#DailyProverbs 1 Thessalonians 5:19-24: "Do not restrain the Holy Spirit; do not despise inspired messages. Put all things to the test: keep what is good and avoid every kind of evil. May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being – spirit, soul, and body – free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful."
Everyone wants the supernatural. "Don't quench the Holy Ghost!" every Pentecostal grandmother has prayed over their grandchildren. Everyone wants a miracle – proof, if you will – that something is out there, listening, paying attention and is in some way enamored of us. Some "need" a miracle more than others, but we all "want" it. We all want that "touch" of divine in our lives and that we have an inside track, or a hedged bet. We want the world, prosperity, the blessings of God's favor in our lives, yet we also want God to give us inspired messages. We want him to walk in the garden in the cool of the day with us. We want the "cattle on a thousand hills," and we want a clear mapped-out route to avoid all evil and any pitfalls. We want gold. We want power. We want fame. We want a free pass to worldliness. And on top of all of those things that we want to easily come to us, we want God to PROVE that He loves us and that He exists. Those that decry the existence of a God will tell you that WE are our own Gods, we need only look to the divine within us. If you just trust yourself, and be good in your eyes, then your perception becomes your reality and you will love yourself to a better place and plane of being... But that’s utter crap.
~WE are not divine. God is divine. We have righteousness through the sacrifice of Jesus. That is our ONLY path to righteousness.
~WE are hostile, busybody, hateful things that wreak havoc and destruction. We can only be truly better when we denounce that, repent, and truly represent the teachings of Christ through giving, love, and helping. Think that's too simple and hippie? Talk to Jesus about it. It's His message. I'm just telling it.
~WE need help. We are pitiful. "Filthy rags" is the term we throw around in testimony service. "We serve a big God." "God's able." Well, honey... GET UP and start acting like God is God, you are human and that you are connected to the ultimate source of power and goodness. ACT like you know who Jesus is.
We that are adamant about the existence of a God are so sure that we are correct…we kill and divide because we are SO sure that “they” are wrong and “we” are right. We bastardize the very name of God and the truth we love so much to BE right. You want to baptize like WHAT? I mean, I put emphasis on the name of Jesus, but I don't want to kill those that don't believe like me. When did Christians start that? Wars, the Crusades, the poor, the "less than..." We have shifted to be a religion that follows radical teachings of love and help to one that turns on victims, women, and the poor. We teach that all life is sacred, but We kill and murder in the name of conservatism, blatantly disregarding the teachings of Christ on love, pacificity, and non-Earthly kingdoms. Yes, I love getting a paycheck and I like not worrying about my future. But I don't think we are supposed to do it at the expense of our souls and walking over the rights, lives, and bodies of other people. The saddest part is the death. The needless death we cause not only in direct conflicts, but as collateral damage laid on the altar of conservativism and how we ignore the needs of those around us. Maybe you don't. Maybe everyone doesn't. But we sure do like to legislate and decry helping those that need it.
So, let’s have a moment of real talk: You want a miracle? Then act miraculously. You want God to save you, then stop arming up and killing and allow God to save you. You want to show the world "God shed his Grace on Thee..." THEN MAN UP AND LET GOD SHINE THROUGH instead of your own interests. I’ve already experienced a few miracles. To be blunt, I’d be MORE surprised now if there wasn’t a God and that God wasn’t watching over me than if you told me my friend was in the next room. I expect God to wake me up and show me things, to talk with me, and to guide my life just as clearly and and just as much as if my friend calls me on the phone. It’s become that real. It kind of has to become that real when you, your family, your health, your life, your job, and your purpose are turned upside down and around. My life isn't what it was, and isn't even where it will be.
I love those pieces of proof. I treasure what God’s done for me and it anchors me to God… but it’s NOT the best thing God ever did for me. I won't ever "get over" or "feel less" about my grandmother's testimony, her time in Heaven, the writings she left me... the MANTLE she passed to me... that's a miracle. That's one I can't escape, though I didn't ask for the burden and responsibility. My healing? Yes, healing me ON the operating table and curing my Barrett’s esophageal cancer was a miracle, a true in-the-books, medicine-wrote-about-it AMAZING. Watching my sister stop in MID-HEART ATTACK because I called out upon the name of God was awe-inspiring, and even something I can't believe when I remember that night and those moments. Though no less miraculous, but less life-threatening, God’s provided finances, energy, strength, clarity, and even guided me away from harm. But EVEN THEN, that’s not the greatest miracle or help I've received from God.
Want to know the real miracle? Salvation. Possibility. Hope. The hope of a better tomorrow. The hope that I won’t be doomed. It's amazing, but true, that God's grand plan for your life is far greater than you can imagine. In fact, this earth-bound existence has us so preoccupied with the demands of life that most of us give little thought to what it will mean to be completely sanctified - the hope that I can be a better person and grow from a place of love and acceptance and repentance. That I’ll use my gifts and what God blessed me with to help those without. That my eyes are opened to the equality of another, though in sin and pitiful. That my own sin and evil nature are no better than anyone’s and our equality in certain damnation is what gives us equality IN salvation.
No one was worthy, therefore all are undeserving and on equal ground at the cross.
Presently, every single day, we all struggle with sin. Every one of us, from the person that just shot up in an alleyway - doing who knows what to score the drugs. All the way to the Bishop of our own churches, trying to maintain fiscal responsibility and clarity in dealing with families and disruptions and attitudes. All of us deal with sin in some way, but when we die, our spirits and souls will ascend to heaven and be completely sinless. Knowing this, how will you live today? The miracle of salvation isn’t meant just to give hope, or a free pass, or to give you unlimited chances… but to spur us on to holy living.
Quit rationalizing your sin. Come to God. Quit justifying your church-y behavior and follow Christ, not your social construct of judgement and shame. Quit living in your past, stuck on sins and feeling sorry for yourself. Get up, wash your face, and do something for God. Live for God for the next 5 minutes, the next day, the next month. Put one foot in front of the other and stop sitting there, waiting for someone to bring it to you.