Monthly Archives: August 2014

Only those who accept who they are can m

Only those who accept who they are can move forward to become who they desire to be. http://ow.ly/ASLHV

Advertisements

The Courage to Be

“Whosoever shall find his life shall lose it; whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (Matthew 10 : 39)

Introduction 
Since the dawn of time mankind has struggled to find meaning in life.   Jesus posits a challenge in our text this morning. 

Jesus challenges us to find not only the true meaning for life; but also challenges us to dedicate the life we find to him for his purposes. 
Who am I?  Where am I?  Am I awake or asleep?  Alive or dead?  How did I get here?  What am I supposed to do while I’m here?  Is there life after death?  Why is there death? 
         

The Movie, “The Matrix” sought to answer these questions.  In this movie the world we know as reality is depicted as some form of pseudo-reality.  It was a sham, a hoax, perpetrated by those who sought to enslave humanity through use of its vices and weaknesses.  The real world in “the Matrix” was the machine world; a world of reality confined to numbers and cold, unemotional purpose.  If you had a purpose you were allowed to serve the Architect of this pseudo reality otherwise you were terminated. 
         

The key was to have your mind expiated from this pseudo reality by Morpheus and to be reborn as a cross between human and machine.  Once freed your powers were increased and you could fight the machine world to regain and protect the pseudo reality which you despised in the first place.  Zion as it were was the city of bliss and happiness that all humans coveted; it had to be protected at all costs.  Zion was the aim and object of those seeking to be freed.  It was a very intriguing movie but left us just as confused as we were before its production.  For you see trying to answer life’s questions apart from Jesus is futile, frustrating, and fruitless.
         

Jesus uproots us from this pseudo reality and transports us into a new reality, the reality of God’s Kingdom. We can choose to spend our life trying to discover what and who we are in this world or we can spend our time discovering what and who we are in the Kingdom.  In the former choice, we find a never ending story; but in the latter decision we find absolute power, purpose, and passion for living.  In other words we can spend our time finding out who and what we are only to keep discovering that we can’t fully discover it or we can find and discover who we are based on our relationship with Jesus Christ.

Let us explore these two choices, seeking to find out about ourselves in this world or seeking to find out about our relationship to God in this world. 

These two choices are reflected in the words of this text:  “Whosoever shall find his life shall lose it; whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it.”  This is a strange and mind boggling text.  It seems to suggest two pathways; one that leads to death and one that leads to life after death. 

In other words, even after we spend a lifetime looking for the answers to the quintessential questions “Who Am I?” “Why Am I Here?” outlined before, even after we find the answers, we will still end up losing our life. 

So, should we spend our time looking for our life knowing that we will lose it anyway?  Or should we decide how we will live our lives in this world?

Move 2
Now consider this:  We are persons!  “A person is one who knows the world around him and particularly who knows himself in relation to that world and to other persons. . . . A person may be influenced from without, but the determining factor in shaping life and destiny is from within.  Others may influence us; we determine ourselves.  This means that a person has the power of looking ahead and of choosing one’s own course in light of moral distinctive. 

Thus the challenge that Jesus poses is a challenge that can literally be accepted.  This challenge is to “be or to become.”  It is to find out who and what you really are and to “be” that unique distinct person, and then surrender that person to him and his cause.  It is what Paul Tillich in his novel work The Courage to Be puts this spin on the text:. ” …  Therefore, Jesus says that we are to take accept the life we find or determine within ourselves to use that life for his purpose, power, and passion.  That passion is to help others discover their true selves and then commit that self to God through a personal relationship with Jesus as a disciple.  Since loss of life is inevitable, Jesus challenges us to lose it doing the will of God rather than our own.  But who can make such decision without first discovering who they are and “being” who they are in relation to this world?  None of us can truly decide to become disciples of Jesus until we first discover who we are without Jesus.  From such thinking is derived the saying of Shakespeare, “To Thine Own Self Be True.”  

There are obstacles to determining who and what we are.  They are three:  intimidation, domination, and manipulation.  Each derive from our relationship with others.  Your environment influences your choices; intimidation, domination, and manipulation negatively influence you becoming your true self.  All three of these obstacles are the forces of darkness that seek to cut you off from the light which shines once you obtain wisdom and knowledge about yourself.  Only after overcoming these three negative influences can we discover our true self and with that the “life” of which Jesus speaks.

Move 3
          Many of us quite frankly are hypocrites.  We pretend to be who we are not.  We have lived in response to intimidation, domination, and manipulation.  We have kept our true self hidden, protected from the world or those in our environment. 

Only when we develop the courage to be can we relinquish that true self to Jesus in discipleship.  Living as someone you’re not keeps you chained, isolated, imprisoned. 
         

Only when you decide to “be” can you realize the depths of your alienation from God and accept God’s Son, Jesus as Savior.

This notion of being is as a homosexual coming out of the closet.  It is as an alcoholic refusing to drink another alcoholic beverage.  It is as you and I determining to speak our truth refusing to allow others to intimidate, dominate, or manipulate us. 
         

Being you is tough.  Being you means accepting who you are at the core of your being: the good, the bad, the ugly.  People in the world often exclaim, “Don’t judge me!” “Accept me for who I am.” “What you see is what you get!” Then, go on to be who they think someone else wants them to be.  Being you is tough; accepting you is even more difficult.
          Yet, this is exactly the you Jesus is challenging you to be. 

He does so because this is the you God is after.  David, the King of Israel gave God his true self: whoremonger, murderer, selfish,warrior, betrayer, lover, friend, leader, servant, shepherd, singer, song writer, worshipper.  David was all these things; but David dedicated his total nature, his true self, to God.  And God accepted David as a son. David the Bible commends David on this one point, “David was a man after God’s own heart.” David sought to become who God intended him to be even as David dealt with his own true self.
         

This is discipleship: surrendering your true nature to Jesus and exchanging that nature for Christ’s nature.  It is an evolving, transformative relationship with Jesus Christ. 

This, my friends, is the courage to be.  Jesus invites us to trust Him with our true selves knowing that Jesus has paid the price and knows the way for us to live free eternally.  I urge you to submit your true nature to Jesus today! Amen.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Monetization of Tragedy

Michael Brown is dead, killed by an officer whose duty is to protect and defend.  That officer used deadly force but there wasn’t anyone’s life at stake,  not even his own.  What was the officer protecting? What was the officer defending?

Even more tragic in my mind is this fundraising business.  The police department has a legal defense fund for its officers. Why does the officer need money now for a trial that remains a distant possibility.  He hasn’t been charged or arrested for anything. 

And Michael Brown’s families are being used as pawns by Black organizations to enlarge there coffers.  Why should such tragedies be turned into financial exploitation?  Who will be the beneficiaries of these schemes?

At a gut level, I fully disapprove of both these shenanigans!

Posted from WordPress for Android

Effort Influences Destiny

“Remember this:  The person who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the person who sows generously will also reap generously” (2 Corinthians 9:6)

How bad do you want it? How much are willing to do to get it? Your destiny is before you but the level at which you exist in it is determined by your effort.

Hard work and self-discipline are keys to your elevation. Sowing refers to what you do, what you bring to the table.  Billy Preston said it best,  “Nothing from nothing leaves nothing. ”

God has a destiny for each person;  however, without your participation that destiny will be dwarfed.  In order for God to multiply your blessing,  you must first engage, employ your heart, soul, and body to its fulfillment. 

Get up and with intensity pursue your dreams!

Posted from WordPress for Android

A Servant’s Heart

“When pride comes, disgrace follows, but with humility comes wisdom.”

Be wary of ambition for the world’s applause is deceitful and deceptive.  Seek to serve not to rule for pride comes in ruling. However, serving produces love.

Awards stir the flames of pride. Jesus taught us to put out those flames.  He said, “So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty” (Luke 17:10).

Money, fame, power tempt our hearts to take confidence in our abilities and if left unchecked, pride will follow.  Service, on the other hand breeds love for humanity and births a sense of gratitude for life.

“If you want to be great, serve; anyone can be great because anyone can serve,” (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.). Wisdom comes from service because by serving others you enter into their collective experiences. You learn how to overcome challenges and how to have patience through difficulty.

Be wary of ambition for the world’s applause is deceitful and deceptive. Seek to serve!

Posted from WordPress for Android

Confrontation

Life refuses to bend
My dreams refuse to die
Accept life’s terms
Or walk away…

Decisions amid uncertainties
Bend life bend
Give a little; negotiate in good faith
I’m willing to compromise….

Life refuses to bend
My dreams refuse to die
Accept life’s terms
Or walk away…

So much at stake
Faith, Family, Friends…
Can you do it afraid
Accept life’s terms
Or walk away..

My dreams refuse to die,
My dreams refuse to die.

Faith In Spite The Test

jfmanuel3's Blog

Faith
Matthew 15: 21-28

Mat 15:21 Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon.  And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.”  But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”  Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!”  But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”  And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.”  Then Jesus answered and said to…

View original post 2,676 more words