The Believers Bite Galatians 5:15

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15 But if you bite and devour one another,
watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit,
and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Galatians 5:15-16

Tonight we enjoyed a fruitful discussion in God’s Word.  Drawing our thoughts for the lesson from the 5th Chapter of Galatians, we allowed the 15th and 16th verse to run the first leg of tonight’s’ teaching.  In our discussion about becoming better evangelist and witnesses for Christ, we find ourselves working on self that we might be more effective in efforts for Christ.

But first a pit-stop.  Paul addresses in this chapter an important part of Kingdom, its citizens.  He writes to handle issues that have arisen in the church, and with a stroke of the pen, corrects bad teaching and bad behavior. full burger

For today’s discussion, I presented to the group the illustration of a freshly prepared hamburger.  It exist whole, without a bite.  The burger, fully in tact consist of many layer, and holds in it a varying level of content.  In this, it is placed into our hands to handle as we choose.  Now of course, our flesh and stomach need and are designed to consume, but today we took our discussion to the Spiritual.

The first question asked was:  “How is a burger consumed?”

The answer of course is “One bite at a time!”  These bites can vary in size, ranging from small to large, they can come from any angle, can be taken in a short amount of time, or a long amount of time, but with each bite, that which was whole begin to disappear.  Paul wrote a warning to the Body of Christ, “if you bite” he warns, soon you will “consume…one another.”

The next question asked was: “Who have you taken a bite of?”

This is an important question.  As we hit the neighborhoods to bare witness bout Christ, we have found that many people have met Christ, but remain at home because they are suffering from the wounds of a bite!  They accepted the Gospel, but couldn’t get past the offenses committed by His church!  I know, they are immature! That’s what you are thinking!  They have a fake faith built on man, and your faith is built on God.  They don’t have enough Word in them?  Right?  Get over yourself I say!  Mature or Immature, healing from wounds takes time, and some bites are just fatal!  Infection set in, and death follows.  And yes, you would probably say that its their fault, right?  It’s their fault they are offended, right?  They should simply forgive and move on, right?

Paul warns us, bites take away from us and lead to consumption.  Someone are simply being eaten alive by those who are in the fold and not walking according to the flesh.  People have perished in our ministries, and some who survived, are holding on to life by a thread.  This brought out a sad reality; many of the people entering our churches are half eaten. halfeatenburger

That’s right.  Those entering your church from previous church homes are sometimes lead to new fields, and other times are escaping hurt and looking for healing and peace.

Why is it you ask that a person can leave after one offense?  Ahh, you said they were immature, but the reality is that many of them were suffering from prior bites, and are just trying to keep from being completely consumed.  And then we foolishly judge them for protecting themselves, and label them to protect our own ignorance.  Our bites are often made worse by those who are not remorseful.  Yep, its that important that we treat each other right, because each person is in a different state, and have different experiences, and your encounter with them can be the difference between them growing in Christ, and dwelling at home alone.

In this day of social media and technology, our encounters with people are weighed even heavier in that many people have grown accustomed to experiencing the world via a video and even a blog.  The human factor is being removed and replaced by imogies and virtual reality, thus limiting the room for error in our encounters with one another.

Paul says while some suffer from “bites” others are “devoured”.

Have you devoured anyone? 

emptyplateThis word frightened me!  The thought that there could be one within our ranks who doesn’t fall from time to time and bite someone, but that in one or two encounters, shows a complete lack of restraint and concern for another and eats them alive in one or two sittings!  How is it that we can destroy those God has sent, stitching the bond of peace afforded to all of us through the blood of Christ and the unity of the Spirit!  Our lack of restraint towards one another can cause those in our midst not to question God’s existence, but if God exist in the place they have become a part of.  Let it not be said of you that you chased away someone that the Spirit draw-ed neigh because of your unwillingness to pursue righteousness and kill the flesh.

How many people have you devoured?  Who’s at home licking their wounds?  Who’s exploring different horizons?  Who’s falling away from the faith because of you?  Sadly, only God knows.  The reality is that most multiple offenders are just being themselves and don’t realize or acknowledge that they are “biters” dare say I “consumers.”  Shame to say, this “consumer” mentality exists in the house, as we jockey for position and protect our territory, and fight for a light that is the glory of humans, which is the glory that fades.  We shine our light not to lead, but to blind people with judgement, and are eager to condemn others, while pardoning our wickedness and justifying our actions.

Paul says, don’t “gratify your flesh”!  Yep, there is nothing good within us, and every once in a while, the desire to bite happens.  The old man fights his way back in the picture and begins warring for control of your limbs.  He plants thoughts in your mind as to how you should respond, and how you should act, what you should say, and how it should be said, but Paul says resist!  “Walk by the Spirit” he says.  Control that which remains dormant in you by continually submitting to the God that is in you!   Just because you have the thought, doesn’t mean you have to follow its suggestion.  It’s just that, a suggestion.  Unwise counsel given from an unwise source, whom desires to wound as many as he can from fire within the camp.  The devil hinders the growth of the Kingdom through those of us who continue fulfilling the desires of the flesh, allowing the old man to once again lift his hands in victory.   Yield to the leading of the Holy Spirit and allow His guidance to keep you from biting and devouring your fellow brother and sister.  Kingdom depends on it!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

Divided we Stand…

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Today, the United States stands as a divided nation.  No, these are not our worst times or darkest days, but we are a democracy with a stewing plethora of opinions all of whom have been fueled by an accelerate that has lead us to the pathway of destruction.  That accelerate has been identified by most as racism; but as I complete discussions, I believe the accelerate is actually FEAR.

Not that racism doesn’t exist!  I believe it is alive and well.  While I do not believe that it is the ruling majority, I do believe it still plays a roll in every decision, every position and most assuredly played a roll in this past election. Can't we all just get along?

As I spoke to a few conservative Anglo friends, their assessment was that race had won the last two elections.  Somehow, President Obama was chosen because he was black, not because he was the most qualified candidate.  Of course, this could open up a long dissertation about racist views and stereotypes, I will leave this be.  In summation, I should not to be bothered by the election of an unqualified, inarticulate Anglo man, even if he were chosen because of race, because of the past 8 years (summing of about 8 conversations).   Statement after statement could be boiled down to FEAR!

While most gave the appearance of security and power, the voices and dialogue that was spoken and written was that of fear.  The media characters, both liberal and conservative, painted broad pictures to rally the emotions and fears of those who fear the worst.   Our country, though stable and recovering, was now in complete disarray, and an once honest and just government, had become corrupt and greedy in less than 8 years.

Drastic times call for Desperate Measures

Yep; hear ye, hear ye!  When people are Desperate!  When the circumstances are categorically drastic, the response is always extreme.

divided-we-fallOur FEARS and our Ignorance were found in that the American People bought into the need to clean up Washington, made a bold statement by voting against ONE member of Washington, and then proceeded to Re-Elect those whom deemed corrupt!  Then America elected a partner and contributor to those who were corrupt, and then gave them the assignment to clean house.  Interestingly enough, the President can’t clean up Washington, only the People can, assuming Washington will not wash itself!

FEAR causes Unsound Decisions, Delays Progress, and Destroys Productivity!

They are here to steal our jobs!  Yes, the very jobs many reading this blog would not work!   During the 2008, I spoke with a unemployed worker, who would not take interviews or jobs that payed under $100,000 because his value had been established at $100,000.  Other jobs he was over qualified for, and the others, he was uninterested in.   He like many of you have lived off reserve/savings and unemployment (which is one of many socialist program) until he was rehired .

But like him, many of you bought the idea that our jobs had been taken by illegal aliens.  This would mean that companies were choosing to hire illegal aliens as opposed to citizens.  Is that legal?  Are we saying that companies in America are choosing to give money to illegal aliens and not to citizens to prosper itself?  Truly, the only thing worse would be that company taking our jobs to another country!

I know what you are thinking, YES!  I see illegals working in my office every day!  I see illegals filling out applications.  I see them sitting with the HR rep.  I saw them going through the training.  They are sitting at my old desk, living in my neighborhood, going to my school…… FEAR!

Know this, Capitalism is not equal to Righteousness!

This has been a long standing Ignorant Premise of our country!  Profit at any cost!  Manipulate to gain Advantage!  Corner a market, then allow traffic with rules the further prosper you, and cause others to work harder, and while handicapped.

Yes, even our faith (Christian) have suffered from this premise!  Anglo Christians enslaved African’s and used the Word of God to justify the cruel and inhuman treatment of God’s creation!  Many followed blindly as they were convinced that African people were not people, but were property, thus the actions taken towards them was not shameful or wrong to God, but acceptable.

Sadly, we are watching the same behavior!  Our Gospel is being manipulated by political bugs, and many of our pulpits have been rented to own, at best leased out.  We are manipulated by policies to gain our vote, not because this is a Christian nation, but because the people at the top determine the direction of the nation, and are able to prosper as it advances; and even when it is in decline!

Our congregants faced the same presentations from 2 elections past.  A vote for this candidate is a vote for the Anti-Christ!  How you ask, because they approved a policy that was un-biblical an a practice that was ungodly!  And they are right!  These are un-biblical and ungodly practices, but they aren’t the only policies that are ungodly, just the ones that are being highlighted.   Furthermore, to label someone the Anti-Christ?  Especially after the current President was labeled the Anti-Christ!  It would seem that the incorrect claim/prophecy would alert those that future claims and prophecies were just as inaccurate, but they didn’t!  It is one thing to not like a person or a their policies, but this label and what it represents in Biblical narrative is as though these irresponsible Pastors are saying that voting for this candidate would signify the end of the world!  This is clearly manipulation and abuse!!!!together

 So what now?

Divided we fall has always been a truth played out before us all.  Though it still remains true, our hope is to maximize the moments while standing to recover well enough to pull it together before division fulfills is prophecy.

We stand reeling from the barrage of punches thrown in our last recession, which featured greed and mismanagement that sent us to the canvas.  We stand, woozy, struggling to hold our hands steady for the referee, leaning against the ropes, using every bit of the standing eight count.  The world waits, as we attempt to prove that we are stable and able to fight.  Only time will tell!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

 

…We used to be Just as Annoying as the Jehovah’s Witnesses…

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Today I was blessed to have a conversation with a Jehovah’s Witness while our networking for my home church.  It was refreshing and confirming on many levels.  In the dialogue, I asked him about church home and salvation, he said he “I recently returned to being Jehovah’s Witness….”, and that he worshiped at a Kingdom Hall and gave the location.   I asked him, “Why did you return?”His answer was detailed (could write many other blogs, but chose to write just this one) but simple,

“Each Saturday, they go out to neighborhoods from 9 to 12 noon, and knock on doors just like Jesus said to do when he sent out the 70.”

I smiled!  I thought to myself, “We used to be just as annoying as the Jehovah’s Witnesses! (This is not an insult, but a tribute to one, and shame to another and a call for “soul searching“)”.

I thought about the days of our early church bodies, in which we had groups that regularly went out to knock on doors and bare personal witness about Christ and the change that He has made in our lives.  I felt convicted!  The door knockers we send, flyers we mail, media we invest in, all fall short of the power and effect of the personal testimony.  “Why did we stop?”

The last time I felt this way was in Virginia, when I purchased a Final Call and a Bean Pie from a Muslim man on the corner (Yes I PURCHASED ONE OF EACH!)  As I sat there watching him back in the 100 degree weather, I wondered how many Christian men I could get to stand outside in full black suit, a white shirt and black bow tie, and counted 2 maybe 3 (I wasn’t one of them).  I would have requested that we make a short set to wear!  I thought then, “What has happened to us?”

We used to be soldiers!  We were warriors!  We wore out the soles of our shoes fighting for souls for the Kingdom!  There was a time when we weren’t on the corner just to raise funds for our ministries!  There was a time when people heard that morning knock and thought it was us, but some where along the line, we either lost our zeal or decided that we didn’t want to be a nuisance, offensive or yes; annoying.  Or maybe we developed an intolerance or grew allergic to rejection, or didn’t feel qualified or prepared for defending our faith?  Maybe we have just become too prosperous?

I’m just not sure!  But I do know one thing, We Need to Be Just As Annoying as the Jehovah’s Witnesses!  People need to get sick and tired of us knocking on their doors, ignoring the no solicitation signs on the neighborhoods, interrupting our Saturday cartoons, College Football, Car Washing and Yard Work!!!!  People need to run inside and hide behind their couches, knowing that the People of God are going to swing through and ask them the question, “If you die tonight, do you know if you will spend eternity with God, or burn in hell’s fire?”  “Do you know Jesus Christ? “Have you believed His death accepted His blood provision for your sins?”

I know this doesn’t apply to every ministry, but it applies to some.  I am aware that times have changed, and that people are different, and that we must adjust our methods.  There are many things we can argue need to be changed about our modern ministries, but our personal witness will never be one of them!

(Knock Knock)

#PastorJDO3

It’s Hard to Turn a Hoe into a Housewife (Hosea 1:2-3)

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Sunday, I was blessed with the opportunity to share the Word at my home church, First Met; The Place Where You Belong!  The message given to me was a follow up to a prior message, in which I heard God calling the Church to pursue righteousness.  Hearing the echo in my own life, I was lead to read the story of Hosea, and was challenged to clean up some areas in my own like. The following message was birthed, “It’s Hard to Turn a Hoe into a Housewife!”

First, we must address the text properly.  The tendency is to immediately identify with Hosea by most  believers, but I felt it necessary to make sure that the hearers understood like I understood while reading the text!  I’m not the Prophet, I’m the Prostitute.  It was important for those in attendance to realize their prior state and even their current state.  God literally pulled  up, rolled down the window, and kidnapped us.  He pulled us from our pimp, punched our clock, and canceled our evening appointments!  God took the pipe from our hand, the bottle from our palm, the taste from our tongue, and the desire fro our heart all in one powerful demonstration of love, restoring value and purpose to that which was lost!  God removed us from the street life, and introduced us to home life, retrained our minds, providing instructions for living, and for prosperity, gave us a bank account, shielding us from check cashing places and pay day loans; introduced us to interest baring accounts, and savings accounts that we might structure our lives to be free from sins grasp!housewife

Knowing this, it was still hard to say aloud, “I’m the Hoe” so i just confessed “I’m a Bad Housewife!”. God has been working on me for years, and I still neglect household duties.  I get caught up watching the soaps, neglecting the kids, forgetting to do the washing.  I have money, but forget send payments through online pay, clothes all over the couch, dinner never ready, and I’m always tired when He wants a little intimacy!  I’m not ready to go when he arrives, still washing up, haven’t picked out my outfit, don’t have on make up, hair still undone!  I’m the one complaining after His hard day at work, doing all the talking and none of the listening, producing a list of chores to do, though my own are yet undone.  What type of housewife are you?  If you will be honest, “You might not confess to being a Hoe, but you make a Bad Housewife!”  Go ahead and confess it!

After ruining the surprise, Hosea became the secondary focus.  I imagined his shock, surprise and disappointment when God spoke to him about his first assignment.  The word “first” haunted me.  The idea that God prepared Him, and that Hosea sat patiently waiting for His assignment, and then God gives him the assignment of assignments.  He finds something important, but something that is detestable.  Here Hosea is a Prophet,God’s servant, who is only as good as the name he has, being told to unite himself in marriage to one of the Communities servants and wears a name of ill repute.

Hosea was glad to be used.  The Word says after the instructions God gave him, “So Hosea married Gomer…”  His answer to God was Yes!  I thought to myself, had this been me, there would be some missing dialogue missing.  Though I would have been obedient, it would not have been with the same immediate response Hosea had.  Many of us miss out on being used by God because we don’t like the assignment God has given us.  We dream of having upper level assignments, positions and titles, and dread the idea of starting at the bottom or in a position of lack.

Upon closer look, he just didn’t marry a prostitute, he married one still practicing prostitution.  It’s important to note that Gomer wasn’t going to change.  God told Hosea that she was going to cheat on him!  He was going to marry a woman who would still walk the streets, and meet the unwholesome desires of the community.  Hosea would have to walk through the community knowing that some of the men he encountered had experience what should be his precious place.  He was destined to share his gift with the world.  This is how we treat the Lord.  He is faithful to us.  He honors His covenant with us.  He works hard for us, protecting us and building us in to the people he desires, and yet, despite having all He gives, we give our love and passion off to the swines!

Worse, Hosea had to knowledge of knowing that she just would not cheat, but that she would conceive!  Hosea wedded Gomer know that she would cheat on him with other men, and has to wrap his mind around having a wife bearing children from other men.  How does one prepare to enter marriage covenant with one would would show no respect for the vows and or the relationship?

Though bothered, God showed me my actions and the actions of millions around the world.  The reality is that we are cheats!  We are continually stepping out on the Lord.  We have relationships with others, and hold others above our own Lord in value and in commitment.  We have hopped from bed to bed, having unprotected encounters with any and everyone, pleasing our flesh highest capacity of needs, only to run home to our husband and asked to be covered.  Many of us conceive in these encounters, and are quick to write God’s names on the Birth Certificate.  We are quick to say, look at what God has blessed me with.  Holding up our latest purchase and acquisition, attributing it to the Lord, and all the while, the Lord knows that the item was conceived outside of His plan for our life.  Then we depend on the Lord to support the devils child, complaining because he won’t offer the support needed to take care of what we have conceived with him. We abuse the kindness of the Lord, dragging our covenant through the muck and mire, depending on grace and mercy to suit our case.

The shame of it all is that Gomer now has a covering.  Without a father or husband to provide for her, one can understand how she ended up in her present set of circumstance.  But the inexcusable action is created once Hosea takes her to be his bride.  He pulls her in; in what should be a restoring, ends up being a continuation of the same.  How is it that we can continue in our hoeish behavior while we are married to the prefect husband? 

I thank God that He is long suffering.  As stated, I have yet to become a good Housewife!  He has not only proposed, but continues to honor His covenant day after day.  We even see Him repurchasing Gomer in Chapter 3, reminding us of the pure foolishness of the Cross!  God literally repurchased what already belonged to Him.  How crazy that the owner of the patent would have to purchase his or her own creation.

We have a choice!  We get to choose!  We can either become “Hosea’s wife” or we can continue to be “Gomer the Prostitute!”  What will you do?  My prayer is that you won’t continue.  Continuing is for those who are luke warm.  They make the name of the Lord an eye sore.  Many of us shame God before mankind, being known as “Hosea’s wife The Prostitute”.

Love Illustrated

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Love Illustrated
Spiritual Sunglasses

None of us were perfect,
Without flaw,
Merely broken pieces,
Held together by the hope,
That someone will take us off the shelf,
And drink from a cup,
That is cracked and missing a handle.
Because of our brokenness,
People have to drink from us with care,
And we have to trust,
That they will not drop,
Or destroy,
What we are entrusting them with,
Believing that we all contain a sweet nectar,
Worth more than tasting,
Deserving of consuming,
And beneficial for any one,
That allows us to satisfy their hunger pains,
Their desire to partake,
Of something that can cure the ills of one who sits in lack,
Waiting for the provision to be given,
Like freeze dried food,
Package for the journey,
Lowering our barriers,
We give hydration,
And that hydration turns what seems incapable of fulfilling us,
Into a meal that would satisfy any hunger,
Learning to appreciate the satisfaction found in us is difficult,
Because alone we can not satisfy ourselves,
Because there are only something’s and places,
That can be touched by someone that is not us,
Until the barrier is lowered,
We remain islands to ourselves,
Waiting to be inhabited not by a civilian,
Not a civilization,
Truly desiring for someone to inhabit our garden,
Nourish its life and vegetation,
Not just preserving it,
But causing it flourish,
Leaving for the world to see,
All the beauty that was there all the time,
But was under developed,
And un-cared for by a caretaker who saw all the flaws,
Thus could not focus on the fullness of the creation,
Finally, we receive someone,
Someone who is able to see the full potential,
And beauty of the landscape, called Me.
Who new that letting down the barrier would allow such beauty to arise from mere dust and water?

#PastorJDO3

Hybrid Living Pt. 1

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Recently, while stuck in traffic, I noticed there were more Hybrid vehicles on the road. These vehicles have the ability to run both on electric power and gas power, using multiple fuel sources to be economically efficient and environmentally friendly.

While looking at this vehicle, the thought occurred that we too are hybrids. We have the ability to operate under two power sources; the flesh and the Spirit.

Unlike the Hybrid vehicle, our duel power source is not a positive or a selling point of the faith. Though many of us find ourselves alternating furl sources, the design for us is to use one fuel source to complete our journey; the Spirit!

Romans 8:4