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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Monday, July 2, 2018

I'm too close

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— Romans 5:12

This past Friday I celebrated the lost (home going) of a dear friend; Yet she was much more than just a friend for me. The very church that I am now a board member she brought me into. I enjoyed her innocence of the scripture and the wisdom of her words that come only after years of loving and fearing the Lord.

Earlier this year my mother died and I thought I would look to her for the wisdom forged with time that I would now be without.  Because by nature I sit at the feet of those that have decades in Christ, even as the Apostle sat at the foot of Gamaliel. So, when I finally recovered from dealing with my mother’s death, she was already in the battle for her own life. Death, the result of the sin of Adam sought to capture her. Therefore, rather than look to her to comfort me, I found myself once again looking to Jesus to heal her. 

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Don’t get me wrong, for my own sanctity I so needed to see the goodness of God on this side of His glory. I needed a supernatural healing, and while I cried out to God for months on end, hoping for a healing miracle, it seemed as if God could not hear me.  My mother died, as I sit next to her hospital bed, and 4:45 am on January 3rd  and here I was once again looking over the someone I loved, Who I was confident had gone to be with the Lord.

The Scripture says “We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”  (2 Corinthians 5:8) And the very hope of everyone that has ever loved the Lord is to be in His presence, So I should be happy, I should be full of joy. However, if I were to tell the truth the pain has not stopped. Because I miss them.  I miss them both.
And I know right now they are in the presence of God enjoying a goodness that my limited mind cannot even imagine, and I should be happy, but I am jealousy that they are as we used to say “in a better place” and I can’t love them anymore. 

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The Apostle Paul ask the question “Oh sin where is thy victory? Oh death were is thy sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55) and for me the sin does not have a victory. But there is still sting is in the death of those that I love.  How do I get to love them again?

There is a song by the Willaim Brothers called I’m too close. The song speaks of staying the course as Paul says for another reason to once again get to see our loved one. It goes something like this;

Yeah I'm too close, I can almost see God's face
I'm a little bit too close, And I'll tell the world I love his grace.
I'm too close, I wanna see my own mother again
I'm too close, To be shaking hands, shaking hands With all my friends
Say I’m too close, to heaven.
I can’t turn around, I promised the Lord , I wouldn’t turn around

You brother in Christ
TCharves FireSpeaks