Tag: Christ

The Law and Grace: Not What You Think

The Law and Grace: Not What You Think

When you hear “The Law” mentioned in Christendom and Judaism, people are referring to the sum of about 600+ laws given by God through Moses to the people of Israel. God gave them numerous laws, rituals, and regulations, meant to keep them pure and holy.

Many have created resources that attempt to provide understanding of the functionality of the Law and Grace in our lives as believers today. It is a point of great spiritual and doctrinal controversy.

Some believe we ought to still keep the law as strictly as the Israelites of old. Some postulate that because of the Messiah’s sacrifice, we are no longer under law, but under grace; and are free from the requirements of the Law.

What makes these conversations so difficult to process is because of the various verses that speak to how the Law and Grace operate in our lives today. It can be difficult to interpret them.

One of our biggest obstacles for understanding Law vs. Grace is our desire to believe a specific thing. Some WANT to believe we have to follow the Law in the specific way in which the Israelites did. Some WANT to believe that GOD’S grace cancels the Law.

For some, following the Law seems to be too oppressive and it doesn’t sound like God to them. For others, Grace seems to offer more freedom than they could fathom God giving.

This is proof that we take our perceptions of God into conversations like these and refuse to expand our view of Him.

No matter where you fall on the proverbial spectrum of this idea, choose to lay down your preconceived notions to perceive God in a new way. Allow God to reveal Himself afresh to you. There are some things we believe because they’re true. Then, there are things we believe because we’d prefer to believe them.

It’s dangerous to get to a place in which God doesn’t surprise you anymore–or God agreeing with EVERYTHING you do, say, or think. At that point, I’d begin to question whether or not it’s God you serve–but you.

I’ve been craving depth in my relationship with the Most High and understanding of who He is. I’ve prepared myself to think and live differently depending on what He reveals about Himself, me, and others.

I don’t want to believe what I believe because it’s comfortable for me. I want to believe what He says is true. Sometimes, that will put me in a position to look foolish to the world and that’s okay; because I’m not living for them.

I live for God in hopes that others would see and know Him. But He is my Authenticator, my Refuge, my Father, my Friend, my Savior, my Deliverer, my Judge, my Answer, my Everything.

My prayer is that if you’ve made it to the end of this post that you receive the blessed opportunity of knowing Him.

You can pray this prayer below and continue on a journey of knowing Him. Once you pray this prayer in belief and faith, there are some things that will automatically change. You may not feel it, but it has.

There are other things that will require a journey of becoming in relationship with Most High (God). Have faith and be encouraged.

Most High,

Thank You for revealing Yourself to me. I believe what you’ve shown me. I believe that You sent Your Son to Earth to die to reconcile me to You. I believe He resurrected in victory over sin and death — the very things that separated me from having relationship with You. I have faith and believe that You are the one true God. Thank You for saving me. I ask that You continue to show me who You are and teach me Your ways. My heart will never be separated from You. I ask that You connect me with people who will help me grow in my relationship with You and knowledge of You. Thank You for loving me.

In Your Son’s Name,
Amen.

Scriptures to study: (the whole Bible…but here’s a few to get started)

  1. John 1-3
  2. Romans 6-8
  3. Genesis 1-3
Hang In There

Hang In There

“Have the kids drove you crazy yet?” she asked. “Absolutely.” I replied.

“Hang in there.”

Those three magic words calmed and reassured me as my coworker with great empathy encouraged me. I didn’t even know I needed to hear that or that it would have the kind of effect it had.

The beauty of those three words strung together is that there are no empty promises or frilly pretenses. It means what it says. “Hang. In. There.”

No one tells you to ‘hang in there’ when things are easy. The very reason for which they’re saying that to you is because things are NOT easy. ‘Hang in there’ means:

  1. You may not have much left to give, but give anyway.
  2. You may be tired, but press anyway.
  3. You may not be noticed, but serve anyway.

The Bible says, So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up or quit” (Galatians 6:9 MSG). Paul is specifically addressing believers and how they engage with other believers and those who do not share their faith. This response is important because it’s not a response to humans, but a response and result of relationship with God.

Paul is teaching the church at Galatia that God does not ignore our efforts, hard work, good intentions, good deeds, etc. While those things are no good in and of themselves to save us, God still recognizes them and responds to them. 

The verses before verse 9 explain a basic principle that most people believe regardless of religious or cultural background. Some call it karma. Some call it ‘energy’ or ‘vibes.’ Some call it the power of positive thinking. We call it many things without fully understanding the weight of it.

“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked [He will not allow Himself to be ridiculed, nor treated with contempt nor allow His precepts to be scornfully set aside]; for whatever a man sows, this and this only is what he will reapFor the one who sows to his flesh [his sinful capacity, his worldliness, his disgraceful impulses] will reap from the flesh ruin and destruction, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life(Galatians 6:7-8).

Basically: whatever you plant, grows. Whatever you put in, you get it back. The beautiful thing about God is when you choose to plant according to His desires, His nature, and His will, you don’t just get back what you put in. You get a HARVEST. You get MORE than what you put in. Unfortunately, some of us feel as if we haven’t seen anything that looks like a harvest.

Some of us are frustrated right now because we don’t feel like our efforts are being noticed by the people we’d like to notice. Some of us feel God doesn’t seem to care about the pain, discomfort, or difficulty we may be walking through. Know this:

The Bible also says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18).

If there is anything that you take away from this, let it be this: God sees. More importantly for some of us, God sees you. Specifically. Clearly. Lovingly.

So, whatever you’re going through, know that God has a beautiful plan for you. It may not be easy or comfortable; but it’s worth it. God never promised we wouldn’t suffer; though He did promise that He’d always be with us (Deut. 31:6). So, hang in there. Better yet, rest in the One who is holding you.

The Divorce We All Need To Get

The Divorce We All Need To Get

It’s over.

Serve the papers. Tell them that you can’t do this anymore. You’re not happy anymore. Truthfully, you’ve never been happy. You thought that some day, they’d bring you fulfillment; but it just hasn’t happened.

They haven’t fulfilled you because they were never meant to. They don’t have the capacity to provide what you truly need. You stay because there are times it seems you’re on the same page and they want the best for you.

Let me just tell you, they don’t want the best for you. Who am I talking about? Better yet, what am I talking about?

Opinions. Not just any opinions. The opinions of others.

There’s such a strange power in the others. They dictate so much about your life and how you view yourself because somehow you’ve been taught that what they say or believe matters. You’ve been taught to filter your decisions through the ‘what will people say’ and the ‘what will they think’ filters.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. There needs to be some consideration of others; but it’s not in the way we normally do it. We ought to care about the needs of others; not the opinions. It doesn’t mean you don’t respect the opinions of others. It means you do not allow yourself to determine your self-worth, destiny, or purpose based on the limited perspective of other people.

An opinion is just that: a limited perspective. Opinions are not truth. Your opinion is not truth. My opinion is not the truth. While you may have considered facts to form your opinion, it is not inherently truth.

One of the most unhealthy relationships we could ever get in is a relationship with the opinions of others. Some of us are married to their opinions. We’d do anything to have them favor us. We don’t make a move without first asking if it’s okay. We’re ‘one’ with them.

I’ll tell you like my pastor, Marcus Howard, tells us all the time: You’ve got to divorce yourself from the opinions of others.

With divorce, there is always tremendous pain; even if you don’t feel it right away. So, it will hurt; but it’s necessary. To divorce yourself from the opinions of others is to no longer give them “legal” right to speak into you.

Now, don’t confuse opinions and advice with each other. We all ought to have someone in our lives that gives advice and provides accountability. However, we have to be sure this person gives unbiased advice that propels us toward our purpose.

We need people in our lives that will give us advice they may not even agree with because if it’s what’s best for us. Furthermore, we need to be people that give the advice that’s best for someone even if it’s not our preference.

So, there is a time and place for someone to give advice. However, we must learn to discern and decipher what is purposeful advice or empty opinions. 

Opinions are empty. They’re empty because there isn’t true life in them; because they aren’t based in truth. Most of the time our opinions are based in pride, fear, anxiety, doubt, worry, indifference, apathy, rebellion, etc. None of those things are life-giving realities.

While there may be things that are ‘true’ about a person’s opinion, no human’s opinion is in and of itself the truth. It just isn’t. It doesn’t matter how right we think we are, our opinion is not truth. The Bible says, “there’s a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Every human believes he or she is right. Oftentimes, it is the thing that comes most naturally to us. I know it is for me.

For most of my life, I’ve considered myself to be an intelligent person. Others have concurred thus far. However, as I’ve gotten older, I’m far less concerned with viewing myself as intelligent or others seeing me that way, and more concerned about being humble regardless of what I do or do not know.

Still, most of the time, I think I’m right! I do. It’s really unfortunate. I’ve recognized this trait in myself and how naturally and instinctively it shows up in my more intimate relationships. I’d like to naturally and easily consider other people’s thoughts as valid; but I’m not entirely there yet. I’m better now than I was before; but I’ve got a long way to go.

As the verse said, “there’s a way that seems right.” The reason it seems right is because we’re looking with the wrong “eyes.” If we’d look at every situation and person the way God does, then we’d KNOW what’s right.

Funnily enough though, the way God views things is oftentimes beyond what we can fathom as humans. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

The reason we don’t see certain things the way God sees them is because we’re thinking ‘too low.’ This is the very definition of a human opinion. It’s a low thought. It’s a compromised thought. It’s a thought from dimly lit vision. It’s blind.

I heard Pastor Touré Roberts say it like this, “think the highest thought.” God’s thoughts are truth and the highest thoughts. It would behoove us to learn what God’s thoughts are and align ours with His. If we knew what God thought about us, we’d never need the opinion of another to validate us ever.

Paul writes to the church at Galatia, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).

We ought to stop trying to win the approval of others when we come into relationship with Christ. There is no greater freedom that the freedom from others and yourself. You don’t have to be affected by your own opinions any more than you do the opinions of others.

Be free! Let God show you who you truly are.

There is but one opinion that matters–God’s. What does God think of you? Check these out:

John 3:16

Romans 5:8

Romans 6:23

Psalm 36:7

Psalm 86:15

Romans 8:37-39

 

Happy reading!

I hope this encouraged you!

The Danger of Comparison Pt. 2

The Danger of Comparison Pt. 2

In part 1, we dove into the reason humans feel the need to compare themselves to others. Read part 1 here. It’ll help this post make more sense.

One thing we learned in part 1 is that comparison is not bad in and of itself. Humans were originally meant to be compared to, or better yet, likened to God Himself. We were created of the same nature and comparably took after attributes of God Himself.

So, from the beginning, we were reflecting Someone. When sin entered, it distorted everything. We began to use other standards to measure ourselves against instead of God Himself. We exchanged the truth for a lie.

Every time we examine who we are in comparison to someone else, we are exchanging truth for a lie. Pastor Marcus Howard, in his training ‘Detox,’ said, “Be careful of comparing yourself to others because the bar is too low. If you’re going to compare yourself to anyone else, compare yourself to Christ.” 

Think of someone you would consider to be a good person. They may do nice things all the time and they don’t do the things you think are wrong. Even this person, is not worthy to be used as the standard by which we all should live. They may be a good example, but they are not the Truth Itself. 

Christ is the ONLY Truth. Everything outside of Him is a lie. It is a distortion of what is true.

This does not mean you treat those who don’t strongly believe in Christ as less than. Absolutely not! This does not mean you enforce your beliefs on them. Share them with boldness, truth, and most importantly love. Without love, there is no truth. Without truth, there is no love.

This is where the issue lies. Comparison is an assault on love. Comparison is an assault on truth. The conclusions we usually draw from our comparisons are not true and are rooted in ideas that are contrary to God (Love).

For example, if I compare myself to someone and come out thinking, “I’m better than them,” I’m wrong. This would be rooted in pride and indicative of a lack of identity. I don’t need to be better than anyone when I know I’m loved by God.

If I compare myself to others and believe, “I’m less than them,” this is also false! This is rooted in insecurity, self-doubt, and indicates a lack of identity. I can’t believe I’m less than anyone because the love of God embraces and empowers me.

When Love (God) is revealed and realized in someone, there is no need to search for the approval of others. God doesn’t just set you free so you can live a morally good life. God sets you free from you and the opinions of others. To realize I am loved by God allows me to be certain of who I am in the midst of any crowd or environment.

When I lose sight of God’s love for me, I begin to try to work for His approval and the approval of others. I try to prove that I’m ‘worth it,’ that I belong, and that I’m enough. I try to justify my wrongs because I’ve removed myself from the covering of the grace of God. God’s grace covers what we were and will never be able to cover. When I remove (or try to) myself from this covering, I use my own system and measurements to prove I’m good enough. I do this because I no longer trust God to do it for me.

The thing is, we can never gain God’s approval on our own. God took care of that through Christ. We can’t do it on our own. Our system of what is right, wrong, enough, or insufficient pales in comparison to God’s. The ideas or acts that don’t seem that bad to us are a distortion of what God originally intended and God doesn’t approve of them. Essentially, our systems are faulty.

Comparison takes you out of the security of who God knows you to be and causes you to act according to who you have deceived yourself into thinking you are.

Comparison is an enemy to love. God is Love (1 John 4:7-21). In the Bible, we find several stories of how God responded to His enemies and the enemies of His people. God does not leave them standing.

So, today, I’m choosing to allow God to kill comparison, doubt, and insecurity in me. I can be sure of me because He loves me. I don’t have to doubt the love of God because God doesn’t change. God doesn’t lie. God didn’t make a mistake when He made me. Therefore, I don’t have to find assurance in anything or anyone else. 

I didn’t write this because this is an area I’ve mastered. I wrote this because it’s been a problem area for me as of late. So, I hope it encouraged you!

I pray you find the strengthen and courage to stand against comparison and accept the Love of God for yourself!

 

I Just Can’t See It

I Just Can’t See It

One of the most clever tricks the enemy (Satan) plays on us is encouraging a system of belief built on sight. It’s quite dangerous to do everything based on what you can see. If you make decisions based on what you can see, you’ll almost always choose incorrectly. When we make decisions based on what we can see, we choose selfishly. We make decisions whose benefits don’t have longevity. 

Our belief system cannot be built on sight. This is not a sustainable culture and it is not the culture of the kingdom.

The ‘kingdom of heaven’ I’m referring to is not a physical place. The kingdom of heaven is the rule and reign of God. It is God’s authority in any place. “But seek first the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 6:33).

Like any kingdom or government, the kingdom of heaven has a culture. Faith is a part of that culture. Faith is believing in what you cannot see. “Now faith, is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is the thing.  This means your faith is evidence that what you do not see is real.

Faith isn’t faith if there is sight. “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Cor. 5:7). If there’s sight, then it’s belief. (I’m not going to get into that. If you’d like to learn more about faith and belief and the difference thereof, read this awesome book, “Believe You Can” by Pastor Marcus Howard.)

Faith does not require sight. Therefore, it allows you to believe and manifest what is not seen. It allows you to believe for things unselfishly. For sight chooses for now. Faith chooses for the future.

Now, here’s the thing. Sure, we could believe for just any old thing and it would come about. However, it’s important to seek God about what to believe. Sometimes, we’ll believe God for something we don’t really need or isn’t His best for us. He’ll give it to us so that we would know that it wasn’t what He had for us.

Don’t simply desire the thing you think you want. Seek the kingdom of heaven so that you’d know what you should want.

This will cause your heart to be aligned to desire the things God already desires to see in your life and the lives of those around you. A belief system built on sight can only desire based on what they think is right.

Due to the growth happening in my life right now, there are some things up in the air that cause me to doubt everything. However, oddly, when my thoughts are quieted, I find that I truly believe that a resolution will come. I believe clarity will come. Even though I just can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t real.

So, have faith. Eventually, it will all make sense.

Happy reading!

Over and out.

10 Things To Know About Me

10 Things To Know About Me

This feels strange.

I never know what to say when someone asks me to tell them about myself. Technically, no one asked me; but y’all gone learn today! Normally, when someone asks me to talk about myself, I stick to things that are safe; things that don’t require much vulnerability. I won’t promise I’ll spill my entire heart today; but I’ll share some things about me (10 things to be exact).

I’ve got to at least introduce myself at some point.

Hi! My name is Darveiye Michel Flemming (We can talk about the pronunciation another time). I’m the creator of this blog, Sensible Fool. How ever you’ve found your way here, thank you. I appreciate every like, comment, share, question, and critique. It means a lot. So, thank you for your support!

Leggo.

1. I grew up with 2 older brothers and 4 younger sisters; all of which names start with ‘D.’ (Durell, Diante, Darveiye, DeShara, Danielle, Drew, and Destiny) Shout out to y’all! Y’all are the best.

2. I was born in Chicago. However, honestly, I don’t really claim Chi-town like that. I’m an Okie.

3. I began my relationship with Christ when I was 5. It’s a beautiful story. I’ll have to tell it on here one day.

4. I went through a few lengthy periods of atheism in which I genuinely believed God wasn’t real.

5. My favorite colors are blue and green. I believe they’re the most natural beautiful colors.

6. I play keys and guitar. Music has always been a passion of mine; worship moreso.

7. I speak English and Spanish; and a little bit of a lot of different languages. Entonces, si hable español, háblame para que yo podría practicar. ¡Besos!

8. I love film. I often have very spirited discussions about it. So, be prepared.

9. My favorite animals are tigers and great white sharks. I plan to swim with sharks at some point in my life. Sharks are also another subject you can prepare to get into an argument with me. Don’t ask. Or do. The choice is yours.

10. I teach precious immigrant and refugee children English as a second language. It’s incredibly rewarding and challenging. They keep me laughing and constantly asking myself, “what the heck is going on?”

11. BONUS. I’ve danced hip-hop for the majority of my life. Don’t ask me to show you a move though. I tend to get a little shy for some strange reason.

Anyway, those are just a few fun facts about me. I hope you enjoyed reading this! Please comment some fun facts about yourself. I’d love to hear who’s reading these posts.

Happy reading!

Over and out.

I’m Not a Christian Pt. 1

I’m Not a Christian Pt. 1

Religion, generally defined, is a specific set of beliefs and practices concerning purpose for life and deals with the idea of a supreme being or the lack thereof and its (or theirs) relation with humanity. You can examine any major or minor religion against this general definition and you’d find they line up in some fashion. Today, I’m specifically examining Christianity and its “religioners (did I just invent a word).”

There are so many traditions and fads of the Christian faith by which Christians measure the sanctity of one’s lifestyle. Does he go to church? Does he raise his hands in worship? Does she carry her Bible? Does she dress up for church? (People really consider this) The list goes onnnnnn.

We don’t simply verify one’s ‘holiness’ by what they do (go to church, carry Bible, say they’re a Christian, etc), but by what they DON’T do. “He doesn’t smoke,” “She doesn’t curse,” “We’re not as bad as so-and-so,” and many others are common phrases we hear Christianers using to justify one’s “Christian” lifestyle.

The Problem With Religion

The issue with “Christianers” is our tendency to deal with the outer appearance and oftentimes this solely. Our adherence to the specific rules and regulations of the Christian faith allow us to APPEAR holy before man.

Additionally, the struggle for Christianers is this tendency to try to Christianize the world instead of evangelize it (Matt. 28:19-20). We are so sensitive and uncomfortable around anything that’s not “Christian-like.” I’d venture to say we don’t often differentiate between what is “God-like” and “Christian-like.” This is a sad thing.

What’s so wrong with being a Christian(er)?

A “Christianer” (I’m making words up left and right) is one who believes Christianity is the Way.

Well, Darveiye I thought Christianity is the true religion, the right religion, God’s religion. Are you saying you believe Jesus isn’t the way?

No. I am not.

What I am saying is God did not create religion. Man created religion. It is the way by which we can comprehend and measure faith-based things in real time. God did NOT come to earth in flesh as Jesus so He could establish the TRUE religion. Jesus didn’t die so you could pick up a religion and wear it like a badge of honor. Jesus died so that the kingdom of heaven could be established in the hearts of man (Luke 17:20-21)! The kingdom of heaven is the RULE and REIGN of God. Jesus died that the very culture INSIDE of us would transform and return back to what God originally intended! This is why religion DOESN’T work! It focuses on how you can look holy, and “do” holy, and not BE holy ( 2 Cor. 5:21). It’s like putting flowers on a coffin. At the end of the day, the body is still dead even if the casket looks beautiful.

The truth is, the reason we are so attached to the words Christian and Christianity is because we don’t understand why God came or what He did. We don’t know because we don’t seek Him and would rather measure holiness, purity, truth against other seekers and not the one who ORIGINATED it. Simply: we measure our righteousness against the righteousness of other “Christians.” The problem with this is I never truly have a full picture of another’s righteousness. Therefore, they are not a worthy or accurate standard by which to measure my life. Thankfully, I’ve been given THE standard of TRUTH by which to measure my life. Hint: Jesus.

There’s no need to compare my works to my sister at the end of the pew when I’ve been given Christ by which to measure my heart AND therefore my works. Humans are not holy apart from God. So why use a flawed individual to determine how holy or NOT holy you are? It’s a moot cause.

If people are my only standard for holiness, I’m in trouble. Let’s take it a step further. If I am the only standard for holiness, I am in a WORLD of trouble. If all I can meditate on is how much more holy I am than others and how “if only they could live like me,” I’m in for a rude awakening. My sole ministry is to reconcile people to God (2 Cor. 5:11-21), not people to me. My life should witness unto who Jesus is (Acts 1:8). I am a deflector and reflector. I cannot be this if I don’t spend time learning and knowing who this Jesus is.

Remember, God didn’t send Jesus to give you the “right” religion, but that you could “become the righteousness of God in Him(Christ).” Holiness is not about what people see you do, what they think you are, but who God has said that you are and will be. You ARE the righteousness of God in Christ JESUS!

Scriptures to Study:

2 Corinthian 5:21

21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Luke 17:20-21

20 Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation; 21 nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’[a]For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Acts 1:8

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me[a] in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

 

I hope you enjoyed reading and are encouraged by this post!

Please comment below with questions, comments, requests, etc!

Thank you for reading!

Note: I do not own rights to the featured photo.