Tag Archives: Jesus Christ
From 2014 through 2015, I went from blogging and reviewing Christian genre, to crime fiction and urban literature. I enjoyed it, and in the process, learned a great deal about myself, and others.
However, once I rededicated my life to Christ in the beginning of 2016, I had to reevaluate things. What I was doing, where I was going, and mostly, what God wanted for me.
My deleting over 3,000 “friends” wasn’t personal, it was something the Lord impressed on me to do. He wanted me to put the past behind me, and start anew. As it was, not all of my decisions were lining up with His, and something needed to change.
The Bible says, in Hosea 4:6a, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
Life is a journey, and the road can either be smooth or tumultuous based on our decisions. Our choices have to be aligned with His for things to go right in our lives.
The devil likes to confuse us and take us on rides, to get us off course, so that we get frustrated, give up, and abort our calling. This is what happened to me. So, I had to repent, recalibrate and get my life back on track.
As an artist, I do appreciate all art forms, however, I had to reconcile with the fact that a lot of what I was reading and reviewing was no longer feasible. The books I read were well-written by some talented authors, however, the genre was no longer one I could indulge in as a follower of Christ. So I had to make a decision, I was either going to follow Him or do it my way. And trust, that doing it my way didn’t result in anything good for me.
Thus, I am returning to blogging about my faith, reviewing Christian books, and classical literature. My goal is to continue to do my best and provide you with a variety of relevant content; full of substance, meaning and depth. Thank you for traveling on this journey with me.
2016… what can I say? You were like a bad marriage on steroids. Lots of downs, and not enough ups. But like any other commitment, we trudged along together through every obstacle with gritted teeth. But boy did you hit us with some doozies.
There were a lot of disappointments, shedding, and letting go of people, places, and things. Which is why, I’m not sorry to say, ta-ta, arrivederci, and good riddance!
In 2016, I learned to surrender, obey, pray, and trust Jesus. He taught me how to stand in the midst of each relentless and incessant storm. As a result, my faith got stronger. My Comforter gave me the courage, and strength of a lioness to confront things without fear.
Through every wind and wave of adversity, He taught me not to cower or give up. I am determined to walk with Jesus every single day, every step of the way, with no turning back. Ever again.
This verse became real and personal to me,
“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise up against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.” (Isaiah 54:17)
When others turned against me, Jesus never did. He never left me nor forsook me. He showed me His faithfulness, and showered me with His unfailing love, grace and mercy. He truly is a good, good Father, which is why I will follow Him all the days of my life. No matter what. Even if I must walk it alone.
No, I didn’t like you very much, 2016, however, I would be remiss not to thank you for every lesson, test, trial, tribulation, storm and adversity you’ve sent my way. My circumstances may not have changed, but gratefully, I have.
Happy New Year!
Are you thirsting for something more? Is there an ache in your soul? A restlessness? A sense of something missing?
Like the Samaritan woman at the well, for instance. Jesus asked her for a drink of water. She responded “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) Jesus didn’t allow social customs or barriers to stop him.
What comes after astounds me. Please read it for yourself:
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.”
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” (John 4)
Jesus did not judge her. He did not criticize her. He did not throw anything in her face or use what He knew against her.
Here is another example, the woman caught in adultery.
At dawn he appeared again in the temple courts, where all the people gathered around him, and he sat down to teach them. The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said to Jesus, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?” They were using this question as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him.
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.
At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”
“No one, sir,” she said.
“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.” (John 8)
Again, Jesus did not judge or condemn her. Time and time again, I see Jesus’ unfathomable love and compassion poured out to women.
It comforts me to know, that no matter how sinful, dirty, broken and bruised we are… we can always come to Him and He won’t reject us.
If we lived in this world long enough, we are broken in some way. We have a void. We are all chasing after something, thinking that it will somehow satisfy us or fill the emptiness in our hearts. But, it never does.
I’m not religious. I believe in Jesus. I believe He died for sinful me. I believe He loves me when I don’t even know how to love myself. My faith in Him is what has gotten me through every crazy storm in my life. If it wasn’t for His grace and unconditional love, I don’t know where I would be today.
I don’t have the answers, but this I know… nothing and no one in this life will satisfy your inner longings. You can chase for an entire lifetime, thinking success, money, fame, etc… will fill the emptiness. But only God has the ability to do that.
Do you feel like you have been chasing after things because you feel like something is missing in your life?
Last week I was on vacation. We were able to get away for a few days, which was nice.
What I found interesting was that by changing my environment and routine, I was better able to connect with my creative side.
I still woke up early for writing practice and as I wrote, ideas flooded my consciousness. I realized I need to do this sort of thing on a regular basis. I need to unplug and change my environment to be able to get in touch with myself; to think, write and create.
One of the things that came to mind on my vacation was the concept of second chances.
I believe people deserve second chances. Yes, even those who may have done atrocities.
Look at Paul in the Bible, before Jesus appeared to him, he was killing His followers.
So what makes Paul different than anyone else in God’s eyes?
Humans are the only ones who seem to put limits on God’s forgiveness, grace and mercy.
We are the harshest critics and judge of others.
Why do Christians believe they can get on their high horse and be self righteous of others they “deem” as unforgivable?
Christians forget where they came from. They get cleaned up and then they begin noticing the dirt on others. All the while oblivious to how dirty they were before God pulled them out of the mire.
Excuse me, but what right do we have to judge those who are in prison for instance?
As Christians, we shouldn’t be uttering under our breaths how they deserve everything they get or how they must of done something bad to be where they are in the first place.
We mock, we criticize and we judge. We act as if we are better, and have attained some high moral standard which allows us the right to point our fingers at others.
We read our bibles, pray, attend church and tithe, yet, we are not Christ like in the least.
We preach a good game, and mastered Christianese. However, we are so far from the heart of God and loving the outcasts of society.
We look down at and snub the homeless, the drug addicts, alcoholics and prostitutes. We look at those who are in prison like they’re lower than animals.
This grieves me. I see Christians all around me convinced they are living out the Bible. Meanwhile they can’t even control their tongues as they pour out their unrestrained and thoughtless criticism on others around them.
Their attitudes are far from what it means to love others as Christ does.
And we wonder why there are so many Christian marriages failing today.
This sums up the equation: Christians + Church = Hypocrites.
I want to assure my readers that I love Jesus. However, I don’t love religion or judgmental and religious people.
My vision of God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is much greater than the limited and legalistic Christians who I see a lot of nowadays. I have no interest in mixing with them. I’ll pray for them, but I’m not playing religion. I’m also done pretending, it’s not for me. I’d rather walk this walk alone than be fake or phony.
I’m not the type to preach at people or tell people what I think they should or shouldn’t be doing. That’s not me. I will be the first to admit I have not arrived and am a work in progress. I refuse to walk around high and mighty, like I have my stuff together and have all the answers, because I don’t.
Nor will I look down my nose at anyone, not those selling their bodies, not homosexuals, not criminals, not murderers, not drug addicts or drug dealers, or alcoholics.
God loves everyone. He loves the sinner, but hates the sin. And guess what? We are all sinners, even those who have been saved by grace. We still contend with a sin nature, even after we get saved.
What I’m saying is there is no one better than the next guy. We are all the same in God’s eyes.
I know it’s a hard pill for some Christians to swallow, but it’s the truth. The reason why some have a hard time grasping this truth is because they feel the need to be superior or important.
God loves the humble and lowly.
Yes, I love Jesus, because Jesus is the only one who loves us in a way, no human is able to emulate. His love, compassion and forgiveness is all encompassing and far from our limited reach.
We want to put Jesus in a box and project what we think His love should be. All we’ve managed to accomplish is forming and following a god of our own warped understanding.
God is greater than anything we can come up with. Our vision is clouded to see Him as He truly is.
Jesus is loving and invites everyone, especially the outcasts and rejects of society.
He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Mahatma Gandhi said it best — ‘I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.’ Truer words were never spoken.
Do you believe everyone deserves a second chance?
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the Word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11
What makes Jesus real to others? Is it what we say? What we do? How do the unsaved come to believe Jesus is real?
Revelation 12:11 says, it is by our testimony.
When I think about my testimony, I cringe.
Do I really want to tell others what I have done and been through?
Truth be told, I never share my testimony. I may share bits and pieces of it, here and there, but I never get around to actually telling people what God has delivered me from.
I remember when a close friend of mine who is a missionary introduced me to other missionaries. She began telling them a little bit about my testimony and I was mortified. She saw the expression on my face and pulled me aside to apologize. I told her I wasn’t comfortable sharing my story with others, whether they are Christians or not.
I am not comfortable sharing my past, which is why I don’t share my testimony.
Recently, I listened to a message where a pastor said, “God did not deliver you for yourself. He did not deliver you, so that you could live a comfortable life, sitting on your sofa, eating popcorn. He delivered you so that you can go tell others about what Jesus has done for you, so that others may believe.”
Boy, did I feel convicted.
All these years, I have been sitting on my testimony because I don’t want to be judged and criticized by others.
Yes, God has delivered me of much, but yet, I want to tuck it away somewhere, go on with my life and forget about it.
We can continue to use prescriptions and formulas to bring others to Christ. We can also act like we have it figured out and attempt to do everything with our own reasoning.
However, as you can see from the above verse, it isn’t by our logical antidotes or persuasive words that brings others to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
It is by the Holy Spirit, the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony.
This is God’s prescription.
The real question is, will we continue to follow our own way or do it His way?
Do you also find it hard to share you testimony?
You’re probably wondering why am I using the word “mad” in connection to “faith”.
The word “mad” is commonly used in New York City. The urban dictionary defines “mad” as “extreme” or “a lot”.
I decided to connect the two; mad faith.
I’ve been thinking madly about faith. What makes one have more faith than another, and that sort of thing.
It’s a mystery.
My desire has been ever increasing for my faith to be authentic.
In Christendom, I see many chasing after signs, wonders, miracles and manifestations, to the point of idolatry.
I’m not judging, but merely making an observation.
Truthfully, I used to be one of those people. I would chase after God here, there and everywhere.
I was seeking some kind of sign or experience and chasing after Him as if He couldn’t be found.
Frankly, I had it all wrong.
It sort of reminds me of Moses, when He went up to the mountain to get the Ten Commandments and left the people behind. In time, they all started making physical idols to worship instead of worshipping the God who miraculously parted the Red Sea and delivered them from the Egyptians.
What is it in us that inclines us to chase after other gods, instead of Him? Why are we restless and unsettled in our faith? Why must we chase after experiences? Why isn’t Jesus enough?
These are the questions which gnaw at me daily. I don’t have the answers. All I know is that I’ve already tried it all. I’ve traveled around the world in search of Him.
I am certain of this, it is not by signs and wonders that our faith increases, not in the least. I tell you this from personal experience. This doesn’t deepen our faith.
One thing that does though, is adversity.
My faith was strengthened, when I shook with fear, felt hopeless, thinking God wasn’t going to deliver me out of something, and He did.
To me, that’s miraculous. Not manifestations of angel feathers, gems or gold dust appearing at some gathering, where the attention turns to man and not God.
This is where the confusion begins. Everyone starts worshiping and idolizing the creation instead of the Creator. The credit for these so-called manifestations becomes attributed to man, instead of God. If something is going to take the focus or pull you away from God, you should run the other direction and don’t look back.
I’m sharing what I’ve gleaned from all of the mistakes I’ve made in my life.
I’m not claiming to be an expert or have it right. I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t have all the answers. All I know is my heart longs for the authentic. For the living God of this universe to be real and present in my life.
I don’t want my desire for signs, wonders, miracles and manifestations to take precedence over Him. He already gave and did it all by dying on the Cross for me, what more do I want?
I want to have mad faith which is undeniable and unshakeable. I want to experience more of His love and presence in my life. Not experiences, sensations, imitations or cheap substitutes. The real deal.
What about you?
Do you believe in miracles? When you read the Bible, what goes through your mind? When you read about Heaven or Hell, do you believe it?
Well, I have a confession to make… I really don’t believe what I read, which is probably why I don’t feel compelled to read the Bible. But I want to believe.
I hear Jesus’ voice echoing in the recesses of my mind, asking me the same question, “Who do you say that I am?” (Mark 8:29)
I’m still trying to figure this out.
I have traveled far and wide seeking truth. I shudder at the realization of how much money I’ve spent searching for God. I could have paid for a college education and owned two condos by now. No joke.
Sadly, I’m still at square one. If I’m honest, I lack faith and belief. True story.
I believe it is by God’s design I review Christian books. Because recently, I’m being challenged to the core by a book I’m reading and reviewing.
I’m sure you are curious… it’s called Signs, Wonders and a Baptist Preacher by Chad Norris. Have you heard of the book or the author? No? Well, me either… until now.
It was simple… Chosen Books sent me an email asking me which book I wanted to review and I chose this one. However, I didn’t know as a result of reading this book, it would turn my world and heart upside down.
Secretly, I had an underlying agenda in selecting this book and it was to discredit it. I wanted to write off the author as crazy, nuts, off the wall, etc…
However, by the time I hit page 40, I needed to speak to this man! There was such a drive in me to speak with him.
Thankfully, when I did reach him, he was very gracious. He didn’t think I was a lunatic from New York City. He agreed to speak to me through Skype a few nights ago.
Chad Norris isn’t nuts, off the wall or crazy… he is one of the most down to earth, nice, laid back dudes I ever met. He is NORMAL!
I can’t discredit him or his book at all.
Well… I was left with looking at myself… where I’m really at with all of this stuff.
Folks, I love Jesus, but I lack faith and do not believe in miracles. I’m cynical, I doubt and question everything in the Bible and otherwise. When I read the Bible I disbelieve the miracles in there too. I gloss over the stories like they are fairy tales or fables.
I realized somewhere, somehow I determined it was all a bunch of make believe. The realization of this is brutally shocking to me, I don’t even know what to do with myself.
I admit, it’s a scary place to be.
So here I am, on the day before Resurrection Day, crying out to God… Lord, I believe, help my unbelief. (Mark 9:24).
Do you struggle with reading the Bible and believing in miracles, signs and wonders? Do you believe miracles are for today? Have you experienced a miracle in your life? Have you seen someone get healed miraculously? Have you seen blind eyes and deaf ears open? The dead raised?
Then they came to Jesus, and saw the one who had been demon-possessed and had the legion, sitting and clothed and in his right mind. And they were afraid. Mark 5:15
I read the above scripture and meditated on the words, “the one who had been”.
The one who had been demon-possessed and had a legion, was sitting with Jesus in his right mind.
Only someone who has been delivered can jump up and praise Him.
Yes, I was delivered from much.
I willingly walked into the devil’s camp and did some things I’m not proud of.
I look back and see the hand of God and His mercy allowing me to do so, because He wanted me to know Him and His power.
I’m not into the hokey pokey magic, fortune telling, divination, name it and claim it Christianity. I speak against all that new age spiritualism.
God taught me a lot through my spiritual experiences, in crossing the threshold.
The spiritual realm is real. Spiritual warfare is real. What you see isn’t all there is.
If you are truly living as a Christian, whether you like it or not, you are in a war.
As I was listening, the Lord opened my eyes to see the spiritual realm for a moment. I saw various people in bondage to the devil. One disheveled woman was yelling on the top of her lungs, another man was talking to a wall, another man was cursing and speaking profanities at everyone around him.
For whatever reason, these manifestations where surrounding me and for a minute, I wanted to be like the apostles of old and start laying hands on people and praying for their deliverance. Then I caught myself …
What stopped me? Fear, disbelief and lack of faith.
Yes, I understand some people are mentally ill, but not all people are mentally ill, some people are actually demon possessed.
I started to think about Jesus and the scriptures. I felt a surge rise up from within me, my heart began accelerating, I felt boundless energy. I really wanted to take God at His Word. But then, fear got in the way… I thought, what will people think of me if I stopped and prayed for these people? People who are looked down upon and called crazy.
But God doesn’t think they are crazy, Jesus loves and died for them.
My heart longs to see people set free by the power and blood of Jesus.
Jesus isn’t some historical figure left in some book for us to read.
Jesus is alive, He is real and He has the power to set people free. I truly believe this with all my heart.
I see people every day who are in bondage. I want to speak the oracles of God and allow the Holy Spirit to open their eyes to Jesus. So they too can be set free and not live entangled by the lies and torment.
Jesus isn’t called the Prince of Peace for nothing. He died on the cross for us, so that we can have abundant life, a life of freedom and not bondage. He wants everyone to be set free, to experience His love, peace and joy.
Jesus holds the key to your deliverance today. Will you believe?
What would happen if we actually took Jesus at His Word?
Yes, I guess some people would think we were a bit extreme and radical even. But, what if we stepped out and prayed for others who are being tormented and living in bondage?
Imagine if we prayed and they were instantly set free? Wow! Wouldn’t that be amazing to witness? I would LOVE it!
Jesus never changes. He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. He willingly was crucified on a cross for our salvation, deliverance and freedom.
What kind of love is that? It’s unfathomable! Glory be to God in the highest!
What are your thoughts on this? Do you believe Jesus can deliver people today?