Tag Archives: Jesus

What Side Are You On?

How many times have you heard… “I’m a Christian,” “I believe in Jesus,” “God speaks to me.”  But when you look closely, you see no evidence of Him.

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They profess Christ. They pray. They attend church faithfully, or not. They post Scripture memes on Facebook, and have all their Christianese down pat. Yet, somehow, they carry on as if He doesn’t exist.

They live in outright sin, but think because they were born with gifts and talents, that makes them special and gives them license to do whatever they want. No holds barred. Never once bending their knee and recognizing Jesus as Lord.

They have made a god of their own understanding.

For a couple of years, I went in a different direction. I had stopped reading my Bible and attending Church to assuage my conscience. The deeper I got, the more convicted I felt, until I came to the end of myself.

Whatever you let in, or surround yourself with, will influence you.

I had to make a choice, either I was going to do things my way or God’s way. It wasn’t about what people thought of me, it was about what God thought, and I knew what I needed to do. I needed to break away from all of those associations and influences that had me walking the opposite direction.

Bad company corrupts good morals. (1 Cor. 15:33)

Was it easy? Absolutely not, because I am back at square one. I pressed the reset button and started over again. But this time, I’m doing things God’s way.

The Bible is clear, we can’t live on both sides of the fence. Either we are serving God or the devil, there is no in between.

Some “Christians” will justify what they are doing with a million excuses, which may even sound plausible, but they are deceiving themselves.

This world is governed by the spirit of rebellion.

Ironically, the ones with all the excuses, are the first to criticize those who are actually trying to follow the Bible.

One thing is certain, they may be successful at whatever it is they are doing in the world, but there won’t be any evidence of Jesus in their life. Because they are not pursuing Him, they are chasing after their own worldly pursuits. They made their dream an idol.

Personally, I’d rather be criticized and called names, however unpleasant that is, than bear no fruit in my life.

What about you? What side are you on? 

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Christianity Today

I don’t know about you, but lately, I see so much confusion within Christianity. What happened to the simplicity of the gospel? Where did it go?

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I was one of those Christians who never read their Bible, but in the past couple of years, I have been reading it diligently. To my surprise, I am slowly becoming aware of things I used to passed over, and not pay attention to.

Some Christians get offended when you speak on various pastors who preach a false gospel. They call you judgmental or negative. However, what they fail to understand is how contrary their messages are to the Bible. And yes, I’m deliberately not calling them out.

What I have analyzed is how certain groups of Christians will focus on key scriptures as their premise or basis of doctrinal belief. When they spout these particular scriptures, it does sound exactly as it’s being conveyed. However, that’s the deception. The scriptures are being taken out of context and not going along with the entire theme of the Bible. This is why I say it’s so important to read the Bible.

There was a time I bought into the lie of seeking Heaven on earth. Where everyone will be as one and in unity. Where there is unlimited grace and favor, no matter what you did. A god who supports gay marriage, adultery, murder, child pornography. Anything goes, because God is a loving God and He doesn’t condemn people to hell.

I’m sorry, but that’s not true. God loves the sinner, but hates the sin. He loves the homosexual, prostitute, pimp, drug dealer, murderer, child molester, and adulterer, but He doesn’t love their sin. He doesn’t condone any of these things that specifically go against His very nature and Word. No, He doesn’t accept it, and yes, there is a hell, and it’s real.

Christianity today is do it your way. Where grace abounds, no matter what you do. A feel-good Christianity, where they worship a Jesus who laughs all the time and slaps you on your back, and says, “ata-boy or girl”.

Yes, God is a merciful, and forgiving God. He rains on the just and unjust. (Matthew 5:45) However, He doesn’t accept everything. We shouldn’t abuse or take His grace for granted either. (Hebrews 6:6)

As Christians, we have to make a choice. Either we are all in or all out, but there is no in-between. He hates lukewarm and spews it out of his mouth. (Revelation 3:16)

What kind of Christian are you?

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Life’s Unfamiliar Terrain

I can’t believe this year is almost over. I apologize for not blogging, but this year has been full of changes. I seem to be in the process of transition and walking in unfamiliar terrain.

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You may have been wondering of my disappearance, and this is an attempt to fill you in.

From 2014 through 2015, I sort of fell away from my Christian faith. There were many reasons for it, which I won’t go into. But what I learned from the dabbling, experimenting, and indulging, is no matter who I was with, where I was, or what I was doing, God was with me.

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.¹

At the time, I was making bad choices, which grieved the heart of God as well as the people that care about me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t thinking much about this while I was out there, painting the town, and being self-indulgent.

The lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.²

I was a faithful, fervent and zealous Christian prior to falling away. So you could just imagine the amazement to all those who knew me.

Sin is like being on a raft that gradually drifts out to sea.  One minute you are near the shore, and the next, you are in the middle of the ocean.

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.³

All the things I was choosing to do, weren’t the things God wanted me to do. I was refusing to die to self. I still didn’t want to surrender ALL to Jesus. It wasn’t His will be done, it was my will be done. Until everything came crashing down on January 2, 2016, and a light bulb went off. I suddenly realized what I was doing, and immediately repented.

Through it all, I learned how much God loves me, and how faithful He is. He never gave up on me, and kept pursuing me.

Today, I am grateful for all that God has done in my life. I am still in an unfamiliar terrain, a place of a transition, and in a process of restoration. But I can honestly say, that I’m at peace. Jesus saved me, rescued me, delivered me and set me free. Praise Him! No one could have done it, but Him.

If He did it for me, He can and will do it for you. He is no respecter of persons. He loves us, which is why He died for us. There is nothing you or I can do that will make Him ever stop loving us. He is a good, good Father.

¹Psalm 139:8
²1 John 2:16
³James 1:14

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Why Affairs Happen

You see it all around you, in commercials, advertisements, billboards, movies and books. Everyone is looking for love.

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We search here, there and everywhere for the “one”, the one who will complete us, and finish our sentences.

I am one of those people who searched for love her entire life, only to find myself in jacked up situations. Instead of finding love, I got a whole bunch of other stuff I didn’t want.

What is it that we long for? What is it that we want? This proverbial love we all desire, seems elusive and out of reach.

You would think that when you get married this tug or yearning would go away, but it doesn’t.

Why do you think romance novels do so well? Most of the readers are married women. This should tell you something.

You meet someone, you fall in love, you get married, you have children and then all of a sudden, you wake up to find… where did the love go?

I don’t know about you, but when I look back over the course of my life and the various relationships I’ve had, I see the same pattern repeat itself.

In the beginning, everything is fresh, new, and exciting. Slowly, but surely, the excitement dwindles down to nothing and you are left with the usual monotony.

This is when affairs happen. But, what people fail to realize is that affairs are never a solution, they only complicate matters, and destroy lives.

Think about it a minute… you are in a miserable marriage, you meet someone and connect with them, you start messing around to get what you think you need, only to find out that what you need doesn’t come packaged in a human being.

No, unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. There is no quick fix solution in filling the void and emptiness you feel.

I’m not religious, so I won’t ever preach to you, but I can tell you this… God is the only one who can get into the crevices of our hearts and give us the love we long for.  No human being will ever be able to do it because we are broken and imperfect.

In the short term, you may think you are getting your needs met or your desires fulfilled, but in time, the illusion lifts and you see the truth for what it is. Affairs become routine and monotonous too, so instead of having one problem, you’ll have two.

So if you are contemplating a quick fix to your misery, do yourself a favor and think twice before indulging.

Have you ever contemplated having an affair? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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The Stigma of Shame

I have been doing a study on shame. It’s been something I have been avoiding to delve into for quite some time. Why? Well, who really wants to start digging up old doo-doo.

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Shame is one of those things you would rather just hide, ignore or bury, than have to face or look at. Shame is much more pervasive than guilt.

The stigma of shame is something humanity struggles with, if some realize it or not. We all mask it differently. God forbid we feel naked or exposed… that will only bring about more feelings of shame.

Some people think it is guilt they are feeling or struggling with, when in actuality it is shame. Shame is deeper and stems from messages you were told as a child. Shame is connected with self loathing and disgust of one self.

Those who have suffered from sexual abuse, carry the stigma of shame in its most palatable form.

So what do we do once we know that shame is pretty much controlling and navigating our existence? Well, we delve right into the abyss and unravel its mysteries.

There is a passage of Scripture that I always identified with, the story of the man with a withered hand. (Mark 3:3) This man walked around hiding his hand, until Jesus who had compassion, healed him on the Sabbath. He told him to stretch forth his hand and he was instantly healed.

Sometimes we have to risk exposure in order to heal. Yes, it is humiliating at first, just as it was for the man with the shriveled hand. He had to expose it in front of everyone in the Synagogue. He had to demonstrate courage to overcome his shame and allow Jesus to heal him.

It’s sort of like the pus of an infection, if you keep covering it, it will only get worse. You have to expose and clean it, in order for it to heal. Same applies to the inner infection of shame.

If you struggle with shame, know that you aren’t alone. If you desire to heal, then you must be willing to risk and face the Goliath in your life. Once you do, you will experience freedom. This is something I’m striving for and want in my life.

Do you struggle from shame? When was  your earliest recollection?

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Love, Don’t Judge

I’ll be the first to admit, I am fed up with all the “holier than thou” Christians in this world, who point their fingers at everyone else around them. Do they know what it’s like to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes?

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Wouldn’t it be better to use their energy and focus on themselves?

I never understood why people gossip and talk negatively about other people behind their back.

Unfortunately, this happens in the Christian community as well, and it’s hypocrisy. Aren’t we suppose to be a light in this world and salt of the earth? (Matthew 5:13)

How is it possible that Christians are tearing each other down?

If you have been following me or my blog for any length of time, you know what I’m about.

I have never been the type to judge other people. I don’t care who they are or what they’ve done. I accept people for who they are. I respect the Word of God, and as I age, I realize I’m no one to point my finger at anyone. I do not care who they are.

The job of a true Christian is to love others.

There was a time I didn’t get this. I didn’t get the importance of loving others. But God in His grandiose, gracious, merciful way, was patient enough with me to allow me to learn this vital lesson.

The lesson happened this year, while I have been in the process of advocating for someone who was wrongfully convicted.

I’ve learned that passing judgement is reserved for God alone. Jesus didn’t die for perfect people. He died for flawed and broken people.

Christians are sinners saved by grace. How dare we think we are better than anyone else.

How can we point our fingers at anyone?

I don’t care if they are murderers, serial killers, rapists or pedophiles. The only way they are going to see Christ in us, is if we stop judging and start loving.

I know this may sound cliché, but love is the force that changes the hardest heart… not judgement. Judging others doesn’t lead to any change.

If you are a Christ follower, the only way to truly reach others for Christ is by loving them.

What do you think is stopping you from loving others?

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Be The Church

In 1995, I had the pleasure of traveling to India. It was a dream come true for me. I had this romantic view of India, until I stepped off the plane and faced the reality of what real poverty looked like.

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When I arrived, I went from being ecstatic, to sad, to depressed in a matter of minutes.

I couldn’t believe my eyes. There was such a disparity between the poverty and opulence I saw. What especially broke my heart was seeing the children, dirty and living in shacks made out of garbage.

I stood there dumbfounded. I whispered under my breath, why God? Why must these children be so poor? They didn’t ask to be born into hunger and pain. Why such a cruel fate? My heart was faint.

I was despondent for the rest of my stay there. I walked around like a zombie, going through motions. It seemed like everywhere I turned, I saw poverty, hunger and suffering.

In India, I learned that no amount of religion or theology could reach the heart of the poor and hungry. The country is filled with people who believe in religion and worship a multitude of gods. Religion is part of their spiritual infrastructure.

But religion doesn’t give life, and it certainly isn’t the answer. Do you know what the answer is?

Love.

But not the sappy, sugar coated nonsense being propagated from the pulpits across America today. No.

Do you realize we are the Church? It’s about demonstrating love to those you wouldn’t necessarily show it to.

It’s about getting out of our comfort zone and doing things we wouldn’t normally do or going places we wouldn’t normally go.

I don’t refer to myself as a Christian anymore, because saying I’m a Christian holds a different connotation to whomever you are speaking to. Some people call themselves a Christian, but they are “religious”. They tithe and go to church regularly. But they never stop and love others.

How many Christians are bringing the church to the outcasts and rejected of society? The porn stars, strippers, murderers, gang bangers, drug addicts, drug dealers or satanists?

What Christian steps out of their safety net to be the church to those who are hated, rejected or despised? The poor, the suffering, and the sick? Those who are shunned, isolated and ignored by people.

I personally know Christians who don’t want to associate with those who have problems, who are depressed and walk around with dark clouds over their heads. They are afraid it might rub off on them.

But if we are the Church, we shouldn’t shun or avoid those who are suffering or struggling. How will they ever know that hope and love exists?

The true love that Jesus exemplified and demonstrated when He walked on this earth.

Folks, it’s much deeper than religion or religious acts that appease our own conscience. We must be willing to be the church and bring the love and compassion of Jesus to those who are broken, rejected and despised. If we don’t, who will?

In James 1:27, it says, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” (KJV)

In Hebrews 13:3, it says, “Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.” (NLT)

This is not to boast, but even with my limited time between home, work, college, and writing, I’ve decided to use the gift God has blessed me with and write to those who are in prison. I also try to minister to families who have loved ones who are incarcerated. Families do the time along with their loved ones. It’s heartbreaking.

I’m not saying you need to do what I’m doing. All I’m saying is to be the church in whatever capacity God is calling you.

It’s no longer enough to preach or try to bring people to your Church. It’s time to be the hands and feet, and be the Church to the lost, the hopeless, the poor, the rejected, the shunned, the outcast, the incarcerated, the abused, and the sick.

Have you felt a burden to serve in your community, your neighbor or co-worker, but have been afraid to do so? Why not step out of your comfort zone and reach out? Why not take a step toward making a difference in someone else’s life? If we all do our part, we can bring hope to those who really need it.

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Precipice Of The Impossible

I am standing on a precipice of the impossible.

by Rafaelll90 in Manipulations

On the edge, ready to free fall into the unknown.

If you have been following my posts recently, you will know that I’ve been involved in advocating for someone who has been wrongfully convicted. I’m trying to help as best I can, but I am continually reminded of my own limitations.

This is probably the biggest test of faith I have ever experienced. This situation is like climbing the Mt. Everest. It seems impossible!

Having faith and believing God has taken on a whole other meaning.

As doubt invades my consciousness like a cancer and a war wages in my heart, I feel impotent to make a difference.

I don’t have money, I don’t have connections, I don’t have prestige.

However, I am not the first, nor will I be the last, to help bring awareness or attention to a gross injustice.

Patience is not one of my virtues. I want everything yesterday. This type of thinking comes with living and working in a fast paced city. A city where everything is dependent upon results.

Day in and day out, I’m not seeing any results. It’s beyond discouraging.

I’ll be honest, sometimes I want to throw in the towel and give up. But then I think, what if tomorrow is the day things change?

I am an ordinary servant dependent upon an extraordinary God, who has the ability to change the impossible to possible in an instant.

I would love nothing more than to see God move on this man’s behalf.

But, what I’m learning the hard way is that it’s not going to happen when I want it to. It will happen in His timing, not mine.

I am not in control, He is. I don’t call the shots, He does.

I am a co-laborer with God. (I Corinthians 3:9)  I just need to do my part and leave the rest to Him.

I’m desperate to prove this man’s innocence and have other’s see what I see. However, only God has the power to move on man’s hearts, open blind eyes and deaf ears.

It is “not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty.” (Zechariah 4:6)

As I stand on a precipice of the impossible, I may not see the results, but God sees everything. He knows this man is innocent better than I do and in His perfect timing, justice will prevail.

It’s just a matter of time. When it does happen, may the Lord receive all the glory, honor and praise.

Have you ever faced something that was bigger than you? A situation that seemed impossible? Did God come through for you?

 

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Bobbing and Weaving

After taking a few boxing classes for fun at NYSC from an instructor named Santana. One day I looked him in the eye and said, “I’m going to become a professional boxer now, goodbye.” He stood there dumbfounded.

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I remember the day I walked into Gleason’s Boxing gym for the first time. It was in 1998 and at the time, the majority of boxers were male.

They all gawked at me as I strode in wearing my leopard print tights which matched my wild and untamed hair. I was quite a sight.

I walked holding my head high and ready to conquer the boxing world.

Back then Gleason’s was different than it is today. The air was musky and hung with sweat, the windows were foggy, everything seemed old and worn.

It was an environment I was neither familiar with or exposed to in my life.

So there I was, Ms. Middle Class amongst those who were rough and lived in underprivileged neighborhoods.

However, nothing was going to stop me. I was determined to prove myself as a female boxer.

I remember the day my trainer decided to have me spar with some dude. There were no female boxers around.

I got in the ring, started moving around and practicing my jab. My trainer yelling for me to bob and weave. So I started bobbing and weaving. Then I tried doing an uppercut. I loved those upper cuts, but I wasn’t able to get in close enough to do it.

I began feeling winded. Thankfully, the bell rang because I was dying of thirst. I opened my mouth, for my trainer to give me water. He squirts a little water and tells me to spit it out. I looked at him as if he was out of his mind. There was no way I was going to spit it out. I swallowed it.

The bell rang again. I hesitated. I was exhausted and wanted to stop. The next thing I know, I was keeling over.

I didn’t have my guard up and the guy landed a punch to my liver. There are no words to describe the level of pain.

I learned a valuable lesson that day. One I will never forget. Defense is everything. In the ring and in life. When my guard was down, there was an opening for him to hit me.

I was out of breath, thirsty and my movements were sluggish. My opponent took complete advantage of the situation.

While reflecting back on this incident, I realized the enemy of our souls does the same. He waits for an opening to lodge his onslaughts and attacks on us. If we’re are open, tired or unguarded, he will catch us by surprise which will leave us reeling.

In 1 Peter 5:8 it says, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour,” and Luke 21:34 says, “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares.”

We can’t let him catch us off guard. We have to keep our defenses up by reading the Word and praying. We need to practice bobbing and weaving daily.

Thankfully, we have the best trainer, the Holy Spirit and the best corner man, Jesus Christ.

We are guaranteed to win and promised the victory!

Have you been bobbing and weaving lately?

 

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No Compromise

A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Galatians 5:9

I keep hearing this verse in my head. When the Lord puts a scripture on my heart, I know there is a reason.

What is the Lord is trying to tell me?

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Recently, I have been making bread from scratch. It’s been fun discovering the magic of dry yeast.

It’s amazing how a little bit of yeast does make the dough rise.

I began thinking of this in a spiritual context.

In the Bible, leaven denotes sin.

******

Years ago, when I first became a Christian, I was an aspiring actress and singer. A friend of mine, who is now a pastor, took me to his church. It was in the basement of a house in Brooklyn. I lived in Manhattan at the time. He and his wife picked me up and took me there.

I went and heard their pastor preach and was immediately convicted. I remember standing in this pastor’s kitchen afterwards. He asked me what I did for a living? I told him I worked as a secretary while pursuing a career in acting and singing. His immediate response was for me to give up acting and singing.

I was like, what? Give.it.up? Just like that. He said, You love Jesus, right? Well, you need to give up that life if you want to live for Him and serve Him. He told me we are in this world, but not of it. (Romans 12:2)

I was furious. Who was he to tell me such a thing? Didn’t he realize how much I’ve invested, not just money, but time, in pursuing my career? Is he kidding me?

Needless to say, I stopped going to that church. But his words continued to echo in my head.

God knew my heart and began dealing with me. Eventually, I did renounce that life. It didn’t happen overnight, but eventually God got a hold of me and I gave it up willingly.

My desire for God became bigger than my ambition.

Now I’m a writer. I’ve always been a writer, even when I didn’t know it. I filled notebooks with poetry and poured my heart out on the page for years. I never imagined I would one day have a blog and share my heart on this platform.

God is speaking to me once again. Will I compromise in my writing? Will I use my gift to promote others rather than Him? Will I be His mouthpiece in this lost world? Will I write what He tells me, even if it’s unpopular? Will I write despite man’s rejection or opposition?

I’ve been a Christian over 25 years now and I know not to say ‘no’ to God or what He’s asking me to do. It would be suicide.

This morning I wrote in my journal, I’d rather run the risk of man’s rejection than disobey or grieve God’s heart.

I need God. I need His love, His wisdom, His fellowship, His friendship, His help, His guidance, and His presence. This world can’t give that to me, only He can and does.

I know this may seem narrow and rigid to many believers today, but what I find myself continually repeating to my brothers and sisters in Christ, is that we all have different callings. My calling may not be the same as your calling. What may be ok for you, may not be ok for me or vice versa.

God has a specific call, plan and purpose for my life regardless of whether other people understand it or not. I know enough at this stage of the game not to compromise what He is telling me to do. I refuse to compromise.

Are you willing to run the risk of rejection from man for the sake of God? What are you willing to give up for God? Are you willing to take a stand for Christ in these last days even if it’s unpopular and not what everyone else is doing?

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Rise Up Church

Everywhere you turn, a tragedy befalls us.

Yesterday was the mass shooting in the DC Navy Yard. This morning the abduction of a 14-year old girl in Georgia.

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It’s not that I’m focused on tragedy or negativity, it’s just what is happening all around us.

Yes, I can perhaps bury my head in the sand, and pretend all is well, but I would only be lying to myself.

I’m not the type of person to focus on myself and forget about everything else.

My life is good, but just because things are relatively good, doesn’t mean I should forget others who are suffering.

I guess I’m this way because I have been through my share of hardship in life.

Sure, following the news can be overwhelmingly hard and there are times I do need to unplug from it all.

But most times than not, I feel burdened for the state of affairs. It’s not something I can shake off or ignore. I wish I could, but for whatever reason, God didn’t design me this way.

Even in the midst of tragedy though, I can still see God’s goodness and beauty. His signature is everywhere; from the rising sun, the mountains and vast oceans.

He is a divine artist and the master designer of this universe. He is a great and loving God.

His heart grieves and for whatever reason, so does mine.  He yearns for His Church to rise up in this lost, dark and broken world.

Every Sunday He passes the pews and sees His beloved sleeping. He is so loving and kind, He just passes quietly as not to disturb them. But oh, how sorrowful He is, when those He passes aren’t discerning the time nor the hour.

He is calling His sheep. He is saying, Rise up Church, for now is the time and the hour. Wake up from your slumber.

The days ahead will be far worse than they are now, we must wake up before it’s too late.

I tremble at that thought as my heart can hardly stand what’s happening now.

I am so broken and burdened, and I don’t even understand it myself. It’s definitely not depression, it’s this heaviness or sorrow in my soul.

The sorrow of seeing the Church powerless.

I’ve been praying for revival. The Church and this world needs a revival. I know there are many scattered, praying for this as well.

May the Lord come and visit us soon.

Am I the only one who notices the direction in which this world is going? Do you see it too? Please share in the comment section below.

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