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Monthly Archives: September 2011

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Troy Davis: A Kingdom Perspective

Just last week Troy Davis was executed by the state of Georgia for a murder in which there is a considerable amount of doubt to his guilt. There’s no need to go into all of the details concerning the case because they have been hashed over and over again in the media. I remember that night well because I experienced a range of emotions as I watched the events play out in the news. After the first delay of his execution, there was a glimmer of hope. I did in fact have a measure of faith that his life would be spared, but deep down in my heart I knew that the Supreme Court wasn’t likely going to grant him a stay of execution. Sure enough, it was announced that it had been denied and at 11:08 pm the life of Troy Davis came to an end.  

So I got up from my couch and walked into the kitchen. My emotions were running high and some rather unpleasant thoughts raced through my mind. I contemplated on the idea that my life as a black man is considered to be less valuable than others. Death penalty statistics suggest this fact to be true. Caucasian individuals are FAR less likely to be executed for killing Black Americans compared to the opposite scenario. Ironically, a Caucasian man in Texas was also executed for the dragging death hate crime of James Bird who was a Black American. All of this played out simultaneously, so those with an agenda tried to make it appear as though justice was equal. WRONG! What sickened me further was NUMEROUS bloggers who tried to suggest that the alleged murder that Troy Davis committed was also racially motivated! This angered me deeply because I knew it was an outright lie because race had NEVER been a factor in that case. However, there was an ABUNDANCE of proof that the crime in Texas was completely about racial hatred and there wasn’t a speck of doubt about who committed the murder. The perpetrators were linked to the KKK and James Bird was an innocent bystander who had no ties to those guys whatsoever.

My reason for bringing up the blogging is that the Lord has told me over and over again to stop reading blogs on the Internet because they are a DISTRACTION. I’m speaking specifically of the ones where the issue of “race” comes into the picture. They are often so nasty and filled with hate that it causes my spirit to get heavy, or I find myself getting into a militant state of mind.   

So back to the kitchen, I began to angrily wash some dishes before I went to bed. I then heard the voice of the Holy Spirit say, “Son, calm yourself. It’s all a distraction.” I stopped what I was doing and walked out of the kitchen and sat back down on my couch. What I love about the Holy Spirit is that He will speak no matter what. I still had the TV on the news, but His voice began to minister to me. After turning off the TV, I heard the Lord saying to me to not allow the racism to enter my heart. He said that it was all a distraction and a scheme of the enemy to keep us all divided. He instructed me to combat the social injustice with His truth and not my emotions. I know that I have a calling to social justice and I am very passionate about standing up for human rights. That night, He reminded me that His Truth and His love super cede any emotions, statistics or grass roots activities that have sprung into action because of this case. Am I saying that there shouldn’t be a movement for further investigation of this case or even abolishing the death penalty? Not at all. What I believe that the Lord is saying is to walk in the reconciliation that was provided when Jesus Christ died on the cross. We are to walk by faith and not by sight, not focusing on what is in the natural. The races were reconciled in the spirit realm when He hung His head and died. We just have to walk in the spirit to realize this.

Let’s say that you have a pile of garbage, but then you add more garbage to it, then you just have more garbage. However, if you add a garbage man to the scenario and remove it, then progress has obviously been made. We cannot afford to combat prejudice and racism with more of the same. Racism is no less evil just because it might be reactionary. I see now more than ever that racism is an effective tool that they enemy has used to prevent God’s kingdom from being manifested in the earth. It blocks the flow of the love out of our hearts. The Lord said, “Be a light in the midst of the darkness. Don’t fall prey to the enemy’s camp.” We need to still be light and represent Him at all costs. Fight for social justice, but do it with His love because it is the only thing that will work. I know this may sound like “Christianese” to some folks but we must keep our “eyes on the prize.” The negativity will only prevent us from effectively doing the work of the Kingdom. We must have clean hands and a pure heart to be the vessels that He desires to use mightily, that is if we are really a part of the remnant.  

Let me give you another example. Some months ago I was driving home from work and just happened to turn on the radio station while they were having a conversation on the true definition of an “Uncle Tom.” I could sense the Holy Spirit was urging me to turn it off, but I disobeyed. So for the next half hour or so, I listened to callers talk about other Black Americans who” hate themselves” and who believe that “white is right.” These are individuals who allegedly are also willing to “sell out” their own people for personal gain or protection. Yeah I know… Not the most positive conversation to say the least. Finally, I turned off the program. The Holy Spirit then spoke… “Did you enjoy that son?” The conviction that followed was so heavy on my heart that I couldn’t even put on any music for the rest of the way home. That time was wasted and did nothing but bring negativity into the atmosphere and attempt to plant seeds of strife and discord. Wow… Racism is such a NASTY trick of the enemy…

So what am I saying? Reacting like the Black Panthers to this Troy Davis situation is going to do nothing but HARM. We wrestle not with flesh and blood but against principalities and the forces of evil. Please know that I’m not saying that nothing should be done about this injustice or all future ones. I’m definitely not saying that we should lie down and take it. The fact is Troy Davis had supporters of all races around the globe, so he didn’t die in vain. But I am CHOOSING to not be pulled into the hype and into any form of discord surrounding this case. The truth is that those who have hatred in their hearts still have SOULS that need saving. If we are not careful, we will open the door for our hears to be corrupted as well. To look at the other side, I can only imagine what Officer Mark Macphail’s family must be thinking right now with all of the support that Troy Davis has gotten, and I do have sympathy for them, despite my belief in his innocence. The truth is that hate is being expressed on both sides of this case. What if God places a hate-filled person in your path? You then have to choose to value that soul over your emotions and speak life when the opportunity presents itself. Personally, I don’t want any blood on my hands because my emotions prevent me from ministering to someone who may not like me because of the color of my skin. We have a choice to walk in the reconciliation. I choose His will over mine. I hope you do the same.

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Posted by on September 26, 2011 in Spirituality

 

Don’t Let Your Gifts Become an Idol

Well, I got an answer to a question that had been on my mind for quite some time. Or should I say, it was more of a rebuke. As I listened to the pastor in church speak on servitude a few days ago, I began to feel a subtle conviction in my spirit. Serving is one of the main facets of the Heavenly Father’s character and nature. As we live out our days here on the earth, our lives are supposed to be devoted to a cause infinitely greater than ourselves: His Kingdom. Creative people in the Kingdom like me can lose sight of this in the midst of us using our God-ordained gifts for Him. We can make the mistake of allowing our gifts and talents to dictate how we think we should be used for the Kingdom. Now of course, there are many people who don’t have this issue and I admire them. I wish I were more like them.

As I continued listening to God speak through my pastor, I began to swallow that painful pill that says I still need some attitude adjustments as it relates to ministry. The truth is that I have NO desire to be an usher, greeter or a parking lot attendant. Is that a sin? I don’t believe so, however, our dedication to the Kingdom should be such that we are willing to do ANYTHING that is needed. It is NOT based upon what we desire, and we should consider it an honor that we are being used in any capacity, if we are indeed sold out to the Kingdom. In my case, I have such a love for the arts (mainly writing) that it often has determined my actions as it relates to ministry. In other words, I only want to participate or serve in ministry activities if it involves the use of my creative abilities. Wow… Somehow the focus has gone from the Kingdom to my own self-fulfillment. Lord I repent… Forgive me.

Many times when there have been outreach opportunities, I have passed them up because I wanted to spend that time working on my own Kingdom endeavors. I have failed to realize time and time again that those things will happen in His perfect time. Now, I’m not trying to throw myself under the bus because I do love being a blessing to others. I especially adore kids, but of course, like many other people, I often want to dictate to God how and when I should be used. We are more comfortable using our talents that might bring us some praise from others when He is the only one to be praised. For example, there are individuals who believe that their only function is to be a praise and worship leader. They believe this so much that it dictates where they attend church. They leave churches and join churches based upon opportunities to show off their musical chops and draw attention to themselves. The ego! How sad… They are willing to leave a church to go to another where they can garner more attention and also do what they desire instead of listening to the voice of the lord. So despite my love for writing or even stage drama, what if the lord needs me to be a janitor for a season? What if He is beckoning me to simply be a volunteer for the different conferences at the church throughout the year? I had to ask myself, would I rather be at an open mic doing my thing, or at a nursing home giving encouraging words to those whose families may have abandoned them? Lord heal my heart! Who am I to tell the One who knew me before I was formed in my mother’s womb that I don’t want to be used in that capacity? We forget so quickly that we were created for His good pleasure. I have used the excuse of being involved in other ministries as a reason to not get involved even though I had the time to spare. As if my time really truly belongs to me… Uh oh…

Going deeper into this, I have come to the realization that the intimacy in my relationship with Him needs to increase like never before! Something is wrong when I don’t reverence Him enough where I am joyfully willing and able to do whatever He asks. Too much flesh is in the way and more of me needs to die so He can live. The closer I get to Him, the more I should be able to enjoy this journey of allowing Him to lead me. The more that I let go of my self-imposed identity, the more He can use me for His glory. I want to follow Him like a little child without having my own agenda. I and many others need to let go of the desire to only operate in areas of the Kingdom where we “flourish” or in ways that only please self. Now here is a jawbreaker for you… God may not need your specific talent/gift in this season. Ouch! It may not be the right time, so get to cleaning! LOL. Seriously though, He always requires our OBEDIENCE. We have to understand that just because you can sing your butt off doesn’t mean that is your main function in the Kingdom. That gift is to be used when and how HE desires. Otherwise, when it is used more for self-gratifying reasons, it becomes performance and not ministry. Ultimately, we all essentially have to die to that talent or ability that seems to become an idol when we least expect it. Or should I say, simply lay it on the altar?

There is so much more to this journey than your gifts. Don’t let pride and ego become a stumbling block in your journey. Operating in humility will bring forth more blessings than we can imagine. Who knows? Maybe while you clean the church toilets, you cross paths with the businessman who is willing to fund that Kingdom project that God laid on your heart. Maybe after being faithful in serving in the Children’s ministry, you unknowingly minister to that record company executive’s baby girl, and that’s all she wrote! Maybe you’ll meet your future spouse while volunteering at one of the outreach efforts. When we follow God, ANYTHING is possible. So I am going to find an area of ministry at the church and commit to it, and it will be the ministry that He chooses. Not the one that makes me feel good or that satisfies my creative juices. The truth is that we must all lay down our Isaac. There is sure to be a ram in the bush hidden somewhere… 

 

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2011 in Spirituality

 
 
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