RSS

Category Archives: relationships

Can you be Jonathan?

We are living in times now where so many desire the spotlight, or at least their fifteen minutes of fame. This holds true for even those of us who profess to be in the Kingdom of God. Lord knows I have been guilty of this mindset and still have to cast it down at times. I remember when my pastor spoke on Jonathan and David, and for some reason, I have been thinking a lot about the life of Jonathan. Questions have arisen in my mind about various aspects of his life and whether or not I could handle myself in those times when I appear to be in the position he was in with David. In the past, I’ve read and listened to the story of Jonathan and David a few times and ended up feeling kind of sorry for Jonathan. Yes… To me it seemed like he got screwed over big time! He gives up his right to the throne because God chose David. But then to add insult to injury, then he dies in the midst of war at a young age. But of course, my perspective has changed because I’m now more spiritually mature… (smile)

I admire people that seem to be “wired” like Jonathan. They are comfortable being in the background and seem to have no desire to be seen. And I’m not talking about fear either, but genuine people who naturally like being behind the scenes. After David killed Goliath, Jonathan knew that David was the chosen one, despite him being heir to the throne after his father Saul. Check out I Samuel 18:1-5. (NASB) Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 2 Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then
Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants.

humility

Dang… That’s some serious HUMILITY right there… He willingly gave up all of the rights and privileges that came with being king. He gave David all of his “princely” attire and weapons because he loved David as much as himself. He made a covenant with David, meaning that he would always support and protect him at all costs. If you read further, you’ll discover that Jonathan even helped hide him from his own father Saul who was trying to kill him. Yet, at the same time he still loved his father until the end when they were both killed.

One thing that seems obvious with Jonathan is that he was in NO way threatened by David’s anointing. Unfortunately, many of us today are quite the opposite. I would like to think that if I’m in a position to be around someone who is in a position of honor, I would sit under their tutelage. I believe that we miss opportunities to grow and develop when God places people in our lives that are in a higher place of authority and/or who are experiencing a greater level of success. We get threatened because we compare ourselves to them, usually not knowing the price(s) they have paid and the character they have developed in order for God to trust them in that high place. Instead of learning from them, we compete with them or find ways to get offended. So sad. Our egos must die! They have no place in the Kingdom. It is all about Him.

Something else I can confidently conclude about Jonathan is that he was COMPLETELY SECURE in who God created him to be. He didn’t need to be king in order to be affirmed or feel accepted. We obviously knew that God smiled upon him and that was enough for him. Serving David was a great joy because he was the ultimate servant. He knew that he was called to under-gird David and was perfectly comfortable in doing so. Paul said it best in I Corinthians 12:14-18. 14For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot says, “Because I am not a hand, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “Because I am not an eye, I am not a part of the body,” it is not for this reason any the less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But now God has placed the members, each one of them, in the body,just as He desired.

We have forgotten that we are all on the same team, which is the Kingdom of God. We all have one purpose that is carried out through the different paths and unique gifts. Jonathan was obviously more than okay with this reality. I also believe that he saw the bigger picture. He knew that Israel would be restored under David’s rule. He embraced his path and trusted God with his life even unto death. I realize now that Jonathan died an HONORABLE death and that the generations of his relatives were blessed for it. This is a teaching point. Our blessings, whether we see them or not, often lie in our willingness to be HUMBLE. Some of us could be missing out on promotion because God is requiring us to be a Jonathan before we can be a David. Very simply, you have to learn how to follow before you can be an effective leader. There are many people in high places who will tell you about their small and humble beginnings. They will tell you of the character-building situations that they have endured.

So are you willing to die to yourself for the sake of the Kingdom? If God has chosen someone for a certain task or role, who are we to question or to get offended because it’s not us? Do we really believe that God’s plan for our lives is the best? The truth is that we are all CHOSEN, but to walk down our own unique paths. Jonathan embraced his path and as a result, we are reading about his life thousands of years later! His legacy of being a servant still lives on…

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2011

Advertisements
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

You are NOT the Father

A few years ago, I was in Kroger looking for Father’s Day cards for family and friends. As I was picking out the ones that caught my eye, I spotted a couple that did in particular. But not in a good way… There were two distinct cards that were Father’s Day cards addressed to single mothers! To my knowledge, Mahogany Cards is the only company that makes such cards and they cater primarily to the Black American community. So I paused for a moment and picked one of them up just to get a closer look. At that moment, all I could do was shake my head in disbelief. Well, now I’m kicking myself for not buying one of them just to have as an example of how God’s plan for family is surely being eroded before our very eyes. We have been deceived into believing that issues like gay marriage are the primary cause for this, but we have been bamboozled. The family structure is completely out of order! Since when did a woman gain the ability to teach a boy how to become a man? Since when did she gain some supernatural ability to become a “father” to her children? Did I miss this cosmic event?  The last time I checked man and woman were created with innate abilities to be father and mother. Only a MAN can give the masculine affirmation of a father that is needed by all children. Only a WOMAN can mother a child and nurture it. A woman might be able to use her intellect and knowledge of the Word to raise a son, but that void of affirmation can ONLY be filled by his father. Obviously, the ultimate affirmation can only come from the Heavenly Father. But none of this can ever come from the mother. The same rule goes for a daughter, as she can only be truly affirmed in her femininity by her mother, no matter how much of a Daddy’s girl she might be. A man cannot teach his daughter how to be a woman from a feminine perspective. It’s just not God’s design.

Please know that I have the utmost respect for single mothers. I have lady friends who are single mothers and I try to be a blessing to them in any way that I can. I’m aware of the pressures they face and the sweat and toil that they endure trying to raise kids on their own. They run their own households and often work more than one job to make ends meet. However, this does not give them the title of “Father.” I have heard that saying for a long time that “single mothers have to be the mother and father.” This is a LIE from the enemy! We have allowed this kind of language for so long now that we are reaping the fruit of those words. If ever there was another obvious sign concerning the breakdown of the family, well now we have it: Women being honored on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. You see it is exactly this type of negativity and DISHONOR of men that has contributed to the emasculation of men. There is a DIVINE ORDER that God established that we now seem to reject.

mothers-day-father-cards

Now I’m going to say something unpopular… A man does not have to be perfect to be respected as a father! He may be doing the wrong things in the natural and he may even be a terrible father. He might be in prison or on drugs, he just might be many things. But does that give us the right to strip him of the title or role of father? According to worldly standards, yes. According to biblical standards, no. You still honor the position. Despite his loyalty to David, Jonathan still honored his father Saul who had been dethroned by God. Whether or not you like your boss, you still respect and honor the position.

A friend pointed out to me that it’s just like our relationship with the Heavenly Father. Now obviously He is perfect in all of His ways, but we often times don’t understand why He allows situations to occur or things to happen to us. But we still honor Him… This same model goes for our natural father. I have a tremendous amount of the respect for the man who was my active father for most of my life, but I’ll be transparent and say that I don’t like the person that my biological father is currently. However, I can honestly say that I’m praying for his salvation and have vowed to not speak ill of him. I will still respect him. After all, the Word says to “honor your father and mother so that it may go well with you.” (Paraphrasing)

Nowadays we joke about “baby mama drama,” but we need to look deeper at what this has caused. We laugh at talk shows that play this stuff up (like Maury Povich) but the family has taken a form very different from what God intended. There’s no point in playing the blame game and talking about how there aren’t any decent or godly men around. You see, that is a part of the problem. There are two sides to every equation, despite what the popular rhetoric might be. There are in fact good and decent men who are purposely being kept away from their children by the mothers of their children. So is it surprising to see so many young women easily giving their bodies to men because they are looking for the affirmation of a father? Is it surprising that so many young men have no vision or purpose? Is it surprising that so many remain “boys” even when they reach adulthood? True enough, even if Daddy wasn’t around, the distorted image of father is being created further when they go buy their mothers cards on Father’s Day. Lord help us! They are being led to believe that their mothers are also fathers to them as well, which couldn’t be further from the truth!

I pray that whoever needs to read this will be convicted and repent. The family cannot be restored until the fathers are restored because they are the God-ordained head. If we decide to respect the men and just pray, watch as God does what only He can do. Engaging in nasty, nonproductive conversations will only yield the bad fruit that we are continuing to see. Trust me, the enemy is rejoicing and having a “demonic wet dream” over the way that the family has been destroyed. Maybe I should send this message to Mahogany Cards? Maybe they’ll gain some wisdom and insight to not make any more of those abominable cards for Father’s Day. What do you think? Who knows? Change starts within each of us individually, so let’s start there. Let us put His plan above our mere emotions and watch Him restore. Blessings to you all.

Nathan Allen Copyright Revision ©2015

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Thicker Skin: The Benefit of the Doubt

I’m currently in a season where I believe the Lord is molding me into having thicker skin. This is simply a part of growing up and maturing, not only as a Christian, but even just as an adult. I’ve learned that overly sensitive people have a pride issue that they are usually unaware of and they require so much validation and affirmation to the point where it pushes people away. For me personally, one way of developing thicker skin is simply giving people the benefit of the doubt. I am learning to choose to believe the best about people, despite their actions or inactions because this is the only way to remain at peace with others and not allow offense come into your heart. Because in actuality, I’ve found myself getting offended with people for a variety of reasons, but I realize that it’s solely based upon my perception of what they did or didn’t do. I’ll give you a couple of examples…

I was part of a men’s small group at my church for about a year and overall it proved to be somewhat of a hurtful experience. However, the good news is that I also learned from it. God will sometimes allow us to experience situations in order to grow us up and to remind of us of our need to keep our focus on Him. During my time with the group, I would often get left off of the email list when it came to group activities and overall, I just seemed to remain on the outside looking in… I would think I was making a connection with some of the fellas through conversations before, during and after group but would soon realize that the connection was only in that setting… However, some of their relationships amongst each other clearly extended outside of the group. Yes, rejection sucks (especially within the body of Christ), but I now realize that it is not always intentional and sometimes it can be more perceived versus being reality. Yes, it would have been nice to have connected with some of the guys on a deeper level, but friendships can’t be forced. Being in the same small group with someone doesn’t guarantee friendship, no matter how much you might try to show yourself friendly, like the Bible says. Hard lesson learned, but it has made me stronger. As a result, thicker skin is forming in my personhood. Now in retrospect, I don’t believe the rejection I experienced was necessarily intentional or malicious. The other men are genuine followers of Christ and just have different interests and have had different life experiences than I.

Develop-Thicker-Skin

As I said earlier, I’m in a difficult season of growth and maturity. Unfortunately, I lost my grandfather and father within months of each other. What shocked me during this whole experience was the number of people whom I’ve known for a long time who didn’t seem to show a whole lot of compassion or empathy. Some folks still to this day haven’t reached out to me or even asked me if I needed anything. As a result, I began questioning my relationships and was very hurt by my perception of their lack of compassion. However, Holy Spirit reminded me that there were those that prayed for me and my family, even though I was unaware. Also, through conversations with others, I also had to consider that people respond to situations differently simply because of the fact that they’re human. What’s best for me is to release the offense and move on. I can’t expect everyone to respond to situations the way that I would. I now realize that’s unfair. People are different and process life events in their own way, and so another layer of thicker skin is being added to me, as I choose to believe the best about folks, even in this situation. I must have peace because offense only keeps me internally conflicted and suspicious of others. Thick skin is a must in order to get promotion from God. Thick skin is a must in order to walk with Him even when you’re disliked and/or ignored. I must have thick skin if I’m ever going to truly be Christ-like. I must have thick skin if I’m going to love God’s people in a way that truly honors Him.

Colossians 3:12-14 12 Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. 14 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. (NKJV)

Jesus Christ’s willingness to the cross as a sinless man was evidence of His thick skin. He had to rise far above human emotions as He was beat, marred, mocked and ultimately killed. But I also notice that he evangelizes one of the thieves on the cross, despite the horrific brutality that He had already suffered. That’s the ultimate example of having thick skin!

Lord help me to continue growing layers of thick skin that will help serve as armor on the battlefield so that I’m not unhealthily dependent on others. I will be the clay as you shape and mold me into who You desire me to be. Help me to love people even when that love isn’t returned and help me to keep my eyes fixed on You. Affirm me with Your love and hide me in the shadow of Your wing so that I am free from the opinions of others. Amen.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

“Super Saints”

There are people in the body of Christ who are very serious about developing the character of Christ and who live consecrated lives.  These individuals have conquered much of the sin issues in their lives and have an anointing that they carry because of their obedience to the Father.  Favor follows them and they seem to change the atmosphere everywhere they go.  These kinds of people are rare and unfortunately subject to criticisms from fellow believers in Christ.  They are usually accused of trying to be superior to others, all because they value holiness and have a sincere reverence of the lord.  These individuals live differently than almost everyone around them and people are sometimes naturally convicted of their sin when they interact with them.  These individuals exhibit the love of Christ and go out of their way to respect others but again, people respond to these individuals out of their hurt and brokenness.  These individuals are wrongly accused of elevating themselves above others.  However, these individuals are NOT to whom the following open letter is addressed.  I have been compelled to proclaim a message to the “super saints.”  These are those who only resemble the people I just described, however, they lack humility and are part of the reason why people outside of the faith have distorted views of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.  So with that being said…

Dear Super Saint,

It is admirable that you know the scriptures backwards and forwards, and I see that you are well-meaning in your proclaiming of the gospel.  You admonish those around you to be doers and not just hearers of the Word of God.  You are sold out for the cause of Christ and the church desperately needs people like you to be an example to others during these end times, but I notice that people tend to avoid you instead of being drawn to you.  Your ministry isn’t really growing or flourishing and people often feel belittled (not convicted) when they encounter you.  Now I will let you know that it is NOT the “Christ in you” or your “righteousness” that is pushing people away.  It’s simply you…

You have an OBSESSION with being right and have issues with anyone who doesn’t support your theology one hundred percent.  You communicate with people in a way that somewhat devalues them and so their experience with you is rarely ever pleasant.   What I sincerely want you to see is that you can know the Word of God like the back of your hand, yet still fail to love people the way God intended.  Whether you realize it or not, many have actually been DISCOURAGED by you in their walk with the lord instead of encouraged.  Your words have ripped people to shreds but then when people lash out at you or simply cut you off, you believe that you’re being persecuted.  I’m sorry beloved, but this is not true.  You see yourself as a “martyr” of sorts and believe that people avoiding you is somehow evidence of the anointing on your life.  You believe that people not liking you means that you’re on the right path and you often use “being a part of the true remnant” as an excuse.  You carry an aura that says “I’m the only one who is really saved,” and trust me; it stinks like rotten eggs.  I know because I have been to ministries and been around people who operate in that kind of spirit.  They don’t seem to understand that they are a detriment to the body of Christ and not a blessing.  Or other times you have compared yourself to the biblical prophets as a justification to being unpleasant towards others.  I don’t believe the prophets were intentionally nasty to people, they just stood for the truth and people wanted to stay in their wickedness.

imagesCAZ94EFC

So beloved, please know that I am praying for you, whether or not you heed this message.  Understand that the love of the Father doesn’t manifest in the ways in which you act out.  Yes He does chastise and correct, but He does not belittle and demean.  You have become somewhat of a “spiritual bully,” when you could really be a wonderful encouragement to those around you, and I’m not talking about your friends or faithful followers (if you’re a pastor).  I believe what is really going on with you is a heart issue.  There are some serious wounds that are embedded deep in your heart and they manifest in the behaviors that I have described.  Spiritual pride is just as bad as all the other forms of pride and in some cases probably worse.  Please take a serious inventory of yourself and ask yourself the hard questions.  What is the real reason why I start debates concerning scripture?  Do I have to win every argument or debate?  Why do I always focus on what is wrong with others instead of their strengths?  These are just a few examples.  Please hear these words with an open heart and know that you are needed for such a time as this.  Get healed.  Repent.  Apologize to those whom you have hurt.  Be humble.  Then take your rightful place in the body and be the blessing you were ordained to be.

Sincerely,

The Brethren

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

To Judge or Not to Judge

Matthew 7:1-5 Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. 3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. NKJV

This is probably one of the most misused and misquoted scriptures of the entire Bible. In the past, I have used this scripture incorrectly many, many times. Nine times out of ten, this scripture is quoted by people when they are confronted by others regarding their sin issues or bad fruit that they are producing. This scripture is used in defense to someone declaring the Word of God regarding known situations. However, using that scripture to defend bad fruit or actions is totally incorrect. Proclaiming the righteousness of God or stating a fact is NOT judging someone. Jesus Christ stated that we would know a man by his fruit, so in essence; the fruit speaks for itself. Or should I say that it speaks the judgment itself.

When Jesus spoke the words of Matthew, He was referring to judging someone’s motives or heart. We do not know what it is in someone’s heart, and so it is not wise for us to pronounce judgments because we will most likely be wrong. Unless there is visible fruit and information is in fact known, what you are doing is judging instead of simply examining fruit. According to Steve Foss, author of Satan’s Dirty Little Secret, most of these judgments come from a place of insecurity or inferiority. I believe that this why Jesus said to get the plank out of our own eye before trying to remove the splinter from our brother’s eye. Unless we know all of the information, we have a plank in our eye and should keep silent. These incorrect judgments will tear down relationships and cause divisions. They are really just a form of gossip and they usually proclaim untruths about people, which is basically slander. They are an assassination of someone’s character.

So the purpose of me even writing this post is from a place of REPENTANCE. I have been guilty of judging people and situations because I did not have all of the facts. I drew conclusions about people and situations that were sometimes hurtful or just incorrect. Once I gained an understanding of judgment as defined by Jesus, I am now very conscious of this behavior and am striving to not judge without information. I shudder at the thought of how many people I have unfairly judged over the years. Even though there might have been some visible evidence or fruit of what I felt, there was a much bigger picture that I did not see until much time later. Had I withheld my judgments, I would have regarded and treated them better. Due to my own insecurities and feelings of inferiority, I would cast judgments from a place of hurt and often times I was completely wrong. Meanwhile, I allowed the enemy and his forces entry into my own mind and into the atmosphere to cause further damage. This sin is simply another gateway for demonic activity and for confusion to arise.

gavel-judge

But I want to go into another aspect of judgments that we make. Sometimes they are not necessarily evil in their intent. They refer to viewing people and situations not necessarily in a negative light, but simply a wrong one. We all know the saying in the world about what happens when we assume. I won’t repeat it. ☺ These assumptions directly and indirectly influence how we react to situations and people. The truth is in fact that situations are not always what they appear. Can you see how much damage can be done due to judgments? Can you see the amount of confusion that can be caused?

I can think of different situations over the past number of years where I thought I was being “overlooked” or “disrespected.” Whether it involved ministry or the job, I would assign motives and intents to people who made the decisions in situations where I seemingly got the short end of the stick. I would immediately jump to conclusions about them and conjure up all kinds of thoughts and ideas surrounding the situation that usually had no relevance whatsoever. Over time, the Lord has shown me that I overreacted in many of these situations. The bottom line was that I simply needed to grow up and get over my inferiority complex and rejection issues. There will be times when it will appear like you’re being treated unfairly and unjustly, but sometimes God is testing you to see if you can keep your composure and refrain from drawing unnecessary conclusions. It may sound a little harsh but we all should grow some thicker skin, which will help keep us from forming judgments.

The reality is that only God can judge the heart or someone’s motives because He sees directly into our inward parts. Only He knows the deep things of our hearts.

Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: