Loving the Neighbor that “does” not Love Themselves.

As I am studying about the building of a nonprofit organization, a question was posed. The question was “what value will my nonprofit organization uphold? Surely, immediately my thought was “love your neighbor, as you love yourself.” Yet, soon after I wrote that I wondered, well….how do you love your neighbor who does not love themselves? In my spirit, I heard with the fruit of the spirit.

We live in a desperate time where homelessness is rampant, drug addiction, alcoholism, depression with all manners of diagnoses attached. We live in a time where hope has been lost for many and some, even those close to us have checked out mentally, emotionally and physically. How as children of God do we help to restore, edify and lift up those who walk as the woman with the back issue in the Word of God. She was bent over.

Many of us go about our day, going here and there encountering all types of people and situations. As children of God, we know we live not only in a physical world but through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior we inhabit a spiritual world now too. There is spiritual life in all of us, and we are amongst it no matter where we go or where we stand. It consists of good and of evil. Yet, there aren’t many of us who have the discernment to pick up on another’s need, cry or despair, or we do have it, but ignore it. Considering the condition of our hearts in this world we inhabit as of late, we simply don’t care.

The bible speaks clearly that in the last days man’s heart will grow cold towards God, so if man’s heart is cold towards God, who man cannot see, then surely it is frigid for our neighbor whom you do see. No one desires to carry another’s burden’s, even the church has placed restrictions on such love and giving. We have become ones who hoard God’s love for ourselves and place a fine line as to who we will share God’s love with.

Yet, let me zoom back into “how do you love a neighbor that does not love themselves?” By the fruit of the spirit. The fruit of the spirit gives us the power to distribute and inject love in so many ways. Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Let’s focus on the last part of v.23, against such things, there is no law! This means we have the freedom to perform such acts as described in the “fruit of the spirit” Yet, as children of God and even those separated from God right now, who is walking in it? We know that we live in a lawless society, and let us not be fooled to think that even as children of God we can’t be a modern day Pharisee or Sadducee. Who were a law unto themselves, yet pretended to be clothed in the righteous law that God gave unto Moses in the wilderness. I can imagine if they lived today, they would claim the title as Christian, but the follower of Christ values would not be in them.

We often find ourselves in bewilderment, shaking our heads at the nightly news reports of murder and mayhem. Why are we bewildered? When Jesus, revealed the mysteries of heaven to us, He shared that such things would happen. Why? Because man is the law unto himself. We no longer desire to walk in the laws or commands of God, and therefore, the Word of God speaks that we devise all manners of evil. Such evil lies as well in the non-caring attitude towards our neighbors. By God’s design and by the love of Christ on the Cross, wasn’t only to deliver us from sin and restore our relationship to God, but to restore God’s creation back to its former self. We have been created in His likeness and in His image. This resounds to me every beautiful attribute of God that is within us that we have the power to share, distribute and inject into others,

His fruit of the spirit. 

We were made to love, be hospitable, caring, endearing, compassionate, to sympatize and be empathetic to another’s need. I consider Peter, who came upon a man who was paralyzed, it says the man was a “beggar” and what he desired was coin. Though in Acts 3 you read that Peter, nor John could give this man silver or gold, they expressed that they “could give him what they had.” They had the power and life in their tongues to speak to that man’s condition and claim in Jesus name that he “walk.” And further it says, that Peter stretched out his right hand to help the man unto his feet, and the man walked. Peter, helped the man unto his feet.

At times, we may think that we have to love our neighbors with the money, we may even think ourselves that money resolves or can resolve all the issues in the world. Jesus proved through His disciples, whom He empowered that no such thing is true. The resolution was in the faith, the speaking of truth and power and then stretching out a hand to see God’s power manifested in the lifting up, literally of a man.

If God can do this for a man many thousands of years ago, how much more today through His command, to love our neighbor as we love ourselves. If we embraced the power that we have in prayer, (for I hope you caught that, if you have read Acts 3 that Peter and John met this man at the Temple gate called “Beautiful” as they were going in for prayer!) we would petition that the windows of heaven open up for us, and then by faith move towards the commission of love, waiting to see them walk again, as we love those who are beaten down, rejected, despised, alone, abandoned, hopeless, distraught, and lost in the emotions of despair. We can love that neighbor that can’t see the love to live, nor the hope to care, nor the desire to walk. We have the power to restore life, we have the means to rejuvenate a broken man, we have the power to breathe on dry bones. If Peter and John did it. Then we got this! 

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“God Destroys the lie with His Presence”

 Psalm 46:9 – He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two; He burns the chariot in the fire.

 

Where were you when God found you? Where were you when the invitation of Salvation came upon your hearing? I know where I was. I know today I am still twenty something years later thanking God for being mighty to save me from myself.

I consider the assignment the enemy had for my life. It was brutal, calculated and he tried relentlessly for years to destroy me. I have full memory of the things that came into my life to cause me to die, but God had a greater plan. I consider people, places and things that were injected into my life to cause my demise. Yet, God was in the midst of it all.

I am writing this today, yet I desire to be encouraged by it, as much as I desire it for you. I have a God who is greater than any circumstance, any trial, any tribulation and any scheme of the enemy. Every dark place I had visited should have been the end for me. Yet, I do lift my hands, praise the God of spirit and truth, and ponder His ways. I ponder His grace and mercy. I ponder His love. What love is this that died for me?

I was the heathen, the delightful sinner. I was the abandoned, broken and condemned. Yet, I still rejoice that I had to be these things to have Jesus. I had to be made this way, for my way maker to find me. For I was lost, lost in thought, lost in heart, lost in mind and lost drifting away in my soul.

God’s influence is extraordinary. I share this because I was raised to believe that there was a God, but there was another god we bowed down to. I thank God that those foolish things were cast from me, that I would give my allegiance, my praise, my worship to the mightiest God there is, and the strongest God I know.

The God, who breaks through the pleasures of sin, the God who removes you from familiarity, causes you to change neighborhoods, friends and even family. God who removes the desire of drugs, alcohol and sexual immorality. God who chases up a mountain after you. My giants I wrestled with were not small. Let us not forget, many do not come back from drug abuse, sexual abuse, mental abuse and physical abuse. Many do not keep fighting to stay alive, only because when your background is dysfunction and abuse many cannot see the outcome of a restored life.

Nevertheless, Glory to God in the Highest. I cry out today Hosanna! For my Savior came to save me. Oh! Yes, the wretched man that I was and the wickedness that I devised all day long was removed when I confessed Christ and it was all covered under the blood. Many would not be able to understand the cry, the tears, and the anguish for a God we cannot see. Solely because there is a realm that is hidden in all of us that becomes ignited when darkness becomes something that you know in your senses isn’t true, because God poured wisdom into you. It cries out that darkness cannot remain. The enemy has to flee, when we resist him. There has to be something deep down in the soul that connects to God for you to want to open your mouth and say, “God, if you are real, please reveal yourself to me.” He covered my shame, my guilt and gave me confidence to want Him, to desire Him and chase after Him. Today I am a woman of God, not because I woke up one day and said I need Jesus. I am a woman of God because Jesus chose me!

 

 

Tower of Babel in Me…

Tower of Babel in Me   (Genesis 11:1-9)

 

I found myself one day just watching a crew of men build a wall for a storage facility going up near the area where I live. I watched and said “Men building things.” As I said this, a flood of the Word came upon me. In spirit as I spoke with the Lord, I could hear, there is a Tower of Babel in every one of us. Common sense to me has always correlated with me to be sin. Sin is common and sensible to us until we come to know Christ.

I consider years ago how I came to know Christ Jesus by confession, it was at a time in my life when I needed a way out. My sin, anger, bitterness, unforgiveness, pride, self-centeredness, selfishness, defense and madness of past hurt and pain consumed me, and was debilitating me. I consider the story of the Tower of Babel, how the people said “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves; otherwise we will be scattered over the face of the whole earth. This story has great significance when we consider, most of us who have been wounded, abandoned, hurt, and neglected by other’s sin, and our own. We either find ourselves succumbing and breaking down into the lie that this is our lot in life, or we fight some other way, by shutting everything out and building a tower of defense around us. Mostly, for me this was a non-caring attitude. I cared, yet only about how I would keep things out by the defense. I built up in my mind that no one will ever hurt me again, use me, abuse me, mistreat me or even abandon me. I would be the one to assert all these things prior and would walk them out. Little did I know that for everything bad I wanted to keep out, I was shutting out goodness too.

The Tower of Babel in us is pride. Prideful assumptions that we have it all together, that we do not need anyone, we got this. Pride that we do not need to change. Pride that there is no God, and there is no Savior and eventually, we are meant to walk this world broken and torn apart and just die. Literally, man for himself. Yet, God did not make man only for himself. We were meant to love, within all that love entails and produces.

I pondered the story further, I saw a God that was concerned about the condition in us that was “common.” Therefore, v.5-6 “The Lord came down to the city and the tower the people were building. The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

As I mentioned before, as I came to know Jesus I truly believe it was God doing the same for me, as He did on that day He came down to the city of despair I built, my fortified tower of lies. Here I had a God that looked down into my situation and pulled me out. God switched up the dysfunctional language. He confused the lie that had to answer to Him when I confessed Christ Jesus as my Savior. Now, through Christ, the Lord has made it impossible for me to live in sin delightfully. He shattered and destroyed the plan the enemy had for me to keep me locked up in pain, hurt, abuse, addictions and all manners of sin. I now know that through Christ Jesus “All things are possible.”

God came and destroyed the yoke through the Cross for me. I still was not fully prepared for what years later would do in following Christ Jesus. We don’t realize sometimes how the tower may still exist, the building materials still lying around, the tools we used to build this up in ourselves and the soot that still lingers which eventually is defined as residue left over from the past.

As I considered this Tower, I thought of how the “Lord scattered them over the face of the earth.” I thought of Abram when he was called by the Lord to leave his fathers’ house.  I saw such a thing in myself, to be able to see how the Lord will take us from the tower, to pitching a tent in the wilderness. Taking us from praising our sin to a place in the valley where we begin to bow down and praise Him.

All of this means something to me today, that never meant anything when I was lost, in darkness and out of control. I still come to remembrance often of the day I was saved, what fell away, what remained. I think of all the poison I carried and injected into everything that was close to me. Yet, I rejoice today for the word of God has given me wisdom to know a God that comes down, to the low places in me, comes down in the midst of my horrible stench and looks in and says, I can tear down what has held you up, but eventually will cause you continuously to fall from high depths. I have considered that we can become so used to building towers that eventually lead us nowhere, but cause us often to fall with a terrible crash. This is when we lack sense of direction. We are stubborn, hard headed, and prone to a cycle of continuous pain and hurt. I finally came to a place where I feared that cycle; I feared that if I continued in my head, and in my heart that it would not end well for me. I was dead inside, moving around the earth, yet not joyful, gentle, kind, humbled nor meek. I thank God for taking me from my tower into the valley to pitch my tent. For now, rejoicing and salvation is in the tent of the righteous. My soul declares my need for him to bring me to that place where I am in awe of His glory, knowing that under His wings I find shelter with my God who sits high above it all, yet visits me often upon a mountain top in Christ Jesus.

 

Prayer: Father God in Jesus name, I thank you for every tower you have demolished in me, so that I would know that you are God, in Heaven and upon the Earth and that you Reign. Lord you saved me from myself. You are a good Father who is willing to heal, deliver and rescue. Our rescue may not always be that we will come out from where we are currently, but the rescue may well always be what you remove from our hearts and minds that stagnated good thoughts, and peaceful living. The peace that you give in knowing you Jesus and the love that you show us through bringing others who love you, who are kind, gentle, considerate and sensitive to what we have endured, helps to strengthen our bones and our faith. Thank you, that today I can thank you for changing me, for giving me sight and hearing by walking in faith knowing that I can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens me. I thank you that you have chosen me and set me apart from the things of this world that I may sit in high places with you in spirit in Jesus name. Amen.

“God is present, even when we aren’t”

Acts 20:29 “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.”

 

I remember asking my mother questions about her dad whom she had lost at a young age. In speaking with her as an adult my heart leaped for joy because this was a time when I came to the knowledge of my Savior. It gave me joy to hear that her father was a man after God’s heart. She shared with me moments when they lived in Spanish Harlem that he would take her to revivals and church services. I understood he had to be a praying man who knew the power and presence of God. I am not sure what it is like for other Christians, but this meant so much to me for reason, for purpose and for generational blessing.

I remember listening to my mother’s sorrow in losing her natural father. Her pain and hurt. How much more the abuse and neglect she endured from family, and then life. While reading this scripture today, (Acts 20:29), I immediately considered what comes in when the presence of God is not present in someone’s life, or even when a righteous steward is taken from us?

As a young girl, I was thrust into the midst of Santeria. As a child, I was a witness to the presence of the enemy that showed himself strong and destructive in the lives of loved ones. As a child, I had seen things that they portray in horror movies. The boogieman was real for me, and he lived in my house. I realize now that where the presence of God is void, darkness is most vibrant. If we think darkness cannot perform vibrantly, take a good look at our sin that we delighted so much in, we tasted, we indulged, and we went back for more and more. All of this has led me to consider how powerful and profound calling upon the name of the Lord is, and how much more purposeful when we cry for deliverance and salvation? I considered the voice of the righteous, and how far and wide it can extend into the future of those not even born into your bloodline yet?

Growing up, and choosing not to serve the enemy with Santeria, was a decision I made in my heart at the age of 11, and by the time I became a mother, I never taught the practice to my children. This is God’s divine intervention, even for one that had not yet to know His name. When God speaks He has purpose for your life, He has purpose and will not stop performing it until the day of Jesus Christ.

All this I am examining in my heart before God because I get it now. I get why we need Jesus, I understand now how when we step out of the Will of God the wolves are lying in wait. They are relentless, and think not for one moment, they are not purposeful. I realized that my mothers’ memories of chasing God had to be silenced by the events that occurred in her life that did not lead her to the Cross, but led her away by her horrors, her tragedies, her sorrow, her pain, her misfortunes and her fight. Her greatest supporter and cheerleader for the Kingdom of Heaven was taken from her and she was ushered gullibly into the home and presence of the enemy.

I realize that the enemy has to stomp it out of you, any notion or any idea that there is a God that can save you. He has to shut the memory with every distraction he can gain momentum in your life with. All it takes is a crack of a door, leaving a window to your soul ajar, and all hell breaks loose in your midst.

Today, I celebrate the hell I had to go through with my mother to know Christ. I will speak it only today, for I will not take too much delight in it, but I shall glorify the Lord that He led the captive free. I want to believe in my heart that my grandfather whom I had never met prayed for my soul, and though I could not grow up in a household with him, hold his hand while he prayed or even sit in his presence to hear him speak Godly wisdom.

God reserved his prayers for his future generations. God remembered a righteous man’s prayer. God delivered my mother from those practices. God gave my mother a new ear, new eyes and a new heart to know that HE IS GOD, AND GOD ALONE! He began to do it in me at a young age, and then He chose the day that I would hear….”Do you want to accept Christ as your Lord and Savior?” I said yes. Glory to God that while even today, He knows the trials, the tribulations, the wars my generations will have to endure, none of this will measure up to the prayers we have authority to pray today for such future occurrences, that though storms may already be brewing, God calms the raging sea. God rises up for us, when we cannot utter a word and pours out His remembrance, when His name was high and lifted up, when His name was glorified. He remembers forever the prayers of those who went before calling upon His glorious and marvelous name “Lord save my generations to come, let them rejoice in your presence.”

“What I believe about God”

I had to come out of myself, to recognize something other than me. Yet, in all manners that I have not been myself, I had not found myself in those minimal things I had enjoyed. However, at the time that I pursued them to delight in them, my experiences had always left me empty, beginning my search again for something more. Yet, the something more always ended up with another issue, another dysfunction, another setback I would have to resolve in the depths of my soul. It took a voice greater than mine, yet in a gentle whisper to draw me to a well that I had not known could quench my thirst.

Of myself, I could not find this. I was led. I had no name for it; neither could I speak of what degree or height it came upon me. Honestly, I was not even looking for it. It happened and came suddenly. As I panted for air, consumed by life’s issues that were literally thrusting itself out from my heart in rage, I caught my breath for a moment to encounter the unknown. As soon as I heard the name Jesus, I said “Yes” There was no hesitation, there was no over thinking, second-guessing. I said “Yes” That yes, changed my life. Now, the change came as a process, not as the instant gratification I had always known to satisfy the constant pangs of hunger for sin. No, this change performed in the trial and error that now became an examining platform that I could compare to, what God spoke wared within me.

It happened when I opened a bible for the first time, beginning in the book of Genesis, and engaging within a spiritual explosion that shook my foundation of everything I had known and challenged me to open up wide and let understanding in. I dared to venture into the next book, the next chapter and mountains of verses. I sat before this book daily, wanting more until I was able to define purpose for living, reason for existing and the knowledge that my Creator was intentional.

He made me for His own good pleasure.

Here I was growing up, maturing and taking pleasure in the darkest things, people and places. My sin appetite was growing, and within its brutal honesty, it required me to fall, stay fallen and remain destructive and destroyed. Yet, this Word, which pierces a man’s soul unto the asunder, through joint and marrow, was declaring that I was created for a Holy and Righteous pleasure? I was made to go beyond where I was standing at that moment and embrace the outer limitations of my mind. I was given access to challenge and test a God that I could not see, but waited for me to cry out. There it was, in the small voice in me that performed great in the roar of sin, yet in His presence I became meek and humbled to test the God who said, “Try me and know my ways.” Each day I ran to see about God, to see about the gift, the giver, and what He wanted me to see. I stayed developing a voice that was already placed in me to call upon His name. Therefore, I called. I cried. I began lifting my voice, each time a little more octave then the last. I now began to shout “Jesus, Save Me!” As I read the life, the love, the sacrifice and the outcome, I became more aware in the depths of my mind as He said I am, created in His image and in His likeness. Now, I embraced that war would come. It was inevitable to have to take the stand against the old me, wanting to become this new me that I miraculously could not control. For each time I tried to move away from the new, His love drew me in repeatedly away from the old.

What I believe about God is that He is greater than I am. He is greater than the flesh thoughts, and flesh desires I have always lived with. He is greater than my abusers, and my attackers. He is greater than my fears, my worries, my doubts and my suspicions. He is greater than man, religion, war, hate, division, and racism. God is greater than the giants I once had to hide and bow down to, that He vanquished so He could show me the greatness of His love, His power and His might. I believe in God because He is in me, He will not allow me to deny it, trust me I have tried. I believe God will chase after me because He has. Take people out like a sniper because He will. Cause the lions to shut their mouths, for He is the Lion of Judah! He will cause foundations to shake to remove me from shaky ground and shady people. He will shut the eyes of my enemies and have them scrambling in the dark.

What I believe about God is He is purposeful, in my sight, and in my hearing. Yet, above all these, I believe God most of all because He has called me to “believe” and has equipped me to remain by faith in that belief.

Poetry (Beloved Sings No More)

Call me lover to the wind, I await its gust and flutter whims

For in the righteous of the felt, the heart it pains to stand so still

I am eventful towards the meeting, as I take shape of what’s to come

In the depths of the belly aching a more profound time is sure upon.

 

Sleep walking into passions, awakened solely by a stolen kiss

while the frost that consumes the heating of two lovers wedded bliss

Whisper not what gift you part me, of heights above is where I extend

As I reach forward for the moments where my last wonders are the best

 

Cradled softly in his arms, his song so far, closer to mind

As we run into the midnight, forget the dawning of a time

Where the cheerful utter surprises, giving way to celebrations still to know

Though pretended, bashful splendid, beloved exhausted

and sings no more

How do we measure forgiveness, and who is worthy of it?

Isaiah 55:7 – Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.

One of my greatest wrestling’s with God was why was I born into the family I was born into? Why was my mother my mother and why was my biological father, not a father at all? I did not understand why as an adult I was not entitled to be angry, bitter and unforgiving towards those who did not teach me good or right from wrong. Those who did not protect me, cover me and teach me my worth? I was angry about having to go through so much of my mother’s pain, choices of people she chose in her life that cause so much dysfunction I had to work out of mine.

I sat one night and cried as I expressed from the depths of me how I am a child of God called now to forgive. I wanted to bring my case before God. I wanted Him to know that it was so unfair that I had to work on all the emotions and issues of my life growing up now as an adult. I was angry that I was angry, I was angry that I was bitter, I was sorrowful that I could not forgive completely.

Soon after, I remember pouring out my heart again to the Lord.  Again, I wanted to know why I was born into that life of physical abuse, verbal abuse, mental abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse. Why as a child, I was in the midst of horror, terror, fear, perverseness, the twisting and distortion of love? Why did I have parents who were not nurturing, encouraging, sacrificial, and compassionate? Then, the Lord spoke, all I could hear was, they had “choice.” They had the choice given to all humanity, to choose God or choose evil. To choose righteousness, or choose a sinful path. To choose wisdom or folly. They had a choice to cry out to God, or ignore His Saving Grace.

When choice comes upon the scene and God shows us how we are all allowed to choose, it has to take a moment to sink in, that until we know Christ, we all live sinfully. Does not matter if you are a good mother, a good father, a good husband, a good wife, a good parent, a good friend, sister or brother. If God is not the center of your life, if you have not accepted Christ as your Savior and you obey His laws and commands, you are living a sinful choosing life. Undeniably, this enlightenment helped me forgive, but also helped me to look deeper and understand how as an adult, my choices needed forgiveness.

I give God glory that I was not a perfect parent, that I too made mistakes, fell short, missed the mark and failed numerous times. I thank God that He showed me the healing touch that comes with forgiving someone. I thank God, He forgave me. I thank God that I desired, even in the madness of not knowing how to work out the pain and past, I desired to change the cycle that so plagued my family. God had a purpose in my being born, and more a greater purpose in allowing me to go through, to reach here to share and write about Him.

Abuse shatters, leaves scars and bruises, which remain unless a mighty God can show that He can use it all for good, and not for evil. However, it gets tricky in thought. I could ponder the outcome of what I was left to work with. I have considered what I did to escape the emotions that I had no idea how to express. I ran to sex, drugs, alcohol, wayward living and anger. I became so guarded and protective of my children and myself that I became the attacker, and the verbal abuser. I tarnished and severed relationships, I gave up on people easily, and distrusted any form of love from a man, and justified my behavior with what had happened to me. None of this resolved my anxiousness to want to be that gentle loving girl I once was, it only alienated me from love, from compassion, from change and from people.

I understand that in this world, God sees it all, knows it all, and takes it all. God took it all upon the Cross, so that the understanding of the Father of all Fathers could touch ours hearts, through our choices and circumstances. He knows how to comfort and help us see the beauty in the once tormented soul.  I had to learn God’s forgiveness to forgive. Not the world’s forgiveness, which is temporal until another unfortunate situation occurs, where we pull out the list of all the things someone has done to us. No, God’s forgiveness releases and surrenders the offense to His throne of judgment and grace. It releases the offender to stand before my God. Therefore, when I consider how much I was in need of God’s forgiveness for the choices I made that caused hurt and pain, fear or turmoil in others, I too had to stand in the presence of God, sorrowfully extending my hands to heaven, asking that I be forgiven and pardoned. This wisdom came in like a flood and helped me realize that the true measure is endless to forgive, and anyone who has hurt me today or offended me is worthy to be forgiven.