The Blessing of Confession

PhotoGrid_1469807035387Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide my guilt. I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.” And you forgave me! All my guilt is gone.”-Psalm 32:5

For the last few days I have been meditating on this scripture; and reflecting over the many times in my life that I wanted to live in rebellion rather than experience redemption. I remember the countless times I tried to justify certain thoughts, behaviors, and motives. I can recall the plethora of times that I lingered in sin a little longer than I should have and the consequences that accompanied such dumb life decisions.

Once I started to get serious about my relationship with God honesty became a requirement for it to function properly. As I began to spend time in prayer and studying scripture, sin was not so easy to commit or leave unconfessed. The magnitude of His love compelled me to tell the truth about me. I could no longer pretend that the life I was living was one that pleased Him. I had two options: to live a lie and remain outside of his presence or to start confessing so that I could fully enjoy His presence. Like the psalmist I said to myself, “I will confess my rebellion to the Lord.”

I John 1:9 tells us “if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.” As I did this I began to experience freedom from guilt, shame, and public opinion of my past. Assurance in God’s forgiveness produces freedom. However, we will NEVER know that freedom if we choose to remain in rebellion and unconfessed sin. We will spend our time trying to justify our actions to ourselves and to those around us. Even worse we will become reprobate and sever our relationship with God. He never leaves us, but we will leave Him as we allow both shame and pride to keep us from confessing what we have done. One of the most cunning weapons of the enemy is to convince us that we have done too much wrong to receive the love and forgiveness of God; and I am here to tell you that as the “Father of Lies” that is one of his greatest lies!!!

The Truth of the matter is “God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.” (Rom. 5:8,9) There is no sin, outside of blaspheming the Holy Ghost, that will keep you from the forgiving grace of God. If he sent His son while we were in sin, surely any sin we have committed is forgivable if we are willing to confess it. Do not allow the enemy of your soul or even yourself talk you out of receiving the freedom from guilt that is made available to us through confession.

God sent Christ so that we could have the opportunity to have a relationship with Him if we so desire it. Do not let the moments of slipping or even falling into sin keep you out experiencing the beauty of having a relationship with the Creator of the universe. He gave us an anecdote for renewing our relationship with Him after we have fallen prey to the sin and our selfish desires. Confession is the key, and it is a blessing to those who will humble themselves and tell God the truth. I pray from this day forward you will choose to confess instead of cover up. You will never have peace inside until you reconcile your relationship with the One who made you, and confession makes it possible. I pray you will find the time to do it.-Charity Israel

Goodbye Thirty, Hello Freedom!!!

So be strong and courageous all you who put your hope in the Lord!-Psalm 31:24

Six months before I turned 30, I went on the pursuit of finding out what the decade would entail for me. I talked to women who were in their early thirties, late thirties, and well into their sixties. I made it my mission to come up with a plan to prepare myself for this monumental shift from being a “young” adult to just an ADULT! I read books, blogs, and anything that would give me a glimpse into my future; but NOTHING prepared me for what I would describe as the most painfully liberating year of my life.

Thirty was pure hell, darkness, chaos, and confusion. It started with my birthday plans for the year. A friend and I planned to watch a play on Broadway. However, I ended up spending my day alone in Manhattan sipping a glass of Riesling and contemplating the meaning of life. LOL  Eleven days after the worst birthday ever my grandmother on my father side passed away, and six days after her my mother’s mom passed away. Two of the most loveliest souls on the planet left without my permission. Life has not been the same without them.

September was spent trying to cope with the events of August, and trying to convince myself that I was happy when in fact I was hurting. The hardest truth for me to admit was that I was starting to despise the two things that meant so much to me, my job and living in the city of my dreams, New York.  I suppose this discontentment with my life was God’s way of preparing me to do what he requested of me in June, which was to stop being a Flight Attendant and move back to Atlanta. However the 401k, great health insurance, and the steady income made that request hard to comply with until December 2015. Between continuously getting sick and the anxiety attacks I was having, it became quite apparent it was time to let it go and I did.

By March my savings had dwindled, and all I had left was my knight in shining armor that I was planning to marry in August 2016. As fate would have it March 5, we decided it was best to go our separate ways due to the chaos that both of us was experiencing. I cannot express the pain that comes with saying “Goodbye” to the person you were ready to share the rest of your life with. Everything that I was so certain of in 2015 had slipped through my fingers by March 2016. I was jobless, super single AGAIN, and found myself embarking upon the darkest night of my soul to date.

It was during this time of chaos, confusion, and loneliness that something beautiful was being formed. I was stripped of everything that I allowed to define me throughout my years, and I was left at the mercies of God. I had to admit to my idol worship of marriage, success, fame, and prestige. I had to find purpose outside of my possessions or the lack thereof. I had to clean out the skeletons in my closet, and I had to confront the insecurities within me that were sabotaging my future. As I sat in the dark room of my life, I was forced to deal with the truth of my self-image. I had to wrestle on a few occasions with the demons of my past that were doing all they could to keep me in fear. It was here I became content with my own being and confident in the God who created me.

It was in my weakness that I found God’s strength to be perfect. It was in choosing to receive His love that fear had to flee. It was sitting in darkness that I discovered the beauty of His marvelous light of Truth. Thirty was the year that my pride was crucified; my selfishness was exposed; and my greatest fears were realized. It was also the year I learned what it meant to live free, strong, and courageous. I literally have nothing to lose in this life, and it puts me in a place to gain all that God has in store for me. I say goodbye to 30 joyously, and I tell it thank you for introducing me to myself!

Thirty-one will be an amazing year for me because it is the first time, I will actually be living unapologetically as Charity. The freedom that becomes available on the other side of facing your fears and confronting the lies you have lived for so long is indescribable. It expels all the shame, and it leaves you confident in who God has created you to be. I embrace 31 as a completely different person; and I look forward to the lessons it will teach me and the opportunities it will present me as I have decided to let go of fear and live in God’s love for me. Happy Birthday Charity Israel!!! Freedom looks good on you!!!!!!!!

P.S. The book is coming soon. I had to live it before I could write it!!!

The Lord is my Shepherd not my Genie: Reflections on Psalm 23:1

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.-Psalm 23:1

shepherdBefore I started becoming a devout student of the Bible, I used to be a devout believer in the Prosperity Gospel/Word of Faith movement. I used to feel entitled to all this world has to offer because I was a “child of the King!” I would take scriptures that were specifically for the children of Israel and use them as assurance that God owed me stuff according to His word. I was doing foolish things in the name of “faith” in order to position myself to “blessed,” and with all the giving I was doing I NEVER reached a place of “having no room to receive” (Mal. 3:10).

It was shortly after graduating ORU that I left the Charismatic/ Word of Faith sect, and I started seeking a more accurate biblical interpretation of how  New Testament Christians should live and approach God. It has taken me years to detox from some of the bad theology that came from that teaching; but I must admit there are moments I find myself interpreting scripture from a place of entitlement and not within its proper context.

For the last two weeks I have been meditating on Psalms 23, and I found myself reverting back to some of  the bad habits of the “Name It and Claim It” tradition. I made a list of some simple things I wanted that I felt would take God no time to supply. The week passed by, and I felt myself being frustrated that God did not give me the wants I requested. How dare him, right?!? Then I had the audacity to say out loud, “You are my shepherd. Why don’t I have what I want?” #bratface Before I could finish the Holy Spirit said, “study to find out what “I shall not want” truly means.” So I went into Theology student mode, and I started to read commentaries on the verse.

Not one of the commentators sided with my self-serving interpretation of scripture. Quickly I discovered, my understanding of “want” was not what the scripture meant. “Want” here is not the random, fleeting, and ever changing desires of my selfish heart. “Want” refers to the needs of those being shepherded. In context, the Shepherd supplies all his sheep needs, leaving no wants for the sheep. The sheep is provided water, food, shade, protection and guidance. What more could a sheep want for? NOTHING! I know this may come as a surprise for some as it did with me, and I would encourage you not to take my word for it. Listed below are a few of the commentaries I used, feel free to come up with your own conclusion from them. They were helpful in adjusting my theology to God my Shepherd not God my genie:

The Treasury of David Commentary states:

The Lord is my shepherd.” What condescension is this that the Infinite Lord assumes towards his people the office and character of a Shepherd! It should be the subject of grateful admiration that the great God allows himself to be compared to anything which will set forth his great love and care for his own people. David had himself been a keeper of sheep, and understood both the needs of the sheep and the many cares of a shepherd. He compares himself to a creature weak, defenseless, and foolish, and he takes God to be his Provider, Preserver, Director, and, indeed, his everything. No man has a right to consider himself the Lord’s sheep unless his nature has been renewed, for the scriptural description of unconverted men does not picture them as sheep, but as wolves or goats. A sheep is an object of property, not a wild animal; its owner sets great store by it, and frequently it is bought with a great price. It is well to know, as certainly as David did, that we belong to the Lord. There is a noble tone of confidence about this sentence. There is no “if” nor “but,” nor even “I hope so;” but he says, “The Lord is my shepherd.” We must cultivate the spirit of assured dependence upon our heavenly Father. The sweetest word of the whole is that monosyllable, “My.” He does not say, “The Lord is the shepherd of the world at large, and leadeth forth the multitude as his flock,” but “The Lord is my shepherd;” if he be a Shepherd to no one else, he is a Shepherd to me; he cares for me, watches over me, and preserves me. The words are in the present tense. Whatever be the believer’s position, he is even now under the pastoral care of Jehovah.

The next words are a sort of inference from the first statement – they are sententious and positive – “I shall not want.” I might want otherwise, but when the Lord is my Shepherd he is able to supply my needs, and he is certainly willing to do so, for his heart is full of love, and therefore “I shall not want.” I shall not lack for temporal things. Does he not feed the ravens, and cause the lilies to grow? How, then, can he leave his children to starve? I shall not want for spirituals, I know that his grace will be sufficient for me. Resting in him he will say to me, “As thy day so shall thy strength be.” I may not possess all that I wish for, but “I shall not want.” Others, far wealthier and wiser than I, may want, but I shall not.” “The young lions do lack, and suffer hunger but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing.” It is not only “I do not want,” but “I shall not want.” Come what may, if famine should devastate the land, or calamity destroy the city, “I shall not want.” Old age with its feebleness shall not bring me any lack, and even death with its gloom shall not find me destitute. I have all things and abound; not because I have a good store of money in the bank, not because I have skill and wit with which to win my bread, but because “The Lord is my Shepherd.” The wicked always want, but the righteous never; a sinner’s heart is far from satisfaction, but a gracious spirit dwells in the palace of content.

Benson Commentary states:

I shall not want—Namely, anything that is really necessary for me, either for this life, or for the next. But foolish men may think many things to be necessary for them, which the all-wise God knows to be, not only unnecessary, but hurtful, and therefore mercifully denies what men ignorantly desire to their hurt.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible writes:

I shall not want; not anything, as the Targum and Aben Ezra interpret it; not any temporal good thing, as none of Christ’s sheep do, that he in his wisdom sees proper and convenient for them; nor any spiritual good things, since a fullness of them is in him, out of which all their wants are supplied; they cannot want food, for by him they go in and out and find pasture; in him their bread is given them, where they have enough and to spare, and their waters are sure unto them; nor clothing, for he is the Lord their righteousness, and they are clothed with the robe of his righteousness; nor rest, for he is their resting place, in whom they find rest for their souls, and are by him led to waters of rest, as in Psalm 23:2, the words may be rendered, “I shall not fail”, or “come short” (s); that is, of eternal glory and happiness; for Christ’s sheep are in his hands, out of which none can pluck them, and therefore shall not perish, but have everlasting life, John 10:27.

If you are a believer, what you just read should be exciting news. It should also build your confidence in the love, care, and concern the Great Shepherd has for you as his sheep. As a good shepherd, he sees to it that all our needs are provided for and that we “lack no good thing” (Ps 34:10). Tonight I hope you can find blessed assurance in the fact that Jehovah is your shepherd. All your needs will be met, and you will want for nothing. Have a lovely night beautiful people.-Charity Israel

P.S. As a Bible student and teacher, I know I was doing some lazy studying and meditation on Psalm 23:1. One look at a different translation of the Bible could have given me a better understanding of the scripture. However, I believe the route I took was necessary because God wanted me to get rid of my bad theology; be mindful of how I am interpreting scripture; and come into a better understanding of how amazing He truly is. God is greater than a genie because it has a limit to what it can give. He is my Shepherd, and I shall not want. That’s good news!!!

 

 

Photo Credit: https://wordmadefleshblog.wordpress.com/tag/sheep/

 

Dear Church of America

We want to talk about the homosexual choir director and piano player, but can we talk about the lesbian preacher leading worship and teaching Sunday School?!? Or how about the deacon that’s a glutton; the First Lady that’s a gossip; the abusive apostle; the lying prophet; the egotistical evangelist; the drummer that’s a city-wide whore; the missionary that spreads discord; and the Pastor that is so prideful that remains in ministry and he only has 2.5 members attending faithfully each week?

Let’s stop trying to fix the world for a minute, and let’s address the mess sitting in the pews and parading in the pulpit. How dare us attempt to tell the world about a Jesus that we haven’t submitted our own lives to!!! Let’s preach a whole Gospel that confronts ALL sin and every person in love!

The church has lost its identity, and we need to rediscover it before we bring more folks in, making them better sinners before they “accepted Christ!” We’re wrong for what we’ve allowed in the Church, and I’m praying that we would indeed repent and truly take the time to discover who we are in Christ! Who we are as a “new creation” is much sweeter than the person we choose to remain!

It’s time out for playing Church, the world needs us to be it! They’re desperately in need of a new way of life, and we’re unable to give it to them because we’re so committed to remaining the same! His Grace makes our Salvation, deliverance, righteousness, Sanctification, and all we need pertaining to Godliness possible, don’t you think it’s about time you started taking advantage of such a marvelous gift?!?

Your Sister in Christ,

Charity Israel

The Perfect Mate List Poll

As the thirty first year of my life is quickly approaching, I have found myself doing a lot of introspection. I have been checking my closet making sure all the skeletons are out of it from the previous years. I have been forced to reevaluate some of my relationships, and I have given walking papers to those who truly needed them. I have been confronting all the clutter of my life, and I must admit it has been excruciatingly painful. However, I push through because wholeness is my desire, and I know the liberation that will be experienced after this is over will be well worth it.

One of the tools I have been using to gauge my progress in life is my old journals. I go back to them to see how much I have grown or not. I use them to encourage me through moments of testing and trials as a reminder of how  great God has been to me. Today I was reading one of my old journals, and I came across an entry from June 25, 2008. As I read it, I chuckled because in it contained my Perfect Mate List. I will admit the caliber of man I entertained drastically changed when I created it, but  it has also been what some have accused as the reason behind my singleness.( Side note: #Mr.Godiva and I are no longer together and the #dearfuturehusband post will be returning.) Yet when I read it, I honestly do not believe I am asking for too much. The list is much smaller now, but today I figured I would give each of you a sneak peak into my prayer journal and get your personal opinion:

June 25, 2008-So my ladies and I were talking, and one of them shared about how they made a list concerning what she wanted in a husband. I want to do it, but I’m scared my list might be too much. So here is the deal God, I will make my list and you revise it. You know what I need and that is more important than my wants:

  1.  A man that lives to honor You in word, deed, and heart (a Psalm 119 man).
  2. A man of integrity and vision (a big dreamer).
  3. A man who lives to learn, know, and live the word of God.
  4. A wealthy man.
  5. A man who loves me for me, no exceptions!
  6. A fashion-forward man.
  7. A man that lives and love to worship and pray. He is unashamed to show his love for God.
  8. A man who loves and appreciates his family.
  9. A shrewd business man.
  10. A good steward over his finances.
  11. A man of great faith.
  12. A humble and gentle man towards me and those who need it.
  13. A man who walks, understands, and knows his authority as a son of God.
  14. A man who keeps his word (swears to his own hurt).
  15. A man who is aesthetically pleasing in my sight.
  16. A man that has a wonderful sense of humor and loves to have fun…you will be done Amen.

I’m grateful that you have made it to the end of this list, and now I’m asking for your assistance. If you feel this list was absolutely ridiculous, let me know. If you feel I’m absolutely delusional, let me know. If you feel that this list is not detailed enough, let me know. I look forward to your feedback. Have a Marvelous Monday!!!

 

 

Photo Credit:  https://joyswordsofencouragement.wordpress.com/category/spirit/

 

Life Observation: Five Things Mature Adults Do

I won’t bore you with a long introduction. I’ll just get right to it. Here are five things I have noticed mature adults do:

  1. THEY COMMUNICATE. Adults who have matured pass high school in their brains have learned how to express themselves. They tactfully express their opinions, and they do not waste their time beating around the bush concerning a matter. They are not afraid of conflict, and they do not argue for the sake of being heard. They recognize the weight of their words, so they use discretion in both their tone and word choices. Mature adults do not wait for someone to figure out the problem. They voice it and seek ways to resolve it.
  2. THEY TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN ACTIONS. Mature adults do not play the Blame Game. If the job was not done correctly, they admit where they messed up. If their marriage is failing, they accept their part in its’ failure. If their life is not where they desire it to be, they CHANGE IT. Mature adults introspect instead of project their issues on other people. They weigh the consequences of their actions. Once they recognize they made the wrong mistake, they acknowledge it. Mature adults DO NOT rely on others to fix the problems they have created. They assess the situation, rectify it, and move forward.
  3. THEY ARE COMFORTABLE IN THEIR OWN SKIN. Mature adults have accepted who they are and who they will never be. They have accepted their flaws, and they live free from the weight of being perfect. They are beautifully flawed individuals, and they celebrate what makes them unique. They do NOT waste their time comparing, envying, or desiring what others have. Wholeness of mind, body, and soul is their pursuit. They are so fixed on the idea of becoming a better person that they do not have time to worry about what others do. They are not perfect, and that truth does not bother them. They free themselves to enjoy life, and they encourage others to do the same.
  4. THEY ACCEPT PEOPLE FOR WHO THEY ARE. Mature adults do not waste their time trying to change other people. They recognize that we are all evolving, and when change is desired people will seek it. Instead of trying to force change, mature adults choose to stick around (remain in relationship) or move around (end the relationship). They give people the freedom to be who they have decided to be. This does not mean mature adults do not address self-harming behaviors of friends, but they do give others the liberty to discover and enjoy life for themselves.
  5. THEY DO NOT TRY TO FIX BROKEN PEOPLE. Considering the time and effort mature adults have put into becoming whole, they do not waste their time trying to fix people who are unwilling to admit they are broken.  They recognize the value of their time and they choose to invest it in things that will produce a great return. Mature adults surrender broken people to their Creator, and they love broken people at a distance until they want more for themselves.

This list could and should be much longer, but this will do for now. If you see some you disagree with feel free to voice your thoughts. Different points of view are welcomed and respected. I encourage all of us to spend our time becoming better people. If you find yourself doing the opposite of these five things, I admonish you to reconsider your ways. You deserve to live in the freedom that responsibility offers those who take control of their own actions, decisions, and relationships. Thanks for reading and have a wonderful Wednesday!-Charity Israel

 

 

 

Photo Credit: http://cdn.halloftheblackdragon.com/reel/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/man-and-woman-gaming.jpg

Declaration for May 2016

 

 

blooming-flowersI woke up early on May 1, 2016, and I found myself writing this declaration out. Life has been a little busy so I’m just finding time to post it. If it agrees with where you are in this season of your life, feel free to make it your own. If it does not agree with you, feel free to disregard. My prayer is that we will all hear what God is saying to us individually, and I pray this encourages you: 

This month will be a time of Divine Enablement and Acceleration. It will be a time of victory and an opportunity to see some of the results of the work accomplished in the first quarter of the year. I declare this month to be one of provision, prosperity, and purpose. I thank God for every divine connection and I will meet the prophetic voice of this season in my life. I thank God for divine appointments and increased discernment (Ps.119:66). This month will consist of laser beam focus as it pertains to doing what God has called me to do (Prov.4:25; Col. 3:2). This month a revealing of the Sons of God will take place (Rom. 8:12-14). I thank you that you are providing strategy to get the job done (Ps. 32:8). I thank you for an increase in my capacity for the Word (Matt. 4:4). I will have a hunger for it (Deut. 8:3). I thank you that I will live a disciplined life and that nothing will Lord over me except You, oh God (Ps. 119:9-11). I declare this month of May to be a time of spiritual promotion that many of us would gain access to certain authorities, revelations, and insights that were not privy to us in the last season of our lives (2 Cor. 3:18). This month will be a time of reward for those who have been faithful over the few things (Matt 25:21). We cannot afford to walk blindly in this next season (Matt. 13:11-17). We will get before God and find out what Heaven desires to be done on earth through us (Matt. 6:10). I declare this month to be a time of revealing concerning the relationships in our lives. May every lie, ulterior motive, and hidden agenda be exposed in Jesus name (I John 4:1). This month will be a time of access being granted and for those who have wrestled with God expect favor (Gen. 32:24-32). I declare a stirring up of the gifts and a desire to mature the gifts inside of us (2 Tim.1:6; Prov. 22:29). I declare that wisdom, knowledge, and understanding shall accompany you this month as never before (Prov.4:5-9, 9:10; Eccl. 7:12). I declare this month that your prayers will match Heaven, and that you will be found only desiring what he wants for your life (Ps. 119:9-16). I declare the strategies of demonic forces have been discovered and destroyed (Eph.6:11). I declare that you will become skilled in using the sword of the Spirit which is the word of God (2 Tim.2:15). This month is a time of courage (Ps.27:14,31:24). You will step out and do what God has requested of You (Jer.1:17-19). The spirit of rebellion has been casted out of your soul and you will walk in obedience at a level that you have never known (Heb.12:5-12). Your “Yes” this month will be the difference in eternal gain or temporary pleasure (I Cor. 15:58). I declare this month to be a time of blossoming (Isa. 35). Your identity in Christ will bloom before your eyes (Col. 2:6-3:17). Your success in this season will be contingent upon your service to God and his people. This month we will come into the Truth of who we are and we will boldly operate in that truth (1 Pet.2:9;ICor.12). The scales have been removed; the clouds have cleared; and the haze is gone. You have divine permission to pursue what God has placed inside of you to do. Go forth in God’s love, grace, wisdom and favor in Jesus name.-Charity Israel

 

 

 

 

 

Picture Credit: https://illegalbriefs.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/blooming-flowers.jpg

Dear Christian: Listener Beware of Periscope Preaching

pulpit-preacherJesus Christ  the same yesterday, today, and forever. So do not be distracted by strange, new ideas. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not rules about food which, do no help those who follow them.-Hebrews 13:8,9

Let me start this post off by saying, “I come in peace, love, and hair grease!” This blog is in no way taking a shot at anyone who claims to be an apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. However, I do write this as a warning and encouragement to those who are in these positions and to those who aspire to be in them.

In a world that is fixed on finding the new trend, new face, new word, and etc. we as ministers must be careful not to follow behind them. We cannot allow our desires to be trendy, relevant, or popular to take us away from the never changing Truth of the Gospel. Here are some things we should be checking before we choose to subscribe to a Periscope Preacher or become one:

  1. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. His story does not change and the way he becomes our Lord does not change. If someone is presenting another Jesus other than the one our Bible teaches UNSUBSCRIBE. If someone is suggesting that you should do more than Romans 10:9 to be saved you should UNSUBSCRIBE.
  2. Do not be attracted by strange, new ideas. If your new revelation cannot be supported by anything found in Genesis through Revelation, please discard of it. We do NOT need it in the body of Christ! Everything we teach or preach must have its’ roots deeply embedded in the word of God. The bible is complete and your ideas outside of it are not helpful to the Body of Christ. To those listening, if there is never a Bible verse mentioned from the mouth of the man or woman of God you are listening to UNSUBSCRIBE. If you find their message more appealing to your pride, vanity, and temporal things that don’t encourage you in your walk with God, UNSUBSCRIBE. There are a lot of people using Jesus as their get rich or popular real quick scheme. Please do NOT assist them in their madness.
  3. Your strength comes from God’s grace, not from rules about food, which do NOT help those who follow them. As a Christian if you are unfamiliar with the concept of God’s Grace I would encourage you to get to know what it entails. It is a beautiful gift from God that saves us from sin and enables us to refrain from sin. The grace of God is what gives us strength to live righteously. If a person is suggesting that you have to do anything more than live in the grace that God has provided UNSUBSCRIBE. Ephesians 2:8,9 reveals it is grace alone that saves us, and there is nothing we can do besides having faith in God to keeps us saved. “God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.” If a person is suggesting anything differently, UNSUBSCRIBE. Our salvation, our righteousness, our sanctification, EVERYTHING comes from God and do not allow anyone to have you thinking it’s all done by your strength. Our boast should be in the Lord and not in us.

I hope this blog was received in the love that it was written. Social Media is a great platform to get the Gospel of Jesus Christ out. However we must make sure that our messages always line up with the word of God. It is not just the litmus test for life, but it should be the way we filter through messages that will honor Him, ourselves, or some false teaching. I hope this will help you filter through what is worthy of your time and attention. Have a Marvelous Monday and thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

 

Photo Credit: http://www.considerup.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/pulpit-preacher.jpg

 

 

I’m the Most Beautiful Girl in the World: Thanks Prince for the Reminder!!!

"Prince"

“** FILE ** Prince performs during the 6th annual BET Awards in this June 27, 2006, file photo in Los Angeles. Prince will headline the ninth annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, festival promoters announced Wednesday, April 9, 2008. The Purple One will be the featured act on day two of the giant summer music festival, a three-day affair that runs April 25-27 in Indio, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, file)”

 

 

Usually when the death of a celebrity occur I give my condolences via the internet, and I move on. Yesterday, I assumed would be no different as I sat in silence for a moment trying to wrap my mind around the news of Prince’s passing. Honestly, i’m still like I won’t believe it until the funeral.#noLordnotPrince After getting over the initial shock, I went on Youtube, and I found a video that would convey what I wanted the world to know that I appreciated about Prince. I typed out my little tribute:

Rest well to the beautifully weird musical genius, Prince. Many appreciated his voice, but I appreciated his musicianship. I’ll never forget the first time I heard him play the guitar. He made me feel as if I could too!!! Thanks for giving this world what you could. Your gift of music helped make the world a better place for a moment as we all danced our troubles awa.

I had fulfilled my Internet duties, and I started to look through my timeline to see how others were paying homage to this musical genius. I chuckled at how some felt a righteous indignation to condemn people for honoring his influence on their lives and the world. I rolled my eyes at “Super Fans” who made self-righteous post declaring how the rest of us were not true fans because we did not know his favorite eyeliner or designer. I smiled at how cities and meteorologist around the world used Purple to light up the city or represent the rain. He was indeed a gift to this world.

I will admit I was not a diehard fan. Matter of fact, I would not consider myself a fan of anyone I do not personally know.. However, Prince’s music has had an amazing impact on my life. It’s no secret that my father opted to leave my mom with the responsibility of raising me, and my stepfather was not the best replacement for the job. He did not affirm me as a young girl. My mom always assured me I was beautiful, but it was not until 1995, at ten years old that I heard a man declare just how beautiful and special I was as a girl. I was listening to the radio, not really paying attention to the new song being played until I heard the chorus. I gave my undivided attention to the second verse so that I could hear these words again:

Could you be the most beautiful girl in the world? Could you be? It’s plain to see. You’re the reason that God made a girl. Oh, yes you are!

To this day, I cannot describe what happened to me in those moments, but I felt confident  and appreciated by the end of the song. To some this may be a moment you would like to give me your pity, please DO NOT. LOL God uses whomever and whatever he needs to get the message to us, and that day God used Prince. I did not run out and buy the single, but the chorus was engraved on my heart.

Of all the Women Empowerment songs this song celebrates being a woman in a way that does not diminish the value of a man in the process. Being a lyrical genius, he reminded women to take delight in being the object of a man’s affection. In my opinion, there is nothing more beautiful than giving all your love to another.

Prince will truly be missed, but his music has made him immortal as long as we have a means of listening to it. I’m sure he had no clue that his song would be a tool used to instill confidence in a 10 years old girl in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is just a reminder to those who are living to use your gifts because God knows the lives you will touch by doing using them. Prince was unapologetically Black, unapologetically an artist, and unapologetically himself. I wonder what greatness we would achieve if we decided to stay true to what is inside of us no matter who told us that we should change to make them feel comfortable.

Thanks Prince for helping me realize that because God created me, BEAUTIFUL is all I can be, and forgive me for showing my appreciation a few days too late.-Charity Israel

 

The Love Factor

love factor“For you have heard the law that says, “Love your neighbor,’ and hate your enemy. 44But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you! 45In that way, you will be acting as true children of your Father in heaven…”-Matthew 5:43-45

I’m not sure if anyone has taken notice, but in the last few years of preaching there has been a shift towards focusing on our “Haters.” Particularly in the Black Church setting, there seems to be this crazy fixation on “tell your hater this, show your hater that, and blah blah blah.” I personally feel that this Hater Obsession is doing more harm to the Body of Christ than good. I believe it has assisted the enemy in his plot to keep us separated. It has produced competition, suspicion, and mistrust among believers, and it is has moved us further away from what we have been commanded to do (Matthew 22:36-40, 28:18-20)

I also believe it has distracted us from who our real enemies are and none of these enemies are humans. Ephesians 6:12 says, “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world; and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” If we aren’t careful, we will have Christians hating one another instead of confronting that spirit working through an individual. Okay we’ll save “Spiritual Warfare” for another date. However, we are doing a grave injustice to the Body of Christ when we spend a whole sermon on How to Handle a Hater, but we fail to help people identify who our enemies truly are.

Oh and let me get this off my chest, most of us do not have enemies like we liked to believe. Many of us do not have enough going on in our lives to give someone a reason to sabotage our success. I include myself in this number, and this is why I do not spend my time worrying about a “hater” or enemy as the Bible calls them. Many of us have not acquired enough to have people plotting to take it. If you want to know how real enemies behave read the book of Judges, I Kings, II Kings, and Psalms to name a few. Real enemies seek your position, your authority, your power, and your life. If you have not had someone to literally try to kill you or sabotage your job, ministry, marriage, and etc. have several seats in the Petty Christian section. Someone stealing your facebook post, hairstyle, or outfit does not count as an attack against you.

Jesus gives us the anecdote to dealing with people who choose to be enemies against us. He tells us to LOVE YOUR ENEMIES! Say it with me, “LOVE YOUR ENEMIES!” By doing this people are able to determine who our God truly is. We are most like our Father when we choose to love those who refuse to love us. Remember Romans 5:10, “since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while WE WERE STILL HIS ENEMIES..” Surely if God loved us, we can love them. I pray we consider this the next time we are faced with the decision of How to Handle a Hater. Truth be told, we were all once enemies of God and had he not decided to extend His love to us, we would not know the blessing of being his friends (John 15:15).

Here is my point, the actions of others never remove our responsibility to love them as God commanded. Whether the person has decided to be a friend or an enemy against us, we are called to LOVE them both the same. Our feelings and our flesh will never suggest we love someone who continues to mistreat us. However, if we want the world to know that we truly belong to God, we must act like him. He gives us the ability to do it, and he gives us the wisdom to know when this Love should be expressed from a safe distance. Please know that I am continually praying that we as the Body will be found doing what John 15: 17 commands of us and that is to “Love each other!”

 

Have a Magnificent Monday, thanks for reading, and remember LOVE LIVES FREE!!!-Charity Israel