Cries from Hollywood

June 28, 2008

My feature film debuts soon. Maybe I will be alive when it releases.
My character is not who I really am, but it is who I want to be;at least for a time.
The attention I receive snatches at my soul, as if I have no control.
Everybody knows me. Flashes from the carpet, second and third efforts to make a name for myself, leaves me blinded and unable to see; this I know. Maybe I will make it. But, Wine will be near because it makes me alive.

I think I know what to do. Who am I? I am an actor, perhaps you are not.
But, I like to laugh, like you. I like to paint too. As I look at my palms, each line is art to me. There is always something I feel I can’t see. You don’t understand; money is not the problem. Should I spend on you? Maybe you don’t know me.
I am not a robot; my feelings are for all.
Remembrance comes natural as it is what I do. Maybe it covers how I feel right now? My reflection seems different than yesterday’s.

Please don’t solve the problem I do not have. Standing is easy; it is the walking thats not.
I miss the laugh; the one that you have. I don’t do much anymore.
I sit here and wait; no one has called back. Eyes are jaded, can you see?
Hearts are beautiful when they beat fast. I am not sick, though I may need your help.
I am for all to see, but keep this discreet. I love to pretend, but now I am not.
Remembrance comes natural as it is what I do. Not at all. Not at all.
I do not remember you. I am faced with myself. What do I do?
Will you remember me? Take my eyes to show the world.
Where I am going, I do not know. But, maybe I will make it.

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There seems to be much simplicity in making a statement to be a professing Christ follower. Many times, it is even a note or a comment to be a Christian. “Yes, I am a Christian, so what’s for dinner?” In fact, most Americans proclaim to be one. It is part of American culture to proclaim God and attend some sort of religious service on Sunday. That is just what you do. Not many people have a problem with you proclaiming to be a Christian until you speak of what is required in such a proclamation. This separates the Christians and professors, which proves that words cut to the heart. God uses words to reveal Himself and His Glory, but He also uses character to realize the words into actions.

As a Christian, our character reflects our understanding of the Gospel. What we speak, how we treat people are all ways to proclaim or demonstrate, publicly, who we are as a person. Christians are to be careful instead of whimsical in each interaction with believers and unbelievers alike. We should be careful to reflect Godly character. Paul teaches,
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
If we are born-again, we prove to understand the Gospel with the simple, yet so difficult concept of, “esteeming others better than ourselves.” However, if we do not understand the Gospel, we publicly demonstrate, to our Creator and everyone surrounding, that we do not fear Him. If we do not consider others better than ourselves, then we do not fear God and simply put self before others.

If we understand the Gospel, we reflect the fruits of the Spirit in our character. Namely, these are love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against these, there is no law (Galatians 5:22-23). There is an overflowing understanding of the responsibility to be conscientiously different from the world. It should not be an act to reflect Godly attributes in the morning, but not at night, or vice versa. Although we sin because of our old nature, upon conversion, it is the will of God to demonstrate His love for His children by portraying it through His children to others; which causes His commands to not be burdensome.
“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.” 1 John 5: 2, 3
A true saint is caused to know true righteousness and the difference in a feeble attempt to be religious because of the realization of the perfection required. Rather, it is a soul provocation, caused by the Holy Spirit, in utter humility, to embrace and display the righteousness of Christ, rather than our own, which is none.

If we reflect understanding of the Gospel, we will “be Christ” to others. The mysteriously majestic privilege to reflect the light of Christ that is not at all within us naturally, but simply as a chosen people, is the highest calling of a human being from the Creator of Universe to demonstrate the eternal realm on earth and ultimately, the Kingdom of Heaven.
“But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.” 1 Peter 2:9-10
If we are one of His peculiar or special people, a royal priesthood, then by the Sovereign will of God, we will be set apart from the fallen world to continually, more consistently at an increasing level, reflect Christ in us in the process of sanctification. It glorifies Him to show His light through us to not only make public shame of the sin of unbelievers, but also believers, which causes intense division among the peoples. This is because the perfect character of Christ is diametrically opposed to the whole world and primarily why the world hates Him (Jesus’ compassion alone on outcast people who were lame, blind, deaf and otherwise worthless to society caused immediate recognition and intense strife, not among irreligious but the “religious” people).

Since the fall, sin of all sorts has caused intense pain and suffering among the human race. Because our sins (as believers), which are many, are forgiven, so we must forgive the sins of others. Many Christians understand the forgiveness aspect of Godly character differently at different levels because we have all have sinned and have been sinned against differently. Yet, sin is sin, regardless of the depth, tone, shape or form. Jesus did not die for some sins of all people, but He died for all sins of some people. The Doctrine of Atonement obliterates any act of self-justification because of our utter helplessness without it. If Christ did not die, then we are not forgiven and still dead in our sins. But, since He died in perfect righteousness (and resurrected), our sins are able to be forgiven. Therefore, since we all have infinitely broken God’s law, our undeserved forgiveness from Christ to us should reflect in our character, from us to others in compassionate love and sacrificial gratitude of His Mercy. This also reminds us that when we sin, we not only sin against others who have sinned, but ultimately against Jesus Christ, who never sinned, yet shed His blood to redeem us.
“Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me not water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. ‘You gave me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. ‘You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. ‘Therefore, I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.’ Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven.’
Luke 7:44-48

Jesus personally proves the wisdom behind the two great commandments, to “Love the Lord God with all your heart mind, soul and strength and your neighbor as yourself.” If you obey and reflect these two, then you will obey and reflect the rest of the commands. If you do not obey these two, then you cannot obey the rest. True Godly character displays Christ-likeness in the assurance by the Spirit of God to produce the fruits of the Spirit in becoming more like Him. The Gospels indicate that Jesus, being the Author and Finisher of our faith, emphasized the infinite value of relationships to publicly demonstrate His power, while ascertaining the difference between good and evil, the reality of faith and ultimate Glory, in His character or who He actually is as the God-Man. In the same way, as His children, we are to be salt and light to the world; to friends, family, enemies, strangers, foreigners so they may see our good deeds and glorify Our Father in Heaven.

‘You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven’.” Matthew 5:13-16

“By the word of the Lord the heavens were made, And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth.
He gathers the waters of the sea together as a heap;
He lays up the deep in storehouses.

Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.
For He spoke, and it was done;
He commanded, and it stood fast.

The Lord brings the counsel of the nations to nothing;
He makes the plans of the people of no effect.
The counsel of the Lord stands forever,
The plans of His heart to all generations.
Blessed is the nations whose God is the Lord.
The people He has chosen as His own inheritance.

The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.

No king is saved by the multitude of an army;
A mighty man is not delivered by great strength.
A horse is a vain hope for safety;
Neither shall it deliver any by its great strength.

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in you.”

Psalm 33:6-22

“Opposition to divine sovereignty is essentially atheism. Men have no objection to a god who is really no God, a god who shall be the subject of caprice, who shall be a servile follower of their will, who shall be under their control. But a God who speaks and it is done, who commands and it stands fast, a God who does as he will among the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of this lower world, such a God as this they cannot endure. And yet, is it not essential to the very being of God that he should be absolute and supreme? Certainly to the scriptural conception of God, sovereignty is an absolute necessity.”

-Charles Spurgeon

Happy Father’s Day

June 14, 2008

I was listening to a Christian radio station the other morning on the way to work and a lady happened to call in talking about Father’s Day weekend. She spoke of the fact that she was a single mom and that her children have grown up thus far without a continual father figure in their lives. I thought it was sad, but was thanking God in my soul that, for sure, the topic was about to veer into the spiritual realm, speaking of,you know, God. But, it did not. The DJ on the radio show apparently bore witness with the caller, proclaiming that she was also a single mother with several children. With the absolute perfect opportunity for the DJ to reflect the Gospel, doors wide open to not only the lady on the phone, but particularly, all single moms listening in the entire city, she went in a completely different direction. The DJ proceeded to speak about “all of the men” in her children’s lives that represent a “father figure” to them. Confusion immediately set in for me. I asked myself, “Let me get this straight, this is a ‘Christian’ radio station (mind you, I understand the entirely liberal nature of these programs), speaking of ‘fatherhood’ on “Father’s Day weekend”, from the single motherhood perspective and instead of talking about true fatherhood in Christ, we are now talking about “several men” representing a father figure to these children? Worst of all, the fact that these men were either Godly or not was not mentioned.

First, I would like to clear a few things up. Coming from an unbelieving, divorced family, with a single mother, I have firsthand experience with this situation (as do many people these days). From what I know, it seems that the worst possible thing to speak about, if you are a single mother, is the fact that your children have a “father figure” from “several” men. The concept confuses me as a twenty-five year old, young professional. I can imagine how confused these children must be, regardless of age or maturity. There would seemingly never be any consistency in not only the relationships between these children and the men, but also the children and mother. It seems like an excuse for the mother to “do something” while she is possibly on the way to being married again (or for the first time). But, that should be her goal, if she is a Godly (saved) woman (It is not my place or goal to speak of or reflect the situations as to why these women are single in this particular post; that is another time). For the sake of her children, she should train them up as God-fearing children, as she reflects her Godly character.

Second, the whole purpose of this story is to demonstrate The Gospel of how God becomes our Father. Even in seasoned married homes (as I realize this is an amazing blessing and means of God’s Grace), mother’s, father’s and children are all sinners. We have all fallen short of God’s perfect standard (Romans 3:23). Jesus demonstrates and proves to us over and over again in the Gospels of just who we are. He reveals Himself to the Samaritan woman at the well (where, at this time in culture, Jews and Samaritans are enemies and men did not speak to women).

“The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.” Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband, and come here.” The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have well said, ‘I have no husband,’ “for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; in that you spoke truly.” The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on the mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.” Jesus said to her. “Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ). When he comes, He will tell us all things.” Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you an He.”
John 4:15-26

If God is our Father, then Jesus Christ has revealed Himself to us as The Messiah. Whether we grew up in a Christian home, have a divorced family, or have foster parents, we (God’s elect) are all adopted individually at the very moment of our conversion. When we know that Christ is the Messiah, not a but The Messiah, the One who came to save sinners, then only at that moment is when we recognize where we have fallen infinitely short in every area of our lives. In this case, Jesus reminded this Samaritan woman of her overall sinfulness by bringing up her unrepentant relationships with men. It was most likely the most sore subject of her entire life being reminded that, although she thought she had something, without Christ, she had nothing. Or, being at the well, where there was physical water to draw, she was dead and bone dry in her soul without the Living Water, who is Christ (v. 13,14).

What we “Christians” fail to realize most of the time is that anything God-honoring or Christ-exalting coming from us, really comes from Him. Any righteousness that we have, is really Jesus’ righteousness. And the only true Father we have, or will ever have for that matter, is our Abba Father. It is our Heavenly Father. Because of our sin, we don’t even realize the substitutes we have every day, for our Heavenly Father, who delivers us from our sins. In the spiritual sense, we are just like the two ladies on the radio, talking about every other father while failing to mention the only Father we have for eternity.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worth of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who find his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” Matthew 10:37-39

Come and drink from the Living Water, our perfectly loving, forgiving and everlasting Father.

Perfect Resume

June 7, 2008

I am a Christian. However, my resume does not say that I am. It states the “Objective” of the job I am seeking to obtain. It is my personal statement of the exact job I want, displaying the characteristics of the position. Following that, the next category is my “Job Experience” which is simply a label of the past jobs I have had and how long I have worked there. Next I must defend the fact that I am educated by listing my “Education” in showing the name of the institution (hopefully accredited) by which I obtained my degree or diploma and the type it is (e.g. BA, BBA, BS, MBA, PhD).

Then or finally, depending on type of resume, I gladly list my “Skills” or “Accomplishments” that qualifies me and matches perfectly the “Job Description” or “Responsibilities.” These skills can range anywhere from “Microsoft Office skills” to “Sales skills” to “Management skills.” These are good skills to have, but what do they mean? What does it mean for me to say that I have a particular skill in at least one area of life? Honestly speaking, at the very most, it is a highly elevated opinion of myself that may or may not be true, because it is an opinion. It is not based on fact. My job experience merely lists the fact that I have had a job, or not. My education says that an admissions director, somewhere, graciously accepted my application to be admitted into the University, after paying my $25 application fee, of course.

What does my resume culminate? I am a living, breathing, walking human being, created in the image of Creator Jehovah with a soul and spirit. What do I have to stand in my defense when it comes to obtaining a job, according to the world? I have a piece of paper with words in a language comprehensible by a specific culture or ethnic group that either qualifies me or not, for a particular job. (Sad day)

What does it mean to be a true Christian? Among many other things, it means that Christ Himself has stood, on the Cross, and still stands in our defense, interceding before the throne of God Himself.
“I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus, that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge, even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you, so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, who will confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:4-8
I do not put on my resume as a skill, that I am “regenerated by the Holy Spirit of God through Christ,” or that I am, “A descendant of Abraham,” or that I am part of, “True Israel.” I do not put that I have been, “rescued from certain death and eternal damnation by the blood of Christ,” as part of my “Experience.” That would be a comical act in applying for a position where the hiring manager most likely has not been delivered from his/her sins. But, because these things are personal truths of revelation, based on the Scriptures, which are the promises of God, they are no less true in the world because they aren’t on my resume (obviously).

Firstly, 1 Corinthians 1:5 says, “that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,” meaning all true knowledge comes from the revelation of Christ in us, by our testimony. Therefore, because this is an infallible truth, by revelation, it is imparted by perfect knowledge because Christ is perfect. We are “enriched” with this “full knowledge,” saturating the soul, delighting in the pleasurable truths that change the former desires of the carnal mind and worldly affections into a spiritual mind and Godly affections, conforming and transforming the soul by this gift.

Secondly, we are partakers of the Divine nature of Christ. The righteousness of Christ is imputed by revelation in the illuminating knowledge of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:1-7). Being heirs of the Kingdom of Heaven, the knowledge, namely, Holy knowledge of one mysteriously changed by the grace of God in Christ, is greater or infinitely superior than the knowledge of one who is ignorant of, “the deep things of God,” or in a lost state of being, i.e. unregenerate. This righteous knowledge, which is the righteousness of Christ given to us, is an undeniable, unstoppable, impenetrable authoritative truth that displays the Glory of God in us and through us to the world, disrupting any and every systematic avenue to glorify oneself in the flesh; which are the pleasures of this world, knowing only sensation. The knowledge of God portrays the reality of spiritual warfare (in the work place, home, missions field) and supersedes all worldly knowledge in every case.
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down of strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.” 2 Corinthians 10:4-6

Thirdly, Christian, God fulfills His promises by swearing by His Own Name (Hebrews 6:13-20). If you have righteous knowledge of God, it is because God swore by His Own Name to give it to you, through the atoning death of Christ. It provides the assuredness of the promise by confirming that, “in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us” (Hebrews 6:18). There is no greater worth in the Universe, and no greater name than God Almighty. For Him to make a promise by His own name, it proves that it is impossible for it to faulter because it is impossible for God to lie; He will not break a promise or covenant that He has decreed for His purposes and Glory. He has made everything and He is good. If He made the promise to Abraham, He made it to you, infallibly, as a descendant and fellow heir. Therefore, if God is with you, who can be against you?

You may not have the “most impressive resume,” according to the world’s standards; nor may you ever. But, dear friend, if you belong to Jesus Christ, He has already written your resume for you. He wrote it with His Blood. Because of His promises, in that, He so loved you He gave His life, you are not only overcoming the world daily, but you have indeed, overcome the world.

“This hope we gave as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Hebrews 6:20