Sunday, February 26, 2012

Guest Blogger Kel B

A4J followers and first time viewers please help me welcome our first guest blogger as he unleash the truth of what it means to be a slave by leaving a comment with your feedback. Thanks for your continual support!

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The Slave Mentality

As many of you know, February is Black History Month. A variety of noteworthy black Americans are honored during this time of year, while milestone events, such as the Civil Rights Movement, are celebrated & remembered, but one thing that always comes to my mind during this time is the institution of slavery.

Now, we've all heard the horror stories of slave life in the South but the focus of this message is not on the hardships of slavery, it's about how the characteristics of being a slave relate to that of being a true Christian.

Here's a fact for you: in many of the translations of the Bible, the Greek word, "Doulos", has been translated into the English word, "servant" or "bond servant", but "Doulos" literally means SLAVE! So, the next time you read a Bible verse that uses the word servant, substitute it with "slave" & then reflect on your own relationship with Christ. For example, Romans 6:17-18 (KJV) says, "But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness." You see, before we turned to Christ, we were slaves to our own sin.

Sin had control over our lives as if it were our master, but once we submitted ourselves unto the Lord of lords & the Master of masters, we became slaves to His will & His way. I’ll let you marinate on that for a moment… So, you may be thinking that the word “slave” is inappropriate or awkward in this sense; or you may be a little confused because even God’s word says that the truth shall set you free (John 8:32), so how can slavery & freedom co-exist???

Well, first, let’s look at some characteristics of slavery in order to start connecting the dots:

Characteristics of Slavery
The slave is bought at a price
The master has the power in the relationship
The slave must submit to the will of the master & obey his commands or face punishment
The master provides food, shelter, & clothing for the slaves
The slave is dependent upon the master to meet his needs
The master punishes those who are disobedient
The slave fears the master
The master has a plan for utilizing each of the slaves
The slave’s ultimate purpose is to serve the master

After reading these characteristics, we begin to see the similarities between slavery & Christianity. To further drive the point home, we could take the list above & replace “The Slave” with “The Follower” & replace “The Master”, with “God” & it would still make perfect sense to the believer. After looking at these characteristics, can we say that our relationship with Jesus mirrors that of a Master/Slave relationship?

If we are to walk this walk like God wants, we must submit ourselves to Him in much the same way a slave does to his master. Our bodies & souls are not our own, which is why abstaining from any & everything that doesn’t line up with the will of God is so important.  

He cannot dwell in us or use us to our maximum capability if we are constantly in sin & not obeying his instruction from the Bible. Remember, we don’t have to live in the bondage of sin any longer because we have been set free from it.

You see, this is how slavery & freedom can co-exist. In choosing to become a slave for Christ (by surrendering your life to Him), you have traded in the shackles of sin & death for the unchained freedom of everlasting life. Being a Christian & still living defeated in sin is like living day after day with a set of tight handcuffs on, even though you have the keys to take them off! 

It sounds foolish but it’s happening all around us… I’ve even partaken in this foolishness, myself but glory be to God for snapping me out of it & guiding me back to the right path. Are you currently living with the burdens of sin & looking for a way out? Maybe you've been wearing the shackles of sin for so long that you aren't even aware of them. Or maybe you are a faithful Christian but realize that you haven't fully submitted to Him in EVERY aspect of your life. Regardless of our circumstances, we must first acknowledge & confess our sins & then turn them & our FULL selves (true repentance) over to THE Master & Lord, Jesus Christ.

Of course the major difference between Jesus as our master & the worldly masters of the old slaves days is that Jesus has his followers (slaves for Christ) best interest at heart because he LOVES us. When we seek & obey Him because He is worthy (& not just because of what he can do for us), He blesses us in ways that exceed our own expectations! What other slave master has the ability to do that?!

It’s important to understand that either way it goes, we WILL be slaves, however, we do have the option of choosing the master that we serve. Whether we submit ourselves to the things of this failing world & the enemy himself (Satan) or our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ, we will inevitably be in a servant position. So, I’ll leave you with this last question; who is your master?...

By Kel B

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

“INTIMACY WORTH WAITING FOR”

“Intimacy Worth Waiting For”
True love is worth waiting for and you will know in your heart of hearts when it arrives. I believe the most costly mistake for women is falling for it before its time and making an investment that has no return potential. We as women make that mistake all too often. We overly extend our mind, body and our will oftentimes for the sake of what we believe equates to “true love”. Our nature consist of many characteristics and personality traits that can sometime land us in a bad mental, physical and emotional state; one we’d rather not be in but because of our lack of emotional intelligence (the ability to identify, assess, and control the emotions of oneself, of others, and of groups); we have a hard time of getting out of that place. There are a majority of reasons why we as women stay in stuck mode concerning our "love” life and relationships; I will list only a few: Inability or unwillingness to be alone; longing for something or someone that is artificial; desiring the wrong type of mate; refusing to love oneself first and accepting who you are; believing the lies that were spoken over your life from your ex or others and the list goes on and on. The word of God lets us to know that Jesus came to seek those who are lost Luke 19:10. When he speaks of the lost; it is a figurative term as it relates to your soul being lost (without Christ). When he said that those that hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be full; he provided assurance to the believers and unbelievers that if you give your life for him; you will experience the fullness of what life offers and that includes your uniquely designed mate (husbandman). More so than you giving your life and casting all your cares on him; he desires for us to be whole in every area of our lives; knowing our true sense of worth and value as the pure form being he created us to be. Once you discover who you are in God and what your bloodline consist of; you experience “true love”; love that will never fade away; harm you; use and abuse you; or jeopardize your worth, values and morals. Then and only then; will you be able to embrace all that God has for you as it relates to true love with the opposite sex. No longer will you accept or allow the artificial form of what God is attempting to provide to you.
“Desiring a relationship with Christ is the true meaning of Intimacy”. Reach deep down within yourselves and ask “Is this worth the wait”?

By Treal Ravenel

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