Needs, Wants, and an Anxiety Attack

But God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.-Philippians 4:19

Blog photoThis morning, as I thought of all the things that I was in “need” of this week, I found myself in a slight panic. My money hadn’t been funny for awhile, but this month has been a reminder of those days. As I sat trying to figure out how to handle things financially, I felt my body bracing itself for  an Anxiety Attack. My palms were getting sweaty. My heart was starting to race; and right before I started to hyperventilate, Philippians 4:19 came to my mind.  It says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” This was Paul’s response of gratitude for what the church of Philippi did for him; but it became the anecdote for the anxiety that was trying to overtake me. As I continued to recite the verse, peace started to flood my heart. Repeating the words “God shall supply all your need”  began to put things into perspective for me. I had become so flustered over the temporary loss of certain luxuries that I allowed it to rob me of my peace. I had completely ignored the fact that ALL MY NEEDS were met.

As I searched for commentary on the scripture, none of the writers bothered to discuss what a need entailed. They may have thought it is one of those things that is understood; but I took the liberty of finding a definition for those of us who are unable to distinguish a need from a want. It was difficult finding a detailed definition for the word “need,” but Wikipedia defines it as “something necessary for an organism to live a healthy life. Needs are distinguished from wants in that, in the case of a need, a deficiency causes a clear adverse outcome: dysfunction or death.” Basically a need is something you literally cannot function properly without. You need food, but you want a meal from Fogo de Chao. You need clothing, but you want Oscar de la Renta, BCBG, and etc. You need shelter, but you want a 2,500 square ft. home near the beach. We often fail to miss the beauty of God’s provision being made available to us because we allow our wants to dictate our lives. When our wants are pursued over appreciating what has already been provided, we exchange our peace for anxiety/worry. Let me be clear, I am not suggesting that desiring the finer things in life is bad. I enjoy nice things. However, when our future desires rob us of being content with Today’s provision, we have to stop and put things back into perspective.

To add to the internal madness, many of us listen to “Christian” teachings that make God appear to be some kind of genie. We gravitate to teachings  that suggest “whatever you ask for, you shall receive;” “God wants you to ONLY have the best;” and things of that nature. As a result of such teachings, we often internalize but rarely verbalize, “If my wants are not granted, God has failed to be God for me.” However, God is not responsible for granting our wants. As our Creator, he is solely responsible for providing us with the things that will sustain our lives (Luke 12:22-30). This is something he does on a daily basis, and he reminds us in Matthew 6:31-34 not to worry about those things:

So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. (NIV)

Today,  I encourage you to look around and see if you have access to these three things: food, clothing, and shelter. If you do, God has kept his promise to you as your Creator. Yes, housing conditions could be more comfortable; the food choice could be better; and the clothes could be more fashionable; but you are NOT without. I hope this truth will allow you to live free from the worry that wants, bills, and envy can bring. I pray you find rest in the truth that God has provided all you need for today. Enjoy this day, and trust God with your tomorrow.

Thanks for reading,

Charity Israel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nuggets from Noah: The Perks of Living in an Ark

This reflection was written July 8, 2016 in one of my journals. Today I was reminded of it. I was encouraged all over again. I pray it encourages you:

Today I felt led to read the story of Noah (Genesis 7:9-17). While reading, I tried to rush through it assuming I knew everything there was about Noah. The Holy Spirit, said “slow down and read all of it.”  As I started to take my time to read, I recognized the time it took for Noah’s world to return to its regularly scheduled programming (i.e. no animals, no living in an ark, and etc.). It took well over a year for things to return to “normal.” It took 40 days to flood the earth and over a year to restore the land.

As I read this story, I started to see my life. I too have been in an ark, a place of protection during the flood of life.  It is as if all that was good, honest, and true were permitted to remain while every lie, deception, past mistake, and negative mindset were left out of my ark. The world as I knew it was being destroyed around me; and I was forced to be by myself as things from my past were being drowned by the torrential rains of God’s love, truth, forgiveness, and grace. It was cold and dark, but I was never alone. Being in similar situations, I assumed it would not take as long to get out the ark. However almost 7 ½ months later, I am still in the ark. Things are slowly returning to normal, and the sun is starting to shine again. It is not quite time to come out, but I have more hope that the doors will be opening soon.

I must retract my statement about Noah’s life returning to normal. Nothing was normal about Noah’s life after leaving the ark. In the beginning of the story, he had just a piece of land to call his own. Now, he had the world as his possession. He already had authority as the patriarch of his family; but he obtained dominion over the earth upon leaving the ark. His family had been entrusted with replenishing the earth for the glory of God. He went into the ark as a servant, and he left it as a Ruler. He went into the ark following commands, but he left it free to do what his heart desired.  Noah was a completely different man a year or so later after being in the ark. He had become wiser; skilled at taming animals; and a great strategist dealing with the issues that arouse on the ark. Noah’s patience was perfected while waiting to be released from the ark. He became a master at caring for creation. He developed a deeper understanding of God while enduring the flood. Building the ark proved God to be a provider. Living in the ark proved God to be a protector and sustainer of His creation.

 Today you may be in what appears to be the greatest storm of your life. Having gone through a few storms, you assumed God would have responded by now. However, you do not know what is being prepared beyond your limited view of the situation. God is developing a place where you can thrive, have dominion, and enjoy His creation. Take a lesson from Noah and wait on God. Allow God to handle what is outside of your power, and you tend to what you can fix. Allow this time to perfect your love and skills. Let the truth of God’s love for you assure you that this time will not last forever.

Noah received new instructions upon leaving the ark, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth.” (Genesis 9:2) Initially, he was restricted by what could go into the ark. Once Noah was released, he was given permission to produce as much as he could for as long as he could. Authority is given to those who submit themselves to God’s will during the time of a storm. I pray you will be found submitting yourself to God’s will while in your storm. There is something God is working inside of you and outside of the ark. Yield to the process and watch God keep his promise of protection and provision. You’ll be released from the ark at the perfect time. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

 

 

 

 

Confessions of an Ex-Racist Christian

This morning I woke up and felt led to open one of my journals. As I read it, I laughed at a few of my foolish request, and I smiled at my growth as a human trying to learn how to live this life. Since it is  Throw back Thursday, I will share an entry of Introspection from September 9, 2015:

I believe one of the hardest thing for a person to admit,especially a Christian, is he or she is a racist. No one who claims to love God wants to admit they have a problem with His creation; but it is  part of the Church’s reality. It took me roughly 25 years, six years ago, to admit racism lived in my heart. It was something I tried to ignore, but, living in the South and becoming more aware of the injustices of my tribe, I found myself HATING white people. I  found it difficult to admit my racism because I had friends I genuinely cared about although I could care less about their kind. To my credit, I did not hate my friends just all of the “other” white people smh… I figured, if I refrained from watching slave movies that it would go away. I thought, if I tried harder to befriend them that it would go away. I assumed, if I tried to replace negative thoughts about them with good ones my problem would be fixed. Oh how I assumed incorrectly! The more I attempted to fix a heart issue with my logic, I despised them more. Finally, I had a moment of truth with God because the hate in my heart was conflicting with the cry of my heart to love him and his people.  I poured my heart out to Him concerning the matter. I confessed that I was in fact a racist, and I held deep hate in my heart towards Caucasians. I confessed that my knowledge of how their ancestors treated my tribe and how some treat us today makes it difficult to forgive and love them. I even admitted that I felt I had both the right and plenty of reasons to stay angry with them. I repented for claiming to love God and hate his creation. I knew I could not be an effective dispenser of God’s love to the world with this kind of hate in my heart towards people. I asked God to change my heart and teach me how to gather knowledge without hate being attached to it. When I decided to be honest about the condition of my heart, God did an amazing work in it. I no longer carry that Hate I did towards my lighter brothers and sisters. I stopped  accusing them all of being one way based on the actions of a few. I truly make a conscious effort to judge a person by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. Life has truly been much sweeter with hate out of my heart. Thank you God for helping me!-Charity

For those who will read this, particularly those who claim to be Christians, please consider your ways.  Take the time to tell God how you truly feel about certain groups of people. 1 John 4:20 says, “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” My encouragement to each of us is to be honest about who we are in God’s presence so that we can love as God commands us. We as believers cannot expect the condition of the world to change when we refuse to change and deal with the hate in our hearts. I am praying for each us that we would truly allow the love of God to permeate our hearts and be the change this world needs. Thanks for reading!-Charity Israel

Do not RSVP: A look at Proverbs 23:6-8

So today I had prepared to write a blog on the scripture “for as a man thinketh so is he…” I had all my great points written out, and I was excited about what I had to say. Then something amazingly awful happened. I read the passage and had to start from scratch. The scripture in its proper context did not support the words I wrote, and I had to discard my thoughts because I had no biblical support for them. I soon discovered that all my life I have been paraphrasing  this scripture, and using the misinterpretation of others to interpret it for myself. Here is the passage that I am speaking of Proverbs 23:6-8:

Eat thou not the bread of him that hath an evil eye, neither desire thou his dainty meats:7 For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he: Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee. 8 The morsel which thou hast eaten shalt thou vomit up, and lose thy sweet words. (King James Version)

Every time I have heard verse 7 preached it has always been in the form of encouraging people to watch their thought life. However, this scripture is not encouraging people to watch their thought life. It is a warning for us to be mindful of the character and motives of others. It is encouraging us to consider those we fellowship with and be conscientious of the fact that some people will invite you places and have no desire for your presence. For those who may think I am off my rocker let’s try the same passage in the New Living Translation. It says:

6 Don’t eat with people who are stingy; don’t desire their delicacies.7 They are always thinking about how much it costs.“Eat and drink,” they say, but they don’t mean it.8 You will throw up what little you’ve eaten,and your compliments will be wasted.

Nowhere in this scripture are we being warned to watch our thoughts, but we are being warned to consider the character of those who request our presence. It is ensuring us that if we eat with people that we know are selfish, we will eventually regret every bite! Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible suggests, “For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he, He is not the man his mouth speaks or declares him to be, but what his heart thinks; which is discovered by his looks and actions, and by which he is to be judged of, and not by his words. Eat and drink, saith he to thee, but his heart is not with thee; he bids you eat and drink, but he does not desire you should…” Everyone’s table is not worth a visit. We should consider their character before accepting their invitation.

Since the Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 13:1 that “…every fact shall be sustained and confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses,” (AMP) allow me to present one more translation on this text to validate the true meaning of Proverbs 23:6-8. The Douay-Rheims Bible says:

Eat not with an envious man, and desire not his meats: 7 Because like a soothsayer, and diviner, he thinketh that which he knoweth not. Eat and drink, will he say to thee: and his mind is not with thee. 8 The meats which thou hadst eaten, thou shalt vomit up: and shalt loose thy beautiful words. 

For the third time, we see our personal thought life has nothing to do with this scripture; but the text is warning us to be aware of the intent of others. The addition of “because like a soothsayer and diviner” comes from the late fourth-century Latin translation of the Bible known as the Vulgate. I actually wish the modern Bible translations would have kept that in there to make the text more clear. Just like the soothsayer and diviner deceive, bamboozle, and cause great havoc in the lives of those who take their bribes or use their services; so is the envious or selfish person who invites you to dinner. It is best you go without for the day rather than dine with the person you know is never doing good for anyone else except themselves.

So if you are still with me let me conclude with these few points:

  1. Make it your business to find out what the scripture says for yourself.
  2. If you discover that your interpretation was wrong, admit it and adjust your life to the scriptures not your feelings or misinterpretation.
  3. There are scriptures in the Bible that will support the need for us to change our thinking but Proverbs 23:6-8 are not the ones to use.
  4. Do not eat at the table of a person whose character consist of envy, jealousy, and selfishness. If you ignore this warning, you will regret it.
  5. Make it a point to never to be the person described in Point 4. If those words describe you, today is a great day to allow the Lord to change your heart.

 

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope this has encouraged you! Have an awesome day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.buzzfeed.com/emofly/hannibal-food-secrets-janice-poon?utm_term=.slVbY3wJZl#.gye7dE3xKr

Getting to Know God Series: El Shaddai

El Shaddai- The All-Sufficient One, God Almighty

Throughout the Bible we find times where God chooses to reveal who He is to mankind. I find this to be a display of God’s love towards us in hopes that we would come to trust Him more. God desires that we know Him, and he takes delights in blessing those who respond to his love properly. It is in Genesis 17:1,2 that this concept is played out as God reveals himself, as El Shaddai, to Abram, “When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life. 2I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”

Before we go any further, it should be noted that scholars go back and forth on whether El Shaddai means “the All-Sufficient One” or “God Almighty.” I appreciate how A.W. Pink, in Gleanings in Genesis concludes the meaning of El Shaddai, “The revelation which God here made of Himself was well suited to the occasion. This was the first time that He revealed Himself as “the Almighty.” None but One who possessed all power could meet Abram’s need at this time. Ninety and nine years of age, his body dead; Sarah barren and long past the age of child-bearing – how could they have hope to have a son? But with God all things are possible. And why? Because He is El Shaddai, the All-Sufficient One.” El Shaddai is God Almighty which makes Him the All-Sufficient One.

Recognizing that God is the Almighty was a necessary component to Abram fulfilling the next request of God to him. God tells Abram, “Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.” How was Abram the liar going to pull off the task of living a blameless life before a Holy God? How was he going to faithfully serve God in light of his many shortcomings. The answer is found in completely depending on the All-Sufficient One. Abram’s ability to live out God’s command to him was solely based on his willingness to trust in the One who provides all we need pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3). I really love the words found in MacLauren’s Exposition on this verse. The author says:

Note the revelation of God’s character, and of our consequent duty, which preceded the repetition of the covenant. ‘I am the Almighty God.’ The aspect of the divine nature, made prominent in each revelation of Himself, stands in close connection with the circumstances or mental state of the recipient. So when God appeared to Abram after the slaughter of the kings, He revealed Himself as ‘thy Shield’ with reference to the danger of renewed attack from the formidable powers which He had bearded and beaten. In the present case the stress is laid on God’s omnipotence, which points to doubts whispering in Abram’s heart, by reason of God’s delay in fulfilling His word, and of his own advancing years and failing strength. Paul brings out the meaning of the revelation when he glorifies the faith which it kindled anew in Abram, ‘being fully assured that, what He had promised, He was able also to perform’ {Romans 4:21}. Whenever our ‘faith has fallen asleep’ and we are ready to let go our hold of God’s ideal and settle down on the low levels of the actual, or to be somewhat ashamed of our aspirations after what seems so slow of realization, or to elevate prudent calculations of probability above the daring enthusiasms of Christian hope, the ancient word, that breathed itself into Abram’s hushed heart, should speak new vigor into ours. ‘I am the Almighty God-take My power into all thy calculations, and reckon certainties with it for the chief factor. The one impossibility is that any word of Mine should fail. The one imprudence is to doubt My word.’

 

As it was with Abram, so it is with us. If we ever plan to fulfill the commands and plans of God for our lives, we must rely solely on El Shaddai. We must trust that He is the source of all we will ever need to live holy, pursue His will, and speak His word. My prayer for us today is that we will come to know God as the All-Sufficient, Almighty God that He is. Everything we need is found in Him, and the moment we start to believe that is the moment we will truly pursue what He has called us to do. When you are convinced you have all you need to succeed, failure is not an option. El Shaddai is on your side! I dare you to go and be great!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.reviveourhearts.com/series/el-shaddai-the-all-sufficient-one/

Getting Know God: El Roi

El Roi: The God Who Sees Me

One of my favorite names to use for God when praying is El Roi. Every time I use it I find it to be an instant reminder that He is aware of my circumstances. It tends to ease the ache of the request; and it sets God back in his proper place as God above all that is bothering me. In Genesis 16, we are introduced to the name El Roi, by a woman named Hagar. For those of us who may not be familiar with Hagar, she was the servant of Sarai (Abram’s wife). Sarai had the bright idea to help God in fulfilling His promise to her husband and suggested that Abram sleep with Hagar. As Sarai desired, Hagar became pregnant. Once pregnant Hagar started to treat Sarai with contempt (v.4). Sarai returns the favor and treats Hagar so harshly that she runs away.  It is in this time of running that she is found by the loving-kindness of God:

7 The angel of the LORD found Hagar beside a spring of water in the wilderness, along the road to Shur. 8 The angel said to her, “Hagar, Sarai’s servant, where have you come from, and where are you going?”“I’m running away from my mistress, Sarai,” she replied. 9 The angel of the LORD said to her, “Return to your mistress, and submit to her authority.” 10 Then he added, “I will give you more descendants than you can count.”11 And the angel also said, “You are now pregnant and will give birth to a son. You are to name him Ishmael (which means ‘God hears’), for the LORD has heard your cry of distress. 12 This son of yours will be a wild man, as untamed as a wild donkey! He will raise his fist against everyone, and everyone will be against him. Yes, he will live in open hostility against all his relatives.”13 Thereafter, Hagar used another name to refer to the LORD, who had spoken to her. She said, “You are the God who sees me.”a She also said, “Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” 14 So that well was named Beer-lahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”). It can still be found between Kadesh and Bered. 15 So Hagar gave Abram a son, and Abram named him Ishmael. (New Living Translation)

I find the timing of God very interesting in this story. At any moment, He could have revealed himself. However, he waits until she is expecting and in a dry place before He reveals he has been with her the entire time. He waits until she is out of options, without friends, and without any sense of direction before he says, “I see you!” He allows her to feel every ounce of fear, isolation, and abandonment before revealing the I AM is with you. It was not until she was away from all that she had known that she came to know God for herself.

God did not simply reveal himself to her in the wilderness; but he spoke to her purpose. He provided her with instructions on how to rectify her past mistakes (v.9); and he gave her insight to what her future would entail (vv. 10-12). It never cease to amaze me that how one encounter with God can bring wholeness and clarity to the thing(s) that pains us the most. Hagar heeded to the instructions that were given to her, and she was able to return “home” with a better understanding of who her God was and what was in store for her future.

For those of us who may be in a wilderness situation like Hagar, I would encourage us to:

  1.  Sit still for a moment and allow the voice of God to speak to our situation.
  2. Admit where we were wrong and mishandled the situation, relationship, and etc.
  3. Stop rehearsing the offenses and choose to forgive those who hurt you. 
  4. Obey the instructions that God give us.
  5. Walk free from condemnation knowing that the God who sees has come to your rescue.

El Roi is aware of all that is hurting you, and he is waiting for the moment that you stop trying to figure things out. He longs to commune with you so that He can reveal the truth of who His and who you are to you. My prayer is that you come to know God as El Roi, the God who sees me so that you can see yourself as He does. Hagar’s life was never the same, and I am certain your will not be either.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Credit: https://biblein2015.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/el-roi-the-god-who-sees-me.jpg

Ask for Help: Tips on Surrendering to the Will of God

” Teach me to do Your will. For you are my God; Your Spirit is good. Lead me in the land of uprightness.”-Psalm 143:10

I truly believe this verse should be the prayer of every Christian. Our hearts should long to know and to do God’s will. We should desire to know His plans for our lives. We should long to fulfill those plans. This longing is admirable, but we should at  some point in our spiritual journey  go from simply desiring His will to submitting ourselves to His will. Here a four ways to ensure that you are doing just that:

1.Recognize Your inability to do God’s will outside of His help. The first sentence in this scripture indicates one man’s recognition of needing God’s help in order to do His will. As I was studying, I came across a beautifully written description by  MacLaren’s Expositions that helps illustrates this point :

We may learn from this prayer, then, that practical conformity to God’s will can never be attained by our own efforts. Remember all the hindrances that rise between us and it; these wild passions of ours, this obstinate gravitating of tastes and desires towards earth, these animal necessities, these spiritual perversities, which make up so much of us all-how can we coerce these into submission? Our better selves sit within like some imprisoned king, surrounded and ‘fooled by the rebel powers’ of his revolted subjects; and our best recourse is to send an embassy to the Over-lord, the Sovereign King, praying Him to come to our help. We cannot will to will as God wills, but we can turn ourselves to Him, and ask Him to put the power within us which shall subdue the evil, conquer the rebels, and make us masters of our own else anarchic and troubled spirits. For all honest attempts to make the will of God our wills, the one secret of success is confident and continual appeal to Him. A man must have gone a very little way, very superficially and perfunctorily, on the path of seeking to make himself what he ought to be, unless he has found out that he cannot do it, and unless he has found out that there is only one way to do it, and that is to go to God and say, ‘O Lord! I am baffled and beaten. I put the reins into Thy hand; do Thou inspire and direct and sanctify.’

If we are ever going to do the will of God, we must recognize that it can only happen with His help.

2.Surrender your free will to God’s will.  The interesting thing about God is that He does not typically force His way on people. In his kindness, He has given us “free will,” and our free will often conflicts with His. This is why the Psalmist plea of asking God to “teach me to your will” is so important. It is by asking to be taught that he simultaneously surrenders his own free will and submits himself to God. The moment we ask for God’s help is the moment we surrender all that we know and yield to what He is willing to teach us.

3.Know Who God is. After praying that God teaches him, the psalmist points out, “Your spirit is good.” By this phrase we come to understand why the psalmist was able to surrender his will. His understanding of God’s goodness made surrendering to His will the only proper response. The goodness of God compelled him to trust God with his life, and it should compel us to do the same.

4.Know where God leads. After acknowledging God’s goodness, the psalmists then cries out, “Lead me in the land of uprightness.” This gives the psalmist a measuring stick of whether the places his feet trod are God’s will or his. As he pursues what is right He can rest assure he is being led by God. God will rarely lead us to a place that His goodness and righteousness cannot be found. For the most part, he leads us beside quiet streams. When we are committed to doing life His way righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost is our portion.

If we truly desire to surrender our lives to God, we must be like the psalmist and recognize we cannot do it without Him. We must drop all of our pride and ask God for help. We have to be convinced of who God is so that in the moments He requires more than we would like to give, we trust what we know about Him over our desire. I will not pretend that a life of surrender is not difficult at times. It can be excruciatingly painful in those moments you would prefer to do things your way. However, his grace is sufficient and he helps those who ask for it. My prayer for us all is that we would drop our pride and lift our hands in total surrender to the purposes and plans of God for our lives. He is ready to lead us when we are ready to surrender.

 

 

 

Photo Credit: http://atlantablackstar.com/2015/03/12/new-research-confirms-black-students-better-taught-black-teachers/

The Inclusivity of the Gospel

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved!”-Romans 10:13

Before you freak out, this is not my Coming Out Speech in support of  The Gospel of Inclusion. This is my little exhaustive list of what the Apostle Paul meant by the word “everyone” in Romans 10:13.  I believe this scripture reveals the love, equality, and mercy of God to mankind. Everyone is welcomed to receive salvation if they so desire it. There are no prerequisites.  There are no background or credit checks. Your I.Q is not taken into consideration. Your family history does not keep you from it. Your past is not held against you. Everyone means EVERYONE.

It does not matter if you are liberal or conservative. It does not matter if you are a democrat or republican. It does not matter if you are voting for Trump or Clinton. It does not matter if you watch Fox News or CNN. Salvation is yours if you call on the name of the Lord.

It does not matter if you were once a Satanist. It does not matter if you grew up in a Muslim home. It does not matter if you were once a Buddhist. It does not matter if you were once a Five Percenter. It does not matter if you were a Voodoo priest or priestess. It does not matter if you were Wiccan or you worship St. Lucia. Salvation is yours if you call on the name of the Lord.

It does not matter if you enjoy telling little white lies or large white lies. It does not matter if you have found yourself to be a thief, gossiper, and a cheater. It does not matter if you have had an abortion. It does not matter if you have a proclivity towards pedophilia, pornography, homosexuality, or bestiality. It does not matter if you are murderer, rapist, or what most consider  to be the lowest of humanity. Salvation is yours if you call on the name of the Lord.

I will admit it took me a while to be comfortable with the idea that everyone can receive salvation. It was only a problem because in my humanity I considered some sins greater than others; but in His divinity, God sees them all the same. He provides the same remedy for every sin we will find ourselves entangled in, and that is SALVATION! God never intended salvation to be so complicated. It has always been a matter of simply confessing Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life; and anyone who believes and confess is a recipient of this wonderful Salvation. It is available to “EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD!” Let us stop making Jesus so unattainable to people. Let us keep the Gospel message as simple as Jesus made it in John 3:16, “For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.”(New Living Translation) It really is as simple as believing in Christ and confessing him as our Savior. I pray that will be the Gospel we share with others. It is really the only one worth sharing!-Charity Israel

 

 

Photo Credit: http://billypenn.com/2015/08/04/the-pope-in-philly-how-many-people-could-actually-fit-on-the-ben-franklin-parkway/

Getting to Know God: Adonai

Adonai: My Great Lord, Master

The most important component to the idea of Love Lives Free is the fact that we must spend time getting to know God in order to live in the freedom His love provides. I find it somewhat disheartening that many Christians  have accepted Christ but have little to no understanding of who God is. So for the next few months, I am going to devote my Sunday devotions to blogging on the Names of God. I will warn all the scholars now that it will not be a comprehensive study of His names; but my hope is that it will encourage all of us to go a little deeper in learning about who He is now that we  have accepted the priceless gift of Salvation. It is my hope for the unbeliever that reads this that something will be written that compels you to get to know this amazing God that I am talking about.

There are many names that describe God in the Bible, and I will not spoil the fun for you in discovering those beautiful treasures, but today we will discuss Adonai which means “my great lord or master.” In the Old Testament Adonai occurs 434 times.There are heavy uses of Adonai in Isaiah (e.g., Adonai Jehovah). It occurs 200 times in Ezekiel alone and appears 11 times in Daniel Chapter 9.   Adonai is first used in Gen 15:2.  However it is in Psalm 8 we discover the beautiful writings of  one in awe of the supremacy of God and his willingness to entrust us with His creation:

1 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!Your glory is higher than the heavens. 2 You have taught children and infants to tell of your strength, silencing your enemies and all who oppose you. 3 When I look at the night sky and see the work of your fingers—the moon and the stars you set in place—4 what are mere mortals that you should think about them,human beings that you should care for them? 5 Yet you made them only a little lower than angels and crowned them with glory and honor. 6 You gave them charge of everything you made,putting all things under their authority—7 the flocks and the herds and all the wild animals, 8 the birds in the sky, the fish in the sea, and everything that swims the ocean currents. 9 O LORD, our Lord, your majestic name fills the earth!

Barnes Notes on the Bible suggest “Our Lord – The word used here – אדני ‘âdônay – means properly master, lord, ruler, owner, and is such a title as is given to an owner of land or of slaves, to kings, or to rulers, and is applied to God as being the ruler or governor of the universe. The meaning here is, that the psalmist acknowledged Yahweh to be the rightful ruler, king, or master of himself and of all others. He comes before him with the feeling that Yahweh is the universal ruler – the king and proprietor of all things.” Just like the psalmist we too must see God as Lord of our lives in order to serve him properly.We must see him as the Master of our souls and the Ruler of our lives if we plan on pleasing him on earth. We do not have to fear that he will mistreat us or take advantage of us like history has taught about human masters. His love keeps him from abusing us.

We must be mindful that our lives are no longer our own. Whatever our Lord requires we must be willing to surrender, do, and yield to without questions. This takes practice, and everyday we are presented with the opportunity to allow Him to be Lord of our lives. It is important that if we are going to be representatives of the Kingdom on the earth, we must yield to the Supreme Lord and Ruler of Heaven which is God. Today my prayer is that we will allow God to be Adonai in our lives. I pray we surrender our lives completely over to His lordship, and that we will give him total access to the thrones of our hearts. We will never be able to receive his love if we refuse to yield our hearts to His control. I pray we will. Have a wonderful Sunday!-Charity Israel

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How Firm is Your Faith?

“…Unless your faith is firm I cannot make you stand firm.”-Isaiah 7:9

This was God’s response to King Ahaz in light of the threats that had gone out against Jerusalem. For the sake of time allow me to paraphrase the story. The word on the street was that King Rezin of Syria and King Pekah of Israel were plotting to attack Jerusalem. Fear began to consume the hearts of the people and the king of Jerusalem because of what they knew about the two forces that were coming against them. But God sent the prophet Isaiah to give a word to the king. This is what he says in Isaiah 7:4, “Tell him to stop worrying. Tell him he doesn’t need to fear the fierce anger of those two burned-out-embers, King Rezin of Syria and Pekah son of Remaliah…” God then shares his plans for both of those nations, and he concludes his words to King Ahaz by telling him, “Unless your faith is firm. I cannot make you stand firm.”

In other words, this is my promise to you, but I cannot make you believe it. You now have the option of living in fear because of what “they” said or in faith because of what God said. When the Alpha and Omega declares to you,” Do not worry about your enemies;” you should make it your business not to worry about your enemies. God knows they appear stronger in your sight, but He is greater than those who stand against you.

I also want us to take a moment to consider where the king of Jerusalem was standing when he received the word of the Lord from the prophet Isaiah. Isaiah 7:3 says,”…you will find him at the end of the aqueduct that feeds water into the upper pool near the road leading to the field where the cloth is washed.” In other words, he was near the royal laundry mat which was symbolic of the enemies he was being threatened by. They were washed up! They were useless. God called them “two burned-out-embers.” They possessed no real power to bring harm to Jerusalem, and their threats were in fact harmless.

Please hear me loud and clear if God has given you a word concerning the defeat of those who rise up against you, BELIEVE IT. If God has given you a word concerning healing, restoration, deliverance, and etc., BELIEVE IT! You can be certain of these two things that God  upholds us in our integrity, and he fights for us. You cannot lose with a word from God, but you can wear yourself out by living in doubt and in fear. Today I pray you  choose faith, stand firm, and rest in the truth of God’s word concerning your life. You win!

 

 

 

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