#VIEWS From Thee God. 

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#VIEWS #Lit 🔥 #MajorKey 🔑 #BlessUp #Yeezus. These are just a few current popular trends Christian young people are using in life and social media. 
     To simply put it, the enemy will do anything to steal, kill and destroy this current generation (John 10:10). Satan is referred to as the “Angel of Light” for he was once an angel that wanted to be better than God.

“But I am not surprised! Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”

‭‭(2 Corinthians‬ ‭11:14‬)

     We should not be surprised but know that he will surgar coat culture, music and the fashion industry. Satan will get musicians, singers and preachers to sport Yeezys while they attempt to walk a Christian life.

  • #VIEWS 

     Views from 6 God was the original album title and it refers to Drake’s hometown of Toronto known as 6 city because of its area code and what not. But we can see a double standard of the number 6 and it’s occult satanic symbolic meaning. To learn more, here are two videos: 

Drake 6 God

Drake Summer-Sixteen

You want #VIEWS? Satan will show you VIEWS of fame, charisma and popularity. 

“Next the devil took him to the peak of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. “I will give it all to you,” he said, “if you will kneel down and worship me.”

(Matthew‬ ‭4:8-9‬) 

 In fact, this is a trend the occult and secret societies believe in. #VIEWS of opportunity will bring man glory. Even popularity within Christianity will blind you from your true purpose in God. Instead of it being about the Gospel, it is now become about you (your talents, your name, your likes, your followers, your subscribers). If satan can make it about you, he has taken God out of the equation. This has been his scheme from the beginning of time: 

“Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden? You won’t die! God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” 
(Genesis 3:1-5) 

  • Patterns and Trends 

     Patterns and trends tend to attract us and make us feel good to fit in. Besides, who doesn’t want to be a cool kid? You’re just weird if you go against the current. But God thinks otherwise: 

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” 

(Romans‬ ‭12:1-2‬) 

      Do not conform to the patterns of this culture and yet we conform everyday. The struggle is real for many people to know God’s will for their life. Perhaps the reason why we struggle knowing God’s perfect will is because we are blinded by conformity. 

“Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” 

(Romans‬ ‭12:2‬)

     It’s not until we stop conforming and start transforming that we will know God’s perfect will for our lives. The day we experienced Salvation and committed our lives to Christ, was the day of transformation. But yet we live a life of conformity and condemnation. I personally love the Message translation of Romans 12:1-2

“So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.” 

     These trends may seem harmless, but ultimately, it will slowly distance our relationship with God. 

“Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.” 

(1 John‬ ‭2:15-17‬) 

It’s time we #AWAKEN. 

       – VIEWS from thee God.

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Gospel in a Bottle

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[Disclaimer]

This blog is not to put down any celebrities and renown pastors; but simply to cause an awareness where the gospel is heading.

Pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr. of Trinity Church in Miami officiated the wedding ceremony for renown celebrities Kim Kardashian and Kanye West in May of 2014. Kim and Kanye met Pastor Rich by showing up unannounced at a weekly gathering at Trinity Church. They connected well with Wilkerson and began attending the church regularly when they were in town, according to People Magazine. Kim Kardashian became known for her infamous sex-tape in 2003 and Kanye West is a pop-culture rapper who claims to be Yeezus (Jesus). Elle Magazine featured Kim on their cover and quoted “And God Created Kim.”

Pastor Wilkerson quoted on social media:

“So happy for these two. Grateful for their friendship. The best is yet to come. The married life is the best life.”

Gospel in a Bottle is simply that. We have packaged the gospel to our liking or what others would like. Producing a trendy fashionable product, all for the sake of the “whosoever.” What we neglect is the authenticity of the gospel. The very mere fact that the gospel cannot be manufactured, purchased and duplicated. As much as some want to renovate the gospel, the gospel has an eternal foundation that cannot be broken. The gospel cannot be manufactured and purchased; the price has been paid by means of the Cross.

If the sacred foundation of the gospel is broken; the gospel becomes a manipulated system. It’s an abhor offense against the gospel to abuse the power of the sacred foundation. When we attempt to water down, repackage and reinvent the gospel; all we do is cause more harm than good. More Christians, Pastors and Leaders are aiming for a hipster look, while losing focus of the authentic experience of the gospel.

a. What Does the
Gospel Look Like?

Some will say the gospel resembles a hipster preacher with a coffeehouse attraction. That is NOT the gospel! Jesus’ never attempted to resemble culture; but he took culture and reassembled it. Yes, Jesus’ appealed to the common misfit and had interaction with outsiders of the religious.

[Mark 2:16-17 NLT]

“But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum? ” When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

He appealed to rejects of society and rattled religious cages. But not once did he conform to cultural trends and manipulate the message. The walking gospel gave his life to servanthood, love and death. He did not walk around with paparazzi, TMZ reporters and a great following of hipster minions. He simply lived a simple life, but with much authority given to him by the Holy Spirit.

[Matthew 28:18 NLT]

“Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth.”

[Luke 4:18 NLT]

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free.”

The gospel is simply simple with a profound viscosity of the rugged carpenters hands. Can you ever think of a time when you fed the homeless, had dinner with an outcast and helped the hurting? That’s an ariel view of the gospel. Simply share the love and the sacred writings of God’s love letters. Let the Cross do the rest.

b. How Far is
too Far?

“If you really love me, you will except me for who I am.” Sound familiar? But what if that person was an abuser, manipulator, drug addict or alcoholic. You would have enough love to embrace that person, but true love does not leave them there hurting themselves or others. What if you were in an abusive relationship. Would it be okay for that individual to constantly abuse you? Some tolerate abuse and fall into the trap of great deception and manipulation. The Love of Christ does not manipulate the system. From the beginning of time, God loved us. He loved us so much, he created us in the image of his glory! No other part of creation can claim to be created in the image of God; not even the Angels.

[John 3:16-17 NLT]

“For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him.”

But what if I told you that God loves you so much, he accepts you for who you are, but will not leave you there. This is the true authentic transformation of the gospel. Grace at work for the human race. This is the formula of unconditional love. When there is no transformation of the heart and lifestyle, it’s simply not the gospel. Many churches, organizations, pastors and religious affiliations will say, “Come as you are.” The problem with this statement, is not the fact that God excepts you for who you are, but rather what the gospel has ultimately come to do.

[2 Corinthians 5:17 NLT]

“This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

The King James Version states, “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”

The primitive root meaning “Things” (πᾶς) in the greek means:

All, including all the forms of declension. ALL, any, every, the whole; all (manner of, means), thoroughly, whatsoever, whole and whosoever.

When we belong to Christ, we no longer live a life of condemnation, but a life of transformation.

[Romans 8:1-2 NLT]

“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.”

[2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NLT]

“But whenever someone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. For the Lord is the Spirit, and wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. So all of us who have had that veil removed can see and reflect the glory of the Lord. And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image.”

So, according to the holy writs, an individual that professes Christ should be on a different path of life. And if we believe the sacred scriptures to be infallible and ever so true, how about all these celebrities that call themselves “Christians” and yet make reckless decisions. Better yet, how about all those so called “Pastors” who embrace sin without any authentic repentance. Do it for the Vine…. fame, trend and having a name.

Sure, no one is perfect, we all fall short; but that does not give any excuse for the unadulterated gospel to do it’s work. We can all come to the honest conclusion that time will tell and God will be the Judge. But in the mean time…

Dear Christians,

Stop sending unsaved, ungodly and untransformed individuals to Abraham’s bosom. And please stop idolizing celebrities and celebrity pastors that claim truth and yet manipulate the gospel. They are only deceiving you and themselves.
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5 Ways to Cope From a Breakup.

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Have you or someone you know been through a breakup? I’m not talking about a “puppy-love” casual breakup; but a tragic breakup from a serious relationship. A dating breakup, broken engagement or a bride/groom standing alone at the altar. Sounds like an epic Hollywood film; but it’s reality. This subject can be so cliché, but yet rarely talked about within “Christian” culture. We are taught to Forgive and Forget because that’s what Jesus would do. On the contrary, we are to Forgive but never Forget.

“There sins and lawless acts I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17 [NIV]

You see, God is omniscient [all knowing]. But we are not God, we are simply human. We hurt, we feel and we want revenge. Why not Forget? It’s simple; Wisdom will shut the door to a repetitive heartbreak. But let me pause here and give you a quick lesson on Forgiveness:

The Cross forgave not only your sins, but the sins of your offenders. I will let you take a moment to chew and swallow that. Trust me, I had to swallow forcefully; but it’s the solid truth. You may say, “I can’t forgive what he/she has done.” [and rightfully so] But leave it to Jesus. What you cannot do, Christ has done on the cross. Let him intervene and take care of it [like a boss].

“But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too. ” Mark 11:25 [NLT]

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:34, 35 [NLT]

God will give you the ability to forgive the unforgiveable. Here are 5 simple ways to cope from a breakup.

1. Rumor Has It

Rumor has it… Brad broke up with Sally and Lisa called off the engagement with Tom. And that’s how rumors start. Life turns into a giant tabloid of scandalous stories. If Christianity became TMZ, breakups would most likely make the top of the list. Unfortunately, this is a true statement. For some strange reason, people are captured by broken relationships. Romance sparks the attention as individuals Indulge in juicy gossip. The church becomes a gossip-house, instead of a prayer-house. Who are we to judge, gossip and spread rumors? People will talk and haters are going to hate. But there is one thing we can be confident; God will remain faithful.

There are two sides to a story; truth and lies. Your broken relationship is abstract. Consider an artist who has painted from their authentic perspective. Only the artist knows the truth and meaning behind the painting; while others interpret abstract art in their own perspective. People will only believe and see what they want; but that does not mean it’s the truth. God knows exactly what he is doing and how he designed it. While people talk, listen to the Artist. Rumor has it… there is a scandalous God who Loves you.

2. Pray, Pray and Pray

The most important concept to understand during the moment of turmoil and heartache, is to pray. Prayer is not an option for the common Jesus’ Follower. It’s our survival in life; it’s the air we breathe and the bread we eat. As you find yourself in a broken and lonely journey, you can discover the greatest peace and understanding.

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6, 7 [NLT]

It’s through prayer that the broken pieces of your heart and shattered dreams are clued together. You will discover yourself and a God that offers an unfailing Love. What was lost is now gained through Christ.

“Yes, everything else is WORTHLESS when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ!” Philippians 3:8 [NLT]

3. Travel

Any World Travelers out there?! I personally love to travel. Airports, hotels and new sights is the life. There are circumstances that require for you to GET UP and GO! A messy breakup is one of those situations. Pick a destination and getaway. Not only getaway physically, but getaway with God on a spiritual journey of healing. Find a peaceful happy place and surround yourself with a church family that will take your mind off of negativity. Take a vacation with God. You never know, you might meet a perfect stranger with a perfect word of encouragement.

4. Detour Your Life

Have you ever taken a detour on a familiar road? This is exactly what you need, a detour. Relationships build an intimate communion and when broken, it can be immensely difficult to travel memory lane. A song, smell, object and pictures can be a constant reminder of the bitter hurt and pain of a heartache. Instead of pouring your sorrows over a tub of ice cream, pick up a new idea. Begin a fresh start with a new routine. Start a new hobby, read a new book and try new foods. Do something you have never done. Reading, writing and working out can be deeply therapeutic. Change your pattern and align yourself to a different lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle. Hey! If you have to change your wardrobe or choice of fragrance, than do it!

5. Connect

Last but not least… connect. Surround yourself with family and friends that will support and encourage you. DO NOT surround yourself with negative people. The last thing you need is to be bitter with bitter people. Become better with better people. Remain busy in life and within your church affiliation. Never be alone, even if you feel you need “alone time.” Consider talking to a mentor, church leader and/or Pastor you can trust. Seek wisdom and never let her go. I would highly encourage you to consider professional Christian counseling.

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT enter another romantic relationship until your journey of healing is complete. Suffering a loss, mourning and healing can take time. Each person develops a healthy time frame of healing. Some quicker than others; but never rush the process. There is a significant difference between a healed-heart and a cold-heart. It’s easy to become heartless [anyone can have a cold-heart]; but it takes a brave heart to gain the heart of Christ.

Closing Thought:

You do what’s best for you.

New Paradigm (The Rise of the Condemning Church)

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Paradigm~ a typical example or pattern of something; a model. 

  Let me make a disclaimer before we go any further. You’re either going to love this post or hate it. If you come from a Christian conservative background, like myself, this blog may sound liberal, especially when modern-day Christianity has taken a plunge into liberalism. On the contrary, Christianity has somehow found a way to twist the gospel into their own modeling and liking. 

 “Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teaching that come from demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1 NLT)

 And since modern-day Christianity has fulfilled it’s biblical prophecy, we find ourselves indulging in a New Paradigm. 

The Busy Church

Never get too busy with “activity”, that you forget the main objective of the church. I like to call this the Mary/Martha syndrome (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus’ visit’s Martha’s home and Mary immediately sits at the feet of Jesus to listen. Sometimes, we just need to stop with the busyness of life and just listen. I wonder how many of us would STOP and LISTEN. Meanwhile, Martha Stewart is cooking a scrumptious meal, comes over to find Mary listening at the feet of the King and becomes upset. Martha exclaims her actions for being “unfair”, but what she did not realize, Mary discovered (as the NLT translates) the better Christian position. Not to discredit Martha’s position of service, but the way I see it; Martha was doing the right thing at the wrong time. Even Jesus stated, “Martha, you’re worried and upset over all the details!” How many of us find ourselves so overwhelmed with details that we forget the main point. We can be so busy with “business”, we forget about the Father’s Business. We create meetings just to have meetings. Our events become self-centered instead of being Christ-centered. It automatically becomes a selfish gospel. 

Churches become event-driven and focused on how many seats are occupied. Every seat can be occupied, but that does not mean their hearts are full. Behind the makeup and dress, beneath the suit and tie, there is a shallow heart without Jesus Christ. If you follow that paradigm, eventually you will have a church full of shallow egotistical bench warmers. Less is more, and more details can create chaos. The church is called to be Missional, not Professional. It’s best to read or hear instructions before conducting business. It’s best to remain silent and listen to the voice of God. Remember: Listen also spells Silent.  

 

The Condemning Church

 The modern-day Church is becoming more of the Condemning Church. We condemn, condemn and condemn until there is nothing left to condemn. We even condemn each other as Christ followers within the church. How in the world do we expect to save the world when we cannot even get along with each other as brothers and sisters in the faith? 

Modern-day Christianity has turned rude and self-righteous. Who are we to judge when we ourselves are messy and sloppy. Less we forget, for everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard (Romans 3:23 NLT). You see, the church has lost it’s primary focus. 

God is LOVE (1 John 4:8) 

God is COMPASSIONATE and GRACIOUS (Psalm 103:8) 

God is GRACE (Ephesians 2:8)

God is a FRIEND of SINNERS (John 8:3-11) 

how about…. God is a CONSUMING FIRE!!! (*preachers voice with theatrical flames in the background) 

“For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God.” (Deuteronomy 4:24 NKJV)

Yes, God is a consuming fire. Yes, God is jealous and will not tolerate our affection for idols (Exodus 20:3-6). God consumed a flaming sword to guard the tree of life (Genesis 3:24). He consumed Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19:28). He consumed a bush to have a chat with Moses (Exodus 3:2). He consumed the burnt sacrifice throughout the Old Testament (1 Kings 18:38, Leviticus 9:24, 2 Chronicles 7:1). But, God became the ultimate sacrifice within the dispensation of Grace and changed the paradigm of a consuming judgement to a consuming love. 

“For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) 

The primitive purpose of the church is to Love others and lead people to the Cross. Man cannot change the heart, only God can change the heart of man. Addictions, sexual orientation and all sorts of sin should not be tolerated, but changed by God, not man. When a non-believer comes to Christ, we (the church) want to quickly re-program them into the model of our own theology of Christianity. But Christianity, as we know it, is far from the original design. Christianity is suffering from an epidemic narcissism. We are only interested in what God can do for Me, Myself and I. Church has become a “Bless-Me” club, saturated with arrogant cliques. Arrogance develops an habitual practice of self-centered paganism. What can the gospel do for me? If you’re a believer, the gospel has done it’s work. It’s time for you to get to work for the gospel! Even Jesus’ was about his Father’s business and came on a rescue mission. 

“For the Son of Man came to seek and save those who are lost.” (Luke 19:10 NLT) 

God came to us! He reconciled the world to Himself. Imagine that! While we were still sinners, He came to us (Romans 5:8). What makes you think you are better than a drug addict, alcoholic and prostitute? We were all pardoned at one time. God forgave the unforgivable. Do you think your pedigree or family history of Christianity earns you a golden star? Don’t get me wrong. I grew up as a Pastor’s Kid and church is all I know. I feel blessed to be a fourth generation Jesus’ Follower. I honor the pioneers of the church and their Kingdom work that got me here. But, being a fourth generation Christian does not mean I will get extra perks in heaven. We are all sinners on this journey called life. Let’s see what the bible has to say.    

“For the GRACE of GOD has appeared, bringing salvation for all people.” (Titus 2:11 ESV) 

SALVATION for ALL people. 

 “But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.” (Romans 11:6 ESV)  

GRACE would no longer be GRACE. 

 “But whatever I am now, it is all because God poured out his special favor on me-and not without results. For I have worked harder than any of the other apostles; yet it was not I but God who was working through me by his grace.” (1 Corinthians 15:10 NLT) 

 God’s GRACE at WORK for me. 

Why do we condemn? Think about it. As believers, saved by grace, we are stuck in this fixated idea of condemnation. Did you know there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ? (Romans 8:1) What does the Bible say about Condemning? 

“Judge not [neither pronouncing judgment nor subjecting to censure], and you will not be judged; do not condemn and pronounce guilty, and you will not be condemned and pronounced guilty; acquit and forgive and release (give up resentment, let it drop), and you will be acquitted and forgiven and released.” (Luke 6:37 AMP) 

 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?” (Luke 6:41 NLT) 

“So why do you condemn another believer? Why do you look down on another believer? Remember, we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. Yes, each of us will give a personal account to God. So let’s stop condemning each other. Decide instead to live in such a way that you will not cause another believer to stumble and fall.” (Romans 14:10,12,13 NLT)  

That should answer your question.

God reconciled the world to Himself. The primitive root meaning of reconcile (kat-ah’) in the greek is to make different and relations joined together. It amazes me that the original plan of God was to send down His only Son to be murdered for our sins so we can be joined together in relationship. What the first Adam got us into, only the second Adam can get us out, Jesus Christ. Who are we to judge when God makes all things new! What God makes righteous, no one can make it unrighteous. 

“Either way, Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves. Instead, they will live for Christ, who died and was raised for them. So we have stopped evaluating others from a human point of view. At one time we thought of Christ merely from a human point of view. How differently we know him now! This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” (2 Corinthians 5:14-17 NLT) 

Did you know that Christ’s Love controls us? That blows my mind away in so many levels! No matter what your circumstance is, no matter how broken and torn apart you find yourself; the Love of Christ controls you and the situation. When human Love fails you, Christ’s Love controls you.  

[Take a minute and deeply ponder on that] 

In conclusion, I leave you with a few biblical truths to harness upon your soul. 

“God put the world square with himself through the Messiah, giving the world a fresh start by offering forgiveness of sins. God has given us the task of telling everyone what he is doing. We’re Christ’s representatives. God uses us to persuade men and women to drop their differences and enter into God’s work of making things right between them. We’re speaking for Christ himself now: Become friends with God; he’s already a friend with you.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-20 MSG) 

There is a great misconception of Christianity. In order to be a friend of God, you must be in good position. But God has called you friend, regardless of your position. Now, GO do your job correctly. Stop condemning (Leave the condemning to God) and just lead people to Christ.  

“So be merciful (sympathetic, tender, responsive, and compassionate) even as your Father is [all these].” (Luke 6:36 AMP) 

Destroy the new paradigm called the “Condemning Church”,

and get back to the organic  paradigm of what God truly intended the Church to be. 

(Valentinus)

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Valentinus

Valentinus ~latin for Saint Valentines 

While enjoying my heartfelt cup of coffee earlier today, I came across some interesting facts about Valentine’s Day. As we know it, Valentine’s means red roses, heart-shaped chocolates wrapped in silky trendy ribbon and Michael Bublé singing the night away. I recently found out that I Pastor in the 2nd most romantic city in America, Seattle. Romance and Love are saturated in our community and yes, even our coffee.

The other day, I was randomly asked if I hate Valentine’s Day and I chuckled with a grin on my face. My responds was simple and to the point. If I hate Valentine’s, I would hate Love; and God is Love. 

“But anyone who does not Love does not know God, for God is Love.” (1 John 4:8 NLT)

What most dudes will not admit, is that each of us have a romantic side. It’s built within our nature to Love. As humans, we Love God and God designed for us to Love another. I believe in Love, even in my season of singleness. One of my pet peeves, is when singles become bitter and cynical. Love, and even sex within the context of marriage, is a great gift from God.

“Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and LOVE-and the greatest of these is LOVE.” (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT)

What I was not aware of, is the history of Valentine’s Day, until I came across a few articles. 

According to the Huffington Post, there were reportedly three early Christian saints named Valentine. But the saint that derives from the holiday, likely comes from a Roman priest during the 3rd century A.D. under Emperor Claudius II. During that time, Claudius banned marriages among young couples. He believed that unmarried soldiers fought better than married soldiers. During great turmoil of the Roman Empire, Claudius felt he needed all the soldiers he can get. 

Saint Valentine believed marriage to be God-given and sacred. He began officiating marriages among couples in secret.

“Saint Valentine was eventually beheaded and then named a martyr by the Church because he gave up his life to perform the sacrament of marriage: for love of love and love of God.” (As quoted by the Huffington Post) 

What was more intriguing, Christian Broadcasting Network conducted an interview with father Frank O’Gara. He broke down the history of Saint Valentine and had a great few points. I do not believe in Catholicism, but as a Jesus’ Follower, I found a few interesting points. While Saint Valentine was imprisoned by Rome for officiating marriages, he continued his missional work even in prison. There are legends surrounding Valentine’s actions while in prison. 

“One of the men who was to judge him in line with the Roman law at the time was a man called Asterius, who’s daughter was blind. He was supposed to have prayed with and healed the young girl with such astonishing effect that Asterius himself became Christian as a result.” ~ Frank O’Gara 

The priest continues to say: 

“What Valentine means to me as a priest, is that there comes a time where you have to lay your life upon the line for what you believe. And with the power of the Holy Spirit we can do that — even to the point of death. If Valentine were here today, he would say to married couples that there comes a time where you’re going to have to suffer. It’s not going to be easy to maintain your commitment and your vows in marriage. Don’t be surprised if the ‘gushing’ love that you have for someone changes to something less “gushing” but maybe much more mature. And the question is, is that young person ready for that?” 

I leave you to deeply ponder on the following:

What if we Loved the way God called us to Love. Beyond the romance and Disney fairy tales, what if we discovered the authentic Love that holds all things together. Standing for truth is not a popular trend; but what if you believed in that truth so deeply, you became sold out for the cause no matter the cost. 

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34 NLT) 

Are you willing to return Love, even to your enemies, without reservation? 

(New Commandment). 

Five Reasons Not to Follow Your Heart

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Five

“Follow your heart.” Have you ever heard that expression? It’s a very common and overused phrase in American culture. From Hollywood movies to romance novels, everyone encourages to follow your heart. It’s a great deception that has blindsided our current generation. A scheme that was conceived in the Garden of Eden as the snake himself became the greatest con artist known to mankind. Steve Jobs once said:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone’s else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma-which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”

~Steve Jobs, Apple Inc. co-founder

If you know me, I’m a huge fan of Apple products. I must say, Steve Jobs quoted some solid knowledge. But Mr. Jobs, you have one concept wrong: Follow Your Heart. For many of us, following our heart can be a natural instinct. Following your heart can get you into a lot of trouble. The worst advice you can receive in pursuing a relationship and/or in a dating relationship is to follow your heart. Following your heart will only produce an unhealthy relationship.

Here are five simple, but yet practical reasons not to follow your HEART.

Havoc.
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? (Jeremiah 17:9 NLT)

The hebrew translation for deceitful (`aqob) means fraudulent, crooked and polluted.
The primitive hebrew translation for wicked (`anash) means to be frail, feeble, or (figuratively) melancholy. Desperately wicked, incurable, sick and woeful.

Why in the world would you trust a living organism, a soul that is fraudulent, incurable and down right sick? Your heart is full of havoc and the #1 rule is not to follow your heart. If you follow your heart, your emotions will get the best of you and that leads to a lifetime of heartbreak.

“We grow weary in our present bodies, and we long to put on our heavenly bodies like new clothing. God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. For we live by believing and not by seeing.” (2 Corinthians 5:2, 5, 7 NLT)

The scriptures urge us to put on our spirit garments that will suppress the havoc of our earthly soul. Following your heart is like living by sight, but we live by a sturdy faith. A vintage faith that was designed from the beginning of time.

Eve.

“But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives. I give all people their due rewards, according to what their actions deserve.” (Jeremiah 17:10 NLT)

We inherit the frailty of Adam and Eve. From the beginning of time, God searched man’s heart and secret motives. Eve would one day be deceived into the greatest scheme. Deception would bring an anti-god perception. It may look good, but it does not mean it’s good for you. Following your heart brings a temporary satisfaction. Eating a Twinkie is satisfying for a moment, but if you keep eating Twinkie’s, eventually you will look like a Twinkie.

“The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it.” (Genesis 3:6 NLT)

Mankind followed their heart and emotional urges of what looked appealing. Eve gave into deception and became apart of deception. You are what you eat.

Adam.

“The Scriptures tell us, “The first man, Adam, became a living person.” But the last Adam—that is, Christ—is a life-giving Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 15:45 NLT)

There is a significant comparison to living a life without the Holy Spirit and a life filled by the power of the Holy Spirit. You can either be led by your fraudulent emotions or you can be led by the Holy Spirit. Love is blind and your heart will blind you from truth. On the other hand, Jesus’ will lead you to all truth (John 16:13). Adam was created as a living person, designed with a self-will. But Jesus’ provides a substitution by giving life and direction.

“Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.” (Genesis 3:6, 7 NLT)

Adam was designated a responsibility over the earth and was given a spiritual authority over Eve. It was his responsibility to rescue his beauty from eternal deception, but he became a passive man and followed his heart. The second Adam (Jesus Christ) did the exact opposite and rescued humanity from an eternal destruction.

It’s your choice Adam.

Rebels.
“Rebellion is as sinful as witchcraft, and stubbornness as bad as worshiping idols. So because you have rejected the command of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.” (1 Samuel 15:23 NLT)

Rebels without a cause. We are the James Dean of our time and live a careless life when we follow our heart. Rebellion is satanic and stubbornness is a great offense towards God. It’s your stubbornness that will get you into trouble.

“But Samuel replied, “What is more pleasing to the Lord : your burnt offerings and sacrifices or your obedience to his voice? Listen! Obedience is better than sacrifice, and submission is better than offering the fat of rams.” (1 Samuel 15:22 NLT)

The greatest red flag in a relationship is not the ones appearing in your significant other; but the greatest red flag is the rebellion in your own heart. If God is speaking and giving you a big NO; obedience is better than sacrifice. 

Temptation.

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves.” (Galatians 5:16 NLT)

What does your heart crave? Nothing good, that’s for sure. Remember, your heart is fraudulent and incurable. Galatians chapter five speaks of being led by the Holy Spirit. Following your heart is the exact opposite. It cost Samson’s life for the exchange of following his heart (Judges 16:4-21). He lost his strength and vision, literally. Temptation nagged Samson to death, as one translation implies.

“She tormented him with her nagging day after day until he was SICK TO DEATH OF IT.” (Judges 16:16 NLT)

Society and pop-culture will tell you to indulge in the cravings of your heart, but Jesus’ is the ultimate outlet.

“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT)

Will you follow your heart?

Woman Crush Wednesday

Image

WCW pic

You know what today is, Woman Crush Wednesday! For those of you who do not know what this current hip trend is all about, let me enlighten you. Here is a brief and simple description by International Business Times

“WCW stands for “Woman Crush Wednesday,” which is when social media users share pictures of ladies that they find attractive or admire. Both male and female Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Tumblr users participate in the weekly trend, which is always seen on a Wednesday. It’s like a mini social media holiday where everyone participates in sharing a picture of their favorite female or “girl crush.” It could be a famous celebrity like Jennifer Lawrence, or even someone’s love interest.

The female species is not exempt from this popular trend, but you can participate in #MCM, Man Crush Monday (blog). #WCW (Woman Crush Wednesday), a national phenomenon that has turned into a pop-trend within American culture; and among many Jesus’ followers. It’s amazing to see how huge this trend is catching on within the Christian world. I want to make a disclaimer to my readers. In no way am I connecting this current trend to being a salvation issue or condemning those that do participate. In fact, if you have a significant other, by all means post a picture and show how God has blessed you! Furthermore, let me add a deeper disclaimer. Christians posting “crush” pictures of non-Christians (celebrities and such) may seem insignificant, but Eve (#MCM), so was the Forbidden Fruit in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3) Posting pictures of your significant other is great, but Adam (#WCW), do not create Idols that will have you hiding from the Creator and your purpose.

Destroy Idols 

When a noun (person, place, thing) takes the place of God, that’s the moment we find ourselves in anomaly. Unhealthy Relationships and/or “crushes” create an abnormal behavior of obsession. The scriptures are clear how God feels about idols. I like to refer to them as functional saviors that take the place of the One true Savior. God instructed His people with Ten Commandments and the first command is the following:

“You must not have any other god but me.” (Exodus 20:3 NLT) 

It’s very clear that God desires us to love and serve Him and no one else. But the scriptures go further by saying:

 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods.” (Exodus 20:4-5 NLT) 

God is a jealous God and He will not tolerate our affection for any other gods. I love how the New Living Translation states the word “tolerate.” Whether it be a person, place and/or thing, God will not stomach your idol worship.

The primitive root meaning of “image” in hebrew “pacal” means to carve, whether wood or stone. But let’s be real, most “images” we find today can be viewed on social media. What you give yourself to, becomes your ultimate surrender. What you treasure becomes your life’s measure. You become obsessed with an individual and the notion of Love. Romance and True Love, are two separate ideas. Woman Crush Wednesday provides an ideal fantasy of romance, but True Love can only be defined by the core of where Love originated. When we idolize pop-culture romance, we commit idolatry against True Love. We Love because He first Loved us (1 John 4:19). Idolizing romance and fantasy is a strong offense against the gospel.

The book of Romans describes an Idolatrous generation, similar to our current culture. “… they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.” (Romans 1:23 NLT) The moment you create a functional savior, that’s the moment God will strip everything away, until you say, “have your way.” Trust me, save yourself before it’s to late. Unhealthy Relationships and fantasy crushes simply come with headaches, heartache and heartbreak. Modern day Idolatry may seem insignificant, but God does not take Idol Worship lightly. In the words of Job,

“I came naked from my mother’s womb, and I will be naked when I leave. The Lord gave me what I had, and the Lord has taken it away. Praise the name of the Lord!” (Job 1:21 NLT) 

Girl Crush 

Have you ever heard of the term “Girl Crush?” According to the Urban Dictionary, girl crush is when a girl admires another girl in a non-sexual way. It simply means you admire the person you have a girl crush on, or you want to be best friends with your girl crush.

Woman Crush Wednesday is not limited to males, but a huge population of females participate in this trend. Posting pictures of celebrity crushes and/or best friend crushes. I personally do not comprehend such behavior of new age theology of “girl crushes” among the female species, but it’s certainly taken as casual humor. I have noticed the trend within the Christian world and in it, there is a sense of a hidden serpent within the concept.

Let’s go back to the beginning of civilization where God designed male and female. “So God created human beings in His own image. In the image of God He created them; male and female He created them.” (Genesis 1:27 NLT) 

“So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep. While the man slept, the Lord God took out one of the man’s ribs and closed up the opening. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib, and he brought her to the man.” (Genesis 2:21 NLT)

Anytime you create a pattern that is opposite to the primary plan of God, you reverse the commandment of Male and Female. You may say, “it’s just a girl crush. It’s just admiration.” But Eve! It’s just Fruit. Who does that sound like?

The Serpent: “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden? You won’t die! God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.” (Genesis 3:1-4 NLT) 

And we all know where that took us and where we stand today. The serpent used manipulation and reversed the plan of God. Satan continues this pattern throughout history and time. Hence the spirit of rebellion, lust and homosexuality (lesbianism) was conceived in the Garden of Eden. What seems insignificant is actually significant within Satan’s scheme. We must always stand guard by the power of the Holy Spirit, to not allow Satan’s reverse psychology to creep in.

“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous.” (1 Corinthians 16:13 NLT) 

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT) 

You may say, “It’s just admiration.” But I must ask, who are you inspiring to be? A celebrity with anti-god views and seducing spirits? Is it a non-Christian friend that does not pose Christian values? Or maybe your #WCW is one of your fellow sisters in the faith. But not everyone that sits modestly in a pew is an authentic Christian. I would be more concerned about the condition of their character before you start posting your girl-crush on social media.

“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act.” (Matthew 7:15-16 NLT) 

This concept goes for both genders. Mean Girls and Mean Boys. Who do you admire and inspire to be?

Lust

Lust is the core of Woman Crush Wednesday. Any typical dude with sexual testosterone  will desire to post Kim Kardashian, or any other celebrity crushes on social media. Men are sexual creatures and that’s how God designed us. Let’s talk real talk! Every normal man has a sexual beast ready to be unleashed. I do not care how much you pray, fast and how many degrees you hold in seminary; you’re an animal! Sexuality and sexual attraction is not the problem, Lust is the issue. Think about it, when you post celebrity crushes, most pictures are non-modest and have a sexual appeal. Here is what the Bible says about Lust:

“But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28 NLT) 

We will tackle Lust on another day, but for now I want to draw our focus on the emotional and psychological effect it has on men. In researching for this blog, I came across a few interesting studies that show the effect of visual stimuli: Men and Women Differ in Amygdala Response to Visual Sexual Stimuli and Men and Women Explore the Visual World Differently. 

Each study shows similarities and differences in brain activity within the male and female. It’s a given fact that men are visual and sexually driven by images. If you doubt that, look how successful the pornography industry is. When we post, view and react towards sexual images; the spirit of Lust that was conceived in the Garden of Eden creeps up like a slithering snake. It may look appealing to the eyes, but is it appealing to the Holy Spirit? Look where it got Adam:

And to the man He said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree whose fruit I commanded you not to eat, the ground is cursed because of you. All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it. It will grow thorns and thistles for you, though you will eat of its grains. By the sweat of your brow will you have food to eat until you return to the ground from which you were made. For you were made from dust, and to dust you will return.” (Genesis 3:17-19 NLT) 

Notice: God confronted man first before in confronted the woman and the serpent. Then the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3:9 NLT) Men, we are responsible for every action we take. That’s another blog in itself. Be responsible and wise up to the scheme of Satan. Lust got Adam into trouble and Lust will get you into trouble. Mainstream media and culture has depicted men to be sexual emotionless animals that are chauvinist jerks. Let’s prove society wrong by gracefully being gentlemen and harness the beast mode within us.

On a side note, guys who have significant others and feel the obligation to post a picture every Wednesday, great, that’s awesome! But be cautious of the images you do post; just know there are lustful dudes out there without the Holy Spirit.

I leave you with this to ponder on. Christian young men that post #WCW simply need a life. Get productive with your community, church and family. Stay busy and get a life. Literally.