Welcome to Lessons ‘n Blessings! This is truly my first blog post on this platform, and I am so excited to finally start sharing the journey through life’s lessons and blessings from God. There is so much to share, so much to experience, and I invite you to embark on this adventure with me!
We now live in a time where it is becoming legal for oppression of African Americans, and really all people of color, in the United States of America. The hate and vitriol behind this political movement has been brewing and fermenting in the darkness of the right wing political ideology for decades, but is now frantically making power plays in the wake of recent political defeat. When laws are changed to disadvantage and criminalize a group of people based on racial, ethnic, socio-economic, and cultural differences, it becomes clear that equality in justice and liberty does not appeal to those making the laws. Laws that make it more difficult to vote, laws that make protesting a criminal offense, and laws that target minority groups who are underrepresented and underserved are desperate attempts for elitists and white supremacists to cling to or (in their minds) possibly increase their power and privilege in the USA.
This tactic to create laws that make it possible to disadvantage minority groups and even legalize causing them harm is not new at all. In fact it is one of the most ancient forms of oppression that has ever existed. Even the Holy Bible has examples of this being done against the Children of Promise, the nation of Israel. In the book of Esther, a plot to wipe out all Israelites out of the Persian Empire was signed into law by King Ahasuerus at the conniving of one of his most trusted servants Haman. Haman decided that he did not like Israelites because Modecai, who worked for the king as well, did not bow to him or feed into his illusions of grandeur. Mordecai placed his God as the highest authority and did not become intimidated by self important Haman. Mordecai must not have been the only Isarelite practicing their faith, because the Israelites were distinguish throughout the Persian empire for a similar level of devotion to God.This irritated Haman to the point of devising a murderous scheme to rid himself of this consecrated remnant once and for all. This is similar to what is happening today not just in the USA, but all over the world. Haman is rising – showing his true agenda to keep privilege and power above those he sees as less than. He holds this as more important than honor, truth, love, and democracy. He believes in freedom of speech, for those that express his views and sentiments only. He believes that freedom should be for his kind, and is not worried about people who are not like him. In fact, he actually hates those “others” and is not shying away anymore from saying and showing so. Haman is a racist. Haman is a hater. And if allowed Haman would have been a Murderer. In fact, according to Jesus’ teaching Haman had already committed murder in his heart by even wanting to see another human suffer and die.
One thing that was never made clear in the Book of Esther is why King Ahasuerus had not realized what a creep Haman was before he was exposed by Queen Esther. This always was bothersome, knowing that someone that spineless was thriving in a position of power next to the king.Unfortunately, a lot of people who say that they are “down with the King” don’t seem to recognize Haman’s work and influence. They actually tend to sympathize with him and offer to share his burden. It is possible that they can not recognize Haman as an enemy, because Haman is “one of the boys” – just like them. How many politicians’ and law enforcement officers’ true colors are being revealed in this day and time? How many more are hiding out behind their titles and duties, before coming forward with a power play of destruction against the very people that they are in office to serve? When will Mordecai stop being targeted? When will Queen Esther take her place for such a time as this? The question of who Queen Esther really is in our day and time needs to be asked. It seems obvious to me that the Bride of Christ, the Church should represent the character of Queen Esther in our time. She was cautious yet courageous, tactful yet truthful, venerable yet virtuous, meek yet mighty – this is what the Body of Christ should be! Unfortunately, some from Haman’s camp have intermingled with the Bride and have corrupted and defiled her with the illusion of prestige and entitlement.
A look to the past- Before slavery was abolished in the United States, there was a great controversy amongst free white men. At the time they were the only ones granted the right to vote and organize government (which explains a lot of things). Most of these men proclaimed to be Christian in faith, yet a majority of them were also slave holders. A Christian denomination called the Quakers (who believed in adhering to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus), began to examine slavery in light of what the Christian Bible teaches. What they found, was that slavery did not hold up as a Christian practice and the brutality of how it was conducted in America was in no way justified by what the Bible teaches. These Quakers, both men and women, decided to denounce slavery, repent, and began assisting slaves and even free African Americans leave the slavery of the south and start new lives in the Northern states and eventually Canada as well. The Quakers, like Queen Esther, realized that they were in a “such a time as this” moment and took action. They did not make excuses, cling to privilege, wealth, or advantage/protection under the law to give themselves a reason to not do anything. They were not satisfied with having all that they needed and wanted, while knowing that another HUMAN BEING was being oppressed, mistreated, regarded as less, and in some cases mutilated, tortured, and lynched. They did not hide away, ignoring what was happening and just praising God for “me and mine.” They made a difference in the lives of those who escaped and those who attempted to escape, sometimes paying for it with their own safety and reputation. This is not to diminish the awesome and inspiring impossible feats that were accomplished by African Americans of that time who also played key roles in liberating the enslaved. The point is that regardless of skin color, privilege, and power the Bride of Christ does not tolerate Haman’s manipulation of justice and liberty. The Bride does not sit around complaining about the disturbance that is caused by protest, and speaking out against injustice. The Bride of Christ, like Queen Esther, does not have to threaten, intimidate, wield weapons, scheme or conive to accomplish her goal to protect and liberate her people.
Happy Ending? Spoiler Alert: The conclusion of the Book of Esther describes how the tables were turned and that wicked Haman was hanged on the very gallows he prepared for Mordecai. The Israelites were able to defend themselves, and began to prosper in the Persian Empire. Queen Esther no longer had to hide her faith in God from the king, and for the most part they lived happily ever after. How is it going to end for Haman in the USA? In North Korea? In Belarus? In the Republic of China? How is Haman going to be overthrown in Africa, Brazil, India and Australia? Where is the Bride? Is she too consumed with looking the part for the Groom King Jesus or is she really ready to be His eternal partner? Is the Bride of Christ out shopping for a wedding gown instead of recognizing that she is in a “such a time as this moment”? Has the Bride become smitten with Haman and is having an affair with him? What’s up with the Global Church? Of course COVID 19 is still a distraction, and some of the interpretations of what was going to happen ;last political season has gotten her off her game, but come on now… Hopefully, better yet, Prayerfully she will not miss her moment to take down Haman and all of his wicked murderous schemes.
I decided not to make a historical list of people who acted in a similar fashion as Haman from the Book of Esther, that would be distracting from the main point of this blog post.The point is that there is a way to execute justice as Christians without misrepresenting the God we serve and the principles that we believe in. This also is to show that a person with a title is not running the show. No matter what laws are signed in or manipulative measures to obstruct equality and justice for all are put in place, as long Esther recognizes that she needs to take action, Haman will always be overthrown! Esther received wise counsel from Mordecai, prayed/ interceded for the nation, fasted, and courageously approached the king knowing it may cost her life. What passion and humility she displayed. My prayer is that we will show up the same way and recognise these times for what they are, take action as led by God, and not become Haman’s victims this time around.
One theme that I notice in the old testament that continues through the New Testament, and even into current times is the prophetic message of truth to kings, rulers, and those in positions of leadership. Often times the prophetic word that is released has the potential to turn a nation towards God and / or prevent calamity and destruction of a nation/kingdom. Some of my favorite examples are:
For those of us who enjoy basking in the Presence of the Lord, especially accompanied with high praise and worship, having to leave that special moment is usually something that we don’t want to do. It’s amazing how some of the greatest encounters with God are followed by such intense spiritual warfare. Defending our faith, resisting the enemy, and simultaneously attempting to apply the Word to our lives is taxing. It’s in those weak vulnerabilities that underlying issues and wounds try to surface. One specific area to surrender to God during conflict (natural or spiritual) is anger. If you are like me, you probably do not seek out confrontation. In fact you probably avoid it for as long as possible. What I am finding is that this avoidance of confrontation is very deceptive when viewed as a viable solution or strategy to persistent problems. It has the appearance of being the Godly approach, but is often a veil for fear, doubt, and procrastination – none of which are Godly.
The Bible says, “Be angry and do not sin.” So, without proper understanding of how to apply this principle, we do nothing….but be angry. Being inactive and angry doesn’t help the situation, yourself, or anyone else. This stance actually leaves you vulnerable to the whims and manipulation of the enemy. There is no example of Jesus behaving this way. He confronted the money changers with a whip! He called out and openly rebuked Pharisees. Most notably, He put demons and infirmity on the run. But what about, “turning the other cheek”? Turning the other cheek actually refers to extending grace and compassion towards those who momentarily express their weakness through anger. It does not mean that we are called to be doormats subjected to abuse and mean spirited behavior towards us. It also means to surrender the response of retaliation to provocation. Let’s face it, if the enemy cannot control us directly by enticing us to sin, then he will work through people around us to attempt to steal our joy, peace, faith, and anything else he can get access to. This is why we are admonished to “guard our hearts,” and to, “having done all to stand, stand therefore.” Our position as believers is to uphold and apply our Christian values at every turn, not giving opportunity to the flesh or the evil one. Is this easy to do? Not at first, it takes practice and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit within us to live this way.
Watching this cute baby panda video I had a revelation of the Father’s perception of us. I was having a particularly grumpy day because things didn’t go the way I expected. I was trying to be Godly in my response to the day’s challenges, but at the core I was annoyed and felt like things were unfair. I tried to acknowledge the good things that God was doing, but the irritation kept trying to creep in. Spoiler Alert: When I saw how cute the baby panda reaction was to the toys being taken away, it was hilarious and adorable to see, even though the panda didn’t feel that way. All the while, there I was reacting the same way because of a minor challenge that God already had the solution for. I was so serious , even in my attempt to surrender my feelings to Him, but He probably thought it was hilarious.! He was probably saying, “Awww, look at My child flipping out, she has no idea that I have already taken care of this issue. She is going to be amazed at the peace that I give her!” His love surpasses knowledge, that I know right well… that is the sentiment of the psalmist and now I am starting to understand what this means. God created everything and called it good. This is something to remind ourselves even when we don’t particularly feel like we are reflecting His goodness. This doesn’t mean that He enjoys sinful actions or attitudes, but when we surrender it to Him, even in our struggles and battles He views us with love and compassion, as our Heavenly Father watches His adorable child “flip out” like the baby panda in the video. God gets the warm and fuzzies when we invite Him into our issues and struggles. He is not standing by judging our every move, but rather available to help and comfort, helping us to endure the difficulties of life that seems inevitable.
The point of this baby panda analogy is to always try to surrender those “grumpy ” thoughts and feelings to God. He won’t call you a failure or reject you for expressing emotions that He created us to have. We just need to give it to Him and not use it as an excuse to be abusive and disrespectful to others. Also, let it out! Give it to Father God! Do not sit around festering in anger, resentment, or any other ungodly attitudes. This is just a best practice, because you can’t express faith, hope, and trust when you are wallowing in anger, self pity and fear. There have been times in my life where I had more grumpy than grateful days. And for a while I was ashamed that I couldn’t pull myself out of it at the time. If you feel/felt like that please don’t waste any more time beating yourself up about it. Forgive yourself, and receive grace for it. We can not change the past and truth be told if anyone else faced the same challenges, they may not fare any better than you did. We are not called to be perfect in our own strength, but we are being perfected through our relationship with God and surrender to apply His word to our lives. Jesus paid our death penalty with His life and we honor His sacrifice by graciously receiving salvation and righteousness in Him. For many of us this has been a tough year, receive the grace and comfort that was granted to you and pass it on to others!
As always, thank you for reading and please share with others if this has been a blessing to you!
What if you had the opportunity to take action against a viscous enemy, someone who takes every opportunity to harm, obstruct, sabotage, exploit weaknesses and damage your reputation, would you take action or try to find another way to handle the situation? What if the action that you take, which is completely justified and provable, could possibly take away that person’s freedom, opportunity for future employment, and/or causing devastating ripple effects for them and their families, would you still want to take action? Besides the weight of the decision to take action against this enemy, what if you also had to consider the possibility of backlash, retaliation, and/or fallout? The scenario that was just described is what many people in abusive relationships have to deal with when they pursue their healing, freedom, and well-being. While the Bible has many scriptures on love, being neighborly, and how to participate in society, the issue of abuse is not as frequently addressed. This is because if each person is following the Bible’s teachings and guidelines for lovingly interacting with each other there would not be any abusive patterns and relationships to address.
Is it God’s will for a person to stay in an abusive situation, whether it is a romantic relationship, friendship, employment position, or even church relationship? Is God going to step in and rescue someone who is suffering in an abusive situation? Is it ok for society to judge the victim’s flaws and shortcomings as conditions for whether or not they receive help? These are questions that as followers of Jesus that we should answer individually and corporately. There are too many people who are silently suffering in domestic violence, sexual abuse, child abuse, neglect and toxic codependent relationships among family, friends, at their place of employment and even at church. The Lord gave us discernment not to go around being suspicious (I had to learn this also), not to make damning accusations, or as justification for not agreeing with the truth. Discernment is a gift because we can bless people by being sensitive to their pain, struggles, and hindrances and then help them apply the Blood of Jesus so they can receive the healing and deliverance that they need. Discernment can reveal if they are ready for change or if they need additional Intercession, encouragement, or something that God has to reveal. This message is to sound the alarm for Intercession and Spiritual Warfare to ramp up against abuse in every form, especially against those who are most vulnerable: the poor, women and children. There are people who have found themselves in awful situations since being quarantined and shutdown because of COVID-19 began, could you imagine being constantly in close quarters with an abusive person and cannot leave?
Let’s not focus only on our present needs, or what is bombarding us through the media, instead let’s interceed for those who may suffering and cannot speak out or call for help. Let’s stay sensitive to the needs of others as we pray and also physically intervene when directed to do so. In addition to praying that abusers be removed from the suffering, let’s pray that safe Godly people will fill those voids as they lead them closer to God. Pray that healing for all, not just COVID-19 be released and that the relentless love of God overtake these precious ones. Let’s value what God values and like Jesus do what Father is doing. Also, I know that many Intercessors have specific prayers assignments, however there are those suffering in oppressive abusive situations all over the world, so please pray for as many people as possible concerning this.
Let’s tear down the lies, abusers act as if they have complete control and cannot be stopped, this is a lie because true power is in the love of God and to seek Him is the beginning of wisdom. Victims of abuse often feel like there is no way out or no one can help them, this is a lie because whether or not a physical person steps in to help- God always steps in right on time. Present in our culture is the belief that minding our business and not getting involved when we detect abuse will somehow help the victims from being further harmed. I am not suggesting that anyone attempt to be a hero or place themselves in harms way, but we can report to authorities, pray, and offer resources that can help. Let’s also continue to pray for those who are overcoming past abuse and are still dealing with the trauma and ill effects.
Thank you for reading and please share with other prayer warriors who love seeing people set free.
Whose report will you believe is a question that is as relevant now as it was when it was posed to the Israelites in the wilderness under Moses leadership. There is so much information available in this technological age that we are living in that it can be overwhelming to distinguish the truth from factual manipulation or misinformation. Having the unadulterated truth is always essential to have especially when decisions need to be made regarding the future and the wellbeing of self and others. How then can we determine if the information that we take in is true, accurate and giving us the details we need to use for deciding how to apply that information? Asking critical questions and examining trusted sources is always a great strategy, add to this weighing the information against the Word of God and the truth should become clearer. Self awareness is also key, do you really want to know the truth or do you want to confirm your opinion or suspicion regarding a particular topic? When you get to a place where you really want to know the truth, regardless of whether it supports your ideals or not, then you are ready to receive the truth in its purest form. Another question to consider is: What will you do with the truth once you find it? We unfortunately live in a time where the truth is disregarded willingly under the precept that one has a right to believe what they want, whether it is true or not. The truth becomes subjected to personal acceptance rather than upheld as the standard for all to reference unanimously as a reliable measure of reason.
The Israelites were faced with what should have been an easy transition from the wilderness into the Promised Land and yet because of their acceptance of an evil report, generations that were delivered from the bondage of Egypt were not permitted to enter the Promised Land. They sent 12 spies into Canaan for 40 days, to check out the land (what it had to offer) and to form a battle plan that would help them to conquer the land. All of the spies came back with great excitement about the beauty and abundance in Canaan, but 10 of them discouraged the people telling them that they could never take the land because giants occupied the land. This bad report is a classic mistake that even modern believers still make: considering present circumstances above the promises of God. From the outcome of the account of the Israelites, it is clear that God really wants us to know that this response of trusting our natural senses instead of clinging to His promises as absolute truth is not the way to go. God is faithful and He did keep His promises, however the fulfillment took an additional 40 years to come to pass. This delay did not have to occur at all, if they had just believed God. Believing a bad report is what God Eve and Adam into trouble in the Garden of Eden, and that same test gets presented to us as well.
Micaiah is a prophet that is not often mentioned because it involves the possibility of a supernatural agent at work that is not largely understood. King Ahab despised Micaiah because he never received “good” prophecies from him. Ahab was the type of leader that only would accept what he wanted to hear regardless of the ineffectiveness of his decisions that ultimately resulted from this practice. He was constantly surrounded by false prophets that always told him good things were coming and never held him accountable to the standards that his position was supposed to uphold. While during peaceful times these false predictions didn’t mean much, but when Ahab was deciding whether or not to go to war it proved to be a faulty system. Ahab was told by 400 people that if he went to war that God would help them to win. You know that saying, “well they can’t all be lying…,” well in this case, and many others through out history, they were all lying. The prophet Micaiah revealed to Ahab that all of his advisors had a lying spirit at a very critical point, right before they were supposed to head out for war. Instead of receiving the hard truth and making a better decision, Ahab locked Micaiah up in prison and proceed on with his war plans. Ahab lost his life in that war and put his kingdom at risk. God is not mocked, He honors His Word above His name and is not impressed with human power and influence. God values the truth because He is the truth, so to disregard the truth is to disregard God’s invitation to us to align ourselves with His plans.
What if the misinformation is coming from leadership? Well the Bible can give guidance on this as well. King Jeroboam was the first king of Northern Israel after they split from the tribe of Judah. Out of his fear that if the people went back to Jerusalem to observe high holy days and feasts that they would reunite with Judah and overthrow his monarchy, Jeroboam built temples to Baal and told the people that they were worshipping the true god and that Judah was not. He discouraged them from going to Jerusalem to worship and offered his temples to Baal instead. This deceptive act from the king of Northern Israel caused a great apostasy and was regarded as sin against God. This king led the people who had placed him as leader over them in to a vulnerable place where they were raided by neighboring kingdoms and eventually captured by the Assyrians. The people who accepted Baal worship did not keep the Levitical law and intermarriage with non Jewish people and later were not identified with Israelites at all, they became the Samaritans. Misinformation from one fearful king did irreparable damage to his generation and every generation that followed.
While writing this post, I have to consider the information that I take in, how to respond to it, and what it means in regards to what the Bible says. God still speaks, but our hearing has to be “tuned” to receive truth in order to hear and understand what He is saying. It is undeniably human to want to believe good and hope for the best, God is not against this at all. In Phillipians 4 we are admonished to think on what is true, lovely, and of a good report. However, this does not mean that we ignore the truth and passively respond with inaction. It means that even in challenging circumstances we apply the truth that God is good, He never fails, He works all things together for our good, and that He will never leave or forsake us. Even when we miss it and fall we can hold to the fact that He is a forgiving God who sacrificed His own Son so that He could have a closer relationship with us. We can place our fears, concerns, and plans for the future amidst uncertainty in the hands of the One who wrote the future!
So now it is time for us to decide: Whose report will we believe? My response is like Joshua and Caleb, I will believe the report of the Lord! Just remember those who neglect to decide will have someone else decide for them. God fashioned us with minds so that we could think and reason, to not use this precious gift would be falling short of His loving intent for our lives.
Thank you for reading! As always please share with anyone who may benefit from this message. Also I didn’t include scripture references, so if you have questions about what I wrote feel free to fact check this against the Bible during your personal time of study and reflection.
Why am I a Christian? Why do I believe that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer? Honestly, sometimes I really wonder why I should continue to practice my faith as a Christian when for many other people who say that they are following Christ do not. The mainstream representation of what Christianity is about does not truly reflect my views and practice. While I have certainly not been a perfect Christian, which other people like to remind me and everyone else of this, I don’t believe some of the popular ideas circulating are based in biblical truth. In today’s society spying on anyone who is determined suspicious in order to expose them is considered a wise and acceptable course of action, regardless of the ramifications. The question of right or wrong is ignored and if damning information is uncovered the ends justify the means. The problem with this strategy is that there is no biblical basis for this type of strategy to be used amongst and toward fellow Christians. The only time spying is used as instruction from God is when the Israelites spied to see the abundance of the promised land. In the New Testament the Pharisees spied to catch a woman committing adultery. For some reason they caught her in the act, which clearly indicates that they spied on her and that she was possibly set up by the man she was with, because no charges were brought against him, although he was equally involved in committing the adulterous act. When they brought her to Jesus, to test Him on Mosaic law that would require Him to command that she be stoned to death, He calmy rebuked them. He responded famously by saying, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” This is why I love Jesus and choose to follow Him. I see myself in the Bible: the adulterous woman, the woman with an issue for 12 years, the woman delivered of torment that became a devoted follower. The woman at the well who, was so transformed after meeting Jesus that she evangelize her whole town is who I want to be like.
Regardless of mainstream Christianity that fights for the unborn (which I happen to agree with to some degree, I also believe that women should have rights), I don’t understand why hundreds of thousands of people dead from COVID-19 and deaths of unarmed African Americans from excessive force by police is not stirring up the same passion and conviction. I hear the media decribe all Christians as believing ignorantly, while not following the actual teachings and principles of the Bible. The media show Christianity as people agreeing with corruption, cheating, lying, and abuse of power. Regardless of my past broken Christianity, I am disturbed to see those who say that they are fellow Christians depicted this way. I have no right to tell anyone how to practice their faith, as my personal experience is lacking. However, my prayer is that Jesus be lifted high and known in this generation and beyond. As for me, I repented for my sins and believe that Jesus forgives me, in His example I extend forgiveness as well. I hope Christianity in the USA will truly reflect the love, honor, and integrity of our Beloved Savior again. Let abuse, defilement, denigrating, and anti-Christ rhetoric be removed from the Bride forever, Amen.
As always thank you for reading. I just wanted to weigh in on what is going on in the United States. I pray that all Christians, including myself rise to the occasion and let His love be known.
Bring me your true and sincere thanks, and show your gratitude by keeping your promises to me, the Most High.
Honor me by trusting in me in your day of trouble.
Cry aloud to me, and I will be there to rescue you.
The life that pleases me is a life lived in the gratitude of grace, always choosing to walk with me in what is right.
This is the sacrifice I desire from you. If you do this, more of my salvation will unfold for you. -Psalm 50:14-15, 23 (TPT)
The year 2020 has been quite a year, and now as we enter into the last quarter of it, the weight and reality of what has already occurred, not to mention issues that were present prior to this year as well, can be really overwhelming and discouraging. While it is definitely a good strategy to not focus on the past and to keep moving forward, sometimes the frustration of not seeing a solution in sight or the stagnancy of whatever ordeal we are facing can feel like being trapped in quicksand. Doing everything that you know to do to maintain peace and hope during the storm seems difficult to maintain, so what are we to do? In the previous blog post, I shared about, “When the Way Out is In,” which covered
Let me start off by saying that I do not claim or pretend to know what everyone in the world is going through, but by general observation and the events of my own life I have come to a conclusion that there is a big lie that the enemy is attempting to hang over our heads… if we do not recognize it as a lie. This lie is that out of all of the concerning, bad, uncomfortable, and outright miserable things happening in our lives corporately and personally, that we just have to brace ourselves and prepare for impact. The enemy is saying that there is no escape for the evil that has been hatched by his workers of iniquity and we (you and I, and the rest of the world) just have to deal with it. Acts of violent cruelty, devastating natural disasters, corruption at all leadership levels, growing racial/ethnic division, and a plague of illness that this world has likely never known before all blatantly attempt to shake, rattle, and indoctrinate everyone (believer and unbeliever alike) into fear, intimidation, crippling doubt, and rambunctious anxiety. The message from all sides is that it’s really bad, and there is not much that you can do about it. Yes we can vote and prayerfully that will remove some of the corruption from the political leadership, but even that is in jeopardy at the moment.
So what are we to do? Many of us are not working, or have really unpreferable working conditions, all while illness is lurking around every corner and noncompliance of opposing forces tell you that your health, livelihood, and overall well being is of no concern to them. What are you supposed to do when food security, financial security, national and personal security are all at risk? There is no government bailout that is going to save you. There is no public program that can fix it. There is no leader that is squelching the fear of the future, but only reinforcing the fear and danger ahead. There is no external help or comfort to be found, so the only place of escape, or refuge is in. Proverbs 18:10 says that: “ The name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run to it and are safe.” Could it be that all the help, peace, protection, and security that we need is not to be found outward in the institutions made by mankind, but rather in the Name of the Lord which is a strong tower? If this message sounds too simple and too common to be helpful to you, maybe you have never really applied this concept to your life in full faith and surrender to God to know that this is true. Not to condemn or criticize, but merely pointing out the fact that there is a tendency to dismiss applying simple wisdom in the wake of unfamiliar situations. For example, why so many people refuse to follow protocol to protect themselves from COVID-19, i.e. – wearing face masks in public, social distancing, and other simple things that while seem insignificant, can not only protect self and others. Can you think of a time when you ignored a simple instruction or advice and ended up with adverse consequences because of that oversight? I would imagine that most people can relate to at least one or more instances of this, but as Christians and members of society, it is easy to get distracted and carried away with expressing our stand on certain issues without maintaining the relationship with the One whom we say that we are doing all of this for. Is God still God if the policy that we want passed is not voted in? Is God any less powerful if a leader who does not share your ideals and fundamentals of faith gets voted in? Will God’s throne crumble and pass away if things change beyond what we have recognized and known our whole lives? When you are depending on God for the next, whatever that may be, like Noah, Abraham, and Moses did you can answer those questions affirming your faith and trust in God because He is the One who is responsible not only for your future, but for your today as well!Continue reading “When the Way Out is In…”
Greetings Intercessors and Prophetic Worshippers! These are strange times that we are living in, but our God is still Mighty to Save! Have you been feeling alone out in the wilderness, like you are crying out to God but desert and drought is staring back at you unfazed? Have you broken through yet and still remain unquenchable and longing for greater? If this was happening in any other season, there might be cause for concern, however we can equate these experiences to “growing pains” during environmental duress. The mandate and vision of God is propelling you forward even though it seems like nothing is changing, or even getting worse. Believe it or not this is exactly where we are supposed to be. It may seem contrary to ideal growing conditions, but this is exactly what we need for the coming seasons and to keep up with the momentum of the Kingdom.
See all of this makes sense when we take into account that we are part of the “True Vine” as described in John 15:1-17. According to Wikipedia, one of the purposes of a vine is to use its environment, rocks, other plants, etc. to help it reach sunlight without expending all of the plants’ energy. The Bible states that Jesus is the True Vine and through His sacrifice of His life at Calvary all of us have been grafted into His Kingdom and redemptive work in the earth as part of His body. Notice that vines use rocky, hard places, and diverse ecology to sustain itself. The environment is not changing as rapidly as the Vine is growing!
One underlying cause of racism is abuse of power, specifically the abuse of power that pervaded the whole Trans Atlantic slavery system of the past. Many people have been taught and therefore assume that “chattel” human slavery was introduced during the Trans Atlantic slave trade of Africans to the Americas, however this notion is incorrect. Slavery, the act of owning another person as property and / or for forced labor, sexual favors, or servitude has been going on since ancient times. Another popular belief is that since the end of the Trans Atlantic slave trade’s abolishment, that slavery is no longer being practiced anywhere in the world. Of course most people have heard of the child labor sweat shops, or human trafficking of women for sex/ prostitution & pimping, since stories about these topics have made national and international news. However, in today’s culture of fake news and intentional misdirection of attention to petty topics, what is not reported is usually the most important thing to learn about.
What I submit to be considered regarding the topics of racism, abuse of power, victimization, and inequality, is that the institution of slavery has been one of the sources for these attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and systemic oppression. Let’s take a look at abuse of power- Even the most well treated slaves would still probably admit to having suffered the pain of having someone else harming them through the position of power that they held over them. While the images of police brutality is likely to come to mind regarding abuse of power, it is not always that overt and easy to be detected. Abuse of power has more to do with decision making and enforcement of harsh rules more than the violent brutality and cruelty that it is characterized by. A simple example of abuse of power is Cinderella’s evil step mother refusing to let her go to the ball, ordering her to clean up after her step sisters, all while mocking and belittling her. The position that the step mother held as caregiver for Cinderella was unchallenged, because her biological parents had passed away (in some versions of the story). So Cinderella had no advocate. She had no defense against the person who was providing food and shelter for her…. hmmm this sounds a lot like slavery right? While this is a simple example from a children’s fairytale, it clearly describes how this spirit works. Abuse of power occurs when a person in a position of power decides to use that power to harm, exploit, deny access, or oppress a person/people who are dependent upon them in some way.
This is an ancient problem that never went away….. In the Bible, there is a part of a story that always disturbs me when I read it. It is the story of the aftermath of Hagar having Abraham’s child at the urging of Sarah. When Hagar finally conceived and birthed her son Ishmael, and began to lose respect for Sarah as her mistress. As a result Sarah mistreated Hagar, her handmaiden/slave, so harshly that Hagar fled (Genesis 16:1-6). It’s true that Hagar did act disrespectfully towards Sarah, however Sarah used her position to harm, exploit, and severely distress Hagar to the point that she ran away. We see something similar when Joseph was accused by the Potiphar’s wife. Potiphar’s wife used her position as leverage to have Joseph put in jail. Another biblical example of abuse of power is Haman’s decree to kill the Jews.
I used to wonder why people in positions of leadership who were being cruel, oppressive, and harsh enforcers of the rules were always promoted or received awards for this wicked behavior. It bothered me that corporate espionage (on fellow co-workers/subordinates), writing up certain employees for the smallest infractions of the rules (while other employees were able to do as they wished with no question or inspection), and always highlighting the flaws and shortcomings of people rather than also celebrating the good things that people did was the norm. If you can’t tell from the way this is being phrased and written, I definitely feel like I have experienced the unfavorable treatment of this type of oppressive system. While I was definitely not a perfect person in the past, and still am not perfect now (because no one is perfect), I am finally realizing why I felt like I was dealing with slave masters and overseers (employed by slave masters) rather than true leaders that I could admire and respect. Not every leader that I have encountered fits into this category, and there are people that I highly respect because I value their example, so I do not apply this categorization to all leaders. However, it is quite ironic that all of the sentiment and “jokes” about being on the plantation actually hit home, because that slavery system is really where all of this evil oppressive leadership style is rooted from. On a slave plantation masters and overseers can be as cruel and abusive as they see fit as a means to and end to accomplish their goals for production or just to “keep slaves in line.” Out in the field there is no higher authority (as far as law enforcement goes) than the master or overseer and since it’s the master’s property he is free to do as he pleases. So oppressive rules, lack of provision, neglect, abusive treatment, and harsh punishment can be justifiable in the heart and mind of a wicked person who is not only using/exploiting other human beings for gain, but feels like they have the right to do so, since they paid to have those humans on their property. What little they provide in terms of housing, clothes, food, and possibly medical care is not enough to warrant such nasty and vile treatment, and to take away/ forbid, and suppress the basic human rights of another human being. Not only were these slaves exploited for forced labor, many of them (male and female) were raped, publicly embarrassed by selling them naked in open air markets like a sheep or goat, and always treated with suspicion -like they were the criminals when all the while terrible crimes and injustices were being committed against them. Slaves have to “walk on eggshells” around the overseers and masters (and their respective family members) as not to offend or slight because the retribution for such offenses were often brutal, public, and of the harshest nature: think whippings and lynchings.Men and women of color that were previously free were enslaved, or had property stolen/destroyed and every attempt for economic advancement was sabotaged (think black wall street, Seneca Village, Black Miami, and many other communities) even after slavery wa abolished to keep people of color in a disadvantage economically. Is this still not happening in modern society, in the United States of America and beyond? It is a known fact that while people of color are the minority as in the proportion of the population, that they are in the majority in the prison system, in generational poverty cycles, and holding minimum wage jobs that do not lead to economic security. Yes it is true, people of color have overcome many obstacles, obtained high positions of leadership, are becoming more educated and skilled as a whole, and many are doing well economically, but please do not base the success of the few as a measurement for the whole. Many people are still systematically oppressed and caught in cycles that were instituted when their ancestors were brought to their country of residence (because this is happening all over the world).
So we have addressed the fact that abuse of power and slavery is not a new concept, but an ancient one, and that regardless of the progression and advancement of some people of color, as a whole many are still living in the effects of an oppressive systemic unjust racial prejudice. Now add to this that slavery is still alive and well in western countries (USA, UK, etc.), and other places in the world: China, India, Africa, Brazil and throughout the Middle East. Every type of human exploitation from sex trafficking to forced labor is beinginflicted on people that are poor and have no means to protect themselves. Militant groups kidnap people and force them into either joining them or becoming slaves. In other cases unsuspecting people are lured to far away countries with the prospect of a new job and better income to provide for the future of their loved ones. Children in India and Africa work dangerous jobs without proper supervision, equipment and protective gear mining ore or other tasks for pennies compared to what an adult person at a reputable company would make. Industries that we do not commonly associate with slavery could be hiding slaves in plain sight of the average person who purchases a service such as a car wash, manicure/pedicure, landscaping, etc. In the industry that I work in, travel customer service, we are trained to identify or question the behavior of person(s) that may be a victim of trafficking. The main obstacle with this training is that cultural norms like the man answering for a woman, or women/children not making direct eye contact can make it difficult to determine whether or not a person is being trafficked or not. As Christians, especially intercessors, this is where discernment is most needed. I must be honest, it is easier to pray for people in this predicament than it is to recognize it happening around us, but we must be vigilant and alert, while praying without ceasing.
I want things to change. I want to see a move of God that frees the oppressed and truly sets the captive free. Not just on a spiritual level, but in the natural, physical sense as well. Could it be that the Church has been so spiritually minded regarding slavery and oppression that we have been numbed to its existence and its effects on the people around us? Could it be that we want to believe that slavery, racism, and the abusive residue of both have been put to rest so that we don’t have to take responsibility for making sure that it does not happen to others? Is it possible that the church at large has drank the Kool-Aid of the abolishment of slavery as a law, while not checking to see if those laws were actually being enforced? A short book in the New Testament- Philemon, is a letter from Paul to a wealthy friend Philemon, who was a supporter and philanthropist to the early church, to forgive and restore (essentially set free) his slave Onesimus who ran away and ended up getting into trouble which led to him being imprisoned next to Paul. I think it is so ironic that all of the commentary that I read concerning this very short book of the Bible, make a point to say that the message of the book is not about abolishing slavery, but about forgiveness, acceptance, and receiving converted slaves as brothers in Christ, when Paul’s instruction to Philemon was to not take Onesimus back as a slave but to set him free as a brother in Christ so that he could pursue his purpose in life as a Christian minister- who eventually became a Bishop who introduced salvation to many. I understand that the primary message is not about abolishing slavery, however it is undeniable that if Onesimus had remained a slave he would not have had the opportunity to do what God was calling him to do. He would have been denied the fulfillment of destiny and purpose in life that was designed for him before the creation of time. This proves that slavery is not only a crime against humanity, it is a crime against the advancement of the Kingdom of God. The minimizing of potential of a person reduces the amount of contribution that they can offer to their family, community, and ultimately the world. Let’s get real: Does a book in the Bible have to say specifically that slavery is wrong and an evil practice that does not give glory to God in order for us to agree that it needs to be ended and not inflicted on another human being? Do we need a commandment to say “Thou shalt not make a person your slave,” to enforce the laws that have already been created to prevent and abolish slavery? Would committing to the cause to end slavery of every kind impact our economic system as we know it? Of course it would, but that is the price to pay for the centuries of ignoring the suffering of others for our gain, comfort, or to just not “get involved” with a socially taboo issue that is affecting the lives of many people. If it is wrong, why does God allow it, or even uses it as punishment for serving idols in the Old Testament. In my personal opinion, and I will study more on this topic, however it occurs to me that slavery is not necessaily a “punishment” for idolatry and sin, but more like a consequence of it. Serving the true God leads to freedom and blessing, not necessarily free from all hardship, but much better than the life of a slave. Whereas serving idols which are demonically exalted is only going to lead to enslavement which is the equivalent to dead works. It seems like a punishment because the reality of it is so harsh and unfavorable, but after all of the opportunities the people had to repent it actually is a just outcome. Remember God is love, He is holy, but He is also just. He will not go back on His word, so He has to allow the repercussions of idolatry so that His people can recognize the difference of what is like serving a holy and righteous God, versus serving an evil and perverted demigod. So God gave humanity free will, and with that free will humankind fell into sin. Abuse of power, oppression, slavery, etc. are all effects of sin on the human soul. If we stop here it would make sense for these evil practices to continue, but God also sent His Son Jesus to redeem humankind back to unrestricted access and fellowship with God. The work of the Cross makes slavery, especially modern slavery, something that we can resist supporting, or ignoring. The anointing is not just to set the captives free spiritually, although there is great constellation in that, the anointing was given for people to be free physically and relationally as well. Where is the proof of this? Well Onisemus has already been discussed from the book of Philemon, but what about all of the miracles Jesus released while He was in the flesh? When he gave Blind Bartimaeus his sight, was this an ability to see in the spirit or to see in the natural? When he told the man by the pool of Bethesda to take up his bed and walk, was he proposing this man mentally or emotionally do this, or to physically get up with the bed and walk? When Jesus delivered the man possessed by the Legion, everything about this man changed. His sanity was restored and life as he had been living was completely over! Yes he was set free from spiritual oppression, but everything in his natural life was affected as well. So why minimize what freedom and deliverance means in regards to Christianity? Of course many businesses, corporations, enterprises etc. would go out of business if we actually began to care about the people who are being exploited to make our goods, but if these businesses are illegally using and mistreating people, especially children, for profit then they need to go out of business anyway.
It will take a lot of work to change these oppressive systems that are the foundation for capitalism in modern society, but someone is waiting, praying, and desperately in need of help. So you are not “called ” to missions or advocacy, that’s fine, can you pray regularly for the release and blessing of these people caught up in such a terrible situation? Can you contribute funds to organizations that specialize in rescuing and reestablishing people who have been ensnared by human trafficking? Can you be observant to your surroundings and sensitive to the cues and indicators of human trafficking and report it immediately? Yes, doing these things: praying, giving, being observant and sensitive are all things that stretch us, but are we not chosen for such a time as this? I admit, as a person who tends to be introverted, I enjoy being in “my own world,” but I desire to serve God in whatever capacity He offers, so I commit to make myself available to His leadership. I do not always get this right, but I am willing. How about you?
Let’s pray: Father God thank you for all of the liberties and freedom that I am blessed to enjoy. Lord I recognize that this freedom came at a very high price. You sent your only Son to die and take the death penalty for me. As a result I can be free in every area of my life, Lord thank you for this. Thank you for all that we take for granted, being able to come and go as we please, opportunities to learn at school and work towards a career, and even for the option to retire later in life. Lord, we know that not everyone is experiencing this level of freedom. Some are being held against their will in abusive, dangerous and neglectful environments. Some are forced physically and/or economically to do things that are shameful, harmful, or exhausting, Lord please step into their situation and rescue them. Lord anoint those ministries, nonprofits, and those chosen citizens of the Kingdom to be positioned with resources and proper channels to effectively deliver any human caught in trafficking, slavery, and abusive situations. Lord You trust us to be Your body in the earth, give us your heart for the suffering, Your arms for the broken, and Your mind for solutions and strategies in the mighty name of Jesus. Lord let this evil system be completely eradicated with Your Kingdom taking over in its place. Lord truly let Your will be done in earth as it is in Heaven concerning this in Jesus name Amen!
Thank you for reading, as always use this post to share with and inform those you love.