Monday, October 19, 2015

TRACEY'S TRUTH: A Sad Story of a Misguided Youth!

Thought I was sort of immune to absurdities on prime time television.  Not a lot moves me emotionally any more, especially since I've been watching the Dr. Phil Show on a regular basis. You see just about everything there. But the episode he aired on Friday, October 16th  did!

The second story of the hour featuring extreme social media behavior was one about 20 year old Tracey, a beautiful black and confused young lady who thrived on negative attention she got from posting outrageous claims on the internet.

Here's an example: "I love posting crazy things just to get people's reaction," explains Tracey, who has shared details about her body, her hopes of marrying "a rich white guy," and her experience having unprotected sex on social media, for which she says she's proud she received more than 80,000 "likes." 

"I even posted I wanted to get raped just to get attention. Then, I said being raped felt amazing," she says in the video above, pointing out that her post received more than 26,000 likes and 4,000 comments. "Ninety percent of the comments were negative, but I loved it."  (Here's a video clip from the show, copy/paste address in your browser if link doesn't work)

Speaking in an exaggerated Valley Girl like cadence, she giggled and recounted her many risky exploits with sheer abandonment...except, if you looked closely you could see a sad and hurt little girl (she acted and looked much younger) that just needed someone to genuinely love her!

I  have to say, I was not impressed with the way Dr. Phil handled it.  Generally, after giving his psychological assessment of the situation, he offers free counseling or resources.  I didn't see that here at all.  After telling her that she had no self worth, no self respect, no self esteem, he left her blowing in the wind! Tracey probably left that show pretty much the way she came. And to be frank, it felt like another venue for public exploitation.  This was her TRUTH and she was determined to live it!

That's what touched me so deeply,  seeing the reality of danger from her behavior in my own personal and church family.  I kept asking myself,  where were her parents at that critical age when she was being bullying? (She did mention that her father was chronically ill and that she didn't get along with her mother--so maybe Mom's attention on caring for father left her with abandonment issues).  Where are we? I'm not placing blame but wondering, are we too, missing red flags?

My Pastor gave a thought-provoking sermon yesterday, Looking At Your House!, Joshua 24:9-15.
A Three point sermon that ought to motivate us all to action:

Point One: EXAMINE YOUR OWN HOUSE, Be a leader, speaker, commander of what goes on in your home! (vs. 14a).  Check the phones, computer cookies, nothing's off limits in your house!

Point Two: STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR YOUR HOUSE, Stop doing what's comfortable, convenient and culturally acceptable! Excuses don't empower good behavior they enable, bad ones! (vs 15) If you find something awry, do something about it!

Point Three: MAKE A PUBLIC EXHORTATION (Declaration), Your family needs to know what will be tolerated in your house and what won't and stick to your guns!  Like Joshua and the Mama character in the movie, Raisin in the Sun,  don't be afraid to say: IN MY HOUSE, THERE IS STILL GOD!


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Sunday, October 11, 2015

WALKING WORTHY...The Goal of Holiness!

I beg you....walk worthy of your calling
(Ephesians 4:1)
I guess I just can't shake this topic of holiness!  This morning I turned to one of my favorite devotionals, In Touch, Dr. Charles Stanley and my fingers went directly to a reading from earlier this week,  Responding to God's Holiness, Isaiah 6:1-8.

Then while studying my Sunday school lesson, I found that our second unit for the quarter is a study on holiness, and the lesson passage again is Isaiah 6:1-8.   I don't believe in coincidences and although I had planned to take a break this week from the blog (recuperating from an outpatient procedure), I feel compelled to share just a few more biblical insights gained from my study.

An old song says:  What the World needs now is Love, Sweet Love, but I beg to differ.  Three college shootings in as many weeks, continued gun violence, war breaking out consistently all over the world...What the world needs is HOLINESS!

I explained last week that holiness had nothing to do with clothes, rituals, or isolating oneself from sin and sinful things but had everything to do with a right relationship with God! (2 Cor. 5:21).  Simple faith in Christ puts us in the right position; but it's the practice (how we respond to it) that's missing and where we're failing to make the greatest impact on our surroundings. 
  • Keeping Sacred Things Sacred. In a world where the number of twitter followers and Facebook friends are used to validate your worthiness and likability, it's hard not to try to fit in!  But by virtue of the fact that you're a Christian, you must maintain separateness! Sanctification, another word for holiness, means to be "set apart"from the world and unto God!  Keep social media in it's proper place! Refuse to malign God's name or allow others to use your page to dishonor God, to propagate sexual filth, or to post pictures that desecrate the body, (God's Holy temple). Sanitize and Sanctify your posting and let it be known that you will not allow your page to be used for maligning, trolling, or perversions of any kind.
  •  Refrain from texting, scrolling, posting, viewing messages while in church!  I've been      shocked at the conduct of even so called mature Christians, who during praise and worship, and the preaching of God's Word, could not resist the lure of, bings and bongs of incoming messages, long enough to hear God speak!  Don't be fooled with placing your bible or program over your telephone or pretending you're looking up scripture from a bible app.  We know what you're doing!
  • Beware of Personal Style in Dress and Speech. I'm not double-talking here.  I know I just said that holiness wasn't about what you put on!  It's not, but it can reflect your insecurities and vulnerabilities.  What you wear and how you speak portrays what you think about yourself. Clothes can be a costume to hide behind or a uniform to identify what you really are deep in your heart!  I'm over women of all ages who profess to be Christians (Holy women) who think it's okay to dress provocatively, in the name of trendy styles.  The root word for provocative is to provoke, to excite, to stir up,  an action or a feeling.  Let's face it, if you must dress or talk in a way that draws attention to yourself, you are saying you have no confidence in your God-given gifts of a pleasing personality, natural charm, and ability to converse wisely.  You deny God's ability to make us content with His masterpiece created and rooted in godliness (Ephesians 2:10). 
  •   Don't be fooled by Popular Culture.  I've written about these disgusting shows before:  Preachers Wives, Preachers Daughters,  Preachers of L.A. (thank God it's cancelled), Impastor, and now a new one Preachers Exes. Shows that exploit every facet of unholy Christian behavior one can imagine for the benefit of dollars and entertainment.  No!  Holiness does not mean Sinless, but a saint growing, pursuing, and practicing a lifestyle of holiness does not put on display their struggles.  They are humbled by them and like Isaiah, feels chastened in the presence of a Holy God. 
The Goal of Holiness is this from these powerful Scriptures: Romans 12:1 -2 and Ephesians 4:1--3.

1. Presenting your bodies as a living sacrifice Holy and acceptable unto God
2. Conforming not to the world but being continually transformed with a new mind
3. Walking worthy of the calling to which you have been called 

Persevering with all humility, gentleness, and patience, eager to  maintain the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace!


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Monday, October 5, 2015


Growing up Baptist, it took me a long time to get comfortable with the "H" word!  HOLINESS.  Like many people, I had a gross misconception of what that actually meant.  It didn't help that in ignorance, my wrong ideas were reinforced by preachers and teachers from various Christian denominations.  Thank God, I've learned to read and study the bible for myself!

Let me start by telling you what HOLINESS is not:  
1.  It is not what you wear: No make-up, no pants wearing, long dresses, no bare arms showing and absolutely no cutting of the hair!  Whereas I can certainly identify with the need for modesty in dress and have no doubt that there actually are some holy women under those long dresses, it's not the clothes that make them HOLY! (Matt. 22: 27-28) Jesus told the Pharisees, Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness.

2.  It is not isolating yourself from sinful people : The Amish religion tried this and if you've ever checked out the reality show, Breaking Amish, you'll see that it doesn't work! They too, have a list of No, Nos.  No electricity, no cars,  no clothes of bright or gaudy colors, no taking of photographs. They separate themselves as much as possible from non-Amish people to lessen the contamination of sin in the world.  That's impossible to do and not biblical at all.  Jesus said in Luke 5:32: I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.  You can't hide from sin or sinful people, you have to deal with it or them when and however it comes. 

3. Rules and Rituals:  Church laws,  kind deeds, no smoking, no drinking, no dancing, etc. some have great benefits in practicing, much you do as the result of spiritual growth but in and of themselves, DO NOT MAKE YOU HOLY! Any time YOU do something trying to earn the status of Holiness you're on the wrong path. All our righteousness is as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6).  Not by works of righteousness that we have done but because of Christ mercy are we saved! (Titus 3:5) 

So if these things don't cut the mustard for holiness, how can one possibly call themselves HOLY?  It's quite simple actually.  Biblical holiness is to be in right standing with God, conforming to His will and His Word!  YOU see it's all about having a Relationship with Christ.   He is the one who justifies us (declares us righteous)- 2 Corinthians 5:21.

We are Holy because He is Holy (I Peter 1:15-16).  Positionally, God already sees us this way!  But do not think this gives you a pass to sin as much as you want!  Absolutely not!

 Holiness is to be pursued, practiced, and held up as our daily goal throughout our lives!  It is a commandment not an option;  It is imperative to have fellowship with God and have our prayers answered.  It fulfills our divine purpose for living,  and the rewards and benefits are beyond compare!


What changes do you need to make in your life style to live in obedience to God?  When will you start reaping the benefits of this wonderful inheritance, a life of abundance (John 10:10)?

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