A Heart of Stone

Last night, I watched a man of God walk boldly into the streets of Portland, Oregon to evangelize and preach the gospel to a crowd at the Black Live Movement protest. He was sharing the word of God and preaching the message of love.

I watched with anxiety and great sadness on how the people rejected the gospel with such disrespect, anger, rage and disregard. They rejected, scoffed, and mocked him as he continued to preach the gospel.

The people blocked him from going any further into the crowd and told him to leave the area. I actually feared for his safety. As I reflected on what I witnessed through an online video, I’m reminded of how much Jesus had to endure as he walked through crowds of people who rejected his message as he traveled, preached and healed in the midst of persecution.

Unfortunately, not much has changed since then. Since we live in a fallen world, it’s too be expected, but it’s still very upsetting to see others reject a pure, genuine love. It’s an unconditional, agape love that the world is desperately searching so hard to find in people, places or things. I also realize how many people really don’t understand what love really is.

Love is a word thrown around very loosely in society, which has no substance, foundation or value. The world, in general, is void of love. 

Plain and simple, the devil is the master of confusion and the lawlessness experienced in this country is a reflection of the culture which honors and validates acts of disobedience, sin, pride and arrogance.

The world seems to be spinning out of control and erupts in chaos but God is still in control despite how we may think or feel at the present moment.

Sadly enough, society mirrors the disorder, injustice, pain, abuse and hatred that is not a stranger to the history of America.

If you look at a stone, it is unmovable and nothing can penetrate it. Depending on the size, it may be very heavy, but whether it’s a pebble, rock, stone or mountain, it’s made of the same substance. Nothing can pierce it.

After years of pain, anguish, frustration, anger and bitterness, a heart becomes hardened from life experiences, poor choices and decisions and bad situations or circumstances. Things may have happened unwillingly in your life which is not your fault but you’ve suffered the consequences, behaviors or decisions of someone else’s actions. Life is a painful journey and none of us escape life without heartache and pain. The only one who can heal the deep wounds, sickness or disease is Jesus Christ.

Ezk 36:26

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh.

The Only Answer is Love

Every problem we are facing today relates to love. It’s the dominant force in life and without it humanity cannot survive.

The Lord values family and marriage. There’s a domino effect that starts in the home. The breakdown of the family has disrupted society, our communities and our nation. Whether your home is dysfunctional or operates under oppression, generational curses, domestic violence, teaches racism and bigotry in your household or have a lack of positive role models in your family, it allows children to run astray without discipline or guidance.

Prov 22:6

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

The severe neglect or abandonment of a child leads them down a road of mental, emotional or psychological anguish. As young adults, they fall prey into the world and tend to gravitate towards gang membership, crime, cults, corrupt organizations and abusive relationships. They search for anything to fill the void. Alcohol and drugs mask the pain but does not cure the original offense they faced as a child or along the path of adulthood.

The cycle continues as an adult but the devil is a liar. You can break the cycle of abuse, addiction, or rejection. You are not an outcast. You are not a failure. You are worthy. You are treasured. You are valued. You are loved.

The world is starving for love but doesn’t know or understand what love truly is, what it means or if it truly exists. The world has a perverted or distorted view or perspective on the meaning of love.

I Corth 6:19

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

It’s so disheartening to personally experience the love of God and then to witness so many people disregard or reject the truth of the gospel. The only one who saves you from the pain, discouragement, depression, anger or bitterness that you are trying to escape is Jesus. While others thrive in evil thoughts, bondages, and deeds of wickedness. The Lord is gracious and merciful to all those who desire a change of heart and mind.

What Does Love Look Like?

When you have love for yourself and others, you will not mistreat yourself or dishonor others. You will have self-control and walk with the fruits of the spirit.  You will have a desire to please God at all times. You will have integrity, morals and values that represent a Christ-like character. Even when you’re in private, you will have a desire to please the Lord while understanding that your priority is to honor the Lord regardless of your environment or surroundings. You will not be intimidated or influenced by others views or opinions. You will be truly set free from mental chains, bondage’s and worldly mindsets. This can only be accomplished through a heart transformation by the Holy Spirit. No prophet, preacher or teacher has the power to change your heart.

Acts 4:12

12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

You must come to terms with your sins and have an honest desire in your heart to open your heart to receive Christ.

Your ego, arrogance, lust of the flesh, pride, and rebellion will continue to lock you out of a relationship with the Lord but Jesus does not discriminate.

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. Matt 7:7-8

Rev 3:20

20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

A Nation Divided Will Not Stand

When our society can no longer appreciate and value diversity of races, ethnicity and cultures as well as the opinions, beliefs and values other than our own, we will continue to bandage the lacerations of a culture that magnifies and gratifies sin, arrogance, and injustice.

When we can no longer communicate, listen or understand each other, we will thrive on distasteful behaviors, mentalities and attitudes influenced by the world system that is embedded in our music, entertainment, work culture and social norms.

When everyone has their own agenda and fighting for their own dominance and voices to be heard, we will continue to struggle with greed, power, wealth and fame for our own selfish motives and purposes.

It’s all rooted in fear. The only voice that stands is the voice of Jesus which is the foundation of love, peace and compassion.

When you know better, you do better. Every voice is screaming right now but be watchful and consider your ways and actions. Is it a reflection of love, joy, peace and compassion? We must be able to respect each other’s opinions without judgement, anger, animosity or disrespect.

Get out of your comfort zone. Lend an ear to people who don’t sound like you do. Share your story. Release your fears and negative emotions. Embrace courage and strength and mostly, focus on spreading love and compassion in a hurting, dark world.

Bible References:

Scriptures on Love

I Corth 13

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,

Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;

Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;

Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

Scriptures on Salvation

John 14:6

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

John 10:10

Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy, but God came to give you a life more abundantly.

John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

Scriptures on Communication

Col 4:6

Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Luke 19:40

40 And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Scriptures on Servanthood

Rom 6:18

18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.

1 Corth 7:22

22 For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord’s freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ’s servant.

Matt 5:10

10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Be Still

I hope you are finding peace in the midst of chaos. Just remember, Jesus slept on a boat in the middle of the storm. O ye, of little faith.

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

For unto us a Child is born

For to us a child is born, to us, a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders, And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.  Isaiah 9:6

The conception and birth of Jesus is a miraculous event that provided the gift of salvation for all people.

From the time of Christ’s birth, Jesus was sought after to be destroyed by authorities and rulers of nations. King Herod, the ruler of Jerusalem commanded the wise men to find Jesus and tell him where he was born so he could come and worship him. However, King Herod was full of deceit.

The wise men were guided by a star in the east. After the wise men arrived in Bethlehem, where they brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, they were told by an angel in a dream not to go back to Herod. Perhaps the wise men were called wise because they heard and obeyed the divine voice of God through a dream.  The wise men never returned to Bethlehem but went in a different direction so authorities would not follow them.

Once King Herod found out about Jesus’ birth by the city officials, the king ordered to slaughter all male children under the age of two years. Mary and Joseph had to flee Bethlehem.  It must have been a horrific sight to experience and witness the slaughter of innocent children.

Jesus’ birth was full of uncertainty from where to stay prior to his birth to where to go after his birth. Through the chaos and discord, Mary and Joseph were divinely protected and led to the city called Nazareth. This is where Jesus resided until his ministry began. Throughout his ministry, there were many interruptions of persecution, rejection, rivalry, opposition, and strife.

In a dark world, then and now, Jesus is the everlasting light. Jesus is known as, Jehovah Shalom, the Lord of peace.  In a world of lost hope and despair, Jesus provides all that we need as we walk in obedience to his word. The Son of God was given as a free gift to deliver us from a life of sin and death.

One-touch from God transforms a life. From sickness to healing, chaos to peace, fear to faith, failure to victory, weakness to strength, unbelief to trust and many other opposing afflictions changes course or direction through faith and prayer.

His love is unconditional, despite our faults and failures. Through our trials and tribulations, the Lord is working to manifest His nature within us. We are made in his image and we’re a reflection of his light. Where there is light, no darkness can reside.  We are many members and one body. I Corinth 12:12-26

Let us hold onto hope, joy, peace, and strength.  For in him we live, and move, and have our being. Act 17:28  Emmanuel, God is with us. Matt 1:23

Beginning with his birth and infinite, life never-ending Resurrection: It’s an eternal love that is the greatest gift of them all.

peace-1815714_1280-1_edited

The Lord gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16

Scripture References

Matthew 1 and 2

Luke 2:8-20

I Corinth 12:12-26

Acts 17:28

John 3:16

 

How to Conquer Spiritual Warfare

 When you read the Word of God, a seed of hope is immediately planted in your heart. You should feed your spirit daily with words of encouragement and hope. Much like watering a plant, it will become dry and withered, if not watered on a regular basis.

However, you must guard your heart against discouragement, fear, doubt and other negative emotions that can instantly rob you of the Word and strip your spirit. Mark 4:14-20

When you constantly look at the world’s problems or your own, you may feel a sense of hopelessness. There are many things in life that can discourage you and plant a sense of fear or doubt in your mind. When you continue to focus on the wrong things, it will begin to grow bigger and stronger like a brush fire.

Guarding your mind is essential to fighting off defeating thoughts.

“Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things that are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things that are pure, whatsoever things that are lovely, whatsoever things that are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phil 4:8

Girt Your Loins with Truth

When you stand on the Word of God, you stand in the truth of the character of God and His power. It releases you from every bondage of sin. You can be released from addictions, sickness, fear, anxiety, doubts and worries. You allow God to carry all of your burdens. However, you will not attain this source of freedom unless you have complete trust in Him in which you can only receive by knowing (spiritual discernment) and understanding (spiritual wisdom).

 Walk With the Breastplate of Righteousness

We are made in God’s image. Although we are not perfect, we have been made righteous through Him. When you know the Word of God and it’s planted in your heart, you do not have the desire to sin. You want to please the Lord. You shine His light in dark places. You walk as salt in the earth.

It’s through the anointing power of the Holy Spirit who teaches you all things. The Lord renews your Spirit. Your hands are made clean and you are made whole through His grace and mercy. All sin is washed away. He does not remember a trace of your past history. Forgiveness is the greatest gift, but His love is unsurmountable.

Rest in the Gospel of Peace

It’s hard to walk in peace with conflict and everyday chaos all around you. The stresses of daily routines and busy schedules can take a toll on anyone.

When you meditate on the Word of God, it brings order to your day. It aligns your daily tasks, weekly plans and long-ranged goals in complete alignment with the Lord’s plans and purpose for your life. You also have the ability to walk with a sense of peace and do not focus so much on the daily challenges and obstacles that get in your way. You receive a peace that surpasses all understanding. Phil 4:7

Put on the Helmet of Salvation

You have a special covering when you receive Christ as your Lord and Savior that the world does not have. It’s like having an invisible shield of protection through the Blood of Jesus Christ. It guards you from harm and danger.

However, certain problems and circumstances are allowed to enter into your life to mold and shape you for His purpose. Unfortunately, no one is exempt from heartaches, but those walking with Christ has an ability to fight off evil plots and schemes that the devil sends your way.

“And be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto his death.” Phil 3:9-10

 Pick up Your Shield of Faith

When Peter walked on the water, he kept his eyes on Jesus. When he started to look around at the stormy waves, he began to sink. He lost his faith. Much like Peter’s experience, you may lose your faith when you continue to look at your circumstances or world conditions.

Speak Boldly With the Sword of the Spirit

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The Word of God is life. It provides strength and vitality to a weary soul. When you speak the Word of God on a consistent basis, it breaks every stronghold in your life. Consistency is key. Believing is mandatory.

Final Thoughts

“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we might know the things freely given to us of God.” I Corth 2:12

“But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for it is foolishness to him; neither can he know them; because they are spiritually discerned.” I Corth 2:14 

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God that you will be able to withstand the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Esph 6:10-13