Discernment: What do you Treasure?

Treasure ChartQuestion: What do you treasure?

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21

Social media is an excellent tool for exchanging ideas, promoting projects, or promoting self. It very clearly magnifies what is most important to us. For some, its business and culture that are core values, for others its politics, for others it is God and His statues, and yet for others its family and friends.

“He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.” Matthew 10:37

Part of the Christ centered life is the ongoing evaluation of what matters to us…the most. God wants to ensure that He has our complete heart. He wants no competing idols. Though we may not be worshipping a golden calf like the Israelites (Exodus 32), we may be unknowingly worshipping the various idols of life.

In college and/or professional school many of us learned about the benefits of time management. Some of us even received presentations on the Time Management Pie Chart or what I call the Treasure Chart. The purpose of the chart is to help us identify where our time goes or Biblically speaking what we treasure. It’s a simple visual tool to help us identify what really is number one in our daily lives. For example, if our Treasure Chart shows that 50% of our pie is allocated to social media, 25% is allocated to school, 10% is allocated to sleep, 10% is allocated to socializing with Christian friends sans Abba focused, and 5% is allocated to God (i.e. worship, accountability groups/Bible study, discipleship, service, prayer), we could clearly see that despite our strong feelings that God is number one in our lives, our Treasure Chart hints that our time may actually be skewed towards other things and not God.

Question: How do you identify what you Treasure the most?

Take an inventory of how you spend your time using the Treasure Chart
For instance, in one 48 hour period you spent 8 hours watching television, 4 hours gardening, 4 hours on social media, 16 hours sleeping, 3 hours eating, 8 hours clubbing, 2 hours cleaning, 2 hours working out, and 1 hour honoring God (i.e. worship, accountability/Bible study, discipleship, service, prayer). Then simply divide the number of hours you spent on a particular task by 48 hours. That will be the percentage of time you spent on that particular task. The task(s) with the highest percentages suggest these are the tasks you value or Treasure the most.
Examine your use of Social Media
Look back at your postings over the last one to six months and examine if the majority of your picture and/or article postings on Social Media promote the Gospel of Christ Jesus, your “smokin” hot abs of steel, your incredible lifestyle, or political happenings.
Ask a Biblical friend and/or mentor
These individuals know you the best and live a lifestyle that is a walking billboard for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They are the Biblical counsel referenced in Proverbs 15:22. They will be honest and help steer you towards the Cross.
Ask God
You cannot underestimate the value of prayer and Bible study with God. Daily ask God for wisdom and He will answer as James 1:5 declares.

There are many more ways you can examine if God is the number one Treasure of your heart. The key is that you take steps to identify where God lies. Some of you are thinking, “We all spend more time sleeping, eating, and working in a day than we do Bible study or prayer. Does that mean sleeping, eating, and working are number one in our hearts?” NO! God actually values work (see 2 Thessalonians 3:10, Proverbs 31), as it is necessary for earning fruit to maintain the home and supporting the Kingdom. God also values sleep as it is another opportunity for Him to communicate to us (see Psalm 16:7). God is simply asking us to be aware of how we use our time and take the necessary steps to bring Him to the top of our Treasure list. One can work while demonstrating the Believer’s lifestyle of service and love. One can clean the home while meditating on God’s scripture or silently praying to God about the days ahead. One can use social media to share the Gospel of Christ Jesus via words of strengthening, encouraging, and comforting others (1 Corinthians 14:3).

God repeatedly declares that Believers should treasure nothing above Him, not even parents or children (Matthew 10:37). So the challenge to each Believer in Yeshua is to ask yourself, “What do I treasure?” and then the take all the necessary steps to make God number one. AMEN

Abba, we confess and repent of all the idols of the world we have placed before you. We lay the idols of work, of self, of husbands/wives, of friends, of children, and of materialism on the altar and thank you Jesus Christ of Nazareth for sacrificing yourself for us. Holy Spirit come and transform us from the inside out. We ask all of this in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. AMEN

Photo Credit: FE
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Healing: The Invisible Scar

man_walking_awayThis tale is about a lifelong scar shared by two middle aged siblings Mark and Andrew* and how they have come to cope with a tremendously devastating scar inflicted from childhood. Mark has been married thirty plus years to the college sweet heart and produced two children who now have families of their own. Mark pursued the simple life of settling down and raising a family. The life’s work was for the raising of the next generation and the mission was to create a fun life devoted to the needs of the children, a life that was vastly different than the childhood Mark had growing up.  Andrew on the other hand never married but was esteemed with a longstanding career in the corporate world until the downturn in the economy and had a Passport filled with world travels that many could only dream of. Both experienced the same invisible scar but the personal management of the scar varied drastically, leading them down separate roads that would impact them for many generations.

As children, Mark and Andrew, were devoted to their parents. They wanted to do all they could to make them happy but did not understand that nothing they could have done or not done as children could have changed the will of their parents.  It was the heart of the “romantic” Do Wop era and “endless love”. Their parents were married for a good decade before it was discovered their beloved dad was sharing his “love” with many others. Their parents separated and eventually divorced, breaking the hearts of Mark and Andrew. Their mom began to work full time to make ends meet. Mark the oldest would see their dad with these other “loves” and often confronted him but was left either embarrassed or not acknowledged in public by their own dad (see Counterfeit Love Safeguards-The Inner Scar ). Promises were never kept, meals were scant, and bills were just covered while their dad lived the life he wanted with these other “loves”. Mark developed an internal anger and bitterness that was carried for several decades. Anyone that crossed Mark was given a verbal lashing that would send even the strongest home to cry. Mark’s family knew not to get on the “bad side” as it would not be pretty for the recipient. Andrew on the other hand withdrew and vowed never to let anyone get close of enough to cause heartbreak again. Andrew was married to work, working endless amounts of overtime to pay for the annual trip to Europe. Outside of free time, Andrew spent free time immersed in extraordinary amounts of television watching and counterfeit love (i.e. adult media).

“Honor your father and mother” which is the first commandment with a promise. Ephesians 6:2

Their mom had long ago went home to be with the Lord but as recent as the last ten to fifteen years, their now aging “Rolling Stone” dad continued in his life of other “loves”. Naturally their dad had needs of the aged and needed to be cared for. Mark being a family person and Believer, went against his own flesh desire to let dad fend for himself. Mark understood God’s Word on honor of the parents (Ephesians 6:2) and forgiveness (Colossians 3:13). Mark understood that there was no sin too great including adultery to be forgiven. Andrew, who is not a Believer, on the other hand chose to hold on the past and when given opportunities to extend grace toward their dad, opted not to. Time after time opportunities would present themselves to Mark and Andrew to extend grace but each time Andrew chose to not forgive.

Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13

The years passed on and Mark realized that there was no freedom in holding on to the invisible scars of adultery (1 Corinthians 6:9). Mark was misdirecting the childhood anger to others and not releasing the scar to the Lord to heal. So after many decades and prayers, Mark released the anger to the Lord for Healing and is actively on the journey of taking capture the memories of the past and letting go of the stronghold of angry tongue. Andrew is still on a journey to forgiveness. Despite the encouragement of Mark to forgive and release the past to God, Andrew has persisted in the inner vow of not letting anyone get close enough to cause heartbreak or to be forgiven. This internal bitterness or unforgiveness has now manifested into what we often see at the Healing Rooms, an onset of nearly life threatening medical conditions.

Maybe you or someone you know has been inflicted by an invisible scar. You have carried this scar for many years and have yet to release it to Abba for Him to heal. In releasing the scars of your past, some incredible things occur.

• Learned a primary tenant of our faith: forgiving also known as grace
• Canceled Satan’s authority over you including his mark (i.e. sickness, disease) by forgiving
• Allow yourself to be Healed emotionally, spiritually, and physically according to God’s Word

Father, Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and Holy Spirit we ask to fill us with your remarkable grace and healing. We bind up the Spirit of hardened hearts, unforgiveness, and sickness. We release your Spirit of love, joy, peace, faithfulness, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self control upon us in the name and blood of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Father, Son Jesus Christ of Nazareth, and Holy Spirit we choose to forgive ourselves for any invisible scars we may have inflicted on others by our personal pursuits of the flesh. Cleanse us Lord from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes which often precedes flesh sins, and the pride of life. Cover us in your precious blood, guard our eyes, and hearts in Christ Jesus, Amen. – Blessings

Photo Credit: The Truth Won

Discernment: IF LOOKS COULD KILL………………OR GIVE LIFE!*

EYEIf looks could kill, I would have been a master assassin!  Some of you know “the look”, the “sister girl”, the “evil eye”, or “mean mugging”  that you inherited from your culture (translation = generational sin).  It’s not exclusive to my inherited culture but to the cultures of many nations.  Regardless of earthly culture, “the look” is not typically used to spread joy or be hospitable.  It is usually used to show disapproval, disdain, or judgment.  I recall now over a decade ago some stranger asking me “Girl, why don’t you ever smile?”  I either thought or quipped in my best attitudinal “look”: “What is there to smile about?!”  Yikes, that stranger could have been an angel unawares (Hebrews 13:2) and I bombed that hospitality test big time.  The joy of the Eternal Papa had not gotten hold of me yet and would not for many more years.

It wasn’t until five or six years ago that a friend mentor, Pearl, would explain to me what “ the look” really meant.  Pearl knew “the look” very well first hand.  She was the recipient of “the look” for two decades.  She knew the feeling of being shamed and criticized by what I dismissed as an innocent “look” and she explained that “the look” was not walking in Kingdom love.   Yes, one could technically say they were not saying anything harmful but my countenance was effectively shaming and criticizing others without words and pushing others away from the Kingdom I professed to know.  “How could this be?  Generations in my culture have done this and it’s normal.  Right?”  Hmmm….Pearl was lovingly and gently challenging me with God’s Word on countenance.  That seemingly simple “look” or countenance was not walking in the love of the Kingdom but displaying a manifestation of the flesh.

Proverbs 15:13 “A joyful heart makes a cheerful face, But when the heart is sad, the spirit is broken.”

IF LOOKS COULD GIVE LIFE

About ten years ago when I began graduate school I met a wonderful lady named Lisa.  Lisa was my school’s leader of the African Diaspora branch of Cru.  She was an incredibly beautiful Believer with this unusual amount of never ending joy and glow.  She was curious to me, as I could only recall a few women in that season of life that had that same beauty that was far beyond the physical.  She never had a scowl and always had these great kind words to draw people out.  She was phenomenal in reaching students for the Kingdom.  When I met her daughters who were not much younger than I, I was even more amazed.  They too along with Lisa’s husband had this inherited beauty that extended far beyond their natural prettiness by human standards.  I was frankly puzzled.  As silly as this sounds, I could not figure out how they could just be so joyful.  It would take me almost a decade to finally figure out where their joyfulness came from: spiritual fruits.  I remember reading over these fruits in Galatians 5 but never had I truly embodied them in my person.  There were hints of them that would be displayed during convenient times for specific situations or people but their display was not consistent.  December 2010, Eternal Papa leveled with me in gigantic proportions.  He unveiled to me my true nature and it was not a Kingdom nature.  I was not like Abba who is not a respecter of persons (I had favorites).  I did not extend grace freely, kept running tallies of others transgressions, and used my countenance to shame and criticize others.

Abba began removing the old feisty flesh and brought forward a new fiercely faithful woman for the Kingdom.  He imparted a joy within me that I could not explain in words.  My heart felt uncontrollably merry and I could not help but smile persistently.  I became a Church greeter and felt for the first time in life like I could share the same joy that Lisa and Pearl knew of.  I even began to enjoy singing songs to the Lord and worshipping Him in my free time…alone.  The joy of Eternal Papa had gotten a hold of me!  What I have learned is that serving others is a tremendous honor and a smiling face is an easy way to bring others to the door of the Kingdom.  There is nothing canned in a Kingdom smile but a purity of the Lord.  It is a smile that lights up the room and warms the environment.  It is a smile that both children and adults are drawn to.  It is a smile that reflects the beauty of our Eternal Papa.  It does not scowl, shame, or criticize.  It is a smile that makes both Believers and the world wonder, “What makes that person so joyful?”  I encourage each of us to consider our countenance and ask two questions.  Do we give the “look that could kill”?  Or do we give the “look of life”?

Abba, please reveal to me anything in my outward temple that does not reflect your joy.  Change my heart so that I can show an unconditional joy and attract others to the Kingdom.  – Amen

*Real names of friends have been changed

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