when God was absent, part I

I often don’t feel God“, is a saying that ruled me for a few months.

I’ll be blunt and to the point … I took a hiatus from writing because I didn’t feel worthy to write for a blog committed to truth & the transformation of lives through the love of Christ. I began to doubt if I were ever in it for the right reasons & I began to fall back from accountability, authority, & admonition from others. You too may feel this way in some facet of your life.

I do apologize. My mentality was that sin was so rampant in my life that I am unworthy & I would have to fix myself up before I was worthy to write again. But God, being so rich in mercy showed me that I think far too highly of myself.

Absence made me feel as though God was so far from me & it would take time to rebuild our relationship & just when it felt like we were getting better … I would sin again. Sin being anything from illegitimately fulfilling sexual desires, pridefully asserting authority over others, cowardly avoiding situations to share the love of Christ, arrogantly being self-absorbed, guiltily blaming myself for the guilt of others, & not feeling as if God loved me as much as He used too.

I once felt like me & God were so tight & I thought He had my best interests in mind. I thought that if I followed Him I would be like pastor such & such & always feel joy overflowing. But God, being rich in mercy put my faith to the test. Left & right everything in my life began going wrong. I went from best worker to worst, good painter to worst, and a decent preacher to worst. I felt so condemned.

Every night I stayed up contemplating how to get closer to God … every night I prayed & prayed, but seemingly to no avail. My greatest fear became the idea that my sin became greater than the Holy Spirit living in me. I was scared to even pray because I didn’t want to be let down by God again. This was when things took a turn for the worst & I completely lost who I was.

When I hit rock bottom was when healing came.

I learned that,

  • like Cain all I can do is offer my best offering but be careful because sin is crouching at my door like a predator waiting to pounce (Gen 4:6-7)
  • I was saved by the Spirit so I should stop trying to be sanctified by the flesh & the law (Gal 3:1-3)
  • it doesn’t matter if I look stupid for Jesus (Phil 1:27-28)
  • there is a God who loves me too much to give me over to my idols (thanks Tullian)
  • people actually care about me & I don’t have to pull stunts to earn affection (ain’t got no proof but I feel it, lol)
  • in the midst of sin God can use you to reveal His righteousness (Jonah 1:7-16)
  • an alien righteousness resides in me apart from anything that I do (Phil 3:2-11)
  • I should risk the ocean, because there is only grace (Sometimes – DCB)

power. part 2: “no one man should have all that power!”

as we saw in part 1, one of the definitions of power, via meriam-webster, is a possession of control, authority, or influence over others. according to the depiction of malcolm x by academy-award winner denzel washington, it is safe to say that malcolm x had some power.

i’m not just talking about any power, i’m talking about that “gimme a crisp pair of jeans, *** button up” power that literally ended the throwback jersey era. i’m talking about that eddie murphy in coming to america, “bark like a dog” power. that’s power.

in order to communicate a demand that will eventually become a reality is authentic power, power that Jesus exemplified above malcom x, jay-z, and prince akeem combined.

read mark 2:1-12 right quick and peep the power of Jesus!

in this instance, Christ Jesus showed his authority over forgiveness & sickness. not only did He heal the paralytic, but Christ forgave the paralytic’s sins – which seems to be of first importance. now that’s ultimate authority! Even the scribes were tripping at the fact that Jesus, a man, was talking like he was “God” or something! Only God can forgive sins, right? True, but the beauty is, although that Jesus is a man, He is God! And He has the same authority/power to this day!

no one man should have all that power – but a Godman should 😉

pray. sit. meditate. look around. look inside. how is God’s power manifesting in your life today?

Come get your Ticket To Heaven!!

Preacher- Come ye! Come ye! Get your ticket to Heaven!!!

Me- ooo what is heaven?? Why do I need it? And how much is it?

Preacher- Heaven is a paradise that you can spend eternity with streets paved with gold and many mansions when you die! If you don’t get the ticket, you will spend eternity in HELL. Your soul will burn for eternity! Guess what……this is for the freeski. Your ticket has all ready been paid for!!

Me- oooo give me the ticket give me the ticket! I want paradise! I want many mansions!…..Hold on what is the catch

Preacher- There is no catch you just have to believe in………

Me- o it does not matter just give me the ticket I just want my ticket to heaven.

I know what you are thinking what is this man talking about???

The question that has plagued mankind forever is, “where do we go after we die?”

We finally get the answer when ever we go to church that we can get blessings, eternal life and heaven. We ,as greedy children, say, “Give me! Give me that and more!” Never really wanting to know the person who sacrificed their life for our lives.

We often do not care about what or even who can get us into heaven. We, as selfish humans, want all the good things and somebody to save us from our situation/eternal damnation.

I mean it’s a good deal.  You say a prayer and you get eternal life but, does God want people that just want to use Him for what they want?

Or does He want a relationship?

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.” (Rev. 3:20)

Jesus is knocking at your door and He wants to dine with you. Yes, you and me too!  The same person that does not care about what He did on the cross for us because of our own selfish reasons.

You can not build a relationship with someone if you don’t know were they come from, what they have done or where they have been.

So, the question is who paid for your ticket to heaven?

Jesus The Christ. He came down from the paradise that the ticket gives us to come to a world that is fallen. He died on a cross suffering an unimaginable punishment for the wrongs that we selfish people commit on a daily. His closest friends abandoned Him. He was whipped with the whip of nine tails. His beard was plucked. He was beaten naked. He carried a 9 foot cross a mile and a half while His battered and bruised body was being spit on. He was stabbed in His side all while He was begging for God to forgive the people doing this to Him. But worst of all, He had to take and drink the full cup of God’s wrath (His hate for sin)!

Why? It is because God so loved the world, He gave His only begotten Son, so whoever shall believe shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

God displayed all that love to humans and He wants you to get to know Him.

Question to ask yourself:

Would you serve God if the punishment for not serving Him was hell?

Do you really want to know the God that died so that you can live?  If so, let me know.  Just leave a question or comment.  Don’t be shamed!

Irritation.

Google Image.

Man, the funniest thing happened to me the other day! I got a spider bite….well I didn’t know until went to the doctor. I woke up in the morning and my foot was a little puffy. I just thought I might have had one too many pork ribs the night before. SOOO I just left it alone even though it was kind of hurting. A week later and my foot was on Fred Flintstone! I showed my friend she said you need to go to the doctor. I was like……………… naaaa I’ll just walk it off. (Pride)

Soooo, amazingly the irritation got bigger (I was like, “would you look at that”) I didn’t want people asking about my foot so I just separated myself from my crew. They are always boosting things way out of proportion.

Does that sound crazy y’all????

I finally went to the doctor and he told me if I would have waited any longer, my foot would have had a huge infection and might have to be amputated. Your boy would have looked like Kunta Kente. I thought to myself, man how stupid of me. I could have addressed the problem and on top of that I ran away from my friends in embarrassment. I was almost cut off from the body of believers……. literally!

Have you ever let someone or something that has hurt, irritate or harm you just build up and not address the problem? Knowing it is poison to our Spirit and it is doing nothing but causing us more pain. As much as we try to hide it the irritation/problem just sits there growing in secret, poisoning our inner being. Robbing us of our happiness and joy. The problem will grow so big that we don’t want to talk about it and, we will eventually separate from anybody that wants to address the problem to help us.

What is the antidote when people hurt, irritate, ooooor let’s just say get on your dang nerves????? You could be like me and let a problem just build up or we can follow what the Bible says! Matt. 18……

15(A) “If your brother sins against you,(B) go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have(C) gained your brother. 16But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established (D) by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17If he refuses to listen to them,(E) tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church,(F) let him be to you as(G) a Gentile and a tax collector.

We have to address when our brothers/sisters hurt us in our friendships as the Bible tells us. If not, the problem gets worse and there might be a permanent separation from the body of believers.  In fellowship, we need each other to hold us accountable for growth.

And after you address the issue forgive your brother because, God forgave us of our sins through Christ even when we were enemies against Him.

In closing spider bites hurt and can build up into something as detrimental as amputating a ligament for the core of our being.  The same way, in the body of Christ, unaddressed quarrels can potentially cause one of our members to be amputated as well.

Jesus saves lives and ligaments.

the gods of forgiveness & forgetting

I’ve had some epiphanies about forgiveness lately. These views are purely to provoke thought & are my opinion. Also these views are from a more systematic & philosophical approach to interpretting scripture. Leave a comment or shoot me an email of your thoughts.

I’m starting to see that I struggle with it more than I would allow myself to believe. I carry hurt from past experiences that I did not address in hopes that it would merely pass away, but inevitably it comes back to haunt me.

Perhaps you do struggle with the act of forgiving and it seems painful. The idea that we must forgive sounds like a good idea but practically you question whether it is a wise decision.

In western culture forgiveness, without justice, is idolized & seen as the right thing to do. “Yeah they bombed the Twin Towers, but we must forgive them”, “Yeah they cheated on you, but you must forgive them”, or “Yeah your father walked out on ya’ll, but you must forgive him” all sound like the nice thing to do. Whereas in the east it is straight eye for an eye justice & it is more like, “Yeah they disrespected your honor … I’ll grab the machete”.

We make forgiveness & forgetting into gods by having a false interpretation of what they actually are.

east and west

I often hear it said that you have to forgive & forget, but I do not believe that forgetting is even possible.

You may be thinking, “Aren’t you a Christian blogger? You should forget as far as the east is from the west,  remember their sins no more, & keep no record of wrong!”

I would argue that God doesn’t even do those things, in the manner by which we want to believe he does. God sees both the east & west, God does remember your sins forever, & God does keep a record of your wrongs. God is all knowing, so to forget something would contradict his character … but how does those biblical truths align with God’s character?

why God does not easily forgive you

God’s forgiveness is not simple by any means. When the Bible says “forgive as you have been forgiven”, we may think that God makes it sound easy. Actually God is saying that forgiveness is so hard that it cost me everything to forgive you.

Asking for forgiveness is not asking for someone to forget. Forgiveness is that despite my sins you forgive me as Christ did by dying to self for the sake of the relationship. Jesus clearly had our sins in mind as he was being brutally punished for them but chose to forget them as unforgiven sins & remember them as forgiven sins.

Forgiveness hurts. Jesus had his body ripped & was completely humiliated in front of the people he created to forgive us.

forgive as you are being forgiven

Practically you are being forgiven each time you sin, if you have changed your mind about sin & believed in Jesus for salvation. Positionally you are forgiven at the bloody cross & resurrection.

Here are 10 things that Christ-like forgivess is not. Please watch because by seeing what forgiveness is not you may find what forgiveness actually is.

“forgiveness is not approving or diminishing sin.

forgiveness is not enabling sin.

forgiveness is not denying a wrongdoing.

forgiveness is not waiting for an apology.

forgiveness is not forgetting.

forgiveness is not ceasing to feel the pain.

forgiveness is not a onetime event.

forgiveness is not neglecting justice.

forgiveness is not trusting.

forgiveness is not reconciliation.”

Forgiveness is the acknowledgent of one’s sin against you while pardoning it, or releasing the debt owed from the sin. Then the beautiful process of reconcilliation can start.

the gods of trust & guilt.

I have sincerely let some people down that I will have to answer to the Almighty God for.

It breaks my heart to think of the faces that in some way or another placed trust in me & were let down by my lack to follow through. Perhaps I was busy or maybe I just didn’t have the power to persevere, but I failed them.

We have all failed someone who has placed trust in us.

trust & forgive them as far as the east is from the west.

In the god of trust

We make trust into a god by getting relaxed with someone or something. We convince our hearts that this person or thing will not & cannot let us down. The sad reality is that more than likely they or it will.

For instance your stranded on the side of the rode & your boo-thang doesn’t pick up the phone … what now?

Thoughts start to compile as you think of trust worthy characters, but for some reason your ex-boo-thang seems convenient to call … what now?

Do you betray the trust of your boo-thang by hitting up your ex or do you wait & trust them to call you back? In this instance both parties trust is being placed on hold & a single decision can potentially alter the relationship forever. (Given that most people do not, whether they express it or not or pretend like they have ‘unshakable’ trust, like the idea of an ex being placed in a intimate position with their current boo-thang because they failed somehow.)

You decided to call … boo-thang will say, “Why you call them? Couldn’t you hit up someone else?” This will cause guilt to arise & one party will see themselves as inadequate for not being available or for calling the ex.

Now there are many more examples but relationships are easy to poke at. The fact of the matter is that trust as a god fails often & the closer you get to it the harder your heart crumbles as it crumbles.

How do we deal with the guilt?

The god of guilt has been offered praises from me often. I have to constantly remind myself that by Jesus’ shed blood I am forgiven & given a new identity. This is an everyday battle for me because that god creeps up when I least expect it; Perhaps a song is played, a picture is seen, or I’m just lost in thought & it is on its way.

Guilt is attributed to someone who is guilty of a crime. As a Christian I should not feel guilt.

Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;
he has put him to grief;
when his soul makes an offering for guilt,
he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;
the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
– (Isaiah 53:10 ESV)

On the cross Jesus carried our guilt & grief … & was brutally punished for it. Relish on the thought of Jesus carrying our guilt from sin. Jesus became guilt so that we would not have to be guilty.

You are set free from the guilt because Jesus’ blood washed it all away. When we do fall into guilt it is a lack of trust in Christ & his sufficient sacrifice. We don’t, & I mean we, don’t believe that he truly paid it all for us. But whether we believe it or not, he did.

Trust in Christ’s faithfulness & not our own. Trust in Christ as the only remedy for our sin issues.

won’t do.

“one won’t do and

two is not enough for me, no.

one won’t do, two is

not enough for me, no.”

no, two was not enough for him, so he gave up

the sex and the weed and he gave up the drinks and the greed.

because one couldn’t do and

two was just not enough for him, no.

yep, he gave up the gossip and

the senseless club hoppin’.

because one wouldn’t do and

two was not enough for him, no.

then he found that the One who created all, not being one at all sent

Two to came down and save him and his soul.

Three poured into him and since,

it’s been so unusual.

and he realized that one won’t do and

two is not enough for him, no.

they will never be enough because

the Trinity is a whole.

that one and that two created a hole

between him and his Whole.

since then, everything has been so

unusual.

He’s working on me.

just a lil’ bit …

my brothers and sisters, let’s remember that it is God who is indeed working on us (phil 2:12-13). let’s remember that faith without works is dead as well (james 2). if i have to forgive someone, i must make an effort. i can’t ignore my phone. i can’t ignore the person when i’m in their presence and then say in my head, “he’s working on me,” to justify my hateful cowardness (is that a word?) and timidity. i say to myself “he’s working on me” too much in attempt to justify my sins. um, eric, no. for instance, i must stop watching sexual movies/videos and listening to music with sexual connotation if i am really determined to kill my sexual desires. most of all, i must reflect on God’s love so that i can love Him more, which only leads to loving others more, which only leads to light. Jesus. my fellow saints, let’s get to work. sin killed us, and because of sin, God chose to kill Jesus on the cross for us, instead of us, and at times we still let sin temporarily kill us. we have been set free from sin, therefore being set free from spiritual death (romans 6). those who believe in the perfect life, horrific death, and glorious resurrection of Christ, and cling on to that hope and truth, have true life.  and by His grace, in my best club mc voice, we can “WORK” – out the gift of salvation that has been freely given to us by stepping into the works prepared for us.

as dear friends, you always followed my instructions when i was with you. and now that i am away, it is even more important. work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. for God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. – philippians 2:12-13 (nlt)

i never seen a man cry, until i seen a man die.

tears fall from my eyes every time i watch the assassination scene on spike lee’s film: malcolm x.

now i know there are people out there who may ask, “how can you, a devout christian, be moved by the death of a man who obviously disagreed with what Jesus taught and commanded?”

well, part of the answer is in your question: malcolm x is a man, a human, just as you and me are, but the real reason is … well … follow me.

actually. look. i don’t feel like giving you the run-a-round. i’ll make like a twitter trending topic and #get2thepoint.

malcolm x got murdered by the very people he loved.

Jesus Christ got crucified by the very people he Loved. you. me. (acts 2:36).

the difference is, Christ’s death was like that of no other … it was the end all, be all, perfect, sacrificial, substitutional (meaning he died the death that we were supposed to die), DEATH.

he didn’t just get brutally shot up by a few of his former followers, but EVERYBODY got a lick in. how so? well, Jesus basically got jumped on the cross, bearing ALL of our sin, guilt, and shame, from the Father himself!

if the reenactment of an assassination can stir a stomach, bring a grown man to tears, let alone spark any emotional reaction, i wonder what the thought of MY sins, killing a perfect, almighty God, will do?

but He resurrected and forgave us. belieeeedat.

Livin For the Law….Or the God Who Is Above the Law?

Are you living for the law or for the God who is above the law?

The answer seems obvious, but in reality some of us choose the law over a relationship with the One who is above the law. The law is attractive because it offers structure; we can see it and act accordingly.

For example—> some of us create laws for ourselves like, “In order to be a good Christian I must pray three times a day.” Knowing that I only have to pray three times a day seems to make life easier. I simply have to wake up, get my three prayers in, cross praying off my to-do list, and go about my way. And I can feel pretty good about myself because I technically followed the law …right?

We make laws about how many times we should go to church, how often we should read our Bibles, and even what kind of foods we should eat. But how impersonal is the law? In following the law, we miss the opportunity to truly know our Savior.

Looking back on your life you will say, “Yes, I dutifully prayed three times a day as was required by the law.”  But what if Jesus looks back on your life and says, “Yes, you followed the law, but you also missed millions of opportunities to call on my name, you missed having a relationship with me where we could talk at anytime and I could comfort you and guide you. You sent more tweets, facebook messages, and text messages then you sent prayers.”

We get so caught up in religious achievements, our Christian checklists, and our ‘good works’ that we completely miss the opportunity to engage in a love relationship with the God of this universe.

“The old system under the law of Moses was only a shadow, a dim preview of the good things to come, not the good things themselves. The sacrifices under that system were repeated again and again, year after year, but they were never able to provide perfect cleansing for those who came to worship”               Hebrews 10:1

Hebrews says that the law was a preview of better things to come. On the cross Jesus fulfilled the law; He broke the bondages of the law. And those better things to come are everything offered in a relationship with Christ. Don’t walk in the shadow of the law, following the law is tough and you are bound to slip up. God isn’t a rule book, a religious policeman, or a dictator. He loves you more than you will ever know; He offers freedom, love, forgiveness, and salvation…….the law cant offer any of this. Period. Who will you follow?