Archive | April 2018

The Heart of Mankind: An Indicator of Societal Wellness

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Proverbs 20:27 refers to our spirit as the “candle of the Lord” that searches the deepest parts of who we are. Those words remind me of the parts of ourselves that we may attempt to conceal from others, our underlying motives and thoughts, and truths we fail to acknowledge. Then, I wonder about the condition of the hearts of people who cause so much suffering in our society today, and in the past among my enslaved ancestors who struggled all their lives to access what God already had given them – freedom.

My great-great-grandmother was born into slavery. Her parents ran away from their slave master’s plantation, and lived in the forest, where my great-great-grandmother was born. When they were found by their slaveholder my great-great-grandmother was about nine years old. Her father was shot on site in front of her and her mother to make an example of him, so they would remember to never attempt to be free again. And from what I’ve been told, my great-great-grandmother never cried again from the time of her father’s murder until her death. At nine years old, I guess she had no more tears to shed, as she’d probably already endured the worst of the worst.

In some ways it feels a little uncomfortable that this scripture brings back thoughts of my great-great-grandmother’s sufferings. Maybe I reflect on her when I read this scripture because it leads me to wonder how much darkness had to exist in the minds and hearts of the slave owners, lawmakers and citizens of that time for them to support the cruelty and dehumanization of slavery – for so long. It was as if they snuffed out the candle of their conscience to prevent it from drawing attention to those areas of their hearts that needed change.

Back then, slavery was the new normal. It was legal, lucrative and well supported. And if the institution of slavery was any indication of the condition of the hearts of humanity at that time, it shows how depraved a society can become when its will overrides the will of God.

We’ve come a long way as a society and nation, but we have not arrived. Slavery and injustice, in various forms and to a lesser extent, still exist. The names, players, rules and their broad appeal have changed, but the roots remain: greed – the love of money and it’s wares – and a mindset of supremacy.

The good thing is: slavery is now illegal! We’ve made some headway in civil rights, and that’s a good start for progressive change. So on behalf of my great-great-grandmother and all the ancestors who endured so much hardship, I’m thankful for “better.” I’m also thankful that God continues to illuminate the inner recesses of our hearts and nudge us to be who He created us to be, and who we pledge to be: “one nation under God indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

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The Resurrection of Jesus: The Gift That Never Loses Its Power

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Jesus lives!

Worthy is the Lamb (Jesus) who was slain for us!  During the days after Jesus’ death on the cross, He was not simply laying in a dark, damp grave.  Jesus was alive in the Spirit, going to spiritual places where his human body was unable to go.  Jesus submitted his body to the grave in order to release His spirit to effectively descend to the lower regions of the earth and take back everything the enemy had taken from God’s people through the fall of Adam and Eve.

For many generations, God continued to protect humankind from harm by instituting the recurring practice of animal sacrifices to deal with the deadly consequences of sin that had long continued to separate God from His creation.  Then, God provided for our security through Jesus’ death and resurrection, ensuring our future and a life more abundant than any of our predecessors.

When Jesus’ body was laid to rest in the tomb, He had spiritual work to do on behalf of  humankind that would secure the wellbeing of our souls and allow us to live an empowered life in the here and now.  So, while Jesus may have been silent atop the ground, He was very active in the lower regions of the earth taking back the keys of death and hell from the enemy of our souls. And when He had accomplished this work, He rose from the dead with all power in His hands, having broken the curse and bondage of sin that had fallen upon all humankind as a result of the fall of Adam and Eve.

Therefore, once and for all, God provided a permanent sin solution and a way to ensure that we always had access to Him.  God gave us the ultimate gift and sacrifice of Jesus, his beloved Son.  Jesus was divine, and only a divine sacrifice would be able to provide a permanent solution to the spiritual problem of sin.  So the sacrificial gift of Jesus as a means to secure our future and access to life more abundantly in relationship with God, makes us some of the most blessed creatures on the planet!  We only need accept God’s precious gift with the love and thoughtfulness in which it was given.

God’s plan for Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection was an act of sheer love and genius. The Bible is filled with passages that express the depth of God’s love for us, one of which is John 3:16.  God’s love for us was, and remains, so strong that He gave his only Son so that anyone who believes in Him can have access to eternal life with Him in the afterlife, and live in communion with Him daily through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  This promise is applicable to us right here, right now, so that we are complete in Him and never alone, even if we emotionally feel like it at times.

Freedom from the bondage of sin, death and separation from God is available to everyone – no matter our ability or disability, whether deaf or hearing, speechless or speaking, rich or poor.  God is accessible to us directly as result of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection.  Thank God for Jesus!

Happy Resurrection Day!