He Took a Wife and a Life (2 Chron. 11:14-15)

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14 In the morning David wrote a letter to Joab and sent
it by the hand of Uriah. 15 In the letter he wrote,
“Set Uriah in the forefront of the hardest fighting,
and then draw back from him, that he may be
struck down, and die.” 2 Chronicles 11:14-15

As I read this passage with fresh eye and an open heart, I considered the many opportunities David had to avoid trouble “A” and digging a deeper hole “B”.  God promises us that He will always leave a way of escape, but like David, the Promise of Pleasure was chose over Righteousness and Relationships.  

The portion that bothered me was found first in verse 6 when David said, “Send me Uriah the Hittite.”  Though I was familiar with the story, I kept hope that this encounter with Uriah would be different.  I thought, surely David will apologize to Uriah!

I wondered to myself, “How much drama and chaos exist in my life and the life of others because we won’t apologize?”  What in your world is not aligned because you are stuck in pride?   How much more damage did you do to yourself and to others because you would not confess your wrong?

The reality is that many of us have taken something
that could have been a moment of pain
and made it the central theme of our life
and the main narrative between
yourself and another
because personal pride won’t let us do what was right.

A sad reality David found is:
Not admitting wrong doesn’t make the wrong right. 

But David is God’s chosen.  He’s a man after Gods own heart!  Surely David will make an attempt to restore to Uriah what he has damaged. Nope!  Davis send for Uriah not to make the relationship or his marital circumstances but to trick him!  His plan to deal with his sin was to cover it!  He simply thought he would sweep it under the rug by getting Uriah to sleep with his wife.  I wondered as I wrote, how many readers have several lumps under their rug?  The problem with sweeping under the rug is that problem is not visible, but it presence is still evident.  sweepunderrug

 

Next, David discovered:
“Your Struggle isn’t the Struggle of the Next.” 

David figured he would fool him by giving him an opportunity; one that David himself would have taken!  He sent Uriah home with a gift from the King following him, but Uriah slept at the Kings doorstep.

David’s plan to cover his sin would have allowed this man to raise David’s son as his own.  He was going to spend his life looking at this boys face, touching this boys hair, looking at the shape of his chin, comparing him to his sisters and brothers and questioning his wife, and David was OK with this!  David was ok with making Bathsheba live with her husband in a lie; all to cover his wrong!  His plan was to make Bathsheba live a life avoiding eye contact, and denying truth, and eventually loosing the complete trust of her husband.  Worse, she would be discovered and potentially stoned by the community, and David was OK with this!

What lie have you created to protect your own truth?  How many of us have allowed an innocent person to bear a cross that belonged to us because we were more concerned with our own interest than how our actions would affect someone else?

But his plan failed!  Though Uriah had the right to sleep with his wife, Uriah denied his flesh, and was consumed with returning the Ark, being a good soldier, and being a good citizen.  As long as others were suffering and fighting, he would not allow himself a moment of peace and pleasure.Crown

 

David found this too to be true; The Crown does not establish you as the King of Character just over the Country!

David found that there were people under Him that had more character and more discipline than him.  There were people He was called to lead that placed God before self, and self before others more than he would.  How tough this was for David to swallow.  How dare this man have ethics and live by a high standard of morals when David himself had taken liberties.  How dare he carry himself like a King and leave David feeling like a Peasant!  It’s always challenging when you discover that you’re the only one that has a mouth full of apple.  This had to fuel David even more, thus sealed the fate of Uriah.

subordinateSadly, David response to Joab reveal his perspective.  Davis didn’t see him as a Servant or as a Citizen, he saw him as only a Subordinate!  Too often those in power suffer from this perspective!  TD Jakes said in a conference once that when he want to judge a mans characters, he watches how he treats those who are thought to be under neath them.  I see this as a heart perspective.  Though we have different positions and titles, we are all God’s children.  The same rights afforded to you have been afforded to all of Gods creation.  In this moment, David valued his public perception more than. He valued his brother!  In a moment where David should have been humbling himself before his brother, he exalted himself by placing his foot on the neck of a loyal servant.

Do you do this?  Seeing others as less than, and treating them accordingly.  David sins, and then sentences an innocent man to death!  Worse, he puts into motion the demise of one who was loyal to both him and the creator!

David would not only take his wife, but would take his life!  

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David get’s a Two for One!   What was one error is now being compounded by his attempt to cover up his sin.  How many times have we made this same error?  What should have been a skit, turns into a pilot episode for a syndicated series.   How much innocent blood has been shed for you to keep your image in tact?

He sent this valiant warrior to fight, and ordered the troops to leave him uncovered so that he would die.  He probably presented his wife and family with a flag and a purple heart, made a commemorative plaque and made that day Uriah the Hittite day, as the band marched past the palace where he sat on the couch in front of the fire with Bathsheba, pulling up his blanket up with a glass of wine and stogie in his mouth.  He covered his sin, and left Uriah uncovered.

Lord be it that I and others will do right after we have done wrong.  Lord forbid that we break the law and write the letter!  Lord keep us first from the wrong, and in moments were we fail, allow us to make our relationship with you and our fellow brother and sister right.

 

#PastorJDO3

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Don’t be a Jezebel! (1 Kings 21:25)

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(There has never been anyone like Ahab, who was firmly
committed to doing evil before the Lord, urged on by his
wife Jezebel…) 1 Kings 21:25

There are many titles attached to Jezebel.  A woman noted for her seductive and manipulative ways.  She waived her fist in the face of God, talked trash to His prophets, lead a campaign against the Lord, encouraged idolatry and disgusted the Lord.  No better is the picture of the Lords long suffering and patience as seen with those who have hardened hearts against Him.  jezebelSending prophets and signs, He works to reach and transform the life of those who are darkened, yet some are just hardheaded.  Such is Jezebel.  No matter what she hears or sees, Jezebel will not change her ways, and invest her time in getting others to do likewise.

In the 20th chapter of 1st Kings, Jezebel finds herself encountering her husband Ahab who has been rejected by Naboth on the sale of his vineyard.  Ahab, downcast, has his head lifted by Jezebel, his wife who encourages him.  Yes, Jezebel supports her man.  She encourages him to go after what he desires.  She encourages him to take control of the circumstances, and to use his power to gain what he needs.  And yes, this is a problem!

An encouraging wife is normally thought to be a good thing, but in this case, Jezebel encourages her husband to abuse his power and to commit and offense against a child of God.  Jezebel takes the pen and paper and drafts up a letter and puts into action a plot to accuse Naboth of cursing God.  Worse, Ahab, realizing what Jezebel has done, becomes a partaker in the evil by taking possession of that which did not belong to him.

Her encouragement to Ahab was a stirrer, that stirred up Ahab to commit more and greater atrocities against the Lord.  She took a man who already found himself not in favor with the Lord, and moved him up the chart to enemy number one.  This is so key.  REALITY!  Your Spouse will be or is FLAWED and has a SIN NATURE!  So what will you cultivate.

So What are You Cultivating?

Jezebel Encouraged her man to abuse his power!  stirrer-2She drafted up a note and plan to kill an innocent man all for convenience.  In this, she modeled and encouraged him to set aside all principles and care for the people he led and the God he served, and to do what best fit him.

As we watch life play out before us, I wonder how many Jezebels there are?  Not speaking just of the nation or world, but of our local congregations.

I remembered speaking to a woman on a Saturday witnessing day  that said she was propositioned by her Pastor.  She recalled him approaching her upon graduating High School and asking her to go to a training to run a new program at the church.  Upon arriving, he checked them into the hotel.

First, she didn’t realize they would be the only two traveling.
Second, she didn’t think they would share the same room.
Third, even after contacting her parents, they spoke up for
the man of God and encouraged her to stay.

After dinner, The Pastor decided to have a special laying on hands ceremony, substituting the sacred oil with anointed lotion.  Replaced the Easter Palms for Rose Petals.  Replace the Altar for a Bed and was told she was the Sacrifice!  She refused, and thankfully, the Pastor returned her home.

But it doesn’t end!  It gets worse!  The following Sunday, the First Lady scolded the young lady for dressing in a manner that tempted her husband (who confessed what happened, but directed the blame to the young ladies night clothes).

She hasn’t returned to church since!

I am not sure if this story is even true, but I thought she was being very genuine.  Even if true, its important to note this isn’t everyone’s story, nor is it the norm.  But we would be foolish to pretend that there aren’t some cases of abuse.  And worse, some cases with spouses who support the Abuse of Power taking places in some of our local churches.

And no, I will not call this First Lady a Jezebel, not will I get on a soap box about a Mom and Dad that allowed their Daughter to travel alone with a man, but I will say that we must be clear about our roles and spouse and saints.

queen-jezebelAnd no, covering the man/woman of God does not mean us being modern day politician apologist.  We must cover the man/woman of God in prayer, supporting them as God works with them, not by lying and with deceit, but not being quick to judge and or exposing their flaws that they might be susceptible to future sin and or sudden destruction.  Covering the man/woman of God involves the support not only of prayer, but protecting their anointing and making sure they can stay before the Lord and serve the people unhindered.

And for that matter, touch not thine anointed does not mean we as clergy get a free pass to carry out foolishness, with the understanding that God is our judge or will carry out justice.  Or that there is no accountability for those who wear the cloth.  The word says that a claim against an Elder should only be received if it can be verified by two or three witnesses.  Then continues to say that no favoritism will be shown, and that they must be rebuked before all!  In other words, God’s has no favorites, and neither should we.  He will punish and judge us all, regardless of title, position or works!

Encouraging ungodly behavior and pursuits of Greed, Selfishness, Covetousness, Gluttony and the like are not the types of stirring that is needed among those chosen to support and serve the man/woman of God, rather those who continue pointing towards the path set for us all.  Don’t be a Jezebel!

 

#PastorJDO3

 

You Ain’t Sorry! (Life by the Bee)

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Tuesday, we enjoyed the First Lesson of the Life by The Bee Series (Series Title from my son Josh) that takes themes from popular artist Beyonce.  We looked first at her song “Sorry” , featured on the Lemonade beyonce16Album of 2016.

The songs lyric capture the pain and frustration of a person that has been faithful to a relationship in which faithfulness has not been reciprocated.  She speaks of the pain felt as one comes to the conclusion that the inevitable has materialized.  In this, she acts out of character by seeking to inflict pain on her soon to be ex.

When listening to the song on the radio, I too was caught by the lyrics and the story of her song.  I thought of our relationship with God, and how we as constant breakers of our covenant with God.  I thought of His forgiving nature, and how long suffering He is, and then considered that He is Just and capable of wrath and destruction as well. 

Paul said,

“What shall we say then?  Are we to remain in sin
so that grace may increase? Absolutely not! 
How can we who died to sin still live in it?” 
Romans 6:1-2

In this I saw us in a lifestyle of sin, depending on the grace of our Lord and the commitment of God to maintain His covenant with us while we sow the proverbial “wild oats.”   He deals with our odd hours, knowing “we should’ve been home” and even listens to our “excuses”.  But unlike Beyonce, who is praying to God that “he reveal what the truth is”, we found ourselves cracking the spine once more and looking at Jeremiah 17:10 which reads,

“I, the Lord, probe into people’s minds. 
I examine people’s hearts. 
And I deal with each person according
to how he has behaved. 
I give them what they deserved
based on what they have done.” 
Jeremiah 17:10

Which was both refreshing and enlightening.  The chorus of the song, which is flat unforgettable, I feel mirrored our prayer life.  While filled with many words, I thought they could be often summed up by saying, “Sorry, I ain’t sorry.  Sorry, I ain’t sorry, I ain’t sorry.”  Though our language and posture are both apologetic, our constant repeating of the same action displays a lack of conviction about the past act and future acts.  Paul said, it is foolishness that one that is saved could continue in a lifestyle of sin.  It’s as though we are in a cycle:

 Sin more; So we Pray more,
So He can Forgive Us,
So We can Sin more
and on and on.

But Jeremiah enlightens us!  When you get down on your knees, clasp your hands together,  bow your head, and open your mouth (be it verbally spoken or silently communicated), Jeremiah informs us that we are experiencing a “Spiritual Polygraph poly-testTest.”  All the while we are talking, we must remember that God “sits high and looks low and neither sleeps nor does He slumber.   God doesn’t just hear our words, but He knows our hearts!

Jeremiah says God “probes into peoples minds” and “examine peoples hearts.”  He is well aware not just of what you did, but why you did it and whether you are sincere in your prayer, or just trying to keep from getting a spanking!  Yes, we often pray not out of remorse or conviction, but out of fear that the God who can take a life, and or administer punishment and judgement will carry out said actions upon us because of our wickedness.  We figure our prayers, which once forgiveness is received is like erasing the taped evidence, and destroying the evidence collected at the scene, as He cast our transgressions into the sea of forgetfulness.  And while He does, Jeremiah reminds us, that God can not be fooled, nor will He be mocked! 

While we can convince each other that we are “sorry” with our stellar Oscar winning performances, we must be aware that God is able to detect our lack of sincerity and conviction even before we stand from our knees to return to commit the same act again before rushing to beg for forgiveness.    Not that God would ever say these words, but if He were more like us, I fear many prayers would end with the response, “Apology not accepted”  or maybe, “You are Not Forgiven” or worse, “Prove it!”

It’s not just that God knows our hearts and probes our minds, he continues to say, “I deal with each person according to how he has behaved.”  Yes, we will be dealt with!!!!!!  When I was younger, the word was, “I’m going to come see about you!”  And no, God is no bully or thug, but He is capable of doing far worse than any man could ever do.  He is God!  And He loves purity and holiness.  He demands it of us and holds us accountable for it!  It is a requirement, not a suggestion and part of our commitment to Him to live in covenant with Him!

We ended praising God!  Despite knowing that we will be punished, God comforts us through Jeremiah saying “…what that deserve based on what they have done.”   Thank God that the punishment always fits the crime!  Even when we are punished, it is according with what is justified.  God is not cruel, nor is He inconsiderate of us.  He punishes us with the hope of correcting and restoring us, not to destroy us!  In this, we can continue in faith, knowing that our God is just in all His ways!  Now we just have to be!

And no, we should not sin so that grace can abound, and in this, we must remember that God is not fooled.  He knows when we are sorry!

Don’t Open the Door!

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As we mourned the loss of civilian lives, our hearts were further taxed by an attack on our officers.  Numb is not the word, in that our hearts are heavy, our fingers and voices warm and eager to not only speak out about injustice, but to declare God’s truth to a hurting and loss world.

Last night we saw a mirror of what we studied two weeks ago.  As Cain sat in frustration, anger stewed in him.  God saw that he was reaching a boiling point and issued a warning to him.  “Sin is crouching at your door” God declared to him.  Brothers and Sisters, today, “Sin is crouching at our door!”  In our Anger and Frustration, we must listen to the voice and instructions of our Lord and “sin not.”

The prince of this world enjoys these moments.  He is active, stirring up contention, working hard to influence people to react to their emotions, making a situation worse by piecing together a series of un-Godly decisions. 

What bothers me in this is that God has spoken.  He warned Cain, much like He has spoken to us.  He has informed us that there is a war, not with “…flesh and blood but with rulers, world forces, spiritual forces, and wickedness”, yet we seem to forget His Words, and respond rather to the words of Media Forces, which hold the honor and task of reporting “news” while “creating stories.” sinatdoor

The more blood shed, the more there is to write and talk about.  The more blood shed, the more politicians jockeying for power have to leverage to win votes.  The truth is, the true value placed on the blood shed is that it draws viewers, which translates to ratings and leads lead to sponsors, that line the pockets of those who desire wealth and fame. The lives of those slain are objectified, and the peace and privacy of their family stripped, as they become public figures not by choice, but by circumstance.  Cameras and Microphones document the cries the blood shed has caused, but the reports on the incidents cause for further blood shed, leaving the “sin crouching at our doors.”

“It desires to have you” God told Cain!  It wants to control you God warned him.  This moment is going to change your life.  If you respond the wrong way, you will move from rejection to curse.  And while the hurt of rejection sting, the weight of your actions to your brother and God’s response to you will pale in comparison to the hurt you have now.

“…you must master it” God told him!  You can not let this moment have you!   Do not succumb to the moment!  It will master you, but you can “master it” by not allowing you to have it.  If it controls you, your course will be further altered.  God informs him that his sin will not go unpunished.

God tells Cain not to open the door!  On the other side of your thoughts and emotions are more pain and tears.  Don’t open that door!  It will sentence you!  Don’t open that door Cain.  You think you are in control, but you are not thinking rationally!

I know God thought to Himself, here we go again.  See, God had issued a warning to Cain’s parents.  Their warning was not to eat the fruit from the tree.  “You must not eat the fruit…”  He warned them.  And though I am sure Adam at some point shared his story with His sons, it is sad to say he learned nothing from it.  Or maybe he wasn’t wise enough to make the parallel?

It’s sad to say, we too have seen the results of violence as well as witnessed the power of efforts of peace, and yet we continue to see those that are eager to open the door!  We know from our ancestors story.  We suffer from the poison of hatred and greed.  We are marked like Cain, but with the ignorance of racism.  We all suffer from the decisions of a few that chose to value their wealth over the life of people.  And now we walk around as God’s creation with our eyes exposed to a nakedness that should not exist.  This because of the sins of our forefathers!  Yet, many of us haven’t learned!

“Listen!  Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground” God tells Cain!  The God that counts every tear, values the blood of His creation!

#PastorJDO3

 

Roommate

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Frustrated!
See, I got into this bad roommate situation,
I invited someone into my home to share my space,
Thus making my place our place,
And now my place has become more his space,
Now I am out of place like MySpace,
Trying to retrieve what was once mine,
Fighting to gain control over what I once had dominion over, Moving-into-Your-First-Apartment-450x253
Or so it seemed,
My lack of a simple background check,
Has me paired with the devil himself,
Wrapped in my own flesh,
Barking out commands,
Rearranging my home,
Mislabeling,
and
Misusing,
Redefining purpose,
And Overriding functions,
Removing the remains of what was taught,
Or so he thought,
I was trained in a way,
That I might not depart,
And though you have rented space in my heart,
Your lease is up for renewal,
And my tomorrow,
Looks better with you in my past,
Looking towards the hills,
My ears tuned to His station,
His digital signal warms my ears,
Coating my heart,
Restoring like a polish,
Removing the stain,
Breaking through the tarnish,
Waxing on,
Wiping off,
Leaving its protective coat over me,
I begin to shine again,
I review my resident application,
Tightening the security,
That the next roommate would be great,
Then I removed the vacant sign,
Tore up the applications,
And decided to live at peace.

#Spiritual Sunglasses

And I Would Have Gotten Away With it……. Genesis 9:19-25

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The Title of this message was drawn from one of my favorite childhood cartoons.  Scooby Doo, the iconic show, was built on a frame of a story line, which had a formula that was consistent, but a story line that was ever changing.  The rotated in villains and mysteries to solve, changed scenes and characters, but the main cast and conclusion always remained the same.  Each week, it seemed the group would capture the villain, and unmask him/her in front of a confused and scared audience.  After a brief confession, the evildoer would conclude, “…and I would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!” scoobydoo

We live in a generation of exposers!  It seems that our lives revolve around storylines, plots and schemes, filled with detective work, stakeouts, undercover work and the likes.  Day after day, we search for the latest trending topic and post, waiting for the great mysteries of the lives of those around us to be revealed.  Truth be told, both kid and adult alike, keep their phones and technology handy, ready to break the next story and expose the sins and shame of our fellow brother or sister.  It seems that we are all to eager to tag people in post that feature videos and photos with full descriptions and dehumanizing titles designed to drive plays; with the hopes of going viral at someone’s expense.

In this passage, we find our hero Noah, caught by his youngest son in an uncompromising situation.  He has gotten drunk off of the wine that was made from the very garden he planted post flood.  Just verses ago, he walked off the ship and God entered into covenant with both he and his sons, yet Noah made a mistake in his personal walk.  As if the mistake wasn’t bad enough, his son Ham walks in and sees him in his sin.  Even worse, he leaves the tent, gets his oldest brothers and exposes him

First we looked at the difficulties experienced by the Ham.  It is hard for a child to see their parents flesh and still encounter them as spirit.  For the early years, Ham experienced his father as the man whom God identified as having been blameless for 600 years.  Now in one moment, all he has known or thought has now been brought into question from a different.  His immaturity then causes him to share what he has found with his older siblings.  He makes the wrong decision.  The tendency of a child, once they discover their parents sin is follow the pattern of Ham.  In exposing his father, Ham was disrespecting him.  He loss appreciation for the man who had not only given him life, but to the very one whose life saved his life.

Think it ironic that Noah righteousness was what kept Ham alive.  When God searched the earth, His focal point was the life of Noah who had walked blameless for 600 years, and then followed that walk with obedience in building the ark.  It was this life and obedience that was chosen, not that of Ham.  Furthermore, the blessing and covenant that Ham has received was due to his connection with his father and not his own personal walk with the Lord.  Even Hams knowledge of who the Lord is due to his father.

Ham like many of us, in this generation of exposers, seeks to make Noah’s moment, his life!  Why is it that we seek to document a moment in time, and use that moment to erase the past, and rewrite the future?  Had Ham been alive today, he would have taken a photo, meme’d it, grabbed a couple of video clips, placed them on worldstarhiphop and youtube, contact TMZ and sold the story and the rights to make a profit!   Mind you, Noah had 600 years of righteousness, and is now being defined by Ham, and potentially others by one mistake.  This is today’s generation.  We “comment”, “like”, “retweet” and post people into their graves, forcing them to be in a constant state of defense of their character.

noahdrunkNoah fell into sin a righteous man, and awoke a man that had been violated by those closest to him.  Thus he awoke from his stupor and cursed his seeds seed!  Exposing sin, will Expose you and your seed to Curses.  Though it was not Hams intent, Noah was so bothered by his actions, that the words that followed placed those to follow Ham into strife with others.  Much like the Hatfields and McCoys, Ham now sat in a sub-servant role and the generations to follow would always stand opposed to their relatives as Noah passed on his blessing through Shem first and Japheth as he followed Shem.  This, much like today!  We are living in a time where strife is common.  It has been passed down from generation to generation, and has caused us to war against each other, and treat each other as less than.

Though many would feel comforted by the fact that Ham received the blessing just as his father and brothers did, we are privy to follow the journey of Ham’s lineage.  Though he too was blessed by the Lord, and able to live and his seed thrive and prosper, he was unable to feel the full blessing of the Lord because his sin caused them to live at odds with God’s people.  His disrespect to his father caused him to exist outside of the covenant that was coming to Abraham.  You can have the blessing of being under one covenant, and miss the next covenant.   

One of the nuances of the passage is the ease that Ham had both seeing and exposing, but the efforts Shem and Japheth went through not to see their father naked.  They placed his garment on their shoulders, walked in backwards with their face turned away.  It’s easy to Expose ones Sin, and hard to Cover ones Sin.  Shem and Japheth decided not to view their father in his sin.  The maintained respect for him and appreciation for him in his fallen state.  This is what we should be ascribing to do.  Find it not unique that our Lord could see every sin every committed, and chose to take upon the sin of the world on His shoulders and die for mankind.

His blood is Noah’s garment!  He has chosen to cover us and to see us as righteous, though we lay before him as sinful people not worthy to be in his presence.  Though He had the right to expose us, He chose to cover us and to restore us to our former glory.  He like Shem and Japheth went through many difficulties to cover us, but stayed committed to the task and made the sacrifice needed to keep us in relationship with one another.

In conclusion, we looked at Noah as the Man of God.  Find it not a coincident that the story of his falls list him as “a man of the soil” (V. 20).  In other words, even after 600 years, God knew he was still prone to fail.  We looked at the phenomenon of church hoppers.  Those treating the local church as they do their social clubs and or social outlets.  Here they are under the leadership, anointing and covering of the Man of God, and after one mistake, Ham is ready to redefine him and offer his righteousness up for public question.

It is always interesting to talk to people who have left their place of worship after the failing of the Pastor or leadership of the congregation.  Its as though one moment erases a life time of prayers, hospital visits, baptisms, teachings, healing, counseling, jail visits, financial support, weddings, funerals, hugs and tears!  One moment, and the one who covered you now somehow becomes unworthy to be called a Man of God.  Not that a Man/Woman of God should be allowed to live a life of sin and accepted in his disobedience to the Word of the Lord, but it would seem that the same forgiveness applied in restoring the sheep could be applied to the shepherd.  Yet, we continue to find sheep searching for the shephards flaws, waiting to catch and to expose the shephard and reveling in being the one to expose his flaws to the world.  Why?

Why?  See, the difficult task that lay before Noah isn’t made private.  Noah walked with the Lord and would eventually have to speak to the Lord about his sin.  Though we might revel in the public crucifixion of God’s chosen vessels, its the private visitation of the Lord that is the most challenging.  Standing before the Lord, will always be more challenging than standing before man when a man heart is truly sensitive to the Lord!  Though this painful moment lay ahead, the actions of Ham have added more to do to the plate of Noah.  Though no others witnessed His nakedness, the word about his shame had no doubt reached the other members of the family, so much that he had to address it publicly.

Save Ham, Noah would have only had to deal with the Lord.    And hence the title of this message, ” And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for you meddling kids!”

#PastorJDO3

Neighbor; Proximity or Personhood (McKinney, TX)

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The McKinney Pool party stands atop the social media trending topic, has drawn a wide range of opinions, and shed light an insight on an on going problem that has always been.  Much like God spoke to Cain in Genesis, “Sin is crouching at our door”, waiting for the right moment, to reveal the circumstances that can lead either to God’s approval and favor or a curse and life away from His presence.  Cain, when faced with rejection, was filled with anger and in danger of allowing the rage within him to strike out against his very own brother.

My brothers, I remain concerned about the happenings we face, feeling the pain and anguish of one community, and the confusion of others who are unclear about why anger and frustration exist.  The peaceful protest have revealed many great things, the freedom of speech that should always exist, and the willingness of people to build, support and defend all people void of color or social or economic standing.

I was encouraged by the many non-African American faces I saw standing along side those that had been offended, but still yet aware of the others that celebrated the action of the officer in question.

I began the blog with Cain, because God is watching our response to the event, just as closely as He watched the event itself.  Yes, “Be angry, and sin not” (Eph 4:26)  He would say to us, as we voice our opinions, “let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth” and would continue only that “which is good for building others” (Eph 4:29)

As a backdrop, I was led to look at Luke 10:30-37; focusing on verses 31 & 32.   As not to write forever or to get all preachy, These verses highlight the title of this blog, and what we see from some of our brothers and sisters.  Both the Priest and the Levite, headed towards the man, could have helped him or brought him to someone that could care for him, and chose to cross over to the other side. It was as though they believed that walking on the other side of the road relieved them from the responsibility of helping the man out!  Though there were not the cause of the mans injuries, Jesus uses this passage to highlight the power of neighborly responsibility and healing as it relates to the Gospel.

It should be the response of the believing community, hence the use of the Priest and the Levite, to render aide an to help those who have been harmed.  Furthermore, it is the responsibility of God’s servants to lead by example (Priest/Levite).  When God places a person in your path, focusing and seeing the problem more than the person is not acceptable.  When God looks at us, He looks beyond the offenses we have committed against Him, and looks to restore us, using His own resources to heal us an re-position us for the future.  We should be doing the same!

Imagine the world watch us, seeing travesties happen in situation after situation, and hearing the voice of a portion of our community sounding unlike the man we are called to mirror!  Jesus says, to be fully reflective of me and to fulfill the law, treat this stranger as you would treat yourself.  Yes, “do unto others, as you would have them do unto you” (Luke 6:31).

The Kingdom of God is missing a great opportunity to show compassion and oneness!  We must look at incidents as opportunities to push past our past and our present political disagreements or economic and social standing to realize that our neighbors are not a result of proximity, but a result of ones person-hood.  Maybe before asking one who is a neighbor, we should first ask people to qualify who is a person?  steere

As I saw this man securing this young lady, I thought back to the last time I was at the rodeo watching the cowboy in the Rodeo Rope Steer event.  It was almost as though he ceased to see her as a child, let alone a child of the Lord.  In a dialogue, one said, “she was treated that way because she was disobedient to authority”, and I thought, “powerful words from one who was found in disobedience as an enemy of God, and remains in disobedience!”  Not to say this officer is either a Christian or represents the Kingdom of God, but in our response to his actions, I see a lack of compassion and a lack for a thirst so see other treated with dignity and respect.

Oh that God would lack compassion, and would treat us as we deserve!  Let us not fool ourselves into believing we can close our eyes to what we see!  Let us not hide behind laws and policies that allow for a member of our community that has power to use the power obtained without the responsibility that accompanies it.

God is holding us to a higher standard as His community.  Let us take a step back and not ask ourselves only what Jesus would do, but lets ask ourselves what Jesus sees!  While we are focused on the officer and the young lady, I believe His eyes are fixed fully on us!  What will your response be?  As one that has been the beneficiary of grace, mercy, forgiveness and restoration, will you not offer the same to all that you encounter?  Will you allow sin to crouch, and cause you to act lawlessly or ungodly?  What will you do?