Modern Ostracism: Are you Guilty?

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?

Matthew 5:43-48

Jesus said, “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another”

John 13:35

Okay, I think this may be a topic that can feel overdone sometimes. God is love, He loved us so much, He sent His only begotten son to die for our sins, and so on. But, please, for the sake of the world He died for, give me a moment.

The world today is torn apart, and everyday, it divides further and further. Consider the way definitions cause us to place ourselves into smaller and smaller boxes. White and black. Girl and boy. Liberal and Conservative. Pro-life and Pro-Choice. Millennial and boomer. Heterosexual and Homosexual. They’re endless. Definitions can be helpful in many ways. However, increasing numbers of people cut off those who disagree with them on the proper definitions or those with different definitions for themselves, effectively shutting themselves in echo chambers where they’re always right and outsiders are always wrong. I don’t mean just casually right and wrong like you got the answer wrong on a test. I mean Good and Evil.

That’s right. People are, like never before, calling the shots of what is Good and Evil. Entire new “religions” are being formed, named by political affiliation, ostracism certain if you use the wrong words, like calling certain people women instead of “people with ovaries.” Others jumping ship from one social media to another where people will agree more with their approval of certain leaders or their conspiracy theories.

It’s… exhausting.

Whether you wear a mask in public or not, here’s a thought: Who are Christians not? Since we’re focusing so much on definitions, we can’t lose focus on the main purpose of our life here and what GOD defines us to be… and what He defines us to not be.

Well, while fellowship with believers is central to remaining focused and seeking support in life, we’re not called to STAY around only believers. We’re not called to shoot down those who stray from our personal opinions. We’re not called to ostracize people who disagree from our definitions and sense of what is right or wrong. We’re not called to hate those who hate us so much.

As children of God, we are called to shine on a hill and spread our light out into the darkness so those lost in the darkness and confusion of the world can find their way to the source of all good and right. You can’t force an unbeliever to understand God’s right and wrong. You CAN be an example of right. You can SHOW them something no one else is doing: You can love your enemies.

It’s not easy, but it’s what the world needs more of, now more than ever.

God bless!

Shadows

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

There are shadows in the world today, appearing and disappearing, flitting from here to there. They can be hard to grasp or understand, but their darkness has poured onto every street and home. Yet, it seems, the light of the God burns brighter for it.

One shadow is disease and death.

During the Black Plague, people would allegedly see a figure standing at the edges of towns: a dark, hooded cloak, a sickle in hand. Just after, the town would be overrun with the disease, wiping out so many, coffins and bodies would line the street because they were unable to bury them fast enough. This is where many believe the Grim Reaper image originated (Brittanica).

We are faced with a worldwide pandemic. Whether you believe it’s a real issue or not, the world is being chased down by physical death on all sides. It summons fear, and fear can summon strange behaviors in its desperation for survival.

One shadow is confusion and chaos.

“It hurt itself in its confusion!” This message in the Pokemon game appears when a pokemon, magically confused, hurts itself instead of the enemy as intended. This is exactly what evil wants: for us to be confused, hurt ourselves and our unity, and be so divided that it doesn’t have to do a thing to bring us down. There so many Bible verses about avoiding division, it would take an entire post to deal with it (maybe I should). Here’s one:

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

Romans 16:17-18

Is it ok to disagree, to be passionate in a cause that we may disagree in, or protest wrongs? Of course! Jesus did so in many ways, but notably, when He chased merchants from His temple with a hand-made whip. However, watch for when others push you to turn against others. It’s a typical tactic for abusers and manipulators, as when you’re apart, you’re more likely to be persuaded.

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Ephesians 6:12

So, here is the point of today’s post: there are many hidden powers in the world, and they’re spoken about in the Bible in many ways. They’re ancient and cunning, and they use the powerful and weak alike in their need for domination. Jesus already died on the cross; He already took away our chains to those powers. You are responsible for continuing to follow God and using His light to see through and clear out the shadows as you cross them. Speak God’s truth, live it, and don’t build your foundations on the worldly confusion and fear that is like quicksand.

God bless!

Are You Worshipping the Real Yahweh?

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

When Aaron saw this, he built an altar in front of the calf and announced, “Tomorrow there will be a festival to the Lord.” 

Exodus 32:1-5

The interesting thing about this situation is not that the Israelites were worshipping foreign gods. In fact, they didn’t believe they were. The word “gods” translates from the hebrew for “Elohim,” which is incidentally, the same word commonly used throughout the Bible to describe God. However, sometimes, it does indicate other spiritual beings. So, is this what the Israelites meant this time? Actually, the writer of Exodus really drives home the point that they meant Yahweh by saying they were dedicating the altar and calf in a festival to the “Lord.” This translates to nothing other than Yahweh.

So, what was God, the true God, Yahweh, upset about? Remember, at this time, Moses was on the top of the mountain, sealing the deal, as you will, on behalf of the Israelites. They were essentially entering into a relationship contract with God that can be likened to a marriage agreement.

It won’t be like the covenant I made with their ancestors on the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt. They broke my covenant, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD.

Jeremiah 31:32

Honestly, there are innumerable verses that compare Israel to a bride and God as the groom, but the point is that their relationship was supposed to be that of fidelity and love. Yet, on the day of their marriage, Israel was impatient and bowed down to a golden calf. Remember the second commandment, being made at that same moment?

You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.

Exodus 20:4-6

That was a separate commandment from the first, which mentioned not worshipping other gods. So, what is He jealous of if the image is of Him? Well, first, the calf was not indicative of God’s image but that of a canaanite type god. It was something more tangible and understandable to the people of Israel than a fierce God of roaring winds and thunder they couldn’t see without terror.

When all the people witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sounding of the ram’s horn,and the mountain enveloped in smoke, they trembled and stood at a distance. “Speak to us yourself and we will listen,” they said to Moses. “But do not let God speak to us, or we will die.”

Exodus 20:18

They decided to send Moses up to speak to God rather than face Him themselves. Israel couldn’t handle Him. After wandering the desert for so long and not having any place to call home, no certain source of sustenance, Moses disappearing for longer than expected, and no leader in his place, they wanted something they could control. They could control a golden calf. It was safe, an image from their past, and they could touch and see it.

God was heartbroken because they didn’t seek the true Him.

Have you seen anything similar in this modern world that could be likened to what the Israelites did that day? I’ve seen people make God in their own image. Even if the evidence is to the contrary, they will say God agrees with what is obviously sin or that He shames what is obviously good, if that makes it easier on them to continue their life as they want. I think it’s a common thing to hope God is controllable, that He will do what we want Him to do.

The truth is, God is not controllable. He is like a gentle breeze sometimes and like a terrible storm or avalanche others. He is rock steady, and we can always depend on Him to be good. However, what that is is not determined by the world, and He doesn’t go by the rules of what society deems good and bad. He existed before anything and anyone here, and He will continue to exist when everything is wiped away. He is an ancient force who happens to love us. Yet, He is anything but safe.

Can you do God the favor of reaching out to the true Him, and coming into His presence without preconceived notions of what you’d like Him to be? He loves the true us, as broken and sinful as we are, and we should attempt to know and love the true Him as well.

God bless!

Tree of Life

Today’s post will be a bit different than usual. I’ve been studying up on “trees of life” throughout the world, and I decided why not draw them and the characters surrounding them? If you have any problems seeing the photos I post, let me know so I can make any necessary changes.

And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Genesis 2:9

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. …

Revelation 22

The Hebrew Tree of Life is symbolic of both the Word and Jesus, the Messiah who would come down from a line of twelve tribes. He was also called the Word. Just to bedazzle you a bit more, you read about the Tree of Life in the Tree of Life. You hold the Tree of Life in your hand when you read the Bible and get a glimpse of God. As important as this tree is to all of humanity and our path to immorality, you’d think other cultures besides the Hebrews would’ve heard about it. Ah, you’d be very right.

Below is a set of my drawings on just some of the Trees of Life I’ve found in other cultures, just to make it easier to visualize. They are usually called the Tree of Life, but sometimes they go by other names like the World Tree. There are more similarities than differences between them.

Norse and Chinese
Hebrew and Hindu
Assyrian and Mayan
Egyptian and Native American. I should’ve drawn the White Pine tree with needles…
African and Celtic

I found this subject very interesting and will probably be continuing to study it. If you have any information you wish to share about it, let me know.

God bless!

Perpetual Student of the Holy Spirit

Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.  The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them… One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind.  Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.  For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.

Romans 14:1-7

I’ve been learning more and more about how to read the Bible and follow the Holy Spirit. Most days, I don’t believe I do too well. The fact is, however, the Bible, as much as we wish it were, isn’t a full, comprehensive list of rules that we just read and then do in our lives. It would be so easy and straight forward that way, right?

So also, when we were children, we were enslaved under the basic principles of the world. But when the time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive our adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and since you are a son, you are also an heir through God.

Galations 4:3-7

Servants simply need to be told something, with no additional whys or hows, and they should do it. Now, there are circumstances where we don’t know why or how, exactly. However, we are God’s children and Jesus’ brothers and sisters. This is a completely different relationship. We are encouraged to ask questions!

The Bible introduces basic, core principles that guide God and then shows you the various personalities, cultures, and time periods, and how followers of God used the holy spirit to successfully and unsuccessfully follow those principles. The fact is, we have to work for this. This isn’t a Simon Says game. It’s not knowledge of right and wrong that God wants from us. It’s following, as best as we can, His wisdom and Holy Spirit while constantly staying in touch with and developing a relationship with Him. We are essentially, perpetual students, learning how to use God’s words in the context of our lives and circumstances.

When you read about how Paul states that women should cover their heads while in temple or men are more honorable with short hair (1 Cor 11), he was writing to specific churches in a specific time and culture where the circumstances called for this specific direction. Every person in the Bible, from Adam and Eve to the original founders of the Christian churches spreading throughout the post-Jesus world, were trying (or not trying) to follow the Holy Spirit and God’s principles in their unique situations. Just as you need to know the rules of writing before you can write a work or the methods of music before you create a piece, we need to know His voice so we know how to follow Him in differing circumstances and improvise based on His wisdom.

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

John 14:26

What has the Holy Spirit taught you? How has it ingrained God’s love into your heart and life?

God bless!

What is the Measure of Your Worth?

Your intrinsic value as a human being is not determined by what others think of you: true or false? Your answer depends on what part of the world you live in, what culture you were raised among, and even your religion. However, if you have TV or internet access, you are probably aware of the concept of “self-esteem.”  Christianity disagrees with both, and this revolutionary idea of not caring what anyone thinks of you was part of what got Jesus, and many of His followers, killed.

At least in the United States, the pendulum has swung, at least slightly, from one extreme to another. The fear of ostracism still exists in many forms here and around the world, but in American culture, individualism, self-esteem, and “following your heart” are pervasive values, which can carry its own set of issues. We can be, however, conflicted with those “values” and hypocritical when we hold people to their latest mistakes and look at others as incapable of heart changes, especially as Christians.

In the ancient world that Jesus was birthed into, most cultures and Rome had a culture based on honor and shame. Your value as a person was thought to be highly dependment on what the world thought of you. Therefore, you held tight to traditional ways of life and walked the fine line of public approval if you cared at all about you and your family’s life and livelihood. When Jesus publicly renounced rabbis’ beliefs and sat among the dirty sinners, He did a massive taboo, a bigger taboo than we (as modern thinkers) might think upon first reading: He didn’t care about the public’s opinion, and He asked for others to be the same.

Neither basing our worth on others’ opinions NOR OUR OWN OPINION about ourselves are healthy or God’s way. As children of Yahweh, we should base our intrinsic value on God’s view of us. So, how does God view us? We were created as imagers, God’s representatives on Earth. He puts His Holy Spirit inside each of us who allows Him, as we are His personal temples and priests. If that’s not overwhelming and amazing, you’re not listening. We are intended to be breath-takingly awesome. That is our worth. It’s infinitely more honor than anything in this world could give us. Remember this verse:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Matthew 11: 28-30

The world’s opinion, and our own, can be a heavy load that we must carry through life. It is also an ever-changing, never satisfied master. Let’s not live our lives according to the court of public popularity nor our own self-esteem. Rather, let’s face our God like sunflowers to the sun and live up to what He created us to be, basking in the warmth of His love.

God bless!

Sources other than the Bible: You can check out Episode 204 of the Bible Project Podcast: Honor-Shame Culture and the Gospel, which inspired this post.

The Tapestry of the Word

There are many themes, references, and symbols not readily apparent from a simple scan of the Bible. They tie the whole book together from beginning to end, which is a feat since each book of the Bible comes from different eras and cultures, especially the Old and New Testaments. The written Word is a tapestry of many threads and designs that tie together in ways we may not always realize.

The first theme we’ll discuss is that of trees just because it’s forefront in my mind from listening to Bible Project podcasts. From the moment Adam and Eve are shown the trees of both Life and knowledge of Good and Bad (the Hebrew usually translated as “evil” actually means a more genetic “bad” (Strong’s), trees entered the mind of the children of God. Time and again, trees are mentioned in ways that point back to the garden of Eden and the choice between life and death that first humanity had there. It comes to mean sacrifice (as we sacrifice our own belief of what is good and bad to obey God’s truth on good and bad). In many ways, humans are symbolized by trees, vines, and branches, fruiting when living in the way of the Holy Spirit, serving others. Finally, it springs forth again to show us Eden come again.

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.

Revelations 2:7

Another theme is the temple, which should be looked at as our true home. The first temple was actually the garden of Eden. It was placed on a high place, with the Holy of Holies in the center (i.e. those pesky trees of Life and knowledge of Good and Bad). The entirety of the Bible is about the journey of mankind searching for the temple to return to their rightful place as priests, ambassadors between heaven and earth in the Promised Land. Noah’s ark (a symbol of salvation), trees, animals that Noah (as a type of Adam) had to rule over, are more symbols of a temple. Mountains count many times as temples, high and close to heaven as to connect man and God, Abraham and countless others perform sacrifices on altars there. Then, of course, Moses and the Israelites built a tabernacle to serve as a traveling temple in order to commune with Yahweh. Solomon and many of his descendants built or maintained actual, permanent structures used as temples where the practice of priesthood was elaborated and cemented. Once Jesus showed up on the scene, as little as they realized at the time, He spoke of another traveling temple that would last until his return: the Holy Spirit would reside in God’s children, and no longer would people have to find the temple: It would come to them. Of course, in Revelations, the final realization of the temple becomes reality, and all of earth will become a grand temple, a massive Eden, where God will walk once again everywhere and with all people.

Honey and honeycomb is a relatively obscure symbol that pops up time and again. It tends to stand for God’s wisdom and decrees. Let’s consider these verses:

The decrees of the Lord are firm,
    and all of them are righteous.

They are more precious than gold,
    than much pure gold;
they are sweeter than honey,
    than honey from the honeycomb.

Psalm 19:9-10

The above is pretty obvious.

One who is full loathes honey from the comb, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.

Proverbs 27:7

When someone is full on their own or the world’s “wisdom,” they don’t long for God’s. However, those hungry for God will seek even His most hard to swallow words. By the way, I’m not stretching anything here. See this source that says something similar.

Someone’s it’s symbolism will help you understand other passages where honey shows up.

All the people came into the forest; and there was honey on the ground. When the people were come to the forest, behold, the honey dropped: but no man put his hand to his mouth; for the people feared the oath.But Jonathan didn’t hear when his father commanded the people with the oath: therefore he put forth the end of the rod who was in his hand, and dipped it in the honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his eyes were enlightened.

1 Samuel 14:27

Jonathon was symbolically enlightened with God’s wisdom despite his dad’s oath, and it ended up saving his life and Israel’s in the end. During the Great Exodus when Israel comes across manna, and that’s the only food for a long while, it tastes of honey as well, for good reason. They were living off more than just bread but off of every word that came from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4).

So I went to the angel and asked him to give me the little scroll. He said to me, “Take it and eat it. It will turn your stomach sour, but in your mouth it will be as sweet as honey.” I took the little scroll from the angel’s hand and ate it. It tasted as sweet as honey in my mouth, but when I had eaten it, my stomach turned sour. Then I was told, “You must prophesy again about many peoples, nations, languages and kings.”

Revelation 10:7-11

The truth is not always pleasant.

These are just a sample of the many threads that are woven from Genesis to Revelations. Can you find any other symbols, themes, or references that are consistently sewn into the fabric of the Bible? Does it change how you read the Word?

God bless!

Rotten Trees,Woolly Wolves

Personal circumstances have delayed my writing this post until the day before I will publish it, mainly because they have caused a maelstrom of emotion and mental fogginess. Yet those circumstances have also brought me here to create this very post. I have no idea if this will help anyone, but God laid it on my heart to write it, even if it’s only for me.

Beware of false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves…Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, by their fruit you will recognize them.

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’

Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness!’

Matthew 7:15-23

There are many people who call themselves Christians or simply seem like upstanding individuals who are actually dark souls beneath. There are people who we come to trust and love who turn out to be wolves underneath, waiting to strike. That type of betrayal is not foreign to God, who, besides the innumerable people who turn their backs to Him, was also stabbed in the back by Judas while here on Earth as a man. The difference between God and ourselves is that no one can trick God. How would God deal with such a person?

A person living with no remorse for their sins is the rotten tree. We’re not speaking of all sinners, which would include everyone of us. As described in the above verse, many are master manipulators and can don a disguise as easily as breathing. So, you and I will never truly know if a rotten tree ever genuinely feels remorse and turns to God for actual salvation in his or her heart. That is between that person and God on a soul level. However, what is impossible to man is possible for God. He’s raised the dead before and He can do so again.

On a personal level, it is best, when a rotten fruit reveals a deceptively rotten tree in your life, to do three things as a child of God:

  1. Forgive them. You can read a post of mine titled “Forgiveness – What It’s Not.” I wrote another post that’s called “Loving Even the Wolves” about loving our enemies. We don’t do evil against them, exchanging evil for evil. Forgiveness is not absolution. It doesn’t say what they did was right or okay. It does not mean you trust them. It does not mean you will even keep them in your life. However, a rotten apple spoils the whole bunch, they say. Don’t forgive, and you have a death grip on a rotten apple, and that will spoil all of your own fruit. Cast it aside for your own sake.
  2. Cut off the branch. If someone is a manipulator and deceiver, it’s not healthy for you or the others around you to keep him or her in your life. As much as you are able, cut them off. Consider the following verse:

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.

John 15:1-2

Why does God cut off the branches that bear no fruit (or in this case, possibly rotten fruit)? The death of those branches will pull down the rest. If God does this, it’s a sign you should as well.

3. Grieve. The part of our brain that processes emotion does not easily grasp the complexities of human relationships (or maybe that’s just me). If a person has betrayed or hurt you, it’s not easy to let that relationship go because all of the memories and emotions you had before are still there. Let yourself process the symbolic death of who you thought they were and the life you shared.

Another thing to remember, just in case: If a person who claimed or claims to be Christian shows his or her true nature of being rotten, some will use that as a reason to fall away from God. If you stop following God because a follower of God (or fake follower) betrays you or lets you down, you were never following God. You were following the person. A human will always disappoint in some way.

Hope this helps someone one day.

God bless!

Darkness is Inevitably Revealed

It’s difficult to know where to start with this, so I’ll just begin and pray God guides my hand to the correct end. I’ve become increasingly disturbed by images and videos of more and more people coming to light with abject racism and lack of humanity. Agree, disagree, whatever you may believe in this, I subject to you some Bible verses so you can take it up with God Himself.

But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.

1 John 2:11

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.

1 Samuel 16:7

You’re probably saying, of course racism is bad. Anyone with any knowledge of God and His love for all creation would agree. However, you may say, this cop recently had this reason to hold him down even through his suffering breath or that person was not intending to shoot but to warn. All things are between God and the person who commits them in the end. None of us can fully know another’s heart, and I submit to my ignorance. Yet you sit there not giving leeway to the black person’s actions in the same breath? Or perhaps, you agree on both of these things but don’t say anything, don’t outright condemn it…

We, who are disciples of God, can not stay silent on issues of injustice or evil. When God measured out the tabernacle in the Old Testament and named the Levis the Holy Priesthood, He told them that their job was to find those who were ill and contagious and to set them aside, attempt to heal, but most of all, to judge the evil that was in their bodies and make sure it wasn’t spread (Leviticus 8-10). It was a symbol of what we all are responsible for now, as his new Holy Priesthood.

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9

Jesus spent a large chunk of His time tending to His downtrodden, sick, and abused sheep. Now, do the same. The evil ones and the lost will never listen to you unless you repeat their words back to them, like an echo. Tend to those with ears as not everyone is aware. We, as God’s people, must bring the darkness to light and shout out the evil from the mountaintops.

I’m writing all this to say this is wrong. I’ve seen too many black people being abused or dismissed for speaking out about the abuse. I’ve seen too many killed out of misplaced fear. If you come at me with the All Lives Matter business, I will tell you that, while that’s fundamentally true, it’s dismissive of the issue.  I don’t see you asking why a cancer awareness organization doesn’t talk about heart disease or why a 9/11 memorial isn’t reminding people about Vietnam. I will talk about other wrongs tomorrow. Today, I stand by the rampant violence against black people, and if you open your eyes, you will see God there too.

We are seeing it more and more lately because more and more people have access to phone cameras, and many sense the importance of photographic evidence, especially in a situation against people in positions of power. By the way, Jesus called out people in power continually from one end of the New Testament to the other. Why? As said in Spider-Man, “With more Power comes more Responsibility.” God gives those in power the responsibility to protect, guide, and shepherd. It is only natural God would call them out if they fail in that duty.

P.S. No, it’s not right for anyone to riot and destroy businesses or steal, even out of a sense of injustice. Those who do it are either opportunists, who come out during any tragedy and can not represent the whole, or are confused about how to fight for their rights and act out of a sense of hopeless outrage. You can not dismiss the evil committed against someone based on his/her reaction to it.

God bless!

How Much More Does God

If the evil judge serves justice to the sufferers of this world, just to shut up the victims from their constant cries, how much more will God, who is just and loving, serve justice to His children (Luke 18:1-8)? If an evil man is capable of treating his children with gifts, how much more will God, who is the creator of love and holds His little ones to His heart each moment, bless His children (Matthew 7:11)?

You can look around you, pay attention to the expressions of love and selflessness that stem sometimes from the lost, the confused, the consumed, the fallen, the broken, and the terrible. See these things and know that even they understand, in their soul somewhere, the essence of God. They can not escape the truth of Him, even if they don’t know it consciously (Psalm 19:1-6; Romans 1:18-20)

They are stumbling into good, so how much more wonderful is God who is the very personification of Love, Righteousness, and Peace? It’s understandable, after being steeped in the darkness of the world since your birth, to know no other way than distrust. Know this though, God is not of this world (Numbers 23:19; John 18:36)). He is so much more than you’ve ever experienced: you don’t know love. You think you do, but there is no love in this life that can compare to His.

I will sing of your steadfast love, O Lord, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 89:1-4

Some of you may already know of all the above, and if you do: wonderful, wonderful, and live in that joy! Some do not or only see a piece of the picture, not understanding the entirety of God’s overwhelming love and concern for us. During these times, they aren’t fully sure of Him or His promises. I write to remind and to teach when possible. Let’s not forget, especially in these days of doubt and darkness, to sing of His love and faithfulness, forever.

God bless!