Reconcile – One Step Closer
“And it’s a shame, the way I want to do these things for You, yet don’t even cling to you, take time to sit and glean from You” – Lecrae
Work, work harder?
The day of a workaholic usually begins with the motive of proving their existence based on their ability to produce. The workaholic finds value in the quantity of quality products produced. The idea of rest is foreign & the notion of saying no is nonexistent. They are shackled to their schedule.
Is there hope?
I may be the worst person to write this, thus I’m probably the best person to write this. I am so identified with my work habits that if they die, I die; if they thrive, I live. One day I found myself so lost in thought, so hurt from past mistakes, so burdened by being a Christian leader, so obligated to produce work, so physically fatigued, and so dramatized by the expanse of work to be done that I broke down. It took everything just to hold back the tears in public. But, I found hope in a text message.
The conversation proceeded as such:
“what is your purpose for serving?”
“Not sure, I want to say death in me will mean life for others.”
“There’s life in Christ not in you …“
I was finding my identity in serving Jesus, but not Jesus. When Jesus shouted in victory, “τελείωσε” … it was all perpetually and perfectly completed. “It” being the defeat of sin, satan, death, the need for acceptance, the need to work, the desire to work harder, the shame from failed works, the guilt from failed future works, and the idea of finding identity in your work. Jesus did what was done on the cross, then sat down at the right hand of God. No assistance from man is necessary in Jesus’ saving work, as witnessed by the man on the cross next to him. Jesus said this day he would be with him in paradise apart from anything that he did, should’ve done, would do, or could do.
A helpful thought is that of Mary and Martha. Mary was awarded for sitting at the feet of Jesus gleaning from him, but Martha was told to fall back for thinking she had to work and impress Jesus. Be a Mary, not a Martha.
no work left to do?
The understanding of there being nothing for you to do is radical. We often feel as though we must pay God back, but Jesus said it is finished. Jesus paid it in full. “It” being the just wrath of God towards those who work when he said rest. God desires us to find rest in Christ’s work and see him as all sufficient. You will find so much joy by just sitting there meditating on the completed work in the death and life of Jesus. You will identify with Jesus so much that in his death, you die; in his life, you live.
Brothers and sisters there is an epidemic in Haiti.
Over 60,000 have been taken ill by it,
As of Nov. 24 1,415 have been killed by it.
As Christians we should take an active concern when calamities such as this strike.
We were all victims of the worse epidemic to strike mankind: sin.
While we lay dying, hopelessly addicted to the very source of our sickness, the love of God manifested through the life, wrath appeasing death, and promising resurrection of Jesus Christ, brought light, hope, and new life to our situation.
Instead of allowing us to die in our illness, God through Christ brought the full remedy: freedom from the punishment of our sins (the punishment we deserved was given to Christ), new life complete with a heart change freeing us from the enslaving desire to live in sin, and the power to flee sin through the power of the Holy Spirit who dwells in all who have come into new life through Christ.
As we have been given love, life, and hope, so we ought to share.
A nation needs help.
1 John 3:16-18 tells us that we are to love in sacrificial action as is reflective of the sacrificial love that saved us; those who have ought to give as they see their brothers in need.
Christians, in this time of great need for Haiti let us give, tangibly and bountifully.
Here are some ways:
Or research your own ways. But, decide to do something!
Let us give as we can and seek to share the eternal hope and comfort that was given to us.
friday, november 5th, some of the young adults of the City sacrificed their time and helped to put together sack lunches to go out into the community the next morning. it was a great experience between the fellowship and preparing to serve the community physically and most importantly, spiritually. the mission was not only to feed the community with physically edible items but with the sustaining word of God. matthew 4:4 reads:
But He answered,
“It is written,
‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”
there is a such thing as perishable food items. food that satisfies only for the moment. ephemeral sandwiches that amuse the stomach for minutes, leaving ones body longing for more. but there is hope. there is eternal Bread that sustains and it comes from the mouth of the Lord. how sufficient His grace is. how faithful and just He is. how He is crazy in Love with those who believe in their hearts and confess with their mouth that Jesus is Lord.
thankfully, these young adults wanted to share this sustaining Bread with a community that may have never heard about, seen, or spiritually tasted the Bread of Life. here are a few photos of the loving kindness exhibited by the young adult ministry at Good Hope Missionary.
we try to balance their meals. sandwiches, chips, and a fresh fruit!
“TRY GOD AND SEE!”
this was the attempt at a “silly face photo” … :\ they tried.
a very special thanks to Sister Tyson (photographed below) for donating 50 sandwiches and a case of oranges to the community! Also, a special thanks to Shalonda Hurd and Mack and Jamil Joyner for using their gifts from God to supply gifts for the community!!! THANK GOD FOR FAITHFUL AND OBEDIENT SERVANTS!
this is a photograph of the early morning crew!
the young adult ministry was able to feed 150 bodies physically while feeding more spiritually by sharing their faith in Jesus Christ! it was a groundbreaking experience for each and every soul. by the grace of God, words were spoken into some decaying souls and those God inspired words brought those decaying souls back to Life! praise GOD!!!
“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
Recently a great man of God challenged me to write down the names of people that I felt had hurt me. Then, he asked me to write down every way that I had hurt them. He had pushed me to move from being the victim, to becoming the criminal. I started applying this to most ‘triffs’ I had in life. I started seeing things, not all good things, but regardless it was a real blessing and I had to share.
See for me, victim is a role I play better than Denzel OR Halle. As the victim I’m quick to see others’ faults, exaggerate my pain, and emphasize their ignorance. But play the criminal? Nonsense, the lawyer in me, also known as my sinful nature, would never tell me I’m a criminal. All my actions are justified! right?
This exercise helped me realize that I hold myself in high esteem and see myself as a ‘good Christian’ who gets victimized by the less spiritually mature or less holy. I thought I was ‘more’ righteous…
In Romans 3 Paul explicitly says that “There is no one righteous, not even one (v.3),” and that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (v.23).”
First step on my road to recovery, level the playing field. Neither my offender nor I are righteous. For all my good acts, I’ve done ten wrong, and even when I’m doing good, I owe it to God who gives me the very air I breathe. How can I call someone out as a sinner when I too am a sinner? How can I not forgive when I too need to be forgiven? All fall short. All are in need of a Savior.
Second step, accept my role as the criminal. I had to take a good look at the way that I had held myself as superior and the way in which I had idolized certain things in my life, putting myself and them before Christ. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so offended by criticisms or opinions of myself or my idols if I hadn’t placed them before Christ. I had to take a good look at my own actions. How had I done my part in the crime? Did my actions always have pure motives?
I was so quick to feel hurt, so quick to act out of my emotions – cutting people off because I felt they had hurt me, mistreating them, and looking down on them, when I too was in the wrong. My eyes had been opened – It’s the feeling of thinking you’re waiting for an apology then realizing that you should be the one apologizing.
Making the move from victim to criminal allowed me to truly deal with some issues. Once I realized I was just as much in the wrong as my so called offenders, I had to humble myself and forgive some folk. I was able to address my faults. I needed to repent and ask God for forgiveness for my actions. I was so thankful to Him for clarification, enlightening, and healing, which all led to further sanctification.
Our hope is in Jesus Christ. By placing faith in Jesus Christ, we sin, but he sets us free from the punishment. We fall short, but He can make up the difference so we can make it. We were all criminals, but He can transform us into righteousness! (Romans 3) In Him, we don’t have to play the criminal or the victim. He can cleanse and He can heal, He can mature and He can strengthen. We don’t have to suffer because others have hurt us and we don’t have to live in guilt because we’ve hurt others – in Christ you are a conqueror!“You are the healing my heart always hungers for”
they were warriors in the street.
they carried bags with no shame. instead, they were filled with hope. they spoke to us with voices of strength, courage, and wisdom – sharing it all and pouring it into our hearts. they were so grateful when they received the water and sack lunches we prepared. even more grateful for the simple words our Lord gave us to share. it was amazing. they were amazing. these warriors in the streets.
so often, we overlook these men and women who are trekking the streets, nameless. we pull up to a stop light and keep our eyes focused on its transition from red to green. from stopping beside one who is in need, to driving away from a person who has no place to sleep. forgetting that we are turning away a neighbor whom we are called to Love.
our mission was to go out and speak into them the Good News of Jesus Christ. to show them who Love is. to fill them up with the Word. instead, they stayed right where they were and shared with us the Good News of our Lord and Saviour. they gave us the abundant love they received from Love. they filled us up with His word.
in their eyes, we saw the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. for the simple fact that they were without shelter and without food but were still able to proclaim the goodness of our God – it was immaculate. and humility reigned heavily in our presence. and God reigned supreme. our sovereign God reigned supreme.
to feed the homeless hopefuls first, physically – and secondly, but most importantly, spiritually is the greatest gift of service God could have ever given us, so graciously. and we all walked away with heavy hearts. thanking our Father. for what He has done.
they exhibited strength. from them, a bright Light gleamed. one too familiar. and they know there is a better place. than this wretched space. called Earth. even in the fragility of their circumstance, they still found Hope. they are the hopefuls.
there is no such thing as a homeless being because home is where the Heart is – and Jesus lives within.
Ever feel restless? Like you’re waiting for your life to finally take off or waiting for some big change?
I feel like all of my friends are graduating from college, getting well paid jobs, buying new cars, and taking vacations. So many couples I know are so madly in love, making marriage plans, a few of my friends are even getting pregnant and starting families. It feels like everyone I know is on their adult tip doing the grown up thing. Everyone else is out there living life and I’m in here suffering trying to write papers and study for midterms. Just thinking on it makes me feel restless.
One night while I was having one of these ‘restless episodes,’ by the guidance of the Holy Spirit I just happened to find some old Bible study notes from last year lying under my bed, the title of the study was ‘Finding Myself.’ Comfort was on the way.
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Matthew 16:24
Instantly I gained a clear realization that I had been trying to navigate through life’s obstacles while trying to balance my cross on one shoulder and all my hopes, dreams, ambitions, identities, and wants on the other shoulder. No wonder it felt like I was suffering.
“For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Matthew 16:25
As our loving father, God doesn’t settle for part-time custody of His children’s lives. He wants to be in control of the whole thing. Denying ourselves and giving God total control of our lives isn’t always easy, it requires humility, it requires letting go of your personal wants and desires. But denying yourself also means finding yourself in Christ and when you do find yourself in Christ, your joy in life is not dictated by your circumstances, but by your security in Christ.
In Christ I may not have a well paid job, but I have ministry and I find my richness in the fulfillment I gain by serving in ministry and that brings me joy. I may not be married or be on my way to starting my own family, but I have a family of brothers and sisters in Christ who add so much joy to my life. I have a loving Father who is always looking out for me. He’s my protector, my refuge, available to me whenever I call on His name and that kind of comfort brings me joy.
Most of the time when we feel restless it’s because we feel like we don’t have a life compared to others. Sometimes as believers we try to be in Christ while holding on to our attachments to the world. We hold on to the world’s definition of success, the world’s definition of what joy looks like in life. Deny thyself, lose your life, only then will you truly discover the meaning of life and joy!
With all the purpose and joy He adds to my life, I have no time to be restless!
Get your life today!
possessing the land that is promised to us.
a family of hope. a family devotion.
one determined to be available for all opportunities given by our Father
because of His beloved Son, Jesus.
they were on stage.
clapping. smiling. singing
tunes of confidence.
believing that whey will accomplish this.
inspiring others to plant seeds
in a field of hope to sprout a land
that has been promised.
this land will be granted.
in Jesus’ name.
read more about possessing our promised land here.
Have you ever watched that show, “Pimp my Ride?” Xzibit… big rims… funny jokes…. expensive car add-ons?
Honestly I enjoyed it, and if I was a betting man (which I’m not), I would bet you enjoy[ed] it as well.
For the sake of the blog, let me break down how “Pimp my Ride” works:
- “Good people” are picked to have their janky, jacked up, tore down, straight UGLY cars remade
- These “good people” are looked upon as those who deserve it, after all they are good people
- Xzibit comes to their home and tells them the Good News, that is, that their car will be made over
- Xzibit then drives the car back to the chop shop to add on a bunch of stuff to the car -some cool, most tacky
- Xzibit then reveals the car to this “good person” who then breaks out in Praise
- Xzibit after giving them an additional gift flicks their shirt and says “You just been pimped”
That’s the show. Pretty cool right?
Now, Let me tell you what Jesus does.
- Bad people (you and me) are chosen, not because of, but in spite of themselves by God to be saved to not have their jacked up, tore down, straight UGLY lives remade, but scrapped and created from scratch by Jesus Christ. ( 2 Cor 5:17, Gal 2:20)
- Jesus sees these bad people (again, you and I) and knows we don’t deserve a re-birth, but rather damnation. After all, we are bad people. Yet and still Christ died for US. (Romans 5:8)
- Jesus comes to our home, our sin, our situation, and dies for us and saves us personally, each and every one of us who repents and believes and we then are made over, freed from the shame of past mistakes, pressures from family and “friends”, and religion. That’s Good News! (John 3:16, Gal 2:20, 2 Cor 5:21)
- Jesus takes our sin on His back (a blood and feces covered cross) and carries/drives it to a hill called calvary where He is chopped up by God the Father, a “chop shop” where He takes our punishment and our old selves are crucified with Him. ( Gal 2:20, 2 Cor 5:21)
- Jesus‘ work means there is a complete removal and tear down of our former selves, no add ons to our old lives. (Galatians 2:20)
- Jesus reveals Himself to us bad people, we who repent and believe break out in praise ! (Romans 3)
- Jesus takes our filthy black robes and gives us His perfect all whites, along with many spiritual gifts and says to us “You’ve Just been Saved.” (2 Cor 5:21, Zechariah 3, Galatians 5:22-24)***If you are on the outside looking in while reading this blog (meaning you aren’t a Christian), know this: you’re not too far away from the grace of God right now. You can be saved. All of those add-ons on your life isn’t improving the transmission, in fact it’s on it’s way to the dump sooner. Maybe you’ve tried to pimp your life with religion, sex, good grades…nothing is too far from Jesus. Let Jesus make you over. He Loves You!
BTW, come to Good Hope Thursday at 7PM Bible study! *Shameless Plug*
Grace and Peace.