Monday, July 9, 2018

For Freedom Christ Died

36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” Matthew 22:36-40

Not all believers have the same level of spiritual growth. For many Christian at the time Paul wrote Romans, as well as now, there was little understanding of the Freedom that we have in Jesus Christ. (Galatians 2:4) Some did not understand freedom about what food they could eat. Others did not understand freedom about days of the week they could worship.

Unlike many other religions true Christianity does not require certain outward actions, nor does it demand a particular way to dress though we should dress modestly, nor does Christianity require mindless repetitious prayer facing any given direction to propitiate the wrath of a deist God. This is only one of many ways that Christianity is significantly different from any other religion. For the Christian, there is a Freedom that comes in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 5:1 says “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” 

I have heard of Churches that would measure the length of women’s skirt in order to ensure that the women dressed in what they believed was modestly (1 Timothy 2:9) there are even churches  would not allow women to enter the church wearing pants. Or having their hair in braides or extensions.  I was told by my pastor that he knew of a church that would not allow any type of jewelry, even down to married people removing their wedding rings. Because of their failure to understand the scripture they have turned Grace in to law, even outwardly denying God’s ordination of the institute of marriage for the sake of the law. These churches miss the point that the scriptures are not speaking about clothes, or braides or jewerlry at all, but is speaking of bringing glory to yourself rather than God.
The Apostle Paul saw this very behavior happen too often so, therefore, warns the Church at Rome of the problems that could arise from this lack of understanding of this freedom that comes with the knowledge of Christ Jesus.  But rather than teach one action is wrong and the other action is correct,  which would have imprisoned the individual once again to a list of laws and regulations, of which they had received the freedom from through faith in Christ Jesus. Paul uses the second of the two great commandments which Jesus taught in Matthew 22:36-40
Love your Neighbor as you love yourself. In verse 40 of Matthew 22 Jesus says “On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” This is very important because many Christians teach the commandments (law) is dead and we no longer have to be obedient to it. But this is completely wrong. Because if we look at the first four (4) commandments we see that One (1) thru four (4) teaches us how to love the Lord with all our heart, and all our soul and all our mind. While commandments five (5) thru 10 teaches us how to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  The only Pleasedifference is we do one out of the law ( according to the flesh)  which cannot justify us before God and the other out of faith in the Grace given to us through Christ Jesus,  which is according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1-5

So in this we realize that the two great commendment given by Christ Jesus are not activaated in law of flesh, but by grace through faith in the spirit. 

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Wednesday, July 4, 2018

My Help Comes From The Lord

4 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease. 7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare Jeremiah 29:4-7

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For many blacks in America, Independence Day is seen from a different perspective. When the Revolutionary war was over the negro in America remained in bondage and had no hope of Freedom. 

When George Washington, Nathanael Greene, Benedict Arnold and Horatio Gates went to fight for their freedom, Caleb Quotom,  a slave, better known as Prince Whipple proclaimed to his owner William Whipple. You are going to fight for your freedom, but I have no freedom to fight for” Moved by this statement William Whipple promised if Price Whipple would remain by his side during this conflict he would set him free.

99 years later, on January 1st, 1863   President Abraham Lincoln ratified the Emancipation Proclamation declaring that all enslaved person in the Confederate States of America were to be freed.

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Today, in America many people of color, not just blacks, but those with brown skin, and yellow and red, and even many with white skin, though living in the United States as free men,  still feel the thumb of oppression weighing down heavy on us. And we have done everything we can but things only get worst, we need some kind of supernatural help.

  • The only place where people of color are the majority is in prison, so the legal system seems to have failed us, and we need help. 
  • Our children are killed on the street by the authority that should be protecting us and no one is held accountable, so our justice system has failed us, and we need help.   
  •  All the while the oligarch promise of a trickle-down system has only left us deeper in debt.  And God knows we need help.

But for the Christian of color, the problem seems to be even more magnified. We have given up hope of there ever being a change and many of us have turned our back on the very country we once loved. Some even boast dual citizenship and threaten to move to Canada or England or some other country. Rather than continue to deal with this authoritative and insensitive regime. 

But the Scripture says God knows where He has put each one of us and at the exact time he has put us there.

26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place Acts 17:26
And because of this God has a plan for us who are in Christ to have a hope of His goodness regardless of the outward circumstances. Jeremiah 29:11 He says 11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare[good] and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope
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The prophet Jeremiah had written this letter to the people of Israel that were in exile, they had lost
their freedoms and were being treated as slaves, they were abused physically, imprisoned for little or no reason, their property was being taken from them.  Yet in the midst of all that inequality, and torment God tells the people to make themselves at home in the place of their misery. God says to Israel, plant roots, take wives, and husbands multiply and grow strong. God requires them to seek the best for the very same country that had caused their misfortune. Because in the good welfare of Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar their oppressor, was the good welfare of Israel. God was telling the Jews in exile, to be the example of God’s goodness in Babylon.

What God is saying to us that we have to stop complaining about who is in charge because he would not be in charge if God had not put him there. Stop looking to politics, to the government, to any man for reciprocity or salvation. Rather that we should live a full life, in the place of our oppression. God, is requiring us to do those things which make us upright and good citizens and to look not to any man, But to Him who can actually help. So today let us remember that no matter what the problem, it is God alone to gives freedom, who set a standard, and who is able to help. David the Psalmist wrote;

1I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? 
2My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
4 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord is your keeper;  the Lord is your shade on your right hand.
6 The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
8 The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore. Psalm 121

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