Not to long ago, my pastor preached on freedom in submission. He went on to say how the enemy tries to convince us that there is freedom in rebellion. This thought has been on my mind a lot lately as I catch glimpses of the news and listen to others rant about how they are free to do what they will.
In my current sphere of influence, I come in contact with a lot of people that are in bondage. Unfortunately it seems that they continue to enslave themselves by feeding and spreading their negative, ignorant mindsets. Most of you would think that, this is America, we are free! What are you talking about? But the truth is even in America, some will say ESPECIALLY in America bondage is prevalent. I think for most of us, particularly African Americans, it is hard to identify the bondage because bondage is a mindset that is restrained and we fool ourselves by defining our freedom as being free of just physical restraints like slavery. So looking at the mindset of our community and the ailments that run rampant in our community it becomes clear that we are restrained and very much in bondage.
Some of these mindsets that plague our community are:
Service is slavery. Many people in our community refuse to volunteer and serve others because they "do not believe in working for free". However, our community is suffering because the lack of people willing to roll up their sleeves and help out.
The truth is: But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Matthew 23:11 Slavery was demeaning to say the least but service, the act of choosing to humble yourself to help others, God will exalt.
I can't win if you don't loose. For whatever reason our community has the mindset that someone has to loose in order for someone to be victorious. It saddens me to think about all the growth and development that could take place if we would loose the fear of loosing and work together in developing each other. When we can get past the crab in a barrel mindset we will see that WIN WIN opportunities do exist if we work together to create them.
The truth is: If therefore there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind let each of you regard one another as more important than himself; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:1-4
There is only room for one at the top. I think this is one of the most ridiculous concepts because in life you see many people doing the same thing and are successful. However, in our community, this ignorant mindset says that there is only room for one. We fail to support each other's ventures because once again, fear cripples us into believe only one person can be at the top and if I support you getting there then that leaves me on the bottom.
The truth is:"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. "Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck-measure, but on the lampstand; and it gives light to all who are in the house. "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16 He compares us to a city on a hill. We are all on top, a city is made up of more than one building, there is room for all of us to shine.
Somethings we just don't talk about. In our community there are a lot of critical issues we refuse to address. Mental illness, homosexuality, money, incest and other taboo subjects we refuse to admit exist because if we talk about it is real. No it is real regardless! Through our silence we are killing ourselves. Instead of being silent we should speak with tact and seek resolutions and healing through our words.
The truth is: I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Matthew 18:18 Loose your tongues to speak healing, wisdom, understanding, and knowledge so that we can overcome the issues that are taking over our communities.
So what does all this have to do with the freedoms we have in Christ. Everything! When we have the old mindset that we had before accepting Christ then we aren't renewing our mind . One scripture in particular I wan to highlight is Genesis 12.
1 Now the Lord had said to Abram: “Get out of your country, From your family And from your father’s house, To a land that I will show you.
2 I will make you a great nation;
I will bless you
And make your name great;
And you shall be a blessing.
3 I will bless those who bless you,
And I will curse him who curses you;
And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
4 So Abram departed as the Lord had spoken to him, and Lot went with him. And Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.
When we take part in the body of Christ,we take part in His inheritances. We all get excited about that, but we have to look at the scripture leading to the promise. God instructed Abram to leave everything he knew. His family. His home. His mindset. And the scripture says "So Abram departed as the Lord spoken to him." and he was seventy-five years old. Could you imagine being seventy-five years old and completely abandoning everything you know and love? Abram was wise enough to know that when it is time to grow, you have to let GO!
We need to take a cue from Abram and leave the old way of thinking behind and depart as the Lord speaks to us. We need to align our thinking with the Word of God. Forget the customs and the ways of this world, our community, and our family and follow Christ. We have to have faith that His way of living is the only right way and it is the best way for us.
Turning from everything you know is difficult and not logical according to our flesh. However getting into the Word of God you will be assured that it is right and prosperous to live for Christ. Through Christ we have been freed of bondage. Our minds are free of the lies of the enemy and we are no longer captives to the filth and struggle of this world. As a Christian if you are feeling suppressed to the thoughts and the way of doing things, I encourage you to FREE YOUR MIND! The way to do so is to constantly feed into the Word of God and keep seeking His word and using His Word to guide every action in your life.
Our true freedom is found in submitting ourselves to Christ. You are REDEEMED! Be FREE!
Praise is a lifestyle, an awesome lifestyle! Summer is a season, my second favorite season. What does this have to do with anything? The fact that I like to dance! Summer seems to have the most get togethers with good music for dancing. So in my house, good dance and praise music is in heavy rotation. (and for the record, yes! I am still listening to Say So. What can I say, I'm REDEEMED and LOVING IT!)
Israel Houghton- Surely Goodness
Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the Lord Forever.
Tye Tribbett- Victory
1 Corinthians 10:13No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
JB Real- I Like Me Remix
On thing JB touched on in his remix is who we are in Christ. (Which is why I love this song.) And I wanted to share this partial description of who we are in Christ. This is not my own collection of scriptures. It came from Crossing Church.
I am a member of Christ’s Body (1 Corinthians 12:27)
I am assured all things work together for good (Romans 8:28)
I have been established, anointed and sealed by God (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
I am confident that God will perfect the work He has begun in me (Philippians 1:6)
I am a citizen of heaven(Philippians 3:20)
I am hidden with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)
I have not been given a spirit of fear, but of power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7)
I am born of God and the evil one cannot touch me(1 John 5:18)
I am blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing (Ephesians 1:3)
I am chosen before the creation of the world(Ephesians 1:4, 11)
I am holy and blameless (Ephesians 1:4)
I am adopted as his child(Ephesians 1:5)
I am given God’s glorious grace lavishly and without restriction (Ephesians 1:5,8)
I am in Him(Ephesians 1:7; 1 Corinthians 1:30)
Although this is plenty to be grateful for there is MORE! Click the link above to read over the full list.
I saw this on the blue letter bible blog and it has been on my mind for a couple days now, so I decided to share. What do you think? What are some things you feel people don't understand about the gospel and how can we as Christians share understanding?
Still looking at Luke chapter 8, I want to pick up at the second half of verse five. (Last week we started here)
A sower went out to sow his seed. And as he sowed, some fell by the wayside; and it was trampled down , and the birds of the air devoured it.
Upon first glance I saw the word wayside and assumed that the implied beside the road. However that doesn't make sense because it was trampled and the birds of the air devoured it. So I sought to define it. According to Merriam-Webster, wayside is actually defined as out of consideration; into a condition of neglect or disuse.
Putting the imagery together with the definition of wayside, I thought, this seed, this Word was shared with people that were exposed to the enemy. These people have been neglected or been placed out of consideration by others and their life's problems were trampling them.
Then when you skip down to Christ explaining to the disciples the meaning of the parable he said, "Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved."
It hurt my heart thinking about it, because really I was by the wayside once. I've heard the gospel. It sounded and felt good at church, but returning back to my reality and the problems I faced made it hard to accept and believe there was a better way of life. Now, I think about women that are trapped in prostitution, or children being abused and neglected, or people that are incarcerated, families that are homeless. These people are by the wayside, they are in situation where the enemy is trampling them and beating them down in life. They hear the gospel but they just can't accept it because it is hard to believe there is a God who loves them when they are going through the trails they are facing, or the guilt and shame of their lifestyle.
However as Christians, we need to continue to sow into them, not just by our words but our deeds. When we are able to reach out and give from our substances to Christ's ministry we are able to not only tell them of the love of Christ but show them God's love. By meeting their physical needs we show them God's love isn't just something they've heard but it is real. We can help them come to know Christ by letting them know you are not neglected. You are not forgotten. You are loved by us and God.
So family, don't turn your backs to those by the wayside. Minister to them, give to them, and every opportunity you have meet the needs of people that are being trampled in this life. If you don't know where to start, may I suggest supporting a ministry. You don't have to go out and start a new organization and build a new center to bless others. You can partner with an established ministry and by funding them you are spreading the love of Christ and meeting the needs of hurting people.
Here are some ministries you may be interested in partnering with:
The Prestige Ministry: a ministry that helps women get out of the sex industry. Compassion: through sponsoring a child you not only spread the love of Christ but help to eradicate poverty. Machine Gun Preacher: Angels of East Africa is a non-profit aid organization established to provide a better future for orphaned children of war in Southern Sudan. There is also a link to missions to be supported here in the US as well.
Also, you can take advantage of opportunities in your own community by donating to your local Goodwill or dropping off dry goods to your local food bank. Please look for opportunities spread God's love.
This morning I read the parable of the sower. I reflected on my recent attempts at gardening and how it paralleled with Jesus's analogy. Then I began to look at some of the words used and the cross references from the scripture. This is a compilation of my findings and thoughts.
First scripture that struck me from Luke chapter 8 was verse three. In the NIV it says Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.
This seemed like an unlikely place for these women to be listed and acknowledged. However it was remarkable to note that they were giving from their own means to Christ and his ministry. (hold that thought)
Next getting into the parable, Jesus starts by saying a sower went out to sow seed. Sounds like he had intent. Then he goes on describing all the places the seed fell. So in my visual mind, I see someone just slinging this seed any and every where. Pause, why was he called a sower and not a gardener? Why wasn't he attentive to individually planting each seed in a place where he knew it would survive and be fruitful?
I believe that as sowers of the seed, the gospel it is critical to know that this is what we do. We share the word any and every where. Why? because, 1 Samuel 16:7 The Lord does not look at things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. So as Christians we should remember to remain in a sowers position, because when we try to become a gardener, choosing where and who to share the gospel with, we are judging based on what we think to be true. God is the gardener. He knows everyone heart and like a gardener He knows what fertilizer will cultivate a good heart and He knows what substance that needs to be removed to make for a good heart. All we know for a fact: we should be slinging this Word as far as we can spread it!
So family, I encourage you to share the Word indiscriminately and join me tomorrow for FREE FRIDAYS! Love you much.
This is absolutely my favorite song right now. I am not one that enjoys repetition but this song has been solo in it's playlist for a while but at the Bees request I added a couple of other songs. Fortunate for you, I don't have to add other songs on the blog, so you get the excitement uncut!
Israel & New Breed- Say So
ENJOY! DANCE! PRAISE GOD! You've been REDEEMED!
I will be back with you all tomorrow. I've missed you and I have a lot to share, so with my stock pile of posts we can spend more time together without me neglecting the Bees for hours at a time.
Hello! I feel like it's been a long time...it has, sort of. So let's kick of this Wednesday with some praise and worship like we should everyday! (I'm telling you it makes a tremendous difference.)
Byron Cage- I Will Bless the Lord
BLESS (AFFECTIONATELY, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul; and all that is [deepest] within me, bless His holy name!2 Bless (affectionately, gratefully praise) the Lord, O my soul, and forget not [one of] all His benefits--3 Who forgives [every one of] all your iniquities, Who heals [each one of] all your diseases,4 Who redeems your life from the pit and corruption, Who beautifies, dignifies, and crowns you with loving-kindness and tender mercy;5 Who satisfies your mouth [your necessity and desire at your personal age and situation] with good so that your youth, renewed, is like the eagle’s [strong, overcoming, soaring]! ....Psalm 103
I'm overjoyed reading this Psalm by David. If you think about it, we should be considering this was written by a man that had to atone for his sins. He used the blood sacrifice of animals to just cover his sins from God. However we today have the Blood of the Lamb. Christ truly redeemed us and because of His sacrifice we know the true extent of God's loving-kindness and tender mercies. BLESS THE LORD OH MY SOUL...today, tomorrow and forevermore!
Jesus Culture- Oh Lord You're Beautiful
Jesus Culture- Your Love Never Fails
Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24 NIV
Today started later than planned....a lot later. I was angry.
Today getting the kids ready was tedious. I was angry.
Today I received a text. I was stuck.
Today I read a devotional. I was thankful.
Today I ran errands. I was thankful.
Today I explored Ikea. I was thankful.
Today I roasted potatoes. I was thankful.
Today I learned that a thankful heart brightens any circumstances. It isn't my circumstances that makes my day but my attitude. Thank you God for being so good I can never run out of things to be thankful for.
Thank you Mom for the text.
Thank you Joel and Victoria Osteen for the the devotional. If you don't receive their devotional, I encourage you to visit their site and sign up. It is a blessing every day to read their devotionals. The devotionals are short but powerful, a quick read to send the enemy scrambling for cover.
Be blessed and be a blessing,
PS- One way to be a blessing is becoming a Champion of Hope and partnering with Joel and Victoria! Support their ministry and support kingdom building.
Tomorrow is the first day of summer break in our household and I'm excited to have all my Bees home for some summer fun. As excited as I may be, I still feel some pressure of making the summer enjoyable, managing a healthy, affordable (effortless!) diet, and continuing education.
So as I looked at our block schedule we use during the school year and noticed that without having to pick up and drop off my big girl to school, I've reclaimed nearly two hours of my day. Initially I was excited, but after thinking through my goals and blocking our time...the excitement waned. The reality is that is more time I have to entertain my children! By entertain I mean planned, productive activities.
Let me explain. I have five goal headings for this summer.
Financial Freedom. Still working on it and don't plan on blowing cash this summer! In addition to working on creating an additional source of income, but that's under wraps. I'll let you know in due time. ; )
Simple Summer Fun. Growing up I lived on the coast and there was not shortage of free fun around our parts. Living in Philly, I'm trying to recapture some of the simple summer pleasures to experience with my children. I'm sure I won't find a spot to go crabbing here, but I look forward to catching lightening bugs and blowing plenty of bubbles.
Continuing Education. I don't plan on having full school day, but I am going to work on some core areas with my little ones for their academic success. I promise no more than two hours a day! Plus reading! But reading is apart of summer fun! I also want to find some where for us to do some charitable work this summer. Honestly with my children age range it will be just gathering some things for the Goodwill and explaining what and why we are giving away the oh so loved_______ that I haven't seen or used in three months. (I believe you have to teach charity and service.) I also found a gem of a book called A Faith to Grow On....looking forward to devotionals with the Bees!
Cooking! I like to cook. I love to BAKE! I want to maintain our grocery budget but I also want to make room for some new meals to try. More importantly I want to come up with some easy, possibly cook-less meals that we can enjoy when it's just too hot to think about turning on a burner. I also am collecting homemade "instant" foods recipes like pizza rolls so I don't burst the budget buying those convenient snack foods.
Exercise! I need to loose some pounds. I was doing well but with the recent increase in summer produce and my love for baking, I've cookie, cobbled my way back to my weight starting point! So some good old self discipline and a good dose of ex-er- cise...I'm out of breathe just saying it. (LOL) I should be back on track to a healthy, (cuter) weight.
So what are your plans, goals, happenings this summer? If you are going on a lavish tropical getaway or a road trip PLEASE share! I love travel. Anyone in Philly with some know of good free summer fun? Who's having Vacation Bible School? Let me know!