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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Photo Credit:  https://continuingindaba.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/0-adonai.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

 

 

Freedom Friday: Dealing with Demonic Oppression

               He told them, This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.-Mark 9:29

I will never forget the day I was delivered from Demonic Oppression during my junior year of college. I was attending a Spiritual Encounter conference at Greenwood Christian Center in Tulsa, OK. We were doing some intense spiritual exercises such as renouncing generational curses, writing out and burning our confessions of sins, and etc. I had been fasting the whole weekend, and I was feeling great until the Sunday Morning service. I started feeling horrible knots in my stomach, and I knew it was not hunger pains from fasting. I took the extreme discomfort as a confirmation for me to make my way to the service.

I made it to church, and I was still feeling sick. The minister in charge of the conference was up sharing pics and highlights of the weekend. The church went up in high praise. He quickly silenced the people, as he felt led to make one last Altar Call for those of us who attended that weekend. He said, “Is there anyone who feels that they didn’t receive all they needed this weekend? If that is you make your way to the altar.” I could not get there fast enough because I knew something inside of me was not right, and the way I was being attacked was not natural!

A few people made their way to the altar quicker than I did, and I waited patiently praying quietly as the ministers were praying for other people. Everything was fine until the minister came to me. Before he could lay hands on me I let out a hellacious scream, and I tried to attack him. In that moment I acquired Incredible Hulk strength, and it took three people to restrain me (keep in mind, I was 4’11 and 115 pounds at the time). I remember wanting to stop myself, but that spirit had manifested itself. When we arrived to the area that they did Deliverance Ministry, I had to be pinned down because I would strike or kick at the people. A lady started praying for me. She casted out the spirits of Anger and Rage, and I immediately calmed down. The people were able to place me in a chair.

As the Holy Spirit gave her discernment, she named out a few other things. My eyes would not open during this time. I remember the voices that came from me and the way my body would convulse or contort as she prayed. It was the weirdest experience because I was aware of what was happening, but I had no control over what was taking place. The last spirit she addressed was the spirit of rejection, and I remember sounding like a toddler talking to her. As she commanded the spirit to leave, the child voice turned into an angry man. He explained, “he had permission to be there!” There was finally a breakthrough, and I came to myself. I began to weep joyously. I left knowing that I had been set free. I felt so light, and I was not ashamed because my freedom mattered most.

I felt I needed to share this story because I am tired of Christians suffering in silence. I was an intercessor, choir member, and chaplain at the time that I  was bound by Demonic oppression. I was afraid to go to sleep with the light off because I would wake up with scratches and bruises the next day. I was having suicidal thoughts. I was being tormented in my mind, and I knew this was not God’s best for me. I was either going to get delivered or be found dead on a Christian University campus. I opted for deliverance!

I sought out a place that was not afraid of Spiritual Warfare, and I stayed until I was no longer bound. I wanted to be delivered, and I was going to obtain it at any cost. Soon after going through Deliverance ministry, I sought out a Holy Spirit filled therapist. She helped “fill the house” (Matthew 12:43-45) with the word of God and counseling techniques to help me truly enjoy the freedom I obtained. It was one of the best decisions of my life.

Some will read this and argue, “Christians cannot be oppressed by demons.” I pray you never have to experience such torture. But to those of us who know differently, allow FREEDOM to be your pursuit. If your church is not equipped to handle Spiritual matters beyond Salvation, find a place that does. Do not continue to sit in torment when Freedom is available to you. Like the woman with the demon-possessed daughter (Matthew 15:22-28), go get what belongs to you. You’re in my prayers, and I dare you to live FREE!

Congratulations and Condolences: Christmas Edition

As I am sitting in my apartment away from my family this Christmas, sadness tried to damper the awesomeness of today. I was getting ready to attend my pity party; but the thought of what usually  happens on today invited my thoughts to hang out for a minute. For some this will be a day that will be marked as the best day of their lives. For others, it will be remembered as the day “I did not get what I wanted.” So here are my Congratulations and Condolences for Christmas 2014:

  1. Congratulations to everyone who woke up to smells of Christmas breakfast. My condolences to everyone who has to wait until after 3pm to eat because all the groceries went to the Christmas dinner. #hungergames
  2. Congratulations to everyone who received what they wanted this year. My condolences to everyone who received something worst than not getting what you wanted, the Knockoffs or Generic version of your request. #BeetsbyDre
  3. Congratulations to everyone who are genuinely excited about being with their family. My condolence to everyone who has to pretend they like each other to make Grandma happy. Side note: The Porter family is the greatest on the planet, and I know this Christmas will be one for the record books, HAVE FUN!! #Fakesmilesforeveryone
  4. Congratulations to those who family member pray short prayers over the meal. My condolences to everyone who has to warm their food up again, after their uncle prayed for everything except the food. #everlastingprayer
  5. Congratulations to everyone with well-behaved children. You will enjoy your time with other family members. My condolences to everyone with ill-mannered children. You will be the security guard among the kids this Christmas. #keepthepeace
  6. Congratulations to everyone who will be Engaged by the end of the night. My condolences to everyone who thought today would be the day. #alwaysnextChristmas
  7. Congratulations to everyone who ate the last piece of pie, cake, mac and cheese, and etc. and did not throw the pan away. My condolences to everyone who lifted the foil or lid only to discover NOTHING. #horriblepeople #terriblefeeling
  8. Congratulations to everyone whose team will win today. My condolences to everyone who is not a Dallas Cowboy fan. Side note: I know they do not play today, but I love them! #WeDemBoyz
  9. Congratulations to everyone who won the Ugly Christmas Sweater Contest this year. My condolences to everyone who wore an Ugly Christmas sweater and did not know it was one. #Christmastragedy
  10. Congratulations to the Main Chicks that received real perfume sets for Christmas. My condolences to the Side Chicks that received Victoria Secret and Calgon Spray sets for the second year in the row. #VersacevsVanilla #EsteeLaudervsCottonBreeze
  11. Congratulations to everyone who met their Significant  Other’s family. My condolences to those  who have not heard from their significant other yet. #notthatsignificant
  12. Congratulations Jesus it is your “birthday.” My condolences to you, it has to suck that a fat man in a suit gets more recognition on this day than you. #comebacksoon

There you have it My Christmas 2014 Congratulations and Condolences. To those who are alone this Christmas, find joy in the wonderful memories of Christmas Past. To those who have the luxury of being with family today, ENJOY THEM. Merry Christmas!!!