Thursday, November 25, 2010

Eclectic Thoughts on the Spirit and the Flesh

Today, as it has always been, there is a clash of powerful opposing forces. Forces that drive every aspect of our existence. It is a fact of our lives. A truth from which we cannot escape. The human spirit has a peculiar habit of crying out to God when overwhelmed. God created man part spirit and part flesh. The flesh was born in this world. It’s make up is of the elements of this world. Every molecule was a one time part of something else. Dust we are and to dust we shall return.( Gen 3:19) Our body is a temporary structure, (2 Cor 5:1) made from the elements of this earth which itself is deteriorating.( 1Cor 7:29) Just as the world is suffering because of it’s corruption so the body is also suffering under the curse.
The spirit on the other hand is not comprised of anything that originated on the earth. The spirit cannot be detected by our senses or our instruments. It just is. God created the spirit that in our lifetimes is bound to the flesh. It is who we really are. Our bodies are just a housing we will exist even after our bodies do not. The spirit is immortal. A wicked man won’t ever cease to exist he will suffer separation for eternity. We are given the choice to walk by the desire of either the flesh or the spirit.
Every man serves someone. You serve the ruler of this physical world or you serve the God who made it. There are many paths to choose from when serving the “god” of this world. But there only one way to serve the father.
Man by his fleshly nature is slighted to be self-centered. We only know what we think. We can not hear what other people think. Therefore we can not depend on other men. Their motives are hidden from us. So foolishly we put ourselves at the center of our universes. Our lives revolve around us. It used to be all we knew. This is the only skin we’ll ever be in.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Addictions~the way out (RUN)

One of the hardest things to look for when dealing with addictions is the way out, in 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NIV) it says that "...But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” I believe the Lord doesn’t josh us by getting our hopes up that there is a way out, just to see us stumble trying to find it. Honestly when dealing with my addictions the first thing I am doing is not looking for the way out but trying to reason with myself as to why I can slip up. It’s a battle between my flesh and my spirit says Galatians 5:17 (NIV) "17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want." and the battle ground of my addictions is the body. So how does one see the way out? With God of course, that’s no easy answer to swallow and get done, but the first part of 1Cor. 10:13 says "13No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful" the hard truth is that what your going through, other men have been through and they have stumbled in this but there are men who have overcome! I can not simply say that you are in with only those that have stumbled and not the later, because that leaves out the whole focus of the verse "...AND GOD IS FAITHFUL", the only ones that can overcome the evils in their life are those who RUN (!!!!!) to God. No matter what the addiction you can and should run to God with it.

How does that look in your life? is it pressing into the word, praying, listening to a uplifting cd? or are you standing in sin?

I beg you! Remember: God is faithful, He loved you while you still where in sin, and he is not a small god, all things can be done through Him, so run to Him.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An Unlikely Mentor Ship, a Divine Appointment: Tertullian

Being a poor twenty one year old with no assets to speak I have few possessions in life. This actually benefits me in keeping me from being carnal. I have a hard time getting all wrapped up in my possessions because I possess only two garbage bags worth of clothes, two suitcases, a satchel, an acoustic guitar and a violin. My mom always said I’d be a starving artist. If I put my value in my stuff I wouldn’t feel like I was worth much. This also does wonders on my pride. Having seriously pursued a career as a rapper I once suffered from narcissistic thoughts and attitudes. But before my sarcastic rant goes any further I’d like to tell you a story on how God never gave up on me. He was setting me up for a life changing encounter even in my darkest year, when I had absolutely no desire to know him. 2007 was a huge year for me. I graduated high school. I travelled out of the country. I abandoned the way of the Lord. My flaky foundation was finally exposed by the sudden wave of real life. I couldn’t handle it and in February of 2008 I left my family without telling them where I was going and went back to Baltimore. That period of my life was the darkest I ever experienced. I went from the frying pan to the fire when I ended up homeless in a tent, in some woods overlooking the highway. I had gone completely insane. I barely made enough money to eat, so I ate one meal a day which came was free from my job a Five Guys. The rest of my money was spent pitching in for party supplies. I was homeless but I had a healthy social life. None of my friends knew where I lived. I partied regularly, and especially enjoyed rapping in cypher whenever I got the chance. Some times I was good, other times not so much. But I was honestly content with where I was I had good friends and being an avid beer pong player I had no worries in the world. One night while I was in the woods God came through my haze and showed me reality. If I continued on in that lifestyle I was literally going to die. So out of the blue on day I told my friends, “This is it. Tonight is my last night hanging out with yall I’m getting my life together.” Then I did something truly strange. I, the homeless guy living in a tent, went to the mall and bought some new clothes. Honestly, when it was happening I did question the wisdom of it. But God was present even in my foolishness. I purchased the button down shirt pictured below.

So now you’re thinking, so what? It a shirt, big deal. Fast forward to the spring 2010. ALOT has changed in a few short years. At the time I was living with at the Russell house. Tim and Blanche were so good to me taking me in, Bruno even let me sleep in his room while he slept on the couch. Talk about sacrificial love.
Anyway, one afternoon I chillin with the boys listen to that new Sho Baraka when some how we got on the topic of my shirt. They really liked it but the words in Latin on the bottom were kinda disconcerting seeing as though none of us new what they said. I even remember several people asking me what the words meant and I had no idea. Earlier that week I had destroyed my Bob Marley shirt because it wasn’t honoring the Lord. And Bob Marley was a soul tie to not so good memories. So we looked up the word on the back of the shirt.
They are: Respice te mortalem te esse memento

They mean: Look around you, remember that you are mortal.

At that time in my life I was totally blinded. These were the words God was trying to speak to me. And there they were printed on a shirt I should have never bought. At a time when I was only willing to do the bare minimum to obey God. He spoke into my life so clearly.
I took the hint and began to study the works of Tertullian that Pastor Mike conveniently owns. He has inspired me so much, I am in awe of how God uses his words written in the 2nd century to teach and motivate me today. Sometimes it seems like his challenges to the people of Carthage are aimed right at me. You will definetley hear me talk about this guy alot. Reading his writings is what inspired me to start writing again this time for the glory of God. I only pray that God will use me half as much.

This shirt became my favorite shirt. The event of that night fell short of spectacular there was no sentimental last horrah. Dominique the partier wouldn’t die for another two years.

Monday, November 15, 2010

A Call to Arms

Please tell me if any of this discourse is a lie.

Coming into the kingdom of God was like awakening from a dreamlike state. The initial euphoric feelings were almost immediately put in check by the reality of life in a world that is rejecting Christ Jesus. Now the recruit is out of the deception, prime for discipleship and is forced to engage in warfare. As the mirage clears, he is suddenly aware of the war that has been raging since the beginning. We used to live in ignorance. We wandered the world in disillusionment, blinded walking in darkness. Now we see the fierce battles as they are waged on our streets before our very eyes. There are casualties everyday, people die and every death is a result of the struggle for men’s souls. It was only by the unfathomable grace of God that we survived. The recruit looks out on the world of darkness. The only other light that can be seen are the tracers soaring skyward day and night as men and demon put forth their feeble defense against God. The guns are just one sound in the roar of chaos. All eyes glare, with hatred, toward the heavens shouting, cursing and blaspheming Jesus Christ the risen one. And in front of it all is Lucifer himself; he raises himself above all others raising his hands as the conductor leading the masses in a wicked song, the battle cry of rebellion. His hordes are everywhere. They invaded the earth when they fell and they have all but subdued it. They are always fortifying their positions, tightening their chokehold on mankind. They desperately fight to defend the world from every “intrusion of God.” Even in the end when God pours out his judgments on the earth they will still blind the people. The word says that even after the fifth trumpet,
“The rest of the people, who were not killed by these plagues, did not repent of the works of their hands to stop worshiping demons and idols of gold, silver, bronze, stone and wood, which are not able to see, hear or walk. And they did not repent of their murders, their sorceries, their sexual immorality, or their thefts.”(Rev 9:20-21)
Time is their enemy, as it races toward their destruction. They execute as many of their slaves as possible. They go willingly unaware of their plight. The air is filled with poisonous lies; the masses are kept sedated, blind to the truth and virtually dead. “The whole world is under the control of the evil one.” (1 John 5:19)
But now you have been given the antidote to the poison of death. It is salvation through the blood of Jesus. You, the recruit, became a soldier in the resistance.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”(Eph 6:12)
You became one of us. We are the chosen ones (no cliche intended) the elect pre-destined to do great things. (Eph 2:10)
We have faith in our Lord and savior Jesus
“Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death- even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that a the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father.”
I myself had a reality check recently and the Lord showed me something. Jesus promised persecution. The word says that everyone who calls upon the name of Jesus will be persecuted. Last month I looked at all the hardship in my life and saw it as too much to bear. I seriously questioned whether it was worth it, I thought to myself, “Why do I even try?” “What good is it to me in the end? The answer I got was in the end. I read Revelation and realized why I was fight why this life had become so important to me, its because everyday is one day closer to His glorious return to judge Satan.I was rocked by a revelation the other day that made me sick. In John 8:44, Jesus said Satan “was a murderer from the beginning.” God considers Satan’s actions murder, he kills every day. People are dying every minute without redemption. He killing people I love. Maybe some of you have lost loved ones who were deceived and thus murdered. And we find it hard to find time for ministry in our busy lives. What is wrong with us? Do you still need motivation to step up and fight this war? I’m not saying its not a scary fight but here in America all we have to worry about is petty ridicule and honesty moderate persecution.  Yesterday November 14, 2010 , a women named Asia  Bibi was sentenced to death for blasphemy. She was arrested in 2009 for having a religious discussion with her coworkers and she is probably going to die for preaching the gospel. We live in a dark world. You are the children of the light. You are the light of the world. Let your light shine before men. Do not attempt to blend in. Do not be conformed; be transformed. “we are not those who draw back and are destroyed, but those who have faith and obtain life.”  (Heb 10:39) We are not to be afraid of the Devil and his tactics because this fight is fixed.
“The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Messiah have now come, because the accuser of our brothers has been thrown out: the one who accuses them before our God day and night. They conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not love their lives in the face of death.”
Remember when you were a slave to sin. All the world is a concentration camp, everyone slaves for the jailer. All slave to the glory of themselves and then they die. Remember the vanity you slaved for before God sent His special forces in to rescue you. They went into the enemies camp at their own risk. They brought you life, opened your eyes and lead you out of darkness. Remember those you left behind. Remember those who are still blind. Spending their lives shoveling dirt on top of their mountain, not know the whole they’ve made with be their grave. Refusing to drop the trowel and pick up life. And you used to be just like them. You have you orders, let the Lord use you and he might just save somebody’s life.