie

See full size image

Have you ever thought about your level of media intake?? Pandora, ipods, and cell phones keep us musically connected 24/7, Youtube has changed video sharing forever, and inventions like redbox make renting movies more affordable than ever. Yet just because the media is available doesn’t quite mean we as Christians should be consuming it.

After having a few talks on the power of media, I heard/had some painful confessions…“I wasn’t struggling with having sex until I started watching movies with intense sex scenes. Curse words weren’t in my mouth until I started listening to explicit music. I wasn’t obsessed with my poverty, success, and my singleness before I started listening and watching the wrong types of media”

As much as we like to justify ourselves, we have to admit media is powerful and can often encourage behavior that is completely unglorifying to God. After going through a period of subjecting myself to the wrong type of media I found myself feeling spiritually clogged. I felt my mind focusing on all the worldly things I tried to escape, falling in to all the mentalities my life in Christ had reversed. The wrong type of media can have you feeling disconnected, struggling to rekindle your relationship with the Father. And even though you know He has promised to never leave you, you find yourself asking Him, “Where are You?”

Truth is you know exactly where He is, He’s inside of you. When you give your life to Christ, the Holy Spirit comes to live inside of you, your body is a temple (Eph. 1:13). The Holy Spirit gives comfort, guidance, and full conviction (1 Thessalonians 1:5). For every time you wince at the F word, don’t find yourself laughing at the crude humor, or feel uncomfortable watching a racy movie scene, it’s the Holy Spirit inside of you letting you know that you’re inviting some pretty unwanted houseguests into your temple, the type of houseguests who’s partying can have you tuning the Holy Spirit out.

When I need the Lord’s guidance, when He’s calling me to action or to go in a certain direction, I don’t want to feel disconnected. And with our daily dependence on Him there’s no room to feel spiritually clogged. There’s no beat tight enough that it should come between you and God.

I don’t have any direct guidelines to media such as a Christian approved move lists.  But I can tell you that we have and need to follow the Holy Spirit’s convictions and we have Paul’s call for us to think and meditate on things that are pure, honest, lovely, and commendable (Phil. 4:8). If media can influence what we think, meditate, and daydream about then we need to make our media pure, honest, lovely, and commendable.

Relationships suffer when conflicts exist. When it comes to your relationship with God maybe media is a conflict you need to resolve.

ichains

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has appointed me to preach Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the downtrodden will be freed from their oppressors” Luke 4:18NLT

Doug Gross recently authored a piece for CNN tech titled  “In the tech world, porn quietly leads the way”.  Honestly, after reading the article I was afraid. I was afraid to speak out against something so pervasive and because I know what it is like to be deeply captivated by pornographic material. But the above verses stood out to me and helped me to know that the battle is the Lord’s.  And  Just like Luke records from the scroll of Isaiah…“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me…” . I trust Him for the ability to shed even a glimmer of light on the darkness of pornography.

First if you haven’t already done so, please check out the original article. I say this because it’s a very informative read and because it’s necessary background info in many of today’s ministries.

With that said, I also need to mention that I am not at all technologically savvy. Please pardon me.  This is what played a part in my struggle to express God’s heart on this matter.  Even so, I am excited and encouraged to be sharing what I DO know…and that’s the Good News.

To sum it up, the CNN article highlights the Porn industries capitalization on today’s most recent technologies, with the ipad being the number one hit. Mr. Gross goes into detail about how porn tycoons had the ipad scoped out long before its April release. They knew just where to tighten their hold and sustain their influence.

Gross highlights that the ipad is the newest canvas for the porn industries colorful pallet of human degradation.  He claims that not only have they infiltrated the ipad, but they’ve done the same in  past years with the VCR, AOL, the basic cell phone …you name it.

Basically, “iporn” is an old hat, ceremoniously being passed from generation to generation. In fact, according to Gross, Their motto is “ Don’t ask, Don’t tell, Do sell!”

Steve Job with ipad

At first I was really unnerved. But I’m aware now that this is nothing new. It’s common knowledge that large populations of people (men, women, and sadly even children) are hooked on porn. I gather that Mr. Gross’s article said nothing to the effect of “THIS IS WRONG!” and I even recognize that perhaps the chances of real public reform in this area are slim. This could certainly be very discouraging…

Except there’s Good News!: (good is an understament.)

THIS IS THE GOSPEL!

Jesus Christ came to set the Captives Free!

but there’s bad news too…These captives are on DEATH ROW.

The bible teaches us that we are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away.” Isaiah 64:6NLT

Porn is yet another outward expression of man’s sinful nature. We are all naturally sinful. But Christ stepped into our naturally sinful humanity, and being Himself sinless He took upon Himself the punishment for our sins. He died, so that we could live.

But check this!!!!!  His death alone would only pardon us for so long…because sin is innate! So He came back to life, so that sin and death would never be able to hold us captive again.  Now, when we place our faith in Christ and His work on the cross, we have access to eternal life with God. Can you see why this is such Good News?

It’s obvious that Porn is deeply imbedded in our culture. It has kidnapped our children, abused our mothers, and corrupted our dads. Ultimately, It has broken our hearts.  But ALL praise and Honor belong to the ONE who loved us while we were YET sinners! God sent His only Son, to die on the Cross for You and me. While iporn puts you in CHAINS, He lives to set you FREE. And to reconcile mr. Gross’s article I say,  Let Christ Lead, He is the Way!

All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all. Isaiah 53:6NLT

kicking rocks and talking to demons.

i used to worship h.e.r.

yesterday this crazy thought just popped in my head: “God gets the glory when i simply kick a rock.

i then begin to sit and try to reason, with my incapable human mind, how God gets the glory from me kicking a rock …

  • God created the rock.
  • God created me.
  • the ground i kicked it on, God created it.
  • i had to walk to the rock, God ordered those steps.
  • God’s sovereignty put me in front of that rock at that perfect time and at that perfect place.
  • God giving me having the ability to kick the rock (meaning that my toes are aligned how God intended, my foot is “wired to the t”, my shin is working with the rest of my leg, which is connected to the strongest pivotal body part :the hip, all while my spine is the backbone of my body that allows me to stand, my brain is giving all the signals, i’m alive so my cells are working, there is also coordination and thought involved for me to kick the rock as far as i want to, eyes for me to see the rock, the ability for me to inhale and exhale to perform a proper kick, etc. (i was seriously pondering how genius God is.)

then it hit me, whether or not i think about this or not, all of the above remains true, which means that God gets the glory regardless, which means that it doesn’t matter what i do or think, God will get the glory! which means that God’s glory is not measured upon my actions!!!

*sit and think about that for like 10 minutes lol … no i’m serious*

ok so randomly, here’s an example of a rapper who doesn’t fall under the “christian” genre, but gives glory to God, seemingly unintentionally, by rapping as if he were satan – and might i add he spits 100% truth on this track.

this song really spoke to me because i am definitely an ex hip-hop worshiper (all music for that matter), and i was definitely the type to bump my stereo before reading my bible, and i sometimes still am :/, but thank God for Jesus Christ.

***warning: the “n-bomb” is dropped like 3 times. that about it.***

“you can be saved if you pick up the book and read but you’d rather turn your stereo up and bump me.”

daisy under the Son.

now when the sun was setting, all those who had any who were sick with various diseases brought them to Him, and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.
– luke 4:40.

the power of healing truly lies in one hand. and only. one. hand. in the hand of our Lord and our beloved Saviour, Jesus Christ. the authority He has over all sicknesses and diseases is immeasurable and His will for us all will  forever be pleasurable.

i see this to be true through this beautiful, vibrant, and jovial young girl named Daisy Merrick who was diagnosed with cancer 7 months ago.

Daisy Merrick has gone through surgery, through chemotherapy, and through several blood tests upon other things to prevent the malignant tumor that was the size of a nerf ball from spreading throughout her body. she has experienced so much throughout these trying months.  but that did not stop her from fighting against it … or Him.

when Jesus died on the cross for us, He provided for our physical, mental, and emotional healing along with our salvation.

by the grace of our loving and comforting Lord God, Daisy was declared cure of all her cancer may 7th, 2010.  after countless prayers and silent tears shed, God became the umbrella for the Merrick family in this unmerciful storm and walked them through it – step by step.  He shed grace on them.  He protected them.  He taught this family to stand on His promises in obedience, to trust Him with all their hearts, and to believe that His word is true. please, take time to watch this touching video of Daisy’s story.

at times like this, we come into terms with this question: how can i be angry at a God so sovereign?  in situations that tend to block the Light of our Lord, we seat ourselves in discomfort and frustration – forgetting everything that He has done, is doing, and said He will do.  we.  shut.  down.  and that pierces through His heart like a knife and He cries.  because His biggest desire is for us to trust in Him and to believe that our trials have only visited us to sanctify the corruption we have grown to love so much.

each and every one of us share the same cells as Daisy.  all it takes is something to trigger that cell and it will begin to reproduce, uncontrollably.  the cells will build up to form an abnormal mass of tissue and you, yes you, can be diagnosed with cancer.

we must thank God with every last breath in our bodies that He has protected us from this sickness.  and for those who have survived, we must praise God and extend the highest Glory to Him for keeping us through something the doctors name incurable.

her story can be read in full here – please, keep Daisy and the Merrick family lifted in prayer!

the gods of love and relationships, part I

...your "god" determines your belief.

Definitions of words are often lost in translation.

For the sake of being on one accord I am going to define some words; idols, worship, and love. Idols aren’t merely wooden statues, worship isn’t thirty minutes on a Sunday morning, and love isn’t just a feeling.

An idol by definition is:

  • An image used as an object of worship, a false god.
  • One that is adored, often blindly or excessively.
  • Something visible but without substance.
  • “because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.”

When an idol presents itself we respond in worship to it. Worship is a response to something/someone worthy of praise. Worship is a response in devotion of time, talent, resources, and respect.

Some will define love as a chemical imbalance in your brain. Others will define love as a mysterious emotion or feeling.  I define [Americanized] love as a self-seeking desire to be pleased.

God is Love, but love is not God.

This is how the Holy Spirit through Solomon defined Love:

Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm,
for love is strong as death,
jealousy is fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
the very flame of the Lord.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If a man offered for love
all the wealth of his house,
he would be utterly despised
. -Song of Solomon 8:6-7

We all long for love and relationship, which is not a bad thing. When this longing is placed before God is when it becomes a bad thing. The Bible is explicit that the power that Love holds is as a raging fire, and as absolute as death. Death is the great denominator and no matter how we fight it we are inevitably consumed by it.

Love in the same manner can consume. There is a Biblical way and there is a world taught way. The world says love can grab you at any time and it’s uncontrollable whom (and when) you love. The Bible says that we can awaken love before its time and we do have a choice.

Love is a paradox in which the world says love is about self. Jesus says love is about sacrifice, no matter the circumstance. Not only did Jesus say it, He came down and showed us how to love. He set the standard of how men and women should love each other; which is sacrificially.

Jesus set Himself as a seal upon our hearts. His love was strong enough to die for us. His jealousy for us from other false gods brought Him to the grave, but not even the grave could contain Jesus’ love. Jesus not only offered all His riches in Heaven but His very life. That’s Love.

[Now that I have defined these words in an academic way  I can respond in a more heart felt manner to a specific question that I was asked about becoming one in marriage with an unbeliever…in my next blog post. so please keep your station set on thecitygoodhope.]