Hear me when I say that my intent in writing this post is not to be controversial. As you read, please do not hear what I am not saying. This is not about whether you should or shouldn’t take the vaccine. This is ultimately about us as a church seeing the bigger picture and not getting sucked into debating the symptoms to a bigger epidemic, which is sin and our need to repent. Many are up in arms about the growing mandates to get the COVID vaccine. I have sat and listened to my brothers and sisters in Christ share both sides of the argument. Both have shared legitimate points of which I will not discuss here. Ultimately, pray and if you feel at peace to get it, then do, and if you hear God saying no, then don’t. It is also important for us not to shame our brother or sister in Christ, who may make a different decision than us. God didn’t make us robots, so we will not always agree on matters that do not affect our salvation. Don’t let your pride blind you to this truth. Instead, let us agree on that which is of eternal value. While we may not agree on whether we should mandate the vaccine, let us unify on our need to mandate repentance. We can learn something from the King of Nineveh in Jonah 3:6-10.
Now I know repentance is a heart matter and we cannot force anyone to do it. But oh, that our eyes would open to the many ways we have embraced the ways of the world, disregarding the holiness of God. I pray we will mourn over sin instead of celebrating it and mislabeling it as freedom. May we come to God in humility and ask Him for forgiveness for giving our affections to everything and everyone else but Him. I pray we see the need to repent for our pride in trying to be our own god and treating Yahweh as our sidekick. Oh, that the bride of Christ would arise and unashamedly declare God’s Holy standard, and call people to repentance because we have drifted so far from it. May we be courageous and call out sin and take responsibility for the fruit of turning our backs on God and conforming to this world. True repentance yields forgiveness. God is merciful. 1 Peter 3:9 reminds us that God is patient with us and that He does not want anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance. Let us continue to meditate on the prescription given in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” Amen.
It’s been a year since they diagnosed my son with type 1 diabetes and if I am going to be honest, I felt defeated early this morning. Until this point, I was doing well; I was encouraged, but this morning I hit a wall. I woke up at 2am and Elijah’s blood glucose was at a number I thought I would never see again. Until about two weeks ago, we had things figured out. We have been able to accomplish normal blood sugar levels through diet, but the last two weeks things have shifted and we are back to the drawing board, needing to make some adjustments. And there was that high number staring at me & mocking me. Weariness and defeat replaced the strength and encouragement I had been feeling. But as I sit here and type, I can’t help but to think of what the disciples must have felt that Saturday morning over two thousand years ago. They had high hopes and thought they had things figured out; they had seen Jesus do miracles. Certainly He was just warming up, and the best was yet to come. But they were met with His crucifixion and then on Saturday morning, He was still in the tomb along with all their sense of hope. Jesus was not the only death they were mourning. Their hopes, dreams, and faith also died. They laid in a tomb of their own. The beauty of the scripture is that I know how the story ends. Unlike the disciples on that Saturday morning over two thousand years ago, I know that Sunday morning is coming! If they could only see that resurrection was around the corner, they would have been rejoicing instead of mourning. But wait, if I know how the story end, then I too should rejoice in trials and tribulations because Sunday morning is coming. Sunday morning, King Jesus was resurrected, defeating death and the grave! He rose with all power in His hand. He didn’t promise me a life of comfort and ease on this side of eternity. However, He promised that if I place my trust in Him, I too reap the benefits of His resurrection, mainly salvation. But I cannot deny the peace that is also extended because of what took place Sunday morning. Peace in a time when I and the ones I love have to deal with the side effects of living in a fallen world, one of which is sickness. I planted myself in His presence this morning to be reminded of these truths, and it encouraged my heart! What about you, what circumstances are you facing that makes you feel defeated? You do not have to remain a place of despair because if you are in Christ, Sunday morning is coming!
Many people are extremely worried right now because of the chaos that is going on in the world. However, it is in times like these where I am reminded of the many benefits of serving God. I can say with confidence that my heart is at peace because I rest in knowing that KING JESUS is still on the throne! “When the world around me is sinking sand on Christ the solid rock I stand,” rings true in this season. The surrounding chaos has made me even more aware of God’s peace. The darkness makes me more aware of the light. In John 14:27 Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” What a soothing balm for such chaotic times. As believers, we should cling and live in the reality of Jesus’ words. As we engage others in conversation, I pray we will not come into agreement with anxiousness but we will seize the many opportunities to share Jesus-the Prince of Peace with others. May God help us not to fumble and miss the harvest of worried souls. What an awesome opportunity for the bride of Christ to shine. The hour is dark, so shine on church, shine on!
“Not today, Satan!” These words must be more than a cute saying on a t-shirt or hashtag. We must live in the reality of telling the enemy to get behind us and that he will not stand in our way of moving forward in God. We won’t succumb to his evil tactics. We won’t get caught in his web of lies. Saints of God, this is not the time to become distracted! We have to armor up; we are in a full fledged war and we have to engage in warfare even if we don’t want to. When soldiers are on the battlefield, they must remain sober and press beyond how they feel and remain focused on the mission. They fight with victory in mind and they focus. It is easy to get distracted by tangential issues and lose sight of who the real enemy is. If we are not careful, the devil can trick us into fighting those who are on our side instead of galvanizing together and fighting against the real enemy.
What would happen if husbands and wives put aside their self-serving agendas? What if they focused not only on being happy but becoming holy, adopting a servant’s heart towards each other, not insisting on always being right, and came together in prayer and declared with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if different denominations stopped arguing over the nonessentials, holding higher the tradition of men than the word of God but band together to bombard heaven and declare with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if we spend more time with God than we do with our electronics? What if we stopped saying we don’t have time to spend time with God and instead humbly admit that we have not made it a priority and have idols in our lives that take our worship? What if we were intentional about positioning ourselves to hear His voice and declare with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if the church would reach across racial lines, stop being racist towards our brothers and sisters in Christ and pursue authentic unity that comes from seeking the face of the father together? What if we stopped taking cues from the world on how to address the sin of racism and instead humble ourselves and pray with one voice defiantly declaring, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
What would happen if we were more focused on getting more of God instead of more earthly possessions and status? What if when the enemy comes to lure us away with the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, we declare with boldness, “NOT TODAY SATAN!”
I tell you what would happen, Satan would have to flee and we would see God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven! I repeat, this is not the time for us to become distracted. We have to fight to claim the victory that is already ours in Christ Jesus! I pray that the church will awaken from spiritual slumber and see the distractions for what they really are. I pray we will get over ourselves and our own agendas and pursue the agenda of heaven!
Colossians 3:2 NIV
Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
A few weeks ago, I purged my email account and deleted thousands of messages in my inbox. It felt so good to get rid of all those emails. This was something that I needed to do a long time ago, but I was afraid of letting go. Since that day I have been diligent about deleting read and unwanted emails. I don’t want to return to that place of having an overcrowded and overwhelming email account. I have had to do daily maintenance, and this same principle applies to my walk with God. God has delivered me from so much baggage, and I have had to fight to maintain that deliverance. The enemy actively attempts to hinder me from walking in the freedom I receive. He is always looking for ways to pull me back into old sinful habits and wrong mindsets. I can’t assume that once God has delivered me, I can live on cruise control. No, I must put in the work to maintain the deliverance I received. No one can do the work of maintenance for me, I have to be an active participant. The best way to maintain my deliverance is to daily commune with my deliverer through praying and reading His word. I didn’t deliver myself, so I can’t think for one second that I can maintain deliverance in my strength. That’s foolish thinking. What has God delivered you from? Are you still walking in that freedom or have you become lazy and drifted in the wrong direction? If you want to remain in a place of deliverance, know that God’s grace is there to help you maintain it, I encourage you to tap into that grace that is readily available to all believers!
1 Thessalonians 5:23
Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
We are a family of eight, so most mornings I do laundry to avoid having a mountain of dirty clothing by the end of the week. This morning as I was doing laundry, I noticed that my washer had a blinking signal that I was not familiar with, panic ensued. Initially I tried figuring out the problem by pressing random buttons to see if I could clear the screen, but it was not working. Before I could get into full-blown panic mode, I realized I could just check the online manual to see what to do. I paused, grabbed my laptop and within a few seconds of googling, I found out how to fix the problem and I carried on with my duties.
In that moment, the Holy Spirit reminded me I must have the same response when things malfunction in my life. There will be times when things don’t go as planned. It’s easy for me to panic and try to fix situations on my own instead of going directly to the manual and the manual maker-God and His word. I can think of times where I just pause, refuse to panic and seek God and His word for how I should respond in my crisis moments. When I use this method, without fail His peace attends me. The problem may not disappear right away like it did with my washer but when I consult the manual my fears and impulsive sin nature are over ruled and instead I receive the peace of God and His perspective. Consulting the manual (God’s word) doesn’t mean the problem will disappear, but it will give you the correct way to respond. I encourage you to make getting in the word of God a DAILY priority. This life promises difficulties, but when we remain in God’s word, the difficulty won’t cause us to panic.
Psalm 119:105 (NLT)
Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path.
Psalm 61:2 (NLT)
From the ends of the earth, I cry to you for help when my heart is overwhelmed. Lead me to the towering rock of safety.