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[A rebuke from the Lord]

Where is your hospitality?
What happened to your love?
Your charity? Your kindness?
Why are you growing weary?
Did I not promise to keep you?
Refresh you? Restore you?
Are you not certain that you will overcome your current trials?
Have you noticed how hardhearted you’ve become?
Why did you allow that to happen?
Where is your tenderness?
Your mercy? Your understanding and appreciation?
Why have you given up on Me?
Have I not promised to never forsake you?
Have I not given you My strength?
Have I not assured you of victory in every test?
What have you to fear?
When you call, do I not answer?
When you seek, do you not find Me?
When you cry, do I not comfort you?
By what right do you withhold My Charity?
By what right do you withhold My Hospitality?
Who are you to focus only on yourself?
Have you gotten up from your surrender?
Have you decided to go another way?
You are My chosen and I am yours.
There is no agreeable time to forget that you are not your own.
You are mine.
Those who are called by Me,
For My purposes
Are not free to forget
Whom they serve.
You are not free to forget
That your life is an offering.
That your blessings are not solely for your comfort;
They are for the benefit of My Kingdom.
You are not free to forget
Humbleness, graciousness, gratitude…
You denied Me when you denied her.
Did you realize that?
What you do for the least of My people 
You do unto Me.
What you withhold from My people
You withhold from Me.
Nothing you own is yours.
Everything you have belongs to Me.
Who are you to deny My hospitality?
Where is your defense?

[Response from my contrite heart.]

Abba. Father, I have no defense for myself.
My only saving grace is You.
I am sincerely sorry for thinking only of myself;
For allowing the seed of selfishness to bloom in me.
I repent of being absorbed in my own
Sadness, melancholy, hurts and fears,
Of seeing only my own disappointments.
I sincerely ask Your forgiveness for causing offense to one of Your children.
I thank You for your light and insight. I thank You for Your rod of correction and the training You provide.
I thank You for the opportunity to right my behavior and change my reaction.
I thank You for the ability to serve You.
I thank You, Father God, for Your hospitality and Your Spirit in me.
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Trust no man…

It is better to trust the Lord than to trust people.  ~ Psalm 118:8, NCV

Do not put your trust in princes or other people, who cannot save you.  ~ Psalm 146-3, NCV

In the Italian Job, Donald Sutherland’s character has a quote that repeats throughout the movie, “I trust everyone; I just don’t trust the devil inside them.”

This quote is intriguing because it recognizes that there’s something within everyone worthy of trust and something else that is unworthy of trust.

The devil, aka the antichrist, is a spirit of selfishness. Selfishness is a concentration on one person: self. By virtue of concentrating on oneself, all others are disregarded. No one and nothing else matters especially if what they need is not convenient to the selfish person. Therefore selfishness is a destructive force.

Anyone who operates according to the devil inside them is working destruction on the relationships in their lives.

Potentially, that would be all of us. Everyone born into this world has this nature, commonly known as the sin nature, embedded within us. It is our job throughout our lifetime to overcome our sin nature and swap it with the Spirit of God.

From this time on we do not think of anyone as the world does. In the past we thought of Christ as the world thinks, but we no longer think of Him in that way.If anyone belongs to Christ, there is a new creation. The old things have gone; everything is made new!All this is from God. Through Christ, God made peace between us and Himself, and God gave us the work of telling everyone about the peace we can have with Him. ~ 2 Corinthians 5:16-18, NCV

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting on a bench in Central Park in front of a rock formation when a young couple walked up to the rock with the intention of climbing it. First, they started up a steep incline to the left of the rock with the young man leading the way. Half way up, the young man turned back and told the young woman, “This way is too difficult for you. Go back down. The climb up on the other side will be better.” They scooted back down the steep incline and walked across to the other side of the rock. The first ledge they could grip was about neck high to both of them. The young man reached up to brace his hands on the ledge and was able to hoist himself up with no problem. He immediately turned back to reach down to his girlfriend. “Grab my hand,” he said.

“No,” she replied, “I want to do it myself.” She found a rock to step on and started trying to push herself up from the rock at her feet while also pulling herself up by the ledge her boyfriend was leaning down from.

The boyfriend kept saying, “Trust me; grab my hand. Trust me.”

She kept saying, “No.”

I sat there listening to them, intrigued by the back and forth. Mostly because they had been almost halfway up the rock when he turned back and told her it was too hard for her. Only to take her to a side that was truly a physical challenge for her to even begin the climb – all the while telling her to trust him and rely on him.

In agitation, he said, “Why won’t you grab my hand? Don’t you trust me?”

“No,” she said, “I don’t!” With that outburst, she was able to finally boost herself up on the ledge. As she wiggled up on her belly, he stepped back in bemusement.

“Wow. Really? Do you realize what you just said to me?”


“You don’t trust me?”

“No.” They both turned and continued the climb up the rock.

Thinking about this exchange in the context of this post, I believe had his concern truly been for her, he would have completed the climb while she was doing well on the other side. She had faithfully followed him step for step on the steep incline. But she wasn’t holding on to him. She didn’t need him to pull her up. I think he thought that meant she didn’t need him. His ego demanded a demonstration of her need for him, so he told her she couldn’t do what she was actually doing and put her in a situation that was more likely to make her depend on his strength. He was taken aback that she didn’t trust him, even though he had made a choice unworthy of her trust. However, I don’t think he saw that she honored his leadership by chosing to still follow him.

Now this may seem like a jump, but this story is a wonderful illustration of the need to trust God and not men. People operate according to their own motives. What’s good for them could be disaster for you. However, if we trust God with our lives, our relationships, and our daily situations, then even those things that were concocted without consideration for us will come to a good result for us. Therefore, if we speak to and trust the Spirit of God operating in the people we interact with, we minimize opportunities for the devil to sabotage our relationships with his spirit of selfishness.

The best way to operate according to God’s will in our relationships is to pray for the people who are leading us and supporting us. Pray for the people we collaborate with and share with. Pray for those we work with and those we only see in passing. Pray for our family, friends and neighbors. We are all fighting some vice in our lives and it’s imperative that we allow the Spirit of God to replace the spirit of selfishness within us. It’s imperative that we address and respond to the Spirit of God in people because the Holy Spirit is a protective shield against the attacks of the selfish nature.

Do not be fooled: You cannot cheat God. People harvest only what they plant. If they plant to satisfy their sinful selves, their sinful selves will bring them ruin. But if they plant to please the Spirit, they will receive eternal life from the Spirit.  ~ Galatians 6:7-8, NCV

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Stand Bold Against the Spirit of the Antichrist

March 14, 2012
Haifa, Israel

For they are traveling for the Lord, and they accept nothing from people who are not believers. So we ourselves should support them so that we can be their partners as they teach the truth.  ~ 3 John 7-8, NLT

Last night, I heard a passionate message about standing firm against Islam from an pastor from Uganda. He had been raised as a Muslim and converted to Christanity twenty years ago. He was nearly killed in his home a few months ago byMuslims in his hometown. He spoke of the Islamic agenda of world domination and said that the Islamic strategy is bold intimidation in the face of opposition to this goal. Bold to the point of killing and dying to contribute to the advancement of the goal of dominating the world.

            The pastor posited that the Islamic agenda can only be advanced and accomplished when the church remains quiet… and when the church compromises on its’ belief, the battle has already been lost. The pastor insisted his listeners return home and stand boldly against Islam as the spirit of the antichrist.

            I went to bed thinking about this message, particularly a question one of the congregation members asked: “I live in Brooklyn, NY near a mosque and they’re always outside with their signs. I know I need to pray on this, but how do I stand bold against Islam in Brooklyn?”

            The question was asked with much passion. And it disturbed me with an even greater passion. The pastor’s testimony was heartbreaking and provoking, however (compassion aside) I was more stirred by the reaction to his message. When people are riled they do not differentiate between a religion and the people who practice a religion. The Brooklyn man expressed concern for his family’s safety while living in such proximity to a mosque, but I didn’t hear any concern for the Muslim families themselves for living in such proximity to non-Muslims. This is where I think we fracture ourselves in the body of Christ: we begin to look at ourselves and our immediate community (family) as separate from the greater community (city, nation, world) because “they” don’t look like us, think like us, believe like us; therefore, they can’t possibly be created like us.

            Of all the cities in America, I would least expect New York to be antagonistic towards any particular group of people. Unfortunately, the City is showing itself to be a great antagonistic intimidator of the Muslim community both politically and socially.

            I don’t like pulling all my cards, but they do work well for illustrative purposes. As a black Christian woman, I look at persecution anywhere from three historic perspectives: black American struggle towards citizenship and equal rights; the ongoing feminine struggle to own ourselves, our identity and our bodies and to be heard in our communities; and the power and controversy of Jesus Christ as a man, prophet, and the one and only sacrificial Son of God. All hated, persecuted and mistreated minorities historically. Throughout history, each part of me has needed someone to speak up for my benefit. I needed help. I needed validation. What I know from my own personal demographics is that when a population is marginalized, sub-human treatment soon follows. When a population is no longer seen as having equal creation and living status as the person judging them less worthy, then atrocities will soon follow.

My dear friend, do not follow what is bad; follow what is good. The one who does good belongs to God. But the one who does evil has never known God.  ~ 3John 11, NCV

I received a case from the homeless clinic I volunteer for. During the first few hours of getting to know the young woman I was assigned to help, she asked me something along the line of, “Can you see God in me?”

            “Yes,” I replied immediately.

            “How can you be so certain,” she asked with a curious smile.

            “I look for God in everyone.”


            “Yes. If didn’t see God in you, I wouldn’t be here with you. There have only been a few times I have been unable to see any good in anyone – I steer clear of those people.”


            “Because if I can’t see God in them, they have nothing for me and I have nothing they will receive. God takes care of me and He has brought me a long way. I know He will not allow anyone to enter my life who will damage the work He has done in me. Knowing that, I go where He sends me and help those He sends to me.”

            “Like me?”

            “Yes, like you.”

Examples of the spirit of the antichrist

In its most basic form, the antichrist is a spirit of selfishness. This spirit works to keep those in its grip blind, ignorant and to themselves. Asleep. Unaware. Disinterested in the plight of their neighbor. The antichrist is not a religion as much as it’s a way of life… or rather, a way towards death.

            Jesus Christ’s spirit is one of giving. Christ’s Holy Spirit is selfless, helpful and a comfort to the believer. The Holy Spirit is life.

            The antichrist divides and separates.

            Christ built a community – a body of believers sent to share his message of love and life with the world.

            The antichrist spreads fear and hate.

            Christ is love.

            The antichrist is an antagonistic hoarder – it wants everything for itself.

            Christ is generous – laying down His life for His friends. Giving life to those who invite Him into their hearts.  However, Christ can only dwell in a heart that is not inhabited by His enemy, the spirit of the antichrist.

            Don’t be fooled by the “threat” of Islam, the threat of “them”, the threat of “others”, or the threat of anyone who isn’t us. The antichrist isn’t hiding in religion or the unknown as much as he’s hiding in us – the body of Christ. What are you giving of yourself? What are you keeping to yourself? Have you surrendered yourself completely to God? Or have you held back and allowed the enemy of God squatting rights in your heart and mind?

            I truly and deeply believe that I don’t need to know about any “threat” in the world as much as I need to know that I have the Holy Spirit of God housed within me. The same is true for you! With this power, this light and glory we can face the enemy of Christ with a gentleness, a patience, and a strength that infiltrates, weakens, and crumbles the hold of the antichrist on the people within our life-circles – family friends, neighbors, community members, co-workers, etc.

            Christ stands in the gap between Believers and God as an intercessor – a bridge to bring us back into the presence of our Creator. Christ is our example of how we can stand in the gap between non-believers and God so that through the foundation Christ has already laid, we have a way to bring those who love the darkness into the life-saving and grace-giving light of God’s Kingdom.

            The antichrist widens the gap and attempts to throw all of mankind, his enemies, into its abyss. With as much effort as you resist the enemy for the sake of your soul, also help your neighbor resist in the saving of their soul.

May God richly bless you in your walk and make you a greater blessing to others around you. Peace be unto you.

My dear children, these are the last days. You have heard that the enemy of Christ is coming, and now many enemies of Christ are already here. This is how we know that these are the last days. These enemies of Christ were in our fellowship, but they left us. They never really belonged to us; if they had been a part of us, they would have stayed with us. But they left, and this shows that none of them really belonged to us.

            You have the gift that the Holy One gave you, so you all know the truth. I do not write to you because you do not know the truth but because you do know the truth. And you know that no lie comes from the truth.

Who is the liar? It is the person who does not accept Jesus as the Christ. This is the enemy of Christ: the person who does not accept the Father and his Son. Whoever does not accept the Son does not have the Father. But whoever confesses the Son has the Father, too.

Be sure you continue to follow the teaching you heard from the beginning. If you continue to follow what you heard from the beginning, you will stay in the Son and in the Father. And this is what the Son promised to us—life forever.

            I am writing this letter about those people who are trying to lead you the wrong way. Christ gave you a special gift that is still in you, so you do not need any other teacher. His gift teaches you about everything, and it is true, not false. So continue to live in Christ, as his gift taught you.

            Yes, my dear children, live in him so that when Christ comes back, we can be without fear and not be ashamed in his presence. Since you know that Christ is righteous, you know that all who do right are God’s children.  ~ 1 John 2:18-29, NCV

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“I am the MOST loving, forgiving, and selfless person EVER!”

“I am the most loving, forgiving, and selfless person EVER!”

Right? Surely you’ve had your moments of greatness that may have lasted into a lifetime or a lifestyle?

“When a servant comes in from plowing or taking care of sheep, does his master say, ‘Come in and eat with me’? No, he says, ‘Prepare my meal, put on your apron, and serve me while I eat. Then you can eat later.’ And does the master thank the servant for doing what he was told to do? Of course not. In the same way, when you obey me you should say, ‘We are unworthy servants who have simply done our duty.’”   ~ Luke 17:7-10

That sounds like a harsh word from Jesus! Talk about “tough love!”

Let me tell you a story…

There was once a young woman who spent her entire existence at the beck and call of other people. (We’ll call them “Everyone Else.”) If Everyone Else needed her here, she came. If Everyone Else needed her there, she went. She truly believed in being present. She thought being used was a good thing – she felt as if Everyone Else’s use of her was validation of her existence. Then one day the young woman realized all her usefulness had been used up – or rather her presence was no longer needed or wanted because Everyone Else had outgrown her… or their lifestyles had changed… or they had become distracted by Someone Else who met their needs more immediately. All those who used to want the young woman around were seeking after Someone Else. So the young woman skulked away in dreadful sadness because she had applied so much importance to how important she was to others. Unfortunately, her sense of self had been tied up in how Everyone Else valued her.

In an effort to reinvent herself, to realign her values, and to make sure No One Else was ever again in a position to discard her so carelessly, the young woman began hoarding her love, forgiveness and generosity for herself… with the intention of lavishing her gifts only on Worthy Ones. In her mind, Worthy Ones would know how to love her back. They would be gracious in forgiving her lapses, and they would be equally generous of themselves and their time.

Years passed and then more years passed. Soon the young woman was looking back over decades of wasted time as an old woman still living alone in the fortress she had built to protect herself from all her would-be destroyers. Worthy Ones had never crossed her path… or if they had, perhaps they hadn’t considered her Worthy Enough to stop for. Sitting on a stockpile of treasure she had hoarded for herself (all her love and her willingness to express it however and whenever needed) the old woman finally realized it did her no good to have love if there was no one to give it to.

To her horror she realized that running away from selflessness led her straight into the most egregious form of selfishness (sin) imaginable. She hid her treasure and blessed no one.

“Then the servant with the one bag of silver came and said, ‘Master, I knew you were a harsh man, harvesting crops you didn’t plant and gathering crops you didn’t cultivate. I was afraid I would lose your money, so I hid it in the earth. Look, here is your money back.’

“But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant! If you knew I harvested crops I didn’t plant and gathered crops I didn’t cultivate, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’

 “Then he ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one with the ten bags of silver. To those who use well what they are given, even more will be given, and they will have an abundance. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away. Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’  

~ Matthew 25: 24-30 NLT