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You want me to do what God????

“I don’t know.”

That’s the answer I have given to those who have asked me “what’s next?”

You see, back in January, the Lord showed me that my time in the state I lived in for 7 years—the place that God used to open my eyes even greater to His love for me; the place he rooted me to flourish in Him; the place where He reminded me that He has chosen me for such a time as this; the place where, in comfort, asked him to never move me, had come to an end.

But He had more plans for me than I could see and so when He laid in my heart that after my lease ended in NJ that I would be  moving, it wasn’t with a road map in front of me. It was with a “take this word for now and trust Me to reveal the rest.”

Can you imagine telling people that you are moving and had no answer when they asked “where?”

Yup. That was me from January to March 17th—with my lease ending April 30th.

Don’t you just love the way God works? He does. Lol.

Remember that thing called faith that He talks about in His word? You know the whole, “we walk by faith and by sight?” (2 Corin. 5:7)…

Yea—He wasn’t playing. It’s really a lifestyle. And that’s what I’ve learned in 2016. The opposite of faith isn’t doubt. It’s sight. Because everything I saw with my natural eyes didn’t quite reconcile with what I knew in the Spirit. I cried many tears because of the uncertainty. But even greater, I rejoiced in many ways because His presence never left me.

I will never forget the image He showed me and the words He spoke when He made it clear that this season was over in New Jersey:

I was praying one evening and He showed me a rag that had been rung until water could no longer come out of it. And He gently spoke and said:

“All that I wanted you to do in this season is done. You can stay if you so choose, but My grace will no longer be with you.”

My heart sunk. Those words—I never want to hear again. It put His fear in me because in that moment I realized, nothing I did in my time here was in my own strength, intellect, merit or desire. He is the one that changed my desire to stay 7 years ago when I had planned to move to Cali after 1 year in NJ. He is the one that opened the door for me to be in Johnson & Johnson and even when I wanted to leave 2 years ago, showed me it wasn’t time. It was Him who allowed me to grow and flourish in ministry.

It was HIM.

And I can’t and won’t do it without Him. So when He said, “my grace will no longer be with you,” tears fell. I need His grace. And so with a sober mind, I accepted His invitation to trust Him deeper.

The months following after that night in January weren’t the easiest. But boy did I grow. Boy did I pray. Boy did I rest in His word. And boy did He lead me. In the midst of having to stand firm in the conviction of what I knew versus what others didn’t understand, He stood with me. He gave me the grace to not back down. He held me in those weak moments and reminded me that I belonged to Him.

There is so much to the details of this story ( I will do a video to share) but in short, He revealed to me one week before I would go home for Easter to see my family (which I prayed that He would give me an answer by then so they can at least be in peace–He’s so faithful) that I would be moving back to Virginia to be with family and that I could work from home with JNJ. (only God! And that in itself is a story).

So it’s August—I’ve been home in VA since May. Much has taken place but here’s another part: The decision to move home was honored by my workplace when I made that decision. However, they had put stipulations around it and that is that it had to be short term. Like End of August. Like this month:-)

I have to be honest, when they first told me that, my heart sunk. I have been at JNJ for 7 years. So much took place here but deep down, I knew it was God’s doing–slowly weaning me from that place of comfort. Of course, working with this great company, they were willing to help me look for other positions within the company after moving to VA. I was honored. But I knew I had to take it to the Lord.

Well, 3 weeks into moving to VA, I heard the Lord say don’t look for any jobs with the company. You’re season is done.  I can’t explain the peace but it was tangible. And tears flooded my eyes on that drive home when I heard Him gently speak those words because I knew it was yet another invitation to trust Him. Deeper.

So what’s next you ask? Great question because He hasn’t made it fully clear but what I do know is He is the One writing my story. While the uncertainly of when my next check will come crosses my mind from time to time, the knowledge and certainty that He is SO with me stills my beating heart.

This is a new season y’all. A season where He is stripping me of everything and anything that I have my placed my security in to show me it’s all about HIM.

I’m excited. He is working things out behind the scenes. And He won’t reveal until it’s time. But it will always be time for me to seek Him. To sit before Him. To abide in Him. To learn Him. to Know Him. It’s always time.

So as I close out my next few days with JNJ, I do so with great peace that in this season of transition, God isn’t trying to catch up to this time, He’s in it. He’s before it and He’s leading me through it as I sing

“Jesus My Captain, my soul’s trust Lord, all my allegiance is rightfully Yours”

(the song of my heart this season) 

 

**** *There is so much more to this story so I will share it in a video to explain the details of God’s doing so you may be encouraged to know that HE IS WITH YOU!*****

Food for the Soul Monday: Let’s Get Serious…

*A little nourishment for your soul to get you going*

I’m fascinated by the relationship that God had with the Israelites in the Old Testament. It was anything but boring. It was adventurous…a constant reminder that God’s love for them was unrelenting. No matter how hard-headed they were, His heart never hardened towards them. It grieved but it wasn’t hardened.

What God desired more than anything was their seriousness about Him. It seemed like they took Him for granted. They no longer feared His presence. They no longer remembered His deliverance and they no longer understood His mercy. It all became too familiar to them.

But God’s love didn’t run dry. It grieved. But it didn’t run dry.

It’s the same with us. His love doesn’t run dry but it does grieve when He sees a heart torn between two worlds: the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. He desires a serious commitment to Him.

God had His prophet Samuel share His heart to the Israelites in 1 Samuel 7:3:

If you are really serious about wanting to return to the LORD, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Determine to obey only the LORD…”

No more dabbling in and out. He is looking for commitment, but not a forceful one, but one ravished by His love. Compelled by it. Restrained by it. Freed by it. A kind of commitment that honors and respects the work He is doing in your life. it’s real. It’s deep. It’s good!

I pray today that we would recommit to another level of seriousness with our relationship with God. He’s looking for serious people. All-in people. Unwavering people. Let it show in how you listen. In how you obey. In how you serve. In how you choose. Above all, in how you live.

“So if you’re serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides…” Colossians 3:1 (MSG)

Food for the Soul Monday: Because He had to…

*A little nourishment for your soul to get you going*

We’ve all said it at some point in our lives, “I was at the right place at the right time.”

To some it’s the philosophy that when preparation meets luck, good things happen. However, to us who believe in God, we know that neither preparation nor luck match God’s intentionality in ordering our steps. It’s beautifully seen in the story in John 4 that we are all familiar with, the Samaritan woman at the well.

At this point in His ministry, Jesus had been winning the hearts of people through the signs, miracles and wonders He gracefully performed. Many were getting baptized and coming to the knowledge of God and the religious leaders couldn’t stand it. So Jesus decides to leave where He was in Judea, and head to Galilee. And here is where things get interesting. The scripture says,

“He had to pass through Samaria.” (John 4: 4)

Here is the thing; Samaria was located halfway between the straight shot journey between Judea and Galilee. However, during that time, the enmity between the Jews and the Samaritans ran so deep, both spiritually and racially, that Jews who would travel between those two locations would intentionally go around Samaria because they wanted nothing to do with the people. This would add days to their trip but it was so deep that they thought to get near them would contaminate them.

But Jesus HAD to pass through there. In reality, by the cultural norms of that day, He wasn’t supposed to. It was looked down on. But He had to… He had to because before the foundations of the Earth, God had a plan for this lady whom we would come to call, The Samaritan woman. He knew she would be drawing water at the hottest time of the day because of shame. He knew she would have a thirst greater than Jesus’ question for a cup of water. He knew she would need living water that would quench her thirst for eternity. And so He risks His reputation to meet her. He knew the right time and He knew the right place.

No kind of preparation or luck would cause this woman to be at this place. In fact, it had nothing to do with what she did. It had everything to do with what Christ wanted to do for her life. He met her where she was. He wanted to rescue her. He knew that because of her testimony, many would come to believe Him. (John 4:30). What great love!

Be encouraged today that this Great and Sovereign King who loves us beyond our finite comprehension, holds our times in His hand. He loves timing but more so because He loves His purpose in and for you. That thing you are waiting for, He knows the right time and the right place and He will keep meeting you where you are until you are where you’ve prayed to be. There are people that have to be sent. There are circumstances that have to happen. There are places that you have to go. Simply Trust.

 

Food for the Soul Monday: He’s an ALL-IN God!

*A little nourishment for your soul to get you going*

I admire people who can consistently give 100% of themselves in everything they do- whether it be big tasks or small tasks, they are all in! I can’t say I do. In fact, I’m working on being 100% “there” whenever I’m doing something. My mind finds itself in so many other places except for where it’s supposed to be! Help me Jesus!

I’m just grateful that God doesn’t know how to be anything BUT ALL IN with us. He’s not into doing things half-way. He’s fully engaged. Fully present. And what He offers is never half-way. What He offers is in FULLNESS.

I think the worst place to be as a believer is half-way  accepting what God has done fully. It’s  a miserable place because I don’t believe it works like that. When God gives love, it’s an ALL-IN kind of love. But if we accept it half-way, it leaves us in agony–constantly trying to figure out if we have to earn it rather accepting the fullness of it.

When God offers forgiveness, it’s an ALL-IN kind of forgiveness. But if we accept it half-way, we are always in the place of running away from guilt.

When God offers freedom, it’s an ALL-IN kind of freedom. But if we accept it half-way, we are always in a place of bondage.

Here is what He tells us in His word in Ephesians 1: 7-8 MSG version: (Scripture of the week)

“Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, His blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a FREE people. Free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all of our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. ABUNDANTLY FREE!”

Wow! How many of us live in the barely free state because we “half-way” accepted all that God has done for us?

My prayer is that today, we will choose to accept it ALL! Leave no room to consider half-way. There is so much for us to do in this ALL-IN state!

Food for the Soul Monday: The Gospel

*A little nourishment for your soul to get you going*

Growth is an essential part of our life.  If we aren’t growing, we are stagnant. As I think about growing in this walk with God or what we would call maturing in Him, I think about what’s often neglected in this maturing process. We come to accept Christ as our Lord and Savior because we believe that He was sent by God to die for the atonement of our sins and resurrected to make us alive in Him. We know this to be the GOSPEL.

It’s the starting point of our walk with God but I’m learning that as we seek to mature, the Gospel must also be the sustaining force of our walk with Him.

What do I mean?

I mean that accepting what Jesus has done is not where it ends. The Gospel must also be what keeps us transforming to be more like Christ. The reminder of Christ dying for our sins is a reminder that we are, as Paul puts it, filthy as rags, and there will never be a day we don’t need Him. It’s also a reminder that our righteousness doesn’t and never will come from us. We don’t work to keep our place in God. It’s not an earned position. So we must be careful that we don’t fall into the trap of trying to work for His approval. It keeps us falling more in love with God because of the great lengths He went to reconcile us back to Him.

The Gospel must never get old or basic to us. It is POWER to us. It should be the filter through which we see and interact with people. It must be central and essential to how we live our lives daily. May we never forget.

10 Lessons I’ve learned in 2015….

Well…today is the last day of 2015! It’s gone by so quickly but the richness of my experiences are still marinating and doing their work in me. I’ve learned many things and some things I’ve always known were more solidified and became more real this year. God is all about growing us into His likeness. And every experience has the potential to do that. Here are 10 lessons I’ve learned that make me want to chase God even more:

Details matter:

The same God who orchestrated a census to be taken during the time of Mary’s pregnancy so that Joseph would have to travel over 100 miles with her to get to his hometown, Bethlehem, so he could be accounted for, while all along being in the very place that God had planned for Jesus to be born, (and oh by the way, Bethlehem was also the place where the Passover lambs are known to be prepared) shows me that God is a God of detail. **sorry for the run-on sentence but it was too good to break up lol***

He orders steps. Where you are. Where you are working. Who He has surrounding you—those are details that matter to God. We may not always understand why things happen the way they do, but they matter to the greater story He is writing. And we must recognize it as such; not some forgotten piece. Know that details matter to God. Let Him work it out! “The steps of the godly are directed by the Lord. He delights in every detail of their lives”! (Psalm 37:23 NLT)

God’s Voice is greater than people’s affirmation:

God speaks. The question is have we learned to recognize His voice. And when we have, what He says to us won’t always be affirmed by people around us. Even those we see as our spiritual mentors. No, sometimes, God wants to make sure we are relying on Him and not man. So when He says to do something and we’re looking for affirmation and we don’t get it so we choose not to do it, we’re disobeying. Trust God’s voice and move accordingly. He will confirm it the way He desires. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow me” (John 10:27)

 Go to God with everything:

Did I say everything? Everything! The Holy Spirit directs and desires to put His touch on everything we aspire to do. I’ve learned to invite Him in my decisions. My conversations. My meetings. My writing…and the list goes on. I promise it makes a difference because you’ve chosen to commit it [whatever it is] to the Lord and what is committed to Him is safe.  “In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” (Proverbs 3:6)

It’s OK to draw away:

I’m known to be a social butterfly. Can’t deny I love people. I love being around people. I love being involved and engaged. BUT I’ve also learned that too much of people and not enough alone time does something to me. I had a hard time admitting it because, somehow, I thought I was not being authentic to know people knew of me or that people would think that I was being mean and all the irrational thoughts that could drive you up a wall! Drawing away is mandatory. Spending time by yourself, enjoying your own company is maturity. Engaging yourself is important. Listening to your thoughts and responding accordingly is also important. Allowing that time for God to speak without distractions. Filling you so you can pour back out is a necessity for the Kingdom. And I’m learning that I don’t have to apologize or give reason to why I want to be alone. I don’t have to feel guilty. So know yourself enough to know when you need to draw away from people and go to that secret place. It’s OK! “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:16)

 Think about what you talk about:

What we talk about is reflective of what we think about. Our conversations matter. Idle talk doesn’t please God. I’m not saying that joking and having fun is completely thrown out the window, but I’ve learned to pay attention to what I talk about consistently. Am I talking about things of substance? Things that build rather than destroy? I have to say, I’m grateful for the conversations I’ve had this past year. They challenged me. Edified me. And most importantly, they’ve helped me grow spiritually and mentally. “But avoid irreverent and empty chatter, which will only lead to more ungodliness” (2 Timothy 2:16)

Not everyone will understand you…it’s OK:

The beauty of being created by God is how unique He has made each of us. This uniqueness is also seen in our relationship with Him. Each of us, though experiencing the same salvation through Christ, has a unique and intimate relationship with Him. I’ve learned that not everyone will understand that relationship so they will have a hard time understanding you. It’s OK. Don’t be discouraged. Remain authentic to how He’s created you. How He speaks to you. How you respond to Him. Let the fruit you bear speak for you. “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:14).

 Sin is real but His grace is power:

No we don’t keep on sinning because grace exists. We receive grace because sin exists. I’ve learned more and more this year that outside the grace of God, I am weak. Very weak. And I’ve found comfort in the vulnerability that Paul displayed when he said that when he wanted to do good, evil was right there with him. I’ve recognized that I am filthy as rags. And I am a fool to think that I am above sin. The conviction of the Holy Spirit should cause us run to the cross, not away from it. Only the enemy runs with us and even cheers us on when we run towards condemnation. But when we choose to run to the cross, he backs away. For it is there he knows he has no power. “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)

 

DON’T stay in “your lane”:

I’ve committed to live this life emptying myself of everything God has put within me. Because we serve a limitless God, that DNA is within us. The more I dig deep in the Lord, the more He draws out of me the gifts He’s placed in me and it doesn’t have to stay in a “lane” as we often hear. I sing. I dance. I write. I act. I play sports. I teach. I lead. I use what’s been given to me to glorify God ultimately and to serve people because I’m expressing the many facets of His creation. I’m not saying because I do those things, a ministry or an organization has to come out of it. Motives must always be in check!  I’m saying that you have the freedom to express it without feeling like you are outside of “your lane” (whatever that means).  “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4:10)

Surrender your desires to Him:

Desires are not bad. And I learned this year that even the desires He puts in us must be surrendered to Him so that He could show us how and when and why. A great example is the journey of putting on WITHIN Ministry’s first retreat this year and what God taught me through that for which I will forever be grateful. Check out story here.

Don’t be afraid of the word Justice:

The tragedies that we’ve seen throughout this year on racism have truly been disheartening. And speaking up on those injustices doesn’t go against our faith.  Justice and God aren’t exclusive of one another.  In fact justice is part of our worship to the Lord. They go together. We don’t have to be afraid. God isn’t intimated by this conversation. He actually would love to give us the wisdom and the grace to bring light to this so that His work can be seen in greater measures through us. He wants to make sure our conversations and actions are motivated by His love because our responsibility is to make sure that our righteous indignation doesn’t morph into self-righteousness, which eventually turns into hateful actions.

These are serious times. While the enemy wreaks havoc in this world, we as believers can’t sit back and be OK with it. If there was ever a time that we need God’s presence in our individual lives AND our churches, it’s now. We have to increase our capacity to receive God’s love so that we don’t grow cold and bitter. We have to increase our sensitivity to the Spirit of God so that can fight this battle that isn’t against flesh and blood but against principalities and dark forces. He’s given us the weapons. We just have to know how to use them.  “Learn to do right. Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow” (Isaiah 1:17)

 

 

Food for the Soul Monday: Unforced Rhythms of Grace

*A little nourishment for your soul to get you goin’*

The year is winding down.  (17 more days to be exact;-)

If we took the time at this moment to reflect on this past year, I am sure all of us can think of good moments. Bad moments. Achievements. Failures. Lessons. And so much more that, once again, confirms that this life is truly a journey.

It’s normal to anticipate a fresh start when January 1st arrives, but there is a passage that tells me that a fresh start is never confined to time; rather, it’s confined to choice. It’s never the wrong time to choose a new mindset or a new habit or a new trajectory. It’s never the wrong time to accept what God continues to offer. And He says this to us:

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly” (Matthew 11:28-30 MSG)

Truth is we get tired. We burn out, but God doesn’t. He only knows how to meet the needs of our weariness. Choose today to apply this promise to your life. I love how He says that we will “Learn the Unforced rhythms of Grace.”

We get consumed by the timelines we set for ourselves. We get overwhelmed by the pressures of society. We get discouraged by the failures of our efforts.

And at times, we revert to striving in the flesh what has been completed for us by the Spirit of God.

But this walk is meant to be led by unforced, uncontrived rhythms of His grace. It’s not meant to drain. It’s meant to uplift. Fortify. Cultivate. Flourish. Revive. It’s mean to give LIFE!

I pray you rest upon His word and come away with Him. Let me help you rediscover what you thought you lost. Let Him remove the burdens you’re carrying so that He can show you what it feels to live freely and lightly. And the best part is that you don’t have to wait til January 1stToday is the day.

Peace, love and blessings,

Yodit

Food for the Soul Monday : Enter In

*A little nourishment for your soul to get you goin’*
Good friendships don’t come by often. These days it’s rare to find friendship that goes beyond the surface of what you have in common and digs deep into the truths of one another’s heart; friendship that invites you into vulnerabilities and still loves hard. So when those friendships come along, we must learn to cherish and cultivate them.
There is a friendship that has been extended to us that is far beyond any earthly friendship. It’s a friendship with our Heavenly Father.  It’s not easy for us to think of our relationship with God as a friendship but He tells us in John15:15,
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.”
 God has invited us into this intimate place where He says to us that in this relationship, we get to know His thoughts. It’s not like a servant who has to remain timid around his master, but it’s a friend that can relax because you know that you belong in His presence. While there is respect and honor, there is comfort and ease.
He desires to “let us in” on what He is doing. Better yet, He wants to use us. And as any good friendship, it’s a two-way street. In the same way He has let us in, He wants to be let into our hearts; into the vulnerable places where we don’t have to worry about being rejected for what is exposed. He promises to love us even more.
He calls you friend, precious child. Enter into this place with full confidence that you belong there.

No more excuses…

I went through a season in my life where I couldn’t understand what God was doing or how God was working in my life. I couldn’t understand why He brought me to the location where I knew no one. I couldn’t understand why He allowed the hurtful situations that were going on in my life to take place. I just couldn’t make sense of them. I cried myself to sleep almost every night, crying out to God, begging Him please make Himself clear to me.One night, while studying the book of John, I was on chapter 5 and before starting, I prayed that God would give me a revelation of His word.I began reading the story of the man whom Jesus healed at the pool of Bethesda. I’ve read this story countless times. But this time, this time Jesus spoke in a new way.
Jesus was walking by the Pool of Bethesda where hundreds of crippled people gathered. It was believed that every year at a certain time, an Angel of the Lord visited the pool and stirred it up allowing healing for the people who would come and dip themselves in the water. .Jesus noticed a man. He walked up to Him knowing that this man had been crippled for 38 years. Jesus walked up to Him and simply asked the man, “Do you wish to get well?”
This man, who had no idea who Jesus was, responds, “I can’t sir, for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.”

And Jesus-without any other question says to the man, “Stand Up. Pick up your mat and walk.” And this man gets up, picks up his mat, and starts walking!

Can you imagine that? After 38 years of being confined-after 38 years of pain and suffering and ostracized from society and family and friends-this man was HEALED!

Reading this story, the Lord started speaking to me-confronting me about my situation.
No I haven’t been crippled physically for 38 years. But I knew I was crippled emotionally and mentally. I was hurting and confused from many unexpected things in my life.

And I heard God gently whisper in my heart- “Yodit, do you wish to get well?” Do you wish to be free from this emotional bondage? Do you wish to experience what I had intended for your life all along? Do you wish to be who I created you to be?”

And I responded, just like the man responded with excuses of why he wasn’t healed, “But Lord, this and this happened to me. I have a right to be angry and I have a right to be emotionally hurt and I have a right to feel this way. And I thought you were doing this in my life but…”
And God responded,., “I didn’t ask you to give me excuses. All I want to know is if you WISH to get well!”

And that’s when I realized that of course I wanted to be free. I wanted to receive all that God had for me and not be held in bondage by my circumstances just because I couldn’t understand them. HereI was making all these excuses as to why I was crippled rather than just making the CHOICE to be free. I realized I was the only one holding myself back. God simply wanted me to give Him the room to set me free.

So that night I responded, “Yes Lord, I WANT to get well!” And since that night, ladies, I have never been the same.

The truth is, life isn’t fair. The rain falls on the just and the unjust. But understand that the healing of God extends to us all. We don’t have to wallow in our self-pity because things that we didn’t think we deserved happened to us.

God is asking us daily, “do you wish to get well?” He showed me that the choice is REALLY up to us. He isn’t looking for excuses. He knows you are in pain. He knows HOW LONG you’ve been in pain. Now all He wants to know is HOW BADLY you want to be healed. How badly do you want to be free?

Here is the best part: I realized in reading this story that this crippled man had no idea who Jesus really was or the healing power of Jesus and yet when Jesus told him to stand up and walk-he didn’t doubt-He just did it.

We often see in the times where Jesus healed, faith was often the main ingredient in the people he healed. However, do you realize here that this man didn’t even know Jesus to have the kind of faith Jesus looked for. Yet, he was healed!

Understand that the Lord can’t be confined by your lack of faith because even when we’re faithless, He remains faithful. However; he can be confined by your lack of response! So respond to Jesus’ question: Do you wish to get well?

Because I used to be afraid to talk about racism…

I used to be afraid to talk about racism. I found myself believing that talking about this apparent problem was going against my faith; that somehow I couldn’t be a Christian and talk about this issue because it would mean that I would be on the side of causing division rather than unity.

Then I came to realize how foolish that was. So foolish that it sounded like I was saying that I was afraid to talk about sin because somehow talking about sin meant that I wasn’t talking about the loving God who offered forgiveness and grace.

Here is why I have been freed to talk about this issue: Because the root of racism isn’t institutional. The act of institutionalization of racism is the action of sinful hearts.

And here is what I have always known: We have a Savior who helps us confront our sin while offering us amazing, radical grace.

Racism didn’t appear out of thin air. And the U.S isn’t the only place that it takes place. Since the fall of man, disunity has been the pattern created. The construct of disunity based on one’s physical feature has continued to inform how one is treated. It’s real. And God isn’t caught off guard by it. He’s been dealing with it way before the U.S came into the picture. He’s simply sickened by it.

One because it’s sin. And two because it seeks to negate the work He has done for “everyone.” Not just fair skinned. Not dark skinned. Not wide nosed. Not thin nosed.

 Everyone.

As believers, ones who have been renewed in our minds on how we view God and one another, we have been called to a ministry of reconciliation.

 

“One man died for everyone. That puts everyone in the same boat. He included everyone in His death so that everyone could also be included in His life, a resurrection life, a far better life than people every lived on their own.

Because of this decision, we don’t evaluate people by what they have or how they look. We looked at the Messiah that way once and got it all wrong as you know. We certainly don’t look at Him that way anymore. Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is create new….We’re Christ representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. (2 Corinthians 5: 14-20 MSG)

 Powerful passage that reminds us that we have been called to act, speak, think and live in such a way that brings the distance between a person and God closer while at the same time God drawing the distance between one another closer. It reminds us that the construct of race as a dividing factor can longer be upheld as believers. It reminds us that race can’t be our idol.

There are many conversations that have erupted because of racism. And the enemy is so cunning with where he wants this conversation to lead humanity. However, we can’t be led to where he wants us to go—which is a constant state of division.

 So that’s why we as believers have to talk about racism…

Let’s talk about it because we as believers will be confronted by it in our lives and we have to know how to respond.

Let’s talk about it not for the sake of stirring up hate and division but as believers,  if we don’t, it will stir hate and division.

Let’s talk about it because its ugly head has made its way into the body of Christ and if we as His body can’t even take on the ministry of reconciliation we are called to take on, then who will?

Let’s talk about it because we have seen the power of the Gospel change our hearts and minds towards one another and we have seen Love overcome and now this message burns in our hearts for the world.

Let’s talk about it because God calls us to be the voice of those who are still victims of this sin.

Let’s talk about it because it’s darkness and our actions bring light. Why are we hiding our light under a bushel?

Let’s talk about it because we believe God can use us to deconstruct individual minds that can eventually change institutions.

Let’s talk about it because we believe that His Gospel doesn’t stop at just preaching Jesus, it’s living Jesus. And I don’t know if you’ve read the book of the gospels because you would know that Christ talked about what others tried to hide from: SIN.

We don’t have to be afraid. God isn’t intimated by this conversation. He actually would love to give us the wisdom and the grace to bring light to this so that His work can be seen in greater measures through us. He wants to make sure our conversations and actions are motivated by His love because our responsibility is to make sure that our righteous indignation doesn’t morph into self-righteousness which eventually turns into hateful actions.

These are serious times. While the enemy wreaks havoc in this world, we as believers can’t sit back and be OK with it. If there was ever a time that we need God’s presence in our individual lives AND our churches, it’s now. We have to increase our capacity to receive God’s love so that we don’t grow cold and bitter. We have to increase our sensitivity to the Spirit of God so that can fight this battle that isn’t against flesh and blood but against principalities and dark forces. He’s given us the weapons. We just have to know how to use them.

The world is dying to see what true reconciliation looks like and we as ambassadors of reconciliation have the power to show it to them through the way we come together in unity. There is so much work to be done but we have to privilege of moving the needle forward.

There is so much more I desire to say and desire to write but I will wait for another post so that I can leave you with the WORDS that truly matter: God’s Word. Here is what Jesus prays in John 17:

 

“I’m praying not only for them [disciples]

But also for those who will believe in me

Because of them and their witness about me.

The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind-

Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,

So they might be one heart and mind with us.

Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.

The same glory you gave me, I gave them,

So they will be as unified and together as we are-

I in them and you in me.

Then they’ll be mature in this oneness.

And give the godless world evidence.

That you’ve sent me and loved them.

In the same you’ve loved me.”

 

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