Do you indeed speak righteousness, you silent ones? Do you judge uprightly, you sons of men? No, in heart you work wickedness; you weigh out the violence of your hands in the earth (Ps. 58:1-2 NKJV).
My ears began to ache at the incredible news, “starting Sunday, the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. will begin allowing their clergy to perform same-sex marriages”. After getting over the need to vent my frustration and disappointment I simply prayed in righteous indignation at the direction many are trying to take us in.
What will your message be as you stand behind your pulpit and bless what God has called an abomination? Why have you turned your back to the Great I AM? “Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; they are like the deaf cobra that stops its ear. Which will not heed the voice of charmers, charming ever so skillfully” (Ps. 58:4-5). Whose message are you spreading, you children of Satan? You have closed your ears to the soft whisper of the Holy Spirit. Have you not read Christ’s messages to the church?
Have you lifted your eyes, O’ Lot, have you lifted your eyes to greener pastures and the abundance of water? Have you turned your gaze away from God and inclined your heart to the wisdom of man? Why do you corrupt the altar with your abominable practices and corrupt the Word of God? Where will you turn for your message? The word of God is replete with the warnings of such perversions.
Why, O’ man, do you usher in a new Sodom and Gomorrah? Have you forgotten the swift judgement of God on that city? Have you forgotten the words Christ spoke to Peter? “On this Rock, I will build my church and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it” (Matt 16:18). Have you closed your ears to the warning not to add to or take away from the word of God? “For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophesy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in the this book” (Rev. 22:18-19).
My heart aches as I bow before God, in reverence, to plead for a revival in the hearts of those who lead his flock astray, for those you are being led astray, and for those who watch silently while this is happening. Some say it is an outspoken minority that is leading the way, still others say it is an attempt to destroy the family. I say it is all the above and more; these are all part of the devil’s schemes to destroy the body of Christ. Let us not just focus on the apparent issue, but realizing that this is a deep and ongoing spiritual warfare and we need to always be dressed for battle. So stand fast and put on the whole armor of God. For those of you who have compromised your faith, remember that Christ is faithful and just to forgive our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). So confess your sins to God and get back on the path of life. Do not bless what God has cursed nor curse what God has blessed. Do not be a modern-day Balaam.
An appreciation for ones talent and hard work is often overlooked by those who benefit from them the most. Strength and resilience through prayer will help you find the resolve to overcome. Being a manager does not necessarily make a person an effective leader and the most effective leader may be a horrible bosses. Regardless of where you are in the hierarchy, know that hard work is always noticed; even if those who should be looking are distracted. May the perception of an unjust situation be just that, a perception! Place value on yourself without adding a price tag, take stock of your skills and apply them to what you love, forgive those who look down on you, and inspire those who admire you. Never let ignorance drag you down; simply being above pettiness can create positive change. Finish the story in your own way, those who feel they have the power to write it for you will be left powerless.
Don’t let the perspective of others determine your sense of worth and confidence. Too often we bury our efforts with the draining sense of hypocrisy that surrounds us. The hatred and criticism spewed from those who hide behind the idea of free speech is often a sign of fear; fear that you will overcome the obstacles they place before you. We are children of an everlasting God, who, through faith will clear any obstacle. This should be the only motivation that drives you, the fuel you need to keep the intensity of your fire burning. Allowing someone else to determine your destiny is embracing their imagined sense of control; don’t let the enemy trick you into failing to be who you are called to be. Folding under pressure and giving up at each barrier only work against your abilities and gives others the satisfaction of watching you fail. Give everything you do all that you can, because you can; not to prove to the world that you have the ability to surpass expectations. Proving a point, while worth the effort sometimes, takes the focus away from the real issues and often work to the benefit of the undeserved, if you over-do it. Instead prove your point by being you and continuing to do your best at what you do while making an assertive effort to learn something new each day, remaining in prayer each step of the way. Remember too, that pride is your enemy. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend during those trying times and never turn your back on someone deserving of your assistance. No one person has all the answers nor the abilities to take on everything this world throws at us; if you know one let me know! But I know a God that does. Seek Him first; seek His righteousness and the other “things” will be added unto you.
Why do you beat your chest and speak with such veracity? Why is ego your platform and pride your microphone? Why do you speak into what you have no power to do and speculate about what you do not know? Why are you controlled by your imagination? Is your word able to create what you imagine? Does the mirror reveal what is not there or respond when you speak to it? Is fire void of heat or are clouds without vapor?
It is easy to point the finger at the fault in an aftermath and to imagine what we would do differently after a disaster has occurred. It is even easier to criticize those we oppose but that which is easy, is not always right and right living is not always easy. We waste time and effort when we stay on the road of criticism. Let your voice be heard but move on to finding ways to correct and recover. Yes, this may require working with someone you oppose but Christ teaches us to pray for those who persecute us; to love those who hate us.
This is possibly a stretch for you but the rewards are much greater and the fruits much more enjoyable. Speaking peace with a violent tongue is as effective as opening a door with a wrecking ball. The voice of knowledge says a “soft answer turns away wrath” yet we tend to lean on natural intellect and human instinct.
We live in a two-dimensional world – spiritual and natural – in the popularity contest, the natural world is way ahead but only because it is competing against itself. The spiritual world does not engage in competition, it embraces obedience; it does not take part in popularity contests, it seeks out humility. What is your veracity and chest beating appealing to? Obedience and humility flee from such behavior. Take a moment, lift up your eyes and try to discern the direction you are traveling. There is an intersection ahead, one way leads to life, the other to death but there are no signs to point you in either direction. So slow down, pray, think on all that you have seen, heard, and learned. Consult the only resource that shows the way to life; the written word. Reach out to the only Source of life; Lift up your voice and seek God. Stop beating your chest, step down from your egotistic platform, turn off pride, step away from the mirror, and lend your gifts to a righteous cause.
Consider the results of your efforts when you approach them with a willing heart; a willing spirit that challenges the shortcomings of the body. In your prayers, ask God for a willing spirit to sustain you (Psalms 51:12) because willingness does not recognize barriers, only obstacles. Willingness gives freely; it does not require a contract or a return. Willingness operates with care, love, and concern; it does not move about recklessly, looking only at the finish line and not the beauty of the journey. A willing heart does not suffer regret nor does it heed to challenges. As we press on to do the work God has called us to do, let us altogether finish it so that our eager willingness may be matched by the completion of it (2 Corinthians 8:11). For we act according to God’s will and for his purpose (Philippians 2:13).
Let us prayerfully enter into our work, applying to it a willing spirit and applying the gift God has given us; serving others and faithfully administering God’s grace (1 Peter 4:10). Let us examine our hearts in the matter of giving, sharing, and serving in our church and community. Consider as evidence the outcome of a willing spirit through Christ on the cross; the word of God through the inspiration of willing men; the advent of a new building through vision and willing hands; spiritual guidance through willing leadership.
We now embark on a new journey to root deeper and branch wider both in the church and the community. It is with willing hearts and hands that we must come together to shepherd the flock of God that is among us that we can all be partakers in the glory that is to be revealed (1 Peter 5:1-4).
Remove from all that you do, the fear of repercussion, challenge, failure, or unwanted burden and you may find a need to act out of love. For love is walking in obedience to our Father’s commands (2 John 6), which are not burdensome (1 John 5:3).
Remove the blinders of sin that cause us to act with a strong focus on self; for willingness is one step forward but the journey is purposed by obedience, which comes through faith (Romans 1:5) and leads to righteousness (Romans 5:16).
Obedience is not simply acting to achieve a promise or to avoid a penalty; for even Christ, who is our promise, was obedient (Luke 2:51), (Philippians 2:8). Walk away from selfish desires and let the Holy Spirit work in us, so that we can put to purpose, that which Christ has commanded us.
Let our faith guide us, seeking first his kingdom and his righteousness (Matthew 6:33); walking in obedience with his will; not turning to the right or to the left, but in steadfast love and faithfulness and we will receive his Grace.
Obedience may require acting against our desires; obedience is a prayerful journey that is built on trust, hope, faith, and community. Obedience requires courage found in our relationship with God. It is the endurance to walk the narrow and often rocky path of faith and righteousness; a journey of reflexive discoveries and relationship building.
For in our obedience we truly get to know Christ and what he has purposed for us. In our obedience we discover our strengths in Christ; in our obedience we learn to truly love as Christ loves us; in our obedience we learn and are able to share the power of faith.
These six things the Lord hates, yes seven are an abomination to Him: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren (NKJV).
We too often find peace in tearing down others! A bitter heart motivated by revenge, jealousy, greed, or simply selfishness has little restraint in its quest for satisfaction; a quest that often lead to doing evil. We often look upon our flaws as the results of the beauty contained in others, carefully dismissing responsibility and accepting lust. The faithful and forgiving heart is often at the back of the line, only seen when a selfish need exists. A saint among thieves lay sleepless, thinking of ways to ward off the unseen yet ever-present danger. Those who seek peace also seek trust and are those against who trust becomes a weapon. Messages contained in a meaningless smile echoes the thoughts of ones mind and the feelings of the heart.
The certainty in deception is that it is expected, evident, and revealed to its faithful victims. The rewards received through deception will be lost by deception, making them temporary while those whose rewards are from selfless actions will be rewarded unselfishly. The lavish things we enjoy as a result of deception can also be our demise. Be careful in your quest for stardom; greed and deception is often revealed at the top of your game and the resulting charge is often much greater than our deceptive gain. Be kind and true in your interactions with others because like the saint, thieves are also sleepless among thieves.
Someone standing in the mirror keeps pointing out something in you, something that is trying to claw its way out of a pit of fear and confusion. Reminding you that for most of your life you have searched for signs of what is your destiny; that you have made every effort to help others and doing your best to live right. You have slipped and you have fallen, many times, but somehow have always managed to pick yourself up. Realizing that you are still not walking straight, you spend many unrevealing hours seeking ways to have a positive impact. A stranger tells you that you have to first overcome your own obstacles before you can reach that next level and those words continue to echo through your thoughts. You have been moving forward with little progress, taking the long road hoping to finally get around these obstacles but they somehow seem to find you, or maybe they are apart of you. Your thoughts are sometimes loud and angry; casting a shadow over your soft voice. Your will remains the strongest of your qualities. You share your most precious gifts with others because you find peace in knowing they provide substance and nutrients to a life, a day, or even a moment. This is possibly your moment but the only way to affirm that is to embrace it. This maybe your gift; the gift of God to you for others and through which your blessings will come. So don’t fight it, let God nourish it in you. Find joy in your gifts and peace with the One who gave these gifts to you. Love knowledge, love understanding, love one another, love yourself, and love the Lord.
Love is the answer, obedience is your map.