I Am a Citizen of Heaven

It makes my heart heavy to see believers separated over the world’s political stances.

We, who are Christ followers, have only one King and Ruler. He’s neither Democrat nor is He Republican; He is neither Caucasian nor Black; He is neither male nor female …. He is Holy, Righteous, Unchanging! He Is All! We have pledged allegiance to Him and everything that we need comes from His hand! We are His children and citizens of His kingdom!

If we believe that we are citizens of heaven, then we should carry ourselves in a way that reflects that high honor. What does that look like? Speaking and acting like sons and daughters of the most high!

  • It looks like exhibiting love and grace and speaking His Word in a way that reflect that we KNOW it. Living in a way that reflects our contentment in all things because we KNOW that He is in control of every situation or difficulty.
  • Being overjoyed when someone comes to know and accept the truth of The Gospel.
  • Not fretting over whats happening in the world today or keeping our minds on the things of this world , but looking with hope toward His return.
  • Caring for others, especially those in the Body of Christ.
  • Extending love and grace that the world cannot understand.
  • Praying daily that His will be done AND when He carries out His will rejoicing in it whether it is what we desired or not!

We belong to Him! Let’s not let this world or the enemy make us believe something else!

Whenever the Lord says, Peace! … There’ll be Peace!

john 14 27

Senseless killings.  Abusers of children.  Victims of trafficking – both human and sex.  Violence against people because of their ethnicity.  Violence against people because of their sexual orientation.  Hate poured out in the name of a gospel that is not the gospel of Christ.  Abuse of the elderly.  Domestic violence.  Rape of women in the midst of political conflict.  Abductions. Racial hatred. It can all seem quite hopeless – it would be easy for our hearts to faint.  The night after some of this has happened, I could not sleep – I could only cry!

Master, The Tempest is Raging by Mary Baker is a song I grew up hearing in church and most of us know the first verse.   It starts off:  “Master, the tempest is raging!  The billows are tossing high!  The sky is o’ershadowed with blackness, No shelter or help is nigh”  This last week, however, the 2nd verse has really spoken to my heart:

Master with anguish of spirit, I bow in my grief today; The depths of my sad heart are troubled! Oh, waken and save, I pray! Torrents of sin and of anguish, sweep o’er my sinking soul; And I perish! I perish! Dear Master – oh, hasten and take control!

I sang this song to my Father through my tears and I am overjoyed to tell you that my tears were cleansing for me.  God used my tears to wash away my fears and fill me with His peace.  He used my tears to wash away the doubt that He is active in every situation and fill my heart with irrefutable proof that He is indeed still in control.  We humans, have a knack for hurting one another and we have a propensity for ignoring the hurts of those to whom we are not related.  But there is a God who cares — the old folk used to say “He sits high and He looks low!”  He knows all — He rules over all, works through all, and is present in all.

The refrain to that song says:

The winds and the waves shall obey Thy will. Peace, be still! Whether the wrath of the storm tossed sea, or demons or men, or whatever it be! No waters can swallow the ship where lies the Master of ocean and earth and skies! They all shall so sweetly obey Thy will! Peace, be still! Peace, be still! They all shall sweetly obey Thy will … Peace, peace be still!!

I am overcome with joy in knowing that in ALL that I don’t understand and in ALL that happens around me that is disconcerting – I do have a God that I can count on and this great God wants to give me His peace!  The ship may sink; the waters will surely rise but I can have peace!   I have to choose this peace – it won’t come without my believing that His word is true.  But His peace is there for me.  Yes!! I can have peace and I can be peace.  Can you fathom what it would mean for the Body of Christ to actually have our feet shod with the preparation of peace!!  The world would never be the same; we could change the world!  So — I choose His peace.  It’s there for the taking and there is plenty to go around.  I suggest you take some too!!

I. Feel. Black.

I. FEEL. BLACK.  

I feel BLACKER than I’ve felt in a very long time. I’m conscious of how melanin affects my skin when I walk into a shop, when I see a law enforcement officer, when I’m pumping gasoline, etc.  I feel Black – and that’s okay, because it is who my Creator decided I should be. But feeling black is not okay when it means that I feel like it automatically makes me guilty of something that just might cost me my life.  

No, it’s not okay when I fear what might happen to my sons because their work requires them to be out sometimes when its dark and they might match the description of a black man who really IS  guilty of something.

But I also feel vulnerable, laid bare, exposed. I have a heightened awareness about the whereabouts of my grown children — my sons and my son-in-law just because they are black.

I feel ashamed that people really do believe that my people don’t care about all lives, because we most certainly do! It is just that at this moment in history we are feeling the onslaught of injustices that we can’t quite put our minds around.

I feel desperately dependent upon God — and that’s a good thing too, because only He can make any of this right!

But I also feel loved — loved by those of my “majority culture” friends who have reached out to me in meaningful ways to admit that they cannot understand – but that they love me and care deeply about how I am feeling and what I fear. We have to be right with one another to make a real change.

I feel confused because I’ve said to my children when they were just kids that they can always trust those that enforce the law; but I’m not sure that is always going to be true.  Don’t misunderstand me – I have dear friends who are LEOs and I know they are good people doing the right thing; but I’m concerned that no one is weeding out the bad eggs.

I feel grief for so many lives lost – but especially today for George Floyd; the family left behind, the futures cut off, all of it! I feel grief for the sad truth that our culture is still quite ill as relates to racial relations.

I feel hope – because my life is hidden in Christ with God; because He promised me a hope and a future; because when it’s all over I shall see Him face to face.  Hope because this world is not my home, I’m a sojourner here.  The place He has prepared for me, no man can take away.  The life he’s given me is eternal, no one can take it away.

Praying that this nation will know the hope and love of Christ and praying that the church across the world will take her place and bringing both healing and peace.  Praying that our justice system will be changed in the ways that only God can change it. Praying everyday that my sons, my nephews, my brothers in law, my black male cousins will live and not die!  Praying that this will get better – even if it must get worse first!  Praying for His mercy!!!! Praying that righteousness and justice will truly overtake our nation. As the Body of Christ – I am praying that we will represent the Kingdom of God in true ways to push true change. I’m praying that the Body of Christ will speak with one voice about both healing and justice. Kyrie Eleison!!!!

Many are called …

So many churches are becoming mega churches. During the coronavirus some digital international churches have grown tremendously! Believers all over the world are praising Our Father for this. We are all filled with joy that many are coming to know Him.

The question though is — do many of them just come … just because it sounds like a good idea? A smart idea to be in community with others? Do many of them come because they see the grace and generosity of the Body of Christ as a wise place to be? The truth of the gospel is an invite to all people — ALL People!! Only the ones who are coming with a commitment to live with and for Him will truly experience a different life. A life full of the gifts of peace, mercy, grace, salvation, and so much more!

There is true commitment that pulls us into His presence!

There was a person close to me who loved the gathering of believers. They were invited — and they came to church. They sang in the choir, went to all fellowships, cooked meals for many people, and even gave themselves to people, just as a place to share troubles. There came a time, however, when people were becoming more knowing of the life being lived. As this person was truly seen, they felt compelled to walk away. They never again entered a fellowship with God’s people because the commitment was not to God … so …. what about you?

I mean … His message calls us all, but are you truly letting Him in there to make you one of His own? When accepting the invitation of the gospel, we are not truly redeemed and truly blessed until we both accept invitation and comply with its condition.

When you come to Him, but choose to embrace your sin and not let them go, its like being invited to a wedding and showing up with pajamas on. In the world of my Ghana pastor, Rev Steve Asante, “You’re not serious OOOO!!”

Don’t secretly turn from Him! Give Him all of you! Your life will forever be changed.

Father, please open the minds and hearts of those who know but don’t believe. As your child, please use me to speak and live truth in ways that help people open their hearts. When you call them, I pray that You will help them to answer with hearts that want You in them!

He Knows What Lies Beneath

When people are impressed with us – or when they see the “value” in something we are doing – we tend to bring them readily into our circle of supporters. Jesus, however, knowing all things — took a different route — one that should be taken note of.

Instead of allowing the praise to go to our ego — we must take a step back and remember the nature of men. One minute, they love you — the next, they don’t. A man’s heart — yes, our hearts – are deceitfully wicked and not to be trusted. Because we cannot know what lies beneath the praise that man gives — we would be wise no to entrust ourselves to men – instead we must get and stay firmly in the grip of God’s unfailing grace.

Jesus had no issue discerning the hearts of men – because He knows every man and because of this, He did not put His confidence in their faith … only in The Father.

Please Father, do not allow us to be deceived by our own pride when people rush to praise us because of what they see us do. Remind us that it is You, who is at work within us – to accomplish ALL that we do. And that it is You to whom the glory is due. Remind us of our own hearts so that we might judge well the hearts of others. Help us to put ALL of our hope in You. Humbling ourselves as we wait for Your perfect exaltation!