Blog

The Year of Audacity

“Why did he do it?” I want to hear people say, “…He had some nerve!”. It will not be the most comfortable position to be in, when that happens, but it’s what we must endure when we choose to be audacious. Recently, I decided to step into my purpose. To many, this news sounds like my instant self-fulfillment, but it’s really not. Along my purpose filled path, I know I will have to dig deep and find strength and boldness to do what the LORD has appointed even when others don’t agree with it.

Will this year also be your year of audacity? Will you be also be bold and daring? If so, it will not be an easy journey for us. We will encounter resistance and criticism. We may even face mockery. When that happens, remember that criticism follows those who dare, and mockery follows an offense to pride and insecurity.

This year, pleasing the LORD should be our first objective even if it means losing personal relationships. After all, for God to be supreme in our lives, we cannot allow anyone else to fill His position. Nevertheless, let us be wise. We are called to be the lights and salt of the earth in these dark days. Our mission is to win souls for the Kingdom of the Lord. It is not to force anyone to accept anything against their free will. The LORD could force them, if He so decided, but He respects our freedom to choose.

Are you ready for “The Year of Audacity”? If so, this year we have to get out of our own way and boldly face the unknown. Fear should not stop us from achieving our dreams and more importantly changing times should not affect our moral integrity. I believe in keeping our peace, being situationally aware, and wise; but I also believe in being ready for honest conversations when they open up. We should not allow our values to change. They are our compass.

This year will be different. We have witnessed a steep moral decline since the turn of the century and it’s time to act! Times shouldn’t have dictated which moral boundaries we shifted. Moral integrity should have been unwavering, but sin is everywhere. Sadly without God, there are no morals. In fact, the moral decline of society directly correlates with the distance we place between ourselves and God.

I would like to see boldness return to the body of Christ. It’s high time we stop redrawing boundaries and giving up territories for the Enemy to capture. This does not imply that we hould become jerks per se. Offering unwelcome opinions just for the sake of doing so is mean. Even so, we must stand firm on our beliefs while showing love. Remember–God did not create us with a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and soundness of mind (1 Timothy 1:7). In other words, while we’re in this battle for souls, we ought to be courageous and powerful but still kind and loving, disciplined and calm, able to speak peace to chaos, and wisdom to folly.

The Armor of God – Ephesians 6:10-18

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one.17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

My Vision for 2019

  • To walk boldly in faith
  • To inspire others to seek God
  • To more actively reach out to others inside and outside of my church for mentorship and fellowship. (To be mentored and to mentor)…”Iron sharpens Iron”
  • To release a paperback version of “The Serpent’s Lie” by January 31st…it is currently available as an ebook on Amazon.com, barnesandnobles.com, and the Google Play store. In order to make it a paperback, however, I will just need to acquire an ISBN.
  • To release the sequel to “The Serpent’s Lie” this summer (it’s already in progress and near completion)
  • To complete 3 faith inspired graphic novel issues for late 2019 early 2020 release.
  • Soul Haven shall make BIG moves in 2019, but I certainly cannot do it without God and you! I endeavor to become the beacon of light that our Heavenly Father has called me to be. You have also been called to shine your light. Let’s shine together everyone!

Please note this blog may be subject to change as milestones are reached or new ideas are developed.

My Prayer for the New Year!

Eternal God, Creator of space, matter, and time, you are AMAZING! Often times, your greatness compels us to find the most poetic words we can, but when we can’t find them, simple expressions of gratitude suffice. So we thank you Lord and bless your name. Somehow the little we do sincerely is enough in moments like these.

Father, you carried us safely from one year to the next, ensuring our victory over every circumstance we encountered. You loved us more than we could ever love you, and long ago you even paid a price we can never repay. Last year was tough, but you were faithful as always. Because of your grace, our hopes and dreams travel with us into a brand new year.

We believe that new blessings await us in 2019. Let your Holy Spirit dwell among those who yearn for it. Let this page help others find comfort and growth oh God. Lord, I pray that you do not suffer our feet to be moved, that you empower, and embolden us in 2019. Let us experience your goodness in a tremendous way in the mighty and precious name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Amen.

Happy New Year Everyone!! 🙂

To a Dismembered Church

“Let there be no divisions among you” echoes hauntingly in my mind every time I see churches divided by denomination. Methodist, Baptist, 7th day Adventist, Pentecostal, and other types of churches abound. The list is quite long.

The identity that one assumes as a Christian is that of new discipleship with Christ. To be true disciples, we must believe that Jesus is the son of God, that He died for the sins of the world, He rose from the dead, and He will return for those who love Him back. We must also understand that He and the Father are one, that He is the image of the invisible God according to Colossians 1:15, and that He is God according to John 1:1. Last but certainly not least, we must accept Him as our personal LORD and Savior. No one can make that choice for us.

With that said, there is a division among churches which grieves the Holy Spirit of God. Jesus in human flesh was the human identity that God assumed when He embarked on His mission to save humankind. He was the body of God and as such, He walked in obedience to the Father.

After Christ accomplished His divine mission through His death and resurrection, He ascended to the Heavens to repossess His former glory as God. It left a void that He immediately filled, by sending the Holy Spirit, which empowers us and uplifts us. In this way, we have become the body of Christ. Consider this for a moment, because it is POWERFUL! Jesus was the body of God and we are now the body of Christ. Jesus walked in perfect obedience to “the Father” (His perfect righteousness as God). Now, we must walk in obedience to Christ who being called Immanuel (God with us), the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, and such titles that give away His true identity, showed us how to follow in His ways. Though we stumble, He paved the perfect illuminated path for us.

Unfortunately, we have divided ourselves and we can try to justify it as much as we want. We can say that God wants us to be set apart, and while that is true, He is the only one qualified to establish boundaries and set people apart. Often when people separate themselves based on something that God did not ordain, they do it wrong! Remember segregation? Do you see all of the negative effects that racism has had, or how “class” causes rifts between people? Do you see how women and men are at odds because of unequal pay for equal work? We often set ourselves apart in flawed ways.

The Body of Christ is not supposed to be divided. We should all believe in the Pentecost. We all should understand that faith and commitment to spiritual growth are individual decisions and that the day of the week that you go to church is not as important as whether or not you have a living relationship with God through Christ. Each of us should also acknowledge the deity of Jesus because the whole Bible points to Him. Biblical genealogies stopped once Jesus was born for that reason.

The Gospels are about Christ. The following chapters from the book of Acts onward are about the holy spirit which came down after Christ to prepare us for His return. So why do we continue to separate ourselves? Have we not realized that we have spiritually dismembered the body? Surely the Holy spirit (the Spirit of all spirits) is grieved because the rift is more than just physical. Every physical action has a spiritual component.

Body of Christ, it is high time we put aside the divisions that stifle our ability to win souls for the Kingdom. If we fail to do so, the Enemy will win more battles. We know the war of our souls has already been won. There is only one outcome; God triumphs. Nevertheless, the total number of casualties can be reduced if we put aside the differences and reach out to more people with the same message of love, forgiveness, and salvation. Christ died for our sins. He freed us from old sacrificial laws because works could not save us. This does not mean that we shouldn’t work out our salvation daily. It simply means that our works alone do not determine our future with Him.

Faith in Him, relationship with Him, and a pursuit of Him is what should unite us unto one body. Christ came with the same simple message for all. Some, however, have overthought this message. Those who follow the Lord occasionally stumble, but perseverance keeps His followers on the right path and followers of Christ do not need to be hammered with reminders of which faction they joined, what side they’ve taken. There should only be one side if you’re with Christ and another for those who have chosen darkness. We should all believe in the Pentecost. We should all believe that God wants our acceptance of Him to be voluntary, that babies do not need baptism…etc. We should all believe that we have not earned salvation. Therefore, the only reminder we need is that we belong to the Body of Christ.

Dear dismembered church. I wish we would do away with the denominations, but that would mean rebranding for a lot of us. I get it. It’s tough. However, we’re not on a mission to get more people in our churches with watered down, luke warm, and different messages from what Christ taught. There’s one side and there’s another. Those are the boundaries God established. We must be bold and united in our ministry and stick to His teachings.

The Fundaments of Faith

As a person who grew up in the Christian faith, it may seem typical that I remained in it. Most people who grew up in a certain faith will retain their beliefs as adults. However, my story is not a typical one. In fact, when we look closely, every Christian journey is distinct. It is for this reason that we share testimonies. So here’s mine made brief:

During my early childhood, my parents placed a heavy emphasis on regular church attendance and devotions at home. For those who may not know, devotions are voluntary time dedicated to worship, prayer, and Bible study. As I entered into adolescence, I watched my parents split after 23 years of marriage. That was rough. I was only 12. For years, I struggled to make sense of a lot of things like my changing physiology, what would happen next in my family, and what ideologies made most sense to me.

During college, I began to drift from the path that I knew was right. I sinned and fell short many times. Though I still attended church, I was making poor relationship choices with women. I was listening to the world and it was costing me. As a result of one particular soultie that I should not have made outside of marriage, I went from being a strong academic performer to failing almost every class for two semesters after she and I had broken up.

The Obscured Truth

I arrived at a point where I doubted God and His existence after a number of things had spiraled out of my control. By then, I had acquired knowledge that competed for my faith. Eversince, it has taken years to sift through the many lies I learned over the years–but–when I finally rediscovered the truth, about two years ago, my spirit instantly recognized it like never before. This is my testimony made brief so that you can understand just how the LORD prepared me to share my faith with others.

Quite frankly, there are a whole lot of distractions in this world. In fact, there are so many that the truth has become a needle in a haystack. Most people are either in school or at work for much of the day leaving little time to meditate upon their origins and purpose, the nature of reality, and God. They get home and the television beckons their attention with its regularly scheduled programming. Viewers tune in and get their daily dose of visual gratification . While they watch, a phenomenon occurs called the willfull suspension of disbelief whereby viewers let their guards down and are distracted from learning more about God and themselves.

The Unchangeable Reality

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth to quote Genesis 1:1. He is ultimately la raison d’etre, the reason we exist. He made us wonderfully in His image. Unfortunately, there are influential entities (powers and principalities) that fight for our souls through lies and misguidance. Do you think you’re here by accident? Every complete and functional system has a maker. Just as an abandoned building or even a lost wallet was made by someone, so too were you. Deep down, we know (based on countless observations) everything was made. Builders make buildings, engineers make machines, artists make art, etc.

If we refuse to entertain the notion, that God originally created everything, then our refusal indicates a bias. Theorists in their folly try to persuade others of Godless origins. In fact they may counter that my unwillingness to entertain their folly is biased also, but the difference is none of us have ever witnessed something make itself. Nevertheless, young, susceptible minds are taught early on to think outside the box of creationism and inside the marble of insanity and reimagined realities.

Since the book of Genesis is too simple for the first theoretical scientists, it had to be overcomplicated with endless systems of false discoveries and ongoing wild goose chases. Somehow many accolades have been awarded for inconclusive work. That’s outrageous!

Attacking through the Senses

If the eyes are the windows to the soul—and the forces of good and evil compete for that soul—then what we see can either be useful for learning or dangerous for the mind. With that said, distractions surround us, most of which attack the eyes first, followed by our other senses. For instance, television programs and generational music records capture the hearts and souls of young audiences, while video games, social environments, and social influencers help shape their thought processes. I am not saying these things are all bad, but that we must be careful. In this age of sensory and informational overload many have been conditioned to see past the truth.

Oh How the Misguided Misguide…

Some of the “greatest minds” presume to understand the rudiments of an event that allegedly occurred billions of years ago…but what is the basis of their understanding? The probabilities they fabricate…I mean calculate?! When has anyone ever observed a simple object appear out of nowhere (a ball, a sheet of paper, a hat…etc)? Never! Yet they dare tonspeculate that a complex, fully formed, and fully programmed cell appeared in the unfathomably distant past. We don’t have to be accredited scholars to know that mathematical probability can only be accurately derived from observed possibility. Since it is i m p o s s i b l e for even a crumpled piece of paper to appear out of nowhere without an causal agent let alone a fully formed cell, then the possibility of it occurring in the future, or having occured in the past is absolutely zero.

With that said, Genesis, is indeed the most accurate account of cosmic origin though subjects like evolutionary biology and theoretical astrophysics endeavor to push Godless creation stories upon susceptible minds. While creation myths may bear similarity to the first book of the Bible, it should be noted that they are counterfeits. Genesis is the only creation account that can be backed by real science and forensics. It is also the one account that contains geneologies of real people. Sadly, however, it’s hard to see this truth when we have been conditioned to look past it.

If the first book of the Bible is made to look false and full of contradictions, then less people will believe it. If those who believe it are mocked, then less people will be willing to join the laughing stock.

A Call to Arm the Spirit

This walk is not for the faint of heart. It is for the bold. It is for those who seek wisdom, truth, and spiritual power. It is for those who want to escape their sensual reality and discover their individual purposes. What if believers would dare to prove the Bible’s validity whenever they could? What if they would introduce reality based critical thinking to their Biblical studies and teachings to help others see the consistency of the Bible as opposed to perceived contradictions in the Bible? Would our efforts encourage people to see beyond distraction and misdirection? As a Christian writer who enjoys the clarity the LORD provides every time I ask for wisdom, I would love to see others learn and grow by asking the right questions with the right mindset. The Bible is one enormous collection of truths interspersed with riddles designed to make us acknowledge our limited understanding, recognize the holes in our thinking, and humbly seek the wisdom we lack. When the fundaments of our faith are firmly established, the nature of reality and the truth of God will become ever more clear to us.

-MAVJR

Seeking God and Asking through Prayer

The first step in seeking God is asking Him to be part of our lives. If God did not want to be “found”, then believe me…no one would find Him. Fortunately, however, He desires fellowship with us and promised that those who seek Him will find Him.

The Asking Part

There are several things in particular to remember when we want to petition the LORD.

#1) Whenever we ask, we must do so in prayer and believe He will meet our expressed needs. 

Matthew 21:22 says “…whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.”

Therefore, if we are seeking the LORD and want to find Him, then we must pray to Him and have faith that He will respond. It makes no sense to pray without believing.

#2) We must put ourselves in the right position to receive. 

As believers, this means that we should be following the LORD, not the world. Let’s refer to John 15:7 which says “If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” That is a conditional promise. If we choose to follow after God, then His blessings and promises are available to us. For those who wonder why things are not working out for them no matter how much they pray, it would be worthwhile to examine their daily walk with Him.

#3) We must ask in the name of Jesus. 

John chapter 14 verses 13 and 14 say “Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.” I used to wonder why believers stamp their prayers with the phrase “in the name of Jesus” or something to that effect. Then I came across various scriptures that explained the relationship between Jesus and the everlasting God…scriptures such as John 1:1 which explains that Jesus was in the beginning with God and was God, Phillippians 2:6 which explains that He didn’t see sameness with our glorious Father in Heaven as something He should hold fast to while mankind was in a state of despair, and John 14:6 where Jesus states He is the way to the Father. No one has access to the Holy Spirit of God without Jesus. After all, He came to this world to reconcile mankind to God and became our bridge to the eternal Father.

#4) As we seek fellowship with God and ask things of Him, let us keep in mind that He answers those who are steadfast. 

Being steadfast means being consistent and committed. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says that we should pray without ceasing. Obviously human beings cannot pray incessantly. We must eat, sleep, work, etc.. Therefore, the passage does not imply that we literally pray around the clock, but that we maintain our fellowship with the LORD. A relationship with God is fundamentally like any other. Sure its benefits easily outmatch all others, but regular communication is no less important.

If a family member, for instance, only reached out once in a blue moon in times of need or want, one might not feel as inclined or ready to help them. However, if they kept the relationship alive through frequent communication, their needs and wants would be more readily met.

Praying incessantly means committing to both the desired outcome, and to one’s relationship with God. It connotes making persistent efforts as opposed to half-hearted attempts. He who prays incessantly does not give up and say to himself, God’s not listening, or there’s no point. Rather, the steadfast prayer warrior understands that we don’t move spiritual objects through physical action nor fight spiritual battles with physical weapons. Rather, we partner with God and commit our hearts, spirit, and faith to the result we want to see.

The terms and conditions

There are some terms and conditions we must agree to before we can harness the power of prayer and truly benefit from the presence of God. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says “If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” This covenant is clearly conditional. It should be noted that all covenants are conditional. While His love for us in unconditional, God rewards those who meet His terms and c o n d i t i o n s. That is how covenants work. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God said that if His people would humbly commit to seeking Him and keeping their eyes on Him while turning their backs to sin, He will be merciful.

Seeking God involves searching with true effort and intent. To do this, we must search with all our hearts. Many wonder why God is absent from their lives, or why their friends, family, and much of the world are unable to put their faith in Him. That’s because we are often searching with our “brains” and not our hearts. We try to find a God who makes sense to us based on what we see and falsely recognize as reality. Since we live in a tangible world, we accept as real that which we can see, feel, and touch. Therefore, the God we halfheartedly search for (on occasion) is one we expect to find with our eyes.

…BUT…

God is spirit meaning we cannot seek Him with our eyes. In order to vibe with Him, we must be tuned in to His spiritual frequency. The beauty of the human being is its dual nature. Man is part spirit and part flesh. Therefore, we can interact with both the material and spiritual world.

We are born into flesh, but whenever someone is born again in Christ, he or she is reborn as a powerful “conscious” spirit who happens to inhabit flesh. This is the true reality, that we are in the world, but our essense is not of the world. We interact with the world, but we are more than mere creatures who were born to follow lust and instinct. We were created to seek out the only thing that can truly complete us—a genuine relationship with our Creator. Sadly many do not discover this in time.

In seeking the LORD, we must do so with all of the following:

  • respect
  • determination
  • desperation

Imagine knocking on someone’s door. The act of knocking is intentional. It shows a desire to enter a space or meet with someone without intruding. In this case, the space that we wish to enter is God’s presence and in His presence there is peace, joy, strength, blessing, etc.

I’m sure we already know that God is omnipresent. That’s great news for us! We don’t have to wait for certain stars to align. We simply have to seek Him with all our hearts. It’s how He separates those who really desire a relationship from those who don’t, those who are desperate from those who don’t care. So when we truly want to find Him, we will…

Learning to Trust the LORD

It’s a tough thing to do, releasing the reigns, and letting God take over. It takes faith and counter-intuition. Our instincts  tell us that things only happen when we make them happen. It’s what we’ve seen our whole lives. Most things will not change when we want them to unless we cause them to. Several days ago, I came across the following scripture: 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding…” -Proverbs 3:5

It wasn’t the first time I had read it, only the first time I saw it in the following light:

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on y…o…u…

When we lean on ourselves, we are leaning on what our knowledge tells us. It’s not a bad thing to refer to memories and intelligence, but it is a bad thing when we are too afraid to step out in faith because of what we expect to happen. When Jesus walked on water toward His disciples who were in their boat, all but one knew they could   n o t   meet him upon the waters. Therefore, all but one remained on the vessel. It was Peter who boldly set foot upon the waters. At first, his faith supported him on the liquid surface for several feet. With the Christ in view, he knew he could do this. In that moment, his faith was greater than the combined faith of his eleven other companions…but when he looked away from Jesus, he was reminded of the impossibility of the feat. He was reminded of how things really should go. In that moment, he began to lean on his own understanding! Immediately, his body which had briefly defied natural laws resumed its obedience to them and he sank.

Peter cried out and Jesus rescued him without delay and asked him why he had doubted. Many fail to see God’s emotional intent in its full and glorious context. God was not admonishing Peter per se. We often forget that Christ is the visible image of the invisible God who also happens to be our Father. Peter, as a developing soul, needed to hear that question from Christ because it was actually encouragement. Jesus was telling him that he was doing so well. 

The Christian walk should be about the development of our souls and the foundation of that walk is faith. If we believe there’s no point, then there is no point. If we don’t believe Jesus Christ died for us and we were saved by His blood, then we aren’t saved. Now if we do believe there’s a point to all this, that we’re saved, and we’re sons and daughters of the Most High, then we should have faith in His promises and His power. 

When we believe in the LORD God Almighty, things begin to change. Things we thought were impossible become possible. Expectations we thought were not able to be met can be exceeded, but our understanding of how things should work in the natural world can be our biggest obstacle. Trust in the LORD and lean not on y…o…u… for His ways are higher than ours, but if we acknowledge Him in all our  ways (by our actions, in our speech…etc), He  w i l l    direct our paths.

-MAVJR