Friday, January 27, 2017

Silence is NOT Golden

There’s an old adage that says “silence is golden,” which simply put means some things are better left unsaid. Well, in the days of late and what has transpired over the last year in politics and in general, I beg to differ.

You see, too many of us, especially in the church, have taken the stance, silence is golden, choosing instead to opt out. Really to chicken out, if you ask me. They have taken a this is not my fight stance, choosing instead to hide behind, “prayer.” They say things like, “this is the will of God, I’m just going to pray about it.” Hello, if it’s the will of God, why do you need to pray about it? First of all.

And let me just get this straight from the onset. I have no problems with prayer. I have no problems talking and communicating to God, my Father. I myself, and I only make mention of this for those who don’t know me personally, commune with God, often, daily, if not always. The Bible says, “Men ought to always pray, without ceasing.” And while I certainly make the effort, in my human frailty, I am not afraid to admit, I do fall short.

But my problem comes when people hide behind the prayer and use it as an excuse to do nothing else. You see, the Bible says in James 2, faith without works is dead. So, if we pray, I believe, God speaks. And it doesn’t end there. God gives directions, or instructions when He speaks. He gives us a Word for whatever it is that we are praying about and it should spring us into action. How else will things get done on the earth if we do not pray and act upon what God tells us to do? We certainly cannot right wrongs or undo injustices, simply by praying. It takes far more than that. Jesus said in Matthew 11:12, “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force.” By force. Not simply by prayer. Force requires action.

Jesus went to the cross to die. He suffered, bled and died for the sins of the world. If prayer was all it took to save the world, He could have just prayed. And in fact He did. He prayed, BUT, He also went to the cross. Jesus is our example. We need to pray and DO.

Going back to James 2, What good is praying for someone when they are hungry and then sending them away? We can pray for somebody when they are hungry, but we also need to give them something to eat. They cannot eat a prayer. That will not feed them. God does not want us to be so spiritually minded that we are of no earthly good. And that is just how many of us have become.

Yes, there’s a time to pray. Always a time to pray. But never a time to pray and do absolutely nothing. Even when Jesus was praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, He asked His disciples to watch and pray. Even watching is an action word. Isaiah 40:31 says, “but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Often misquoted, misread, misunderstood, to mean that we are just supposed to wait after we pray for something and then God will renew our strength. No. Our strength will be renewed as we wait on the Lord. As we serve the Lord. When you wait, you must think of it as serve. As a waiter, serves. You wait on the Lord. You are serving the Lord. You are yet doing something in service to the Lord.

Praying and waiting. We are never just STILL. Sitting idly by waiting for God to move. We must always play a part in our deliverance or the deliverance of someone else, as we are not in this thing or on this earth, alone or better yet, we are not “I”-lands. This is exactly the reason why God has not moved in some of our situations, because you haven’t. You are not serving. You are simply praying.
I keep getting this picture in my spirit. Someone crying in the street. Yelling, screaming, just lying in the street. And what are the saints of God doing? They’re “praying.” And they are saying it. ‘I’m praying for you.’ Not one has gone over to help. Not one has gone to actually lift the person out of the street or to wipe the tears from their eyes. No, they’d much rather pray about it and say so. This is how “religious” some have become. And it’s sad.

I believe this wholeheartedly. If some of us were praying as much as we say we are praying, this world would not be in the state that it is. It really has become just something else the church has added to its terminology. Something to say that sounds good, with no action behind it whatsoever. In some cases. I thank God for those that I know that are true prayer warriors that have some action behind their prayers, because it takes both.

God is looking for you and I do something. We ARE His hands and feet! God wants us to PRAY AND FAST. PRAY AND SEEK. PRAY AND ACT. PRAY AND BELIEVE, EVEN. Isn’t that what we do when we GO and fill out job applications or to get a mortgage or something? We pray and then MOVE. We don’t sit still and wait for the job or whatever we need to fall in our laps simply because we prayed!

Yes. We must pray. But we must act as well. It’s a part of what we believe as we pray. We can’t just sit on our hands and expect God to do everything. And we can’t just stay silent about things that are happening in our midst. And I’m talking to those that are not praying, either. It is time out for that.
It is time out for the silence. It’s time out for the excuses. It is time out for the I have to pray about it. It’s time to be about it. This time your silence may not be so golden. This time, your silence could be dangerous.

God is real. And His deliverance is seen in your action.

A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Wounded Soldiers

As Christians we like to say and we often do, we are soldiers in the army of the Lord.  In fact, there’s a song that not many churches, I’m sure, have not sung about it.   I’m a soldier in the army of the Lord.  I’m a sanctified soldier in the army.  Got my war clothes on, in the army of the Lord, got my war clothes on, in the army.  If I die, let me die, in the army of the Lord, etc.… fighting for my rights, blah, blah, blah. 

It’s a great song, don’t get me wrong.  It empowers you.  And it gives you strength and courage to know that you are in an army and you have some backup.  Brothers and sisters to help you in your fight.  To help you in your Christian walk. 

Lately though, I have been a witness to something quite contrary.  For myself and even a few others that I know who have fought the good fight of faith, dodging blow by blow, and yet remained victorious.  And then there was a major blow.  In our case, the death of loved ones.  In other cases, financial setbacks, job loss, health crisis, doctor reports.  Lots of things continued to hit.  And the struggle to maintain continued.  Things that have shaken them to their core, things that have made them stumble, but did not make them fall or in some cases, some did.   Blow by blow, hit by hit.  They’re wounded.  Down for the count.  And sadly they’ve been left alone.  Stranded in enemy territory.

I thought about what it is like on an actual battlefield and even looked to one of our military church members for answers.  When a fellow soldier has been wounded, what is the response?  They don’t leave them there.  They don’t leave them alone.  They go back and they pick them up, even if it means they might lose their own life.  They don’t even think about it.  He told me it was a dishonor to their country to leave them there.  How about that?  A real soldier knows that we are in this thing together.  If you die, we all die.  He says, you can count on me.  No matter what.  I got your back. 

That’s how it ought to be with us, not only as people, but as Christians.  After all, aren’t we soldiers in the army of the Lord.  Aren’t we all in this thing together?  Shouldn’t we have each other’s backs? 
If you see somebody hurting, can you really say it’s not your responsibility or you don’t have time to be depressed or you got your own issues going on?  Really?  Will you just continue to fight your own battle, while your brother lies wounded in the field?  Or will you risk your life, your happiness, or the comfort level you have, the space that you’re in, the things that you know, to go and pick him up?  Something we must all ask ourselves.  Are you your brother’s keeper or not?

If we are all soldiers in the army of the Lord, shouldn’t we all be fighting the same enemy or at the very least, make sure our own comrade doesn’t get lost in the battle?  For if he loses, you do too.  What about how it honors your Father?

And know this, today it may be him, but tomorrow you might be the one left in the battlefield wounded and the brother (or sister) you left stranded, won’t be there to pick YOU up.

I’m a soldier in the army of the Lord, for real.  And I got your back.  For if you lose, I do too. 

A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E

Friday, January 6, 2017

Birthed With Purpose

Recently in our Sunday School class we had been talking about certain Scriptures and how seemingly (by some in church) they are only brought up at certain times of the year… in particular, Christmas and Easter. Which is why we need to always be praying that God will speak something new each and every time we open up the Bible. Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than any two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.” It is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart. That means it can speak to you wherever you are. Whatever thought you’re entertaining, it will reveal it to you and show you perhaps why you shouldn’t. Selah. Scary, huh. But good. A good kind of scary.

Anyway, right before Christmas I read Luke 1:57-66, where it speaks of John the Baptist and actually what he (John) should be named. Recall now, that Zachariah could not speak because his mouth was shut for not believing what the Lord had spoken to him. (Side note: We must be very careful when the Lord comes to us, whether in a dream or through a person and confirms what we had believing Him to do. Zachariah was believing God to do something. He had been praying for God to do something and then the angel of the Lord appears and tells him your prayers have been answered and the first thing Zachariah says is, “How will I know?” Uh, hello, Zachariah, you are not Whitney Houston and God does not have to answer). So of course, God shut His mouth. Be careful about the way you ask God questions. I had to learn this one myself.

Getting back to what I was saying… the people wanted to call the child by the name of his father, Zachariah, but Elizabeth said, no, he shall be called John. And then they signaled to Zachariah to get his thoughts and he wrote, his name is John. And then the Scripture says immediately his mouth was opened and he was able to speak. Then the first thing he did, was praise God. How about that? He wasn’t able to speak for a good nine months, but he learned his lesson, because the first word wasn’t a complaint, it was a praise. Bless the Lord! Let that be our testimony when God brings us out of the silence. And the Bible says that fear came upon all the neighbors and relatives and as they walked away, they wondered, they pondered in their hearts, what kind of child will this be? For the hand of the Lord was upon him. And that is where God spoke. What kind of child will this be, seeing the hand of the Lord was upon him?

Purpose. God spoke purpose into John the Baptist. And the people recognized it. For they wondered, what kind of child will this be for the hand of the Lord is upon him. The people saw that because God’s hand was upon the child born to Zachariah and Elizabeth, that child was born with purpose. And we know what that purpose was, for we know what he grew up to be... the forerunner to the Messiah, the Savior of the World.

But what really struck me, what stood out for me, is that because the Lord’s hand was with him, the people knew he would grow up to be something. The people knew. Because the Lord’s hand was with him. Just as John the Baptist was born with a purpose and the people recognized it because the Lord’s hand was with him, so are we. We have been birthed with a purpose. And as the people saw it with John the Baptist and knew that he would do something, people are looking at us and expecting us to do something and to be something, as well. Because the Lord’s hand is with us.

Which reminded me of the Scripture where it says, because the gracious hand of the Lord was upon him, Nehemiah was able to build the wall. Ezra said, as he guided the right people to protect his return to Jerusalem, it was God’s hand upon him that led him to do the choosing. So if God’s gracious hand is upon us, is upon His people, we ought to amount to something, because God has filled us with purpose. And as people of God, we ought to walk in what God has anointed us to do… walk in our purpose. People are expecting it. People are looking for it.

Whitney sings another song that I enjoy and could listen anytime of the year, Who Would Imagine a King? And basically she says that Jesus could grow up to be anything, but He grows up to be a King, who would imagine that? Because God’s gracious hand is upon you, you have been filled with purpose. I have been filled with purpose. And with that purpose you could be, you could do, absolutely anything. John the Baptist, forerunner to the Christ. Jesus, as the song says, a King. But you have to walk in your purpose. People are expecting you to. They see the hand of the Lord upon you. They know who you belong to or who you say you do. And they are looking for something from you. Hear them, “What kind of person will this be?” Could be a Word they’re seeking. Could be a hug. Could be love. One other line in the song goes on to say this, “That the world would be different because you were alive.” And though Whitney is singing about Jesus in the song, I believe God is saying something to us… “and you have walked in your purpose.”

The world would be different because you were alive and you have walked in your purpose. And the gracious hand of the Lord was upon you.

God is real.

A servant of the Lord,
Sis. E