I Am Not the Same!

Colossians 2:11-14 ESV In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.

I grew up to the mantra that we are sinners saved by grace bought with a price by God. Continually I try to find peace with this notion that we are sinners saved by God’s grace. What is grace? How is it measure? How does God determine who receive it?

In this letter to the Church in Colossia, the author mentions that we are “circumcised with a circumcision without hands.” This circumcision is a removal of all impurities that may have formed because of our sinful being. Every time we give into sin, we induce more of its residue. The writer says here that we were “dead in your trespasses” which means that we became spiritually consumed with the things we had done wrong whether we were convicted in mind, dealing with the consequences of our issues which overwhelmed us, or felt like we could not rid ourselves of them. But the glory of this Word is that Jesus offers us the opportunity to be cleansed again. The debt is on auto-cancellation. All sins are forgiven. It has been nailed to the cross for its death. To activate what is already in query with God’s grace, we must submit to its divine will. Allow a resurrection of our spirit back to where God is. God has “made us alive in him.” There is therefore no condemnation to them who are in Christ Jesus.

So, pray this prayer with me as we all move forward to new life in Christ Jesus:

God of grace, mercy and love,
We are not perfect.
We are not pure.
But we know that through you all things become new.
God help us to know you more
To be disciples of your Word, Will, and Faith
We ask that you purify our hearts of things that come short of your glory.
We ask that you release us to better serve you and your people
Let our hearts and minds be resurrected to your perfect majesty.
Be our tongues so we speak peace
Be our minds so we think Holy
Be our hearts so we love without ceasing
In Jesus, the example of what we could be, we pray,
Amen

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A Humble Heart of Reverence

This morning, I woke up with God on my mind. I got on my computer, clicked on biblegateway.com and sought to get inspiration through the Word of God. The Verse of the Day spoke to me:

“For it is by grace you have been saved through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- by grace, so that no one can boast.”

Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

Often times, I have a hard time being humble. It is a problem for me. I delight in the fact that I am good at certain things and sometimes that delight turns into conceit. My parents always tell me that I need to humble myself so that I can receive. But, that is hard for me.

My idea of humble means a timid, passive, and complacent person. I am not one to bend easily to others, although I can be quiet and calm. I do not like people telling me what to do and I certainly do not like to be used.

But, humility is very important for the people of God. If I plan on being a follower of Jesus Christ, there is no room for a haughty spirit. So often, I ask God to “create in me a clean heart and renew within me a right spirit” so that I may receive what he has for me. “His word I have hidden in my heart,” but for it to manifest, I must be humble to his voice.

Here in this scripture the phrase “so that no one can boast,” stood out to me. We are saved through and by grace which is a gift of God. It is not accomplished by deed or act, but by grace which means it is unmerited. Consequently, we cannot boast God’s favor on us compared to another. The grace we have been given is not because of us, but because of It (God).

Therefore, knowing that the grace of God does not apply to arrogant hearts, I must humble myself in reference to the glory, majesty, and mercy of God. I am saved from all iniquities and punishment when I submit to the divine will. In that, I receive grace which is unmerited. The only act that it takes is to have a humble heart of reference, which by grace, I receive.

Humble now your hearts, and let them not be troubled for he cares for you!

God in heaven, which I seek to know more.

Humble my heart so that I may come to know you

And know the promises that you have for me.

I am nothing without you; 

It is in you I live, I move, and have my being.

So God, help me to have a humble heart of reference

Looking to you in awe and amazement;

like a babe listening to his mother’s voice;

I want to be where you are.

Help me as I grow to know you through the people I encounter everyday

And help me to be a light of your dawn.

In the example of Jesus, I am confident it is so,

Amen.

 

God Did Not Intend for my Invisibiltiy

A few moments ago, my good friend Antwann wrote a response  to the controversy over Kevin Terry and the leaking of his sex tapes. In these sex tapes, Kevin Terry is caught performing oral sex on a man who is not identified. I heard about the incident, but did not pay it much attention. Honestly, I thought it was sad that he was caught in this act, but it was his response which really captured my heart.

Click here for Antwann’s Blog: http://antwannmichael.wordpress.com/2013/11/03/sucking-dick-without-apology-invisibility-cognitive-violence-and-the-psychosexual-dynamics-of-the-black-church/

After reading Antwann’s blog, I found myself startled, shocked and consumed with a similar feeling of anger based on events that I also experienced at the hand of the church. I found the same feelings of invisibility to be reverberating through my soul. This beloved institution which I considered home and lifted up as the moral exemplar of society not only hurt me, but my friend Antwann and countless other same-gender loving individuals. The question that rose from out of my heart was “Did God intend for my invisibility?” Did God intend for guys like me to be sat down and silenced? Did God intend for us to be hurt and rejected by people whom we love? Did God intend for me to live in self-doubt due to the negligence of his anointed? My heart quickly cried out a resounding “no”.

For some reason, the following scripture came to mind:

“For I know the plans I have for you; plans to prosper and not to harm you; to give you hope and a future” Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

It took me a moment to realize why this scripture was ringing so adamantly out my spirit. What does this have to do with what Antwann wrote and how I feel?

After contemplation, I came to the conclusion that this promise of God was ringing from my spirit because I needed to be reminded that despite what others may claim to be my fate, God only knows the plan and that plan means to prosper and not to harm me. God has “wrote the vision and made it plain” in my heart. This is a holy communion between God and I. 

Therefore, God doesn’t intend for my invisibility. God doesn’t intend for me to be silenced and live in dismay for the rest of my life. If I am called to his purpose and live my life to his divine will, the plans that he has for me can be for me and will be manifested. What man says cannot deter me from what God has for me. God wills me to “proclaim the gospel to all the world” through my living testimony. 

Thank you Antwann for your continued radicalism and truth. Someone has been blessed by your story. 

Stand Still and Know God

Job 37:5-7, 14 God thunders marvelously with His voice; He does great things which we cannot comprehend. For He says to the snow, Fall on the earth; likewise He speaks to the showers and to the downpour of His mighty rains. God seals up stops, brings to a standstill by severe weather the hand of every man and now under His seal their hands are forced to inactivity, that all men whom He has made may know His doings His sovereign power and their subjection to it. Hear this, O Job; stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.