Parade No More! Esther 1:12

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But when the attendants delivered the king’s command,
Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became
furious and burned with anger. Esther 1.12

 

VashtiLet me say first, there is something that you can learn from every passage.   Even when a person is wrong (King Xerxies), it does not mean we can not learn lessons from them, and that everything he did was wrong.  Having said that, even when a person is a good person (in this case Queen Vashti), it does not mean that everything she did was right, or that we can not draw thoughts or question her actions.  There is only one person that can not be questioned; Yep, you guessed it!  

Let’s acknowledge that the Hitlers of the world are terrible people, but we can learn from them.  They did something right, and those things make them successful even in doing the wrong they did.  Our job is to look at the lives of others and even our own lives and to consider our ways, as I will do in this blog, which will look at Queen Vashti from the perspective of one who carefully considered her actions before deciding not to appear before the King.

As an example for others, she considered her position and used her platform to send a message to young women and old women, that they should no longer subject themselves to the abusive treatment of their men.  When summoned by the King, she decided there would be No More Parades!  No more walks of being paraded around for her beauty in front of the Kings friends!  Despite the possible loss of life, and loss of position and possessions, she made the statement that it would better to be a divorced,  a homeless citizen than to live a life of luxury with a husband that only sees you as a trophy wife.

I wonder, how many of us would display such courage?

HowOld books, inkstand and scroll many of us are so certain about justice and equality, that we are willing to risk our lives to get what is right for ourselves?  While most of us would have been satisfied to eat and sleep good, Queen Vashti decided that there was more to life than living in luxury.  If only more of us had the same convictions.  She chose not to compromise her dignity and self worth for the sake of being prosperous!

She decided that the parade of her beauty was beneath her, and demanded to be seen as more than her looks.  She wanted the respect of the King, and at all cost, was determined to stop her parades and the parades of others that would follow her.

This is important for us to examine.  As we see those coming forth in the entertainment and political industry today, we are reminded that there are more important things that prosperity and our careers.

First, one should never abuse power!  Second, one should not accept the abuse of power!  Third, one should not support or cover up the abuse of power.    Queen Vashti decided that she would stand against this abuse.  She faced it head on and decided that she would nip it in the bud.

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She was aware that many women in the kingdom desired to be her, and also were using her as an example for life.  She grew frustrated with the lack of progress of women everywhere and sacrificed herself to lead the charge towards progress.  She decided that she would not allow herself to be used a pawn in the Kings game to trick women into allowing them to be abused by their husbands.  Her compliance with being abused would lead to many other subjecting themselves to the same discourse, and she chose to make a stand!  While most of us can not see past the silver spoon in the second course of our meal, to see the fork and knife in the third course, Queen Vashti decided to live beyond herself and but others before her!  She knew his aim was to keep women sub servant so they wouldn’t become powerful and influential or even lead their families.

How many of us are thinking of more than ourselves when we make decisions?

As we investigate all that is before us, I pray that we will not be too comfortable with our positions, and so in love with our prosperity, that we not consider others when we take action.  There are times in life when we get to live beyond ourselves and make a difference for others, and Queen Vashti took it.   I hope we can learn from her and do the same.

#PastorJDO3

I loved the discussion from my blog post on facebook, but do want to encourage us to be open when looking at life and at text.  Everyone, I repeat everyone in the Bible is flawed, save one!   We can look critically at text and take into context all its warts and pimples.  Queen Esther, who is the focal point of the story is chosen as Queen not because of her brains, but because of her beauty (much like her predecessor Queen Vashti), but this does not mean that we can not learn from her.  She also kept her lineage a secret, but we can still learn from her.  She also uses her beauty to get before the King.  I can go on and on, and I skipped over some things too!   There are also more than one way to make an impact!  Queen Vashti choose to be removed from being queen, while Queen Esther kept the position and used it to benefit her people.  Both women are heros, but took different approaches to make change and take a stand for right.

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Queen Vashti: Your Example Esther 1:12

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But when the attendants delivered the king’s command,
Queen Vashti refused to come. Then the king became
furious and burned with anger.  Esther 1.12
Then when the king’s edict is proclaimed throughout
all his vast realm, all the women will respect their
husbands, from the least to the greatest.”  Esther 1:20
He sent dispatches to all parts of the kingdom,
to each province in its own script and
to each people in their own language,
proclaiming that every man should be ruler over his own household,
using his native tongue. Esther 1:22

 

VashtiThough it would be fun to start a tense dialogue, I dare not ring the bell to start the war of the sexes.  Far be it from me to jump into this text and risk every female reader (including my own wife and 5 daughters protest and attack me for discussing the ins and outs of the text), but I will, but in a different manner; kind of.

When looking at this text, I looked at it from the perspective of both Queen Vashti and King Xerxies.  Settling on Queen Vashti, I wondered most why she refused to come to the King, but as I read, I wondered if she considered the affect her refusal would have?  Sure she thought about how tired she was, and I can def identify with being tired of the “dog and pony show”, but she was more than Vashti, she was Queen Vashti.  Much like you are not just Bill, but you are a Father, Mentor, Coach, Teacher…. and your actions and decisions extend far beyond a moment.

Didn’t she consider that her example was an example?

How you respond is translated by those who follow you,
and transcribed into their lives.

Queen Vashti understood that there were potential consequences to her disobedience to responding to the King in the manner she did, but her consideration included like most of us, herself.  memyselfirene

Who are you thinking about before you act?  And yes, this would be a perfect moment to interject our Lord and Savior, but who are you thinking about?  I believe most, if honest, are thinking about a small sphere called “Me, Myself and I” (Irene if  you are silly).  The moment we are experiencing is so powerful, that the weight of the moment to impact our future and the live of those following us.

If you are like me, you are probably thinking of at least two Queen V moments!  How many moments would you like to take back, not for yourself, but for others?  Moments where you forgot that people were watching you.  Not watching you for the sake of judgement, but watching with the intent to learn from and draw from your example.  There are people within your sphere that take notes on your life, and use your example and model as their blueprint.

Or maybe she was just so “fair to look on”
that she considered herself irreplaceable.

removecrownIt could be possible that she over estimated her beauty and the influence it had over the king.  Maybe she thought the favor she obtained from the king through past encounters would ensure that she would be given a second opportunity, or that her disobedience would be over looked once he looked her over? 

She was wrong! 

And so are we when we loose sight of the privileged we have through the positions we have been placed in.  Sad to say, Queen Vashti received the Queen B treatment, and was told to move to the left.  Worse, she thought herself to be irreplaceable.  Then still found she had to bow down(I’m really not a big fan, but I have 5 daughters!!!). leftbeyon

How many times have you been right, but wrong?  She was wrong about the outcome of her decision.  Her decision forced the King to make a decision regarding the wife he was so proud and pleased of.

Beyond his anger, both he and his counsel understood that the example set by the Queen would have implications far beyond the King’s castle.  They knew word would spread from home to home, starting with the leaders, and work its way down to each citizens home.  Her disobedience had the potential to shift the entire direction of a nation.   And so can yours!

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I look at the state of our homes, our communities, and of course our churches.  I wonder how many Queen Vashti decisions we are struggling to correct?  How many bad examples were passed down from mothers, fathers, councilmen, senators, pastors and parishioners that we have adopted as acceptable behavior?

As we watch the entertainment industry being unclothed and politicians being exposed, I am not only disgusted by the actions of these individuals (not that I am without sin), but am bothered by those who have emerged to testify that they knew what transpired, but kept quiet so that their means of income would not be disturbed.   For every abused woman and abused entertainer, there are multiple witnesses that chose not to speak up for fear not only of being not believed, but being black balled from pursuing their careers.  These actions had transpired so long, that it became and acceptable practice in the industry, and they had a start.  There was an original casting couch, much like there was an original oral office (Bad Clinton Reference).  Somewhere, the abuse and misuse of power became acceptable and idolized and not reprehensible.  It was admired by those who desired those positions, and supported by those who watched quietly to keep food on their tables.

Old books, inkstand and scrollThank God King Xerxies administered a decree!!!!  He administered a decree to address the unacceptable actions of the Queen.  I wonder how our families, communities and churches would be different had those in power bound together to do what the felt best for the kingdom, not just the King or the Queen?  Oh that decrees would have been made before the actions of one or two had become so prevalent that it became an acceptable part of culture.

#PastorJDO3

Just Bow Already! Daniel 3:14

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and Nebuchadnezzar said to them,
“Is it true, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego,
that you do not serve my gods
or worship the image of gold I have set up?
Daniel 3:14

I love the way this passage reads.  It’s the underlying portion and source of Nebuchadnezzar’s frustration and anger that is at work in this passage.  I chose to write on it because it is so similar to some of what we are seeing play out before us with the NFL, NFL players and NFL fans.  

dan3-imageNebuchadnezzar looks at these young men as ungrateful and disrespectful.  See, these three young men, along with Daniel (who was renamed Belteshazzar by the Eunic) were chosen from the children of Israel, and were brought from their impoverished situation into the Kings palace.  They were given the best of sleeping, dinning, eating, teaching and training.  For this, the King sought to benefit, but also assumed that his provisions would guarantee loyalty and support.   Through Daniels request, they not only entered into the leadership program, but they were placed over the affairs of the province of Babylon, while He sat in the gate.

Shortly after getting a promotion, these young men were faced with a decision.  See, though living above the standard of those at home, though favored by the king, and living above the majority of those who were of similar decent of the King, these young men could not forget the God that placed them in their position and the commitment of not defiling themselves that put them in the position they stood in.  Considering this, they remained true to the God of their fathers, and despite the Kings food, wine, accommodations and money, decided they would not bow and worship any false idol.

Nebuchadnezzar was shocked.  How could it be possible that these young men would risk loosing their position, status, lifestyle and even their lives by being disobedient to the Kings ordinance?  The handlers looked upon them with shock and disgust, for deliverance_daniels-freindseven they, whom were lower on the totem pole of power, had bowed their knee, and chosen to worship this false God, to protect their life and their livelihood.  Most of the onlookers couldn’t understand why these guys would risk it all, for they too were a part of the chosen select that were living above the standard of the others, and many of them wanted to take the place of these chosen men.

Though their refusal to bow had nothing to do with them, they became angry for the King, and reported the men because they wanted them to follow along with the program dictated by the King as they had.  Many of them had compromised themselves, and it wasn’t fair that they should compromise, and those working beside them, in positions that they coveted, were allowed to earn or serve in their position without complete compliance.  They shook in fear because of the threats of the King.  It was worse than loosing their position, it entailed loosing their life in the furnace.

Interestingly enough, it wasn’t their performance that the King was upset with.  They, along with Daniel, were ruling well, helping the King run and manage his affairs in such a way that he continued to prosper.  The King looked beyond their performance and ignored how he prospered with them in the positions in which they served, and chose to confront, convict and condemn anyone who wouldn’t bow, even if it cost him performance and profit in the provinces they oversaw.

kingschair2He postures before the young men, shocked that they aren’t fearful of him, and not concerned with the possibilities of his power, and cowering to his threats.  I can hear the frustration in his voice, as he feels the betrayal and defiance of people who he feels he has lifted from the ashes and introduced them into the life of luxury.  Not only are they not being obedient, but they are now in danger of publicly dishonoring the king by not following his direct command, which would leave him no choice but to carry out his threat.

I know many of you reading are thinking, just bow!  Eat the meat!  Drink the wine!  Worship the idol!  If not, you will loose you position.

You would wouldn’t you? 

You have, haven’t you?

Let me guess, you aren’t even bothered by the fact that the Eunuch gave them a new name.   It was an honor that he renamed them right?  It helped them fit in better.  It sounded better right? It was supposed to help them assimilate quicker.  Right?  ownerleavingmeeting

It’s always shocking when someone has the courage to stand for what they believe in, or in this case, take a knee for what they believe is right.  The young men knew that their position and power came from the Lord, who gave them the gifts and talents, made them without blemish, and positioned them to be found and selected.  It was the interpretation of the dream that placed them in a position to earn.  It was their commitment not to eat or drink the kings meat that gave great knowledge and skill, and Daniels the gift to interpret said dreams, not the King.  Had they not had gifts, the king would have had no use for them, and would not have extended the opportunity for them to prosper together.

 

The king was not doing them a favor.  The king was not a humanitarian! 

playersatmeeting

He was a wealthy person with a problem.  He was a person trying to build his kingdom and solidify his position and power.  He was not dividing up and sharing his wealth, he was utilizing the gifts of these young men to prosper.  And for those keeping score, so are the NFL Owners.  The players are profitable for the owners, thus they are invited to take part in prosperity and luxury, but most are captured in the meat and wine, and as partakers, are loyal to those who will release them at a moments notice without out even a face to face visit.

Honestly, our faith would be better if more of our leaders were like these young men.  Many of our leaders have found themselves with full bellies and cheerful spirits from the flowing wine, and have chosen to bow and worship.

 

#Pastor JDO3

 

 

 

Conditions: John 3:16

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For God so loved the world
that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him
shall not perish but have eternal life.
John 3:16

God “loved”!  What I love about this passage first is that it reveals the first condition I want to highlight; God’s Heart!  Unlike God, despite what had occurred in His covenant with man, which He honored, He still looked upon His creation and found Himself filled with love.  Man In Prayer Christian Stock PhotoGod endured Adams sin, Grumbling Generations, False Idols, Graven Images, King Worship, Stiff Necked People, Disobedient Prophets, Un-loyal Kings, Ungrateful Dependents and much more.  Despite all this, the condition of God’s heart towards mankind was love.

This, a standard of God!  His character is one of compassion and understanding, all will upholding a standard to His covenant.  God aspired to rebuild and maintain a relationship with His flawed creation, ratifying or amending if you will, the covenant He created with man, that He might have an easier time following His commands and not existing as a law breaker.  God saw the law that He created, and saw how man was relating to Him through it and its interpretation, and had mercy on the people struggling to keep the law and opposed to anger and malice towards those who found themselves breakers of it.  He even had mercy on those who interpreted the law in such a way that it made it more difficult for Kingdom citizens to follow it.  Yet, He still loved a world that chose to side with Flesh over Creator.

divided-we-fallWhy is this important?  It’s important because the condition of His Heart was love, while the condition of the world He loved was evil and dark.  Our condition when God looked upon us, not just before Christ entered the world, but on through Revelations, was one of disobedience.  God knew that sin would continue long after the sacrifice He made on the cross!  God knew not only the actions of man, but also His heart.  He was able to see, unlike us entering covenants, the full outcome and intent of all parties involved, and yet He still chose to enter again into covenant with us!

We were busy feeding our flesh!  Taking all the world had to offer and not sampling, but using a full measure of all offered, often overdosing on portions and then throwing ourselves at the feet of God for forgiveness.  God literally entered the world, and replaced warning labels on our lifestyles, held public workshops and private seminars, and yet we still keep sinning.

And He still chose to enter the world and display His eternal love for us by dying on a cross!  He not only made the provision, but even made the application process and funding process simple and easy.  Though His contribution to pay for our sin was invaluable, He was willing to enter into covenant with us for the price of belief.   God entered into covenant with us, and allowed our word to articulate our heart and thus secure our eternity.  He allowed the words of lawless people (prior covenant breakers) to secure a covenant agreement!

worship-fastThough God allowed us to secure our eternity with Him with very few conditions, and loved the world in the condition it was in, this does not mean that His love was acceptance or His approval to remain in its present condition.  God came specifically because of the condition of our hearts, and through love and personal sacrifice, sought to change the condition of our heart.  His desire was to change our hearts back to Him.  In drawing us to Him, He set an example of what He desired for us to be by modeling while He was on earth.  The roads as His catwalk, He allowed us to get a close up of His perfect design walking in full power.

Has your condition changed?  Upon accepting His provision, we are to acknowledge our present condition and to align it with His vision for our lives.   His vision for us is t be like Him; righteous.  Now eternally, we know that our righteousness will never be enough to earn or deserve eternity, thus the blood provision provides, yet on earth, He gives us His Word and the Holy Spirit in which to live by and through that help us deal with the longings and desires of the flesh.  Our present condition, thus, should not be our future condition!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

Pick-A-Prophet; Pickpocket Prophet

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little-girl-pout-pouting-furrowed-brow-tantrumI am convinced that God is disappointed, no, not with the world (unrighteous), but with the righteous. As one that looked upon us with compassion, constantly showing mercy, love, grace and even favoring us while in our sinful state, I am convinced that He figuratively shakes his head as some of our leaders make headlines using His word and His platform to further their own personal cause and worse, confusing the message of Christ.

I praise God that He doesn’t have the eyes of man.  We are blessed that when He walked the earth, seeing things from our perspective, that He not only remained without sin, but remained consistent in character.   As He taught people the truths of life, delivering to them the Gospel, He chose to live out the Words He preached.  He served as a personal guide and model to living life on this earth.  He was not overcome with such disgusted with our lawlessness and misuse of His grace and mercy, that He didn’t cancel His plans for the New Covenant. He still saw us with eyes of compassion, though they robbed Him before His entry, and Judas continued to represent us as a whole, stealing directly from the hand that was feeding him. He chose to trade in his relationship with God for some coins, that prospered him for a moment, and then sealed his fate for eternity.

As I look at some of our clergy men,
particularly our evangelical leaders,
it reminds me much of our brother Judas,
who’s comfortable position as keeper of the funds,
and his position of disciple opened
d
oors
and gave him influence that he never dreamed possible,
but when given an opportunity to utilize his position to elevate his career, turned his back on the one who placed him in position
and made the sacrifices needed to carry on the mission of Christ.

childpoutingAs opposed to being loyal to the mission and cause, he chose a different master, mammon. His position as one of the 12 wasn’t enough, and his fear that he would loose his meal ticket and influence, as well as not complete his personal agenda, made him reach across the table and sell-out the Messiah King.

Not that this blog is to bury all the top shelf evangelicals who have lost focus, and have manipulated scripture, hanging their political beliefs on one or two scriptures and ignoring the other 90% of the whole text, and 99.9% of the Gospel (100% of the Red Letter Text [and we know who’s in red letters!] ), but to ask you the reader if you have chosen the same path? Have you chosen your own agenda and comfort over what is right, and thus righteousness? Could it be that we have found such comfort in our own position and prosperity, that we have ceased to be like Christ?

Our eyes of compassion are no longer Biblically driven, but are colored and shaded by political narratives, that encourage us all to consider our own best interest as opposed to the placing the needs of others before us.  Now we look for our Prophets and Priest to line up with our Politicians narrative, or He or She is seen as one that lacks divine connection, as opposed to looking for a Man or Woman of God that will speak the truth in the face of injustice, choosing to preach a Gospel that is about bringing healing and building a community based on love, support, and not one guided by hate and judgement.

pickapartToday, many look for churches like I used to comb through the Pick-A-Part Lot.  Looking for amenities, and a Prophet that will comfort them as the live a lifestyle of compromise.  But Pick-A-Part goes beyond picking a church and prophet that suits your needs, but also highlight this generation that hops from church to church because they spend more time picking a part the things that are wrong with the churches that are truly carrying out the mission of Christ, but have things that are not perfect about their structure and even their leadership.  Thus for this blog, is called Pick-A-Prophet (I thought about Pickpocket-Prophet might make that the subheading).  People looking for cheap parts that fit their own selfish narrative, choosing only what they deem relative to give them peace.  Our sermons are used like mild sedatives, giving the believer a false sense of peace, treating the symptoms, and leaving the problem, and worse, some pulpits revel in being the chosen pharmacy, as opposed to being the cleaners we are designed to be.  

pickpocketSadly; this is nothing new!  Pharisees aligned with the government, abused the people, and rejected the Messiah.  Prophets catered messages to the people afraid of being stoned.  Prophets grew tried of preaching truth, and having the message rejected by stiff necked people, and decided to minister to the tingling ears of their constituents, further angering the Lord.  And today, sadly, we see some Prophets and Priest who have chosen to exchange God for mammon.  While the average believer is raising a stink about what happens to tithes and offerings, they are not privy to the real source of the income many of these profits have access too.  While it is true that some have their hands in the pocket, we must pay attention to the pockets that are funding the lasciviousness that you view.   They have united and turned our faith into a pact, lobbying with the rest for favors in exchange for votes.  They lead politicians in-front of constituents, and laying hands on them, giving a vote of confidence to the one who represents financial prosperity and upward social mobility.

Though what is done be these misguided and false prophets is wrong, I will look away from them and remind them that we are encouraged to study to show ourselves approved.   Though this mandate was given to a man of the cloth, it is sure to be modeled by us.  We must try the spirit by the spirit, and seek wisdom and knowledge by knowing God and His will in such a way, that the foolishness of one who decides to chase money as opposed to the mark of Christ will be easily identified through our study, prayer and the leading of the Holy Spirit.  The reason we are able to be mislead as congregants, is because they have chosen comfort and convenience over truth and conviction.    They have willingly volunteered themselves to be manipulated by choosing a Prophet who will not present truth and lead them towards life change.

 

#PastorJDO3

Ears Open; Eyes Closed!

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I am always amazed at the selective hearing and response of human beings.   Each day people are given stories and encounters, real life situations and circumstances, by which we casually surf, swipe, invest digest or cast aside as unimportant. 

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It is amazing how we can hear of the pain of others, and choose not to feel, disconnecting from their agony with rationalizations and generalizations, and justify our lack of concern with political rhetoric and worse, religions (I can’t use the word I would like to use here 😦 ) foolishness.

I am amazed at how our political and economic affiliations and backgrounds serve as a guide to who deserves mercy and grace, whom should be forgiven, who is guilty, who deserved their punishment and suffering, who is worth bailing out, who is a leach, who is profitable, who is necessary, and who lack value and the ability to contribute to society.  Our affiliations also dictate to us who is a victim?  And how we should hear a victim?sexydressedwoman

 

An argument on Facebook emerged once as to:
“Whether women that wore “sexy” outfits
made themselves targets for Offenders
and thus deserved what happened to them.” 

Tempers were high!   Ultimately, it was decided socially that the dress of the woman did not deem certain treatment or response, because it was her right to dress how she decided.  It was determined that a woman offended even while dressed like this, even if flirting with the offender was a victim if she said “no” even if undressed down to her undergarments by her own choice.  We all agreed!  This woman is a victim.

This same general group of people argued about:
“Whether a black male dressed in a hoody
walking through a neighborhood deserved
to be shot even if un-armed.”

blackhoodyPeople were obsessed with the fact that it was late at night.  This, even though it was agreed that a woman didn’t deserve said treatment under any circumstances.  They determined that his clothing intimidated the armed man that was following him, and thus the armed man following the unarmed man had the right to shoot the unarmed man because he had on certain clothing.  In this, they determined that the young man in the hoody was not a victim. 

Thank you God for not taking counsel from man!!!!!  I believe God would consider them both victims and that His compassion for both would be the same.  I’m convinced that Jesus, whom chose not to restore the earthly throne of David, and get caught up in the political foolishness of His days on earth, would again look at us as disciples and opt of of the ignorance that we watch on a daily basis.

He would not be influenced by parties or by His own selfish needs and ambition, but would want what was best for those who were less fortunate than He.  Jesus would be speaking out like John the Baptist, who’s head was on a platter because He chose to stand for righteousness.  He looked, too, in the face of government officials, and sent a message to every follower by loosing his life for what was right. judascoins

Paul put his life on the line for righteousness.  He chose to remain in chains than to compromise truth, using his citizenship to present the Gospel to those who were lost, not to escape punishment to live in comfort.  Paul chose to walk away from his status, leave his career, confess his wrong, and make amends with those whom he persecuted.  He stood toe to toe with Peter, when it came not to his rights which he had as an Apostle, but to those whom were being forced to depend on measures other than grace to be saved.  Though already circumcised, he chose to side with truth, as opposed to demanding that everyone make a sacrifice that would be of no benefit to them because of the new covenant.

We have focused in the past on the saying, “What Would Jesus Do?”
And while this helped some,
it only provide an avenue to be ignorant for others.
Thus, I’m asking you, “What Did Jesus Do?” 

Jesus, like John the Baptist, looked in the face of government officials, who were staining the silk sheets of the temple, exchanging favor and collecting monies.  The government was working hand in hand with the Pharisees to control “their constituents,” and saw chosen church official choosing to speak out against truth because it challenged their authority and pointed out their unrighteousness.

We saw Jesus making His way to the side of families whom He physically, and to those whom He prior had no physical relationship with.   He spoke the same words of life to them all, choosing to break the bread and distribute it to all that had need, not only to the ones whom He knew followed Him with the right motives and intent.  The reality is that he fed those whom he knew listened and followed to eat and receive miracles.  justice1He fed people who would eventually cry out for Barabbas.  He dined at the table as the one who would betray him, walked with those who would scatter in the garden, and shared intimate moment with one who would deny him three times.

To Jesus, a victim was a victim!  Victim is relative to right and wrong, not parties, prosperity and economics.  He looked upon people with eyes of compassion, and invested time with the woman at the well like he invested time with the 12.   He looked upon people and was attentive to their cry.  He kept His Ears Open and His Eyes Open, and we have chosen to keep ours Eyes Shut, and like snakes, are charmed by the melodies of politicians.  But not Jesus!!!  He sat at the table with tax collectors and stood to read the scroll among the brothers in the priesthood.  He took time to spit in the ground and lay hands to bring sight and spent time in worship and being transfigured.  He taught the masses from a boat, and then retreated a quiet place to pray.  He called a dead man from a tomb, restoring to him life, and then allowed himself to be crucified and placed in a tomb.

A man puts a ring on his wife during a mJesus did only what the Father allowed, and chose to line up every action with God, and gave God the glory in all things, not to draw attention and build a following for Himself, but had the goal of pointing back to the Father.  He had a covenant!  He took an oath!  He exchanged vows not with the Government, but with the Creator!  His loyalty was not one of convenience, but one of commitment to communicate to those lost the love of God despite any current and future condition that one would find themselves in.  I believe God grieves for the shooter and well as the one murdered or maimed.  He cried for the children that were aborted and then shed tears for the one who committed murder bombing the clinic.  He is saddened by the man or woman that lives a lifestyle of homosexuality and cringes for the man and woman who sign on to websites and sully their temple and disrupt their relationship with Him! 

In the end, I have concluded like God, that we are all victims and in need of the blood provision of Christ.  We are all prone to sin, and struggle with our flesh, thus are deserving of death and are only righteous because we are justified by faith in Him!

 

#PastorJDO3

Sleight of Hand (Politics in the Pulpit)

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Lately I have been shaking my head!  As of late groups like the Black Hebrew Israelite’s have used the sad truth that some white slave owners attempted to use the Gospel of Jesus Christ to control their slaves.  Now, what type of evil makes one take a Gospel that should be liberating and uses it to control people, I can not define.  How one justified their selfish desires, and through reading a Gospel of peace, found a way to take a verse or two, while omitting entire paragraphs, I will never understand.  How one can read Genesis and see that God created Mankind, and then make those of different skin hues less than or half of a human being is truly far beyond my imagination.   Their major claim to convert African American’s to their faith is that the white man used the faith to manipulate our ancestors, and thus the whole truth is not truth, rather a lie.

And while there logic is solid, it still does not make complete sense.  The same Bible that evil men thought to use to control people; once read, liberated them.  Those that could read (and by those, I mean a 1 or 2) began to read the Word of God for themselves, and the truth was revealed to them.  They then stood on the Word and were able to obtain God’s will for their life and for those to come.

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We need the same spirit to exist today!  We need to read God’s Word for ourselves.  We are facing the magic of the sleight of hand that prior generations faced.   It’s not that of government printing propaganda, but from pulpits who are attached to political groups.  Our faith interacts like a super pack contributing money to press an agenda, while exchanging votes for favor and prominence.

I watched clips of some of our most famous magicians, I was mesmerized at how they took the items which we had visual contact with, and were able to manipulate them in such a way, that even while paying attention, crowds of 100 were not able to catch the trick.  People watch carefully to catch the trick, but lack the training to have a full understanding of what they are watching.  This is what we face today.  Not enough people are knowledgeable of God’s Word and have a personal relationship with Him to identify when they are being tricked by the sleight of hand.

Much of the sleight of hand is the character or personality with the cards.  The voice and presentation of the magician makes the trick believable, thus making it magic.  People are so trusting of a well tuned vocal chords or a trusting face, that they are easily fooled by that which they know is false.  yoyoThey go home duped, and impressed that someone spent so much time figuring out how to trick them.

Ladies and gentleman, there are magicians among us.   They omit and ignore scriptures, treating God’s word like a yo-yo, walk the dog, making it sleep, and go around the world while we watch in amazement and accept their deception as truth.

This blog is important because the hypocrisy of the people of God is the catalyst for many leaving the faith, or distancing themselves from it and staying away from the house of God.  It is amazing to watch people demand that our current president not be questioned and followed, while they spent the past 8 years challenging authority and encouraging people to rebel.  We can not stand on the scripture only when it benefits our position.  God can not be manipulated.   He knows the heart of us all, and is set against those that do evil.  Being obedient to two scriptures does not make you right with God.  If you break one law, you broke them all and are a law breaker.

It is sad to see people manipulate and massage the scripture to justify their political views and ungodly actions.  It’s sad to see the pursuit of wealth being paralleled with the pursuit of righteousness or a sign that God is pleased with ones actions.   Many people have chosen to do what is expedient as opposed to what it eternal, and this simply is not right.  This, friends, is what led to previous evil and wickedness.  It was further established by a quiet majority who remained silent while the country prospered from trade and goods.  Though not all accepted this truth, someone had to speak up and read for themselves.  Men and women of God who understood truth through God’s Word grew confidence and shared God’s Word and then took action to fight for what was right.

My heart goes out to those sitting in the audience of these magic shows.  I cry for them, as they are caught in a deep fog because they chose not study for themselves.  Much like a bull being led by a nose ring, is one who’s relationship with God and bullringnoseknowledge of God’s will for the world and their life, is found through a person and not by seeking God for oneself.

I had a good laugh today, as so many of my conservative friends struggle to rationalize, how everything was the former president’s fault, and nothing is the current president’s fault.  I laughed to tears as one of my friend called the prior president an embarrassment because he apologized for prior wrongs, and reached across the aisle to live at peace with our neighbors, and then found pride in one who speaks ill of our neighbors and threatens our neighbors.  I crack myself up as evil is now identified as a country arming to defend itself, and as we are led by one who responds to talk-shows and tweets, and we insist that we are the only nation being led by someone responsible enough to manage nuclear power!   I suppose those countries need to get America to Amend its constitution for the right to bare arms?

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Is this the Christian Church?  Or is this the American Church?  Is Christ our head or a president or a pastor?

Why are our pews and seats are empty?  The enemy is no longer identified as the Satan the adversary, but liberals, conservatives or other countries who are not democracies and who do not agree with American values (not christian values).  Our members value free enterprise more than freed souls, and for this, we find ourselves blinded by lights and financial dreams that are painted by 1% who distance themselves from us and with the sleight of hand, created an ever changing road map to join their ranks.  

In our foolishness, we have interpreted Christ as a business man more so than a humanitarian!  This is a sleight of hand!   This is Christianity Today.  We can only pray that with our foolishness, we can say there will be Christianity Tomorrow.
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