Tag: Faith

Who through Faith…

Why do we think of faith as an abstract? And why do we doubt the power of faith?

It makes no sense to downplay the importance of faith, nor does it make sense to doubt its power, not with so many tangible examples of how faith has changed our nation.

Today, our nation honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who through his faith forever transformed our nation from a society of systemic racism and segregation to a nation that aspires to live up to its founding principles.

It would be naive to say that we live in a post-racial America, and I believe that there is still much to be done to achieve the racial healing and reconciliation of which Dr. King dreamed.

However, it would be self-defeating to fail to recognize the progress that has been made, and the cause of that progress.

Dr. King was motivated by a dream, a dream built on the foundations of his core convictions, which were born of his faith.

That faith was in the God almighty, and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To deny this is to deny the sermons Dr. King preached at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, or his belief in the power of Agape love to not only bring about racial equality, but reconciliation as well.

To deny Dr. King’s faith as his motivation is to deny an entire paragraph of his “I Have A Dream” speech, which states, “This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with.

“With this faith, we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.

“With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.”

To deny the faith of Dr. King and to deny the scriptures as the source of that faith is to deny the Biblical imagery that defined his speeches, whether the carving of the stone of hope from the mountain of despair, to the mountaintop Dr. King said the Lord took him to, allowing him to see the promised land.

To deny the faith of Dr. King is to deny his optimism, fully communicated in his speeches, which came from his belief that God would bring his dream to fruition, even if not fully realized until the coming of the Lord.

Dr. King’s legacy of racial equality, national repentance, and racial reconciliation cannot be denied. Neither can the faith be denied which moved him to lead this national transformation. Faith in the Lord brings amazingly great things.

Hebrews 11:33 says, “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, and stopped the mouths of lions.” Hebrews 2:20 says that faith without works is dead. In other words, faith motivates action, and when faith motivates action, great changes happen.

As we remember and celebrate the accomplishments of Dr. King, and the transformation he led America through, let us not forget the faith that birthed it all.

Furthermore, let’s remember that the next great advancement in our society, whatever it may be, will not be born from a desire for significance, a desire for change, or a change at the ballot box. The next great advancement will come when the people of God act on their faith and carry God’s amazing message to the people.

With this faith… we advance.

I’m living! Here’s how…

Yesterday, I shared with you how I was recently diagnosed with diabetes, and the lessons I learned from the diagnosis. Today, I want to share hope, because the changes I made following the diagnosis are already working.

My diagnosis is nearly a month old. I may throw a little birthday party for it. LOL.

The day I received the diagnosis, I made changes. I consented to every medication the doctor wanted to prescribe, and I changed my diet. The McDonald’s drive-thru is dead to me, unfortunately, and I will no longer consume McNuggets. I had quit full-sugar sodas, but now I’ve almost completely eliminated diet sodas.

What do I drink? Lipton Diet Green Tea Citrus flavor… it’s good and doesn’t leave me feeling bloated.

My diet consists of Cobb Salads (when I’m in a rush, I can get one from Chick-Fil-A), Subway sandwiches, McAlister’s club sandwiches, grilled and sauteed meats, sauteed veggies, and dark rye bread. I have also been able to keep peanut butter in my diet, as well as salsa, and eggs. I often mix the salsa and eggs for my own form of huevos rancheros, which is good.

There’s an old joke where a doctor tells a diabetic to purchase a box of diabetic snacks, throw away the snacks, and eat the box. The idea is that healthy eating is bland and gritty. Nothing can be farther from the truth.

I’ve had to get creative, and I’ve had to rediscover my love for the kitchen and the grill, but utilizing fresh vegetables, fresh meats, low carb seasonings, almonds and cashews, I’ve been able to put together some recipes that I find delicious that I actually enjoy eating.

The second step is exercise. I am currently putting in at least 20 minutes on an elliptical each evening with the resistance level set to 4. My goal is to get to 30 minutes. Once I get to that, I will begin running.

How is all this working?

I haven’t tested my blood sugar. I need to purchase a device. However, my weight is down to 257, which means I’ve lost 20 pounds since the day of my diagnosis. And I feel great. My goal is to get down to 177 by the end of the year, and if I can keep my program going, I know I can make it.

The key is a change in my mentality. I am having to intentionally change the way I see food, the reasons I want food, and the way I evaluate a food’s quality. I have to see exercise as a pathway to life, and a fuller life. And, I have to be willing to trust my doctor, which I do.

There is also a spiritual component to this as well. What drove my bad eating and health habits up until now has been a spirit of depression and angst. I’m having to repent of that, and learn to deepen my relationship with the Lord. As my doctor said, “If you get your relationship right with God, all else falls into place.”

Angst, anxiety and depression are often (but not always) symptoms of a spiritual issue, where the individual’s relationship with God is strained by a lapse in faith. This is common and completely understandable. It’s understandable, as we can all understand why Peter took his eyes off of Jesus and saw the waves when he tried to walk on water, or why the disciples panicked when they were in a ship in the storm.

This is nothing to be ashamed of, but it is something to turn away from. God is in control of all things, and He intends good toward you. Trust that. As you trust Him, your relationship with Him will blossom, the negative feelings that drive our bad habits will subside, and we’ll find physical healing to match our spiritual healing.

May God bless you today.

Why the story line of Little James in The Chosen resonates with me

Have you ever prayed to God, and not had your prayers answered? Or perhaps you’ve seen the Lord tangibly bless those around you, seemingly passing you over.

If this is you, good news! There is a Chosen character just for you.

The Chosen is a TV series offered through online streaming services like Prime, Angel Studios, and their app. The series is funded through crowdsourcing, and depicts the lives of Jesus and His apostles as they begin the Lord’s earthly ministry.

One of the great, yet controversial, aspects of the show is how it humanizes the apostles. Instead of being static figures depicted through stained glass, they each have personality quirks, and physical attributes.

The great thing about the way the apostles are humanized is that they become more relatable, thus more believable. In essence, The Chosen makes the Gospel come alive off of the pages of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and provide some tangibility and credibility.

The controversial aspect to this is that much of the characterizations of the apostles is fiction. We don’t know that Matthew was on the spectrum, and there is no scriptural evidence to support that theory. Furthermore, many of the scenarios depicted in the show happen between the instances recorded in scripture, meaning that many of the events in The Chosen are completely fabricated and are fictitious.

However, these portrayals humanize the apostles and make the Gospel real and relatable.

So while The Chosen may be good for making the apostles relatable, and communicating the gracious and loving nature of Christ, as well as His divinity, those seeking truth are still well advised to open the Bible. Enjoy the show, but read the Bible.

Which brings me to my new, favorite character. Spoiler alert… if you keep reading, you may come across some plot information.

Little James, like Matthew, is depicted with a quirk. Again, no scripture that I can recall right off hand supports this portrayal, but such is the approach of The Chosen.

While Matthew’s issue is being on the spectrum, Little James suffers from a limp. Partially crippled, he relies on a walking stick he uses as a crutch. He struggles during travel, and believes his gait slows down the company as they travel.

So, the apostles travel, witnessing the miraculous healing our Lord freely performed for the masses. Multitudes, many of whom had the same disability as James, were suddenly healed and able to walk with little to no effort.

So, here’s Little James, crippled while everyone else around him is healed. He wants to ask, but he does not want to offend the Lord. He wants to understand, but does not want to be disrespectful to Jesus, and certainly doesn’t feel as if the Lord has withheld anything from him.

But, he desires healing. He desires understanding, and it’s breaking his heart. So, near then end of Season 3 Episode 2, he tearfully approaches Jesus, who gracefully understands, and encourages him.

Not gonna lie, that scene got me. It ranks right up there with the final scene of “Field of Dreams” for me.

Jesus told Little James that he could be healed, and someday he would, but what made his testimony so powerful was that he believed even though he had not been healed. And that through his testimony many would come to faith.

Modern Christianity has wrongfully turned faith into a transaction. You believe, then God gives you what you want. Therefore, if you do not have what you want, there must be something wrong with your faith. This is wrong and contrary to the scriptures, but leads to the following situations.

How many times have I sat with a weeping woman who couldn’t understand why God would not give her a child. A weeping man who doesn’t understand why God would allow his wife to have cancer, and why the miraculous healing still hadn’t come.

They had prayed, trusted the Lord, and called out to Him in ways we probably couldn’t imagine. Yet, no baby, no healing, no response. Yet, they still believed in the Lord. And yet, others continued to accuse them of imperfect faith, secret sin, and whatever else they could think of to explain the lack of a miracle.

Yet, these believers remained faithful, for their faith was in the Lord, His goodness and grace, regardless of their outcomes.

And I can not only admire that, I relate to it as well. I have lived knowing that God has forgiven me and cleansed me of all my sin, even while others tell me how awful I am. I have seen others receive tangible blessings from the Lord, while observers tell me that the lack of tangible answers to prayer in my own life reflect a flaw in my faith.

Yet, I live, with the peace in my heart knowing Jesus loves me, and that I have been blessed and forgiven. And nothing will take that away from me, nor will I ever be deterred.

And that’s why the story line of Little James resonates with me. How about you? Have you seen The Chosen? If so, what character resonates with you?