Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Comfort Food

I enjoy cooking for my family and for those who can appreciate the flavors as well as the labor of cooking from scratch. The style of cooking for me isn't specific to one type. I like fresh food where the flavors merry well and when one has finished the meal he/she isn't looking for more 10-20 minutes later. The meals I serve are satisfying.

Satisfying an appetite is so different then trying to comfort someone with food. I recall as a child coming home from school distressed because the bully antagonizing me in the 4th grade happened to be my teacher. Eventually I would tell my mother while we were out shopping. As I was telling her, she took me to an ice cream parlor (as they were once called). Was it intentional? I have no idea. Whether she had her childhood issues resolved that way or it was something she read, it seemed to have worked out for the best, though it wasn't the ice cream and I knew that. Nevertheless, when the term, "comfort food" was introduced, I had come into adulthood. Without defining the term, instinctively it seemed all that heard it, knew what it meant.

Over the years, "comfort foods" have developed into a style and is now a part of pop culture. Having its roots coming from the 40's and 50's, we understand that the food was mostly made from carbohydrates and fat. The food was created back in that fashion to fill a family to satisfaction. Today it is not something we consume daily due to the high fat content. Still, with relationship problems, distresses on the job, and daily issues with life, people tend to gravitate towards what will make them feel full, content, and satisfied like Momma use to make. There is a universal understanding that these foods are filling a psychological void; however, instead of getting the help that's needed, the calories still mound.

Now that the casserole, candy bar, cheeseburger, carton of ice cream, or whatever makes that sustaining feeling come about, is gone - did problems get resolved as well (John 4:13-14 AMP)? While shoveling those calories down, did some food fairy come along and make issues go away? As believers, I would like an explanation as to why food has been a comfort to you? Have you ever used the term? In using those words, would it be grievous to the Holy Spirit whom Jesus left to comfort us (Ephesians 4:29-30 AMP)?

We know that which the world does is not in the mannerisms by which we have been taught (James 4:4 AMP). We have been set aside as a peculiar nation (Deuteronomy 14:2 AMP). Embracing the peculiarities, we acknowledge that we also have a means to sustain us. We also have food by which we do get comforted. It does not cause us hurt, harm, or danger which the aforementioned could, if consumed in excessive amounts. The Word of God is life. We are made the light of the world and salt of the earth because of it (Matthew 5:12-14 AMP). We are content and satisfied because we know that in Him, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26 AMP). In Him it is already done. In Him we have the faith to keep us so not to complain or run to some means that will either be moth eaten, spoiled, or rusted through. We have a Comfort that is a constant (John 167-8 AMP).

Granted, with the babes in Christ, still on the milk of God's Word, they may have the tendency to reach back to that which is supposed to be dead. That is only because the babes in Christ have not learned anything new to replace that old (1 Corinthians 3:1-4 AMP). It is why the encouragement to keep going to church services and read the Word for yourself is paramount (Joshua 1:8 AMP). The children of God have learned more and will try his/her spiritual teeth on some of the meat but it still has to be repeated again and again in order for the child to sustain the new as good habits (Hebrews 5:11-14 AMP). Yet, the sons of God have skills and exercises their power in Christ. They have used the gifts that have been given and have no identity crisis at no time. The meat of the Word has been our sustenance for a long time and we have established ourselves as  friends of God (James 2:21-24 AMP). Understand, these are levels of maturity in the faith . Macaroni and cheese doesn't come close to what we have in Christ (2 Corinthians 1:3-4 AMP).

Saturday, May 19, 2012

My Brother Is Suing Me?

There is this misconception that as a Christian we are not supposed to take one another to court. Misconception may not be the correct word to use here because the bible does state the procedure if there is a dispute among the believers (1 Corinthians 6:1-7 AMP). The process can be just as long as going through getting a complaint on the docket and having the other party served; nevertheless, it is different then what the world does and is pleasing in the sight of God to do good.

In using the word, misconception was after reading a textbook about divorce and marriage in the church. It was  difficult getting through the first five chapters thinking about how many divorces there are thus far in the church. With so many people not knowing what the correct thing to do in Christ, the alternative being what everyone on the bandwagon does and is socially acceptable.
Oh well, it just didn't work out but there is always divorce! 

It was tedious reading and a little disturbing to realize with the statistics being what they are, why hasn't this topic been discussed to exhaustion. Why are there so many sermons about getting more from God when what has been given has not been taken care of (Luke 12:48 KJV)? That isn't just the congregation but the spiritual leaders and  ministers  as well. They can't ask more from the congregation when they haven't done what God has told them to do. With God being a good Father, He would not have His children be without the information we need in order to have a full, complete and successful life. It seems there is enough punishment to go around for everyone.

Believers try their best to be pleasing to God. In so doing we tend to think this also means we must allow others to take advantage of us. This became a hot spot for me as I got up this morning and thought about my co-worker who happened to give me my check after opening it. She said, "sorry, I accidentally opened your check. It was a mistake." I was seething but took the check from her and said nothing about the matter. You see, everyone gets their check or a notice of their direct deposit in their mailbox located in the clerical office. She and I, because of having the same title, share a mailbox. If you know this, there is not mistake. I was here before her and never did I pick up my co-worker's check by mistake. You just don't do it, not even subconsciously because you are aware of someone else's personal property is there. Even with your own mail, one just doesn't open anything and everything. You scrutinize between the junk and the bills. A year or so later, the administrator did the same thing. Why wouldn't she notice the difference between her check and mine and why didn't she make that mistake with anyone else's check? She wrote on the envelope, "oops, sorry, I opened it by mistake" and then signed her name. She didn't even try to tape it back together. I still said nothing but could have taken a bite out of the back of the office chair I was so angry. The point of the matter is, I didn't do anything about it because the check wasn't a size that was worthy in making a big deal about. I also took it before God so I could still work with these people without gritting my teeth.

Would there be a difference if the check was constant and bigger?

There would be a slight difference. Would there be a difference if the perpetrators professed Christianity? And this is what the entire post is about. People tend to stray away when both parties are Christian because the whole foundation of love and being pleasing in the sight of God is paramount. Getting revenge belongs to the Lord and we are not to care about our material possessions; therefore, we have to go through so many different avenues to settle our discontent with being taken advantage of or just letting the matter go. It is what a family member told me to do when I was a freshman in college and working for a business in its fledgling stages of production. Granted, the owner used a number of his family members and also a few of us in the neighborhood which should have been my first clue but I was 18 at the time. My sister and I were elated to get a job so close to home but all of the adulation went South when weeks turned into months without pay. The owner at the end of every week had a speech about where the company was going and his goals in taking the entire staff on vacations. He puffed up the time we had with so many pipe dreams, the major complaint of payment was overlooked. I suppose he was surprised when he had to explain to the Better Business Bureau of his work practices and to the IRS for not filing the correct papers with having that many people as employees. Or maybe it was a shock to find that I got that process rolling and he received a summons to court.  I just couldn't let it go. It was so wrong of him to do with no remorse and no sign of rectifying the matter. I didn't know whether he was paying his family members with all of our hard work; I just knew my sister, my neighbor, and I had never received a check. My family member still maintained for me not to do anything and let God handle it even when I won my case. I didn't regret one moment of that process especially when he took all of his assets and put them in his only child's name. After I won my case, I did let the matter go. It was necessary for him to know that all of his hot air didn't detour me from doing what I knew was right and now he knew that I wasn't alone in thinking that way.

What about the Christian aspect of the matter? 

If Christians have a dispute, we know the Word would clear it up. If one party was not in agreement of the Word, then there would have to be another party who was knowledgeable in Christian principles (book knowledge as well as living it) to over see the topic and weigh in based upon the Word. If there was still a dispute, then the spiritual leaders are to handle the matter. The purpose for this procedure is to keep peace amongst the people for progression to continue in Christ. If the disputing party is still trying to cause discontentment, then he/she must leave the congregation (be excommunicated). He/she would be considered a sinner. This would mean that calling him/herself a Christian was only lip service. One must also walk in the spirit so not to fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16 AMP). Even if that practice wasn't something that had been studied for that individual as of yet, there is the practice of loving thy neighbor as thyself. If the so called Christian hadn't got to that lesson yet, there are always those 10 Commandments. Now with all three of those principles, we can see the levels of maturity in Christ. If none of these levels have ever been in practice especially as long as some of the people have been in church, then there is something wrong. The word tells us to know to do right and not to do it is a sin (James 4:17 AMP). If a person practices not doing right when he/she knows what right is - no matter how many times they call themselves a Christian, their acts say otherwise. He/she is a sinner and therefore is beholden to the same laws that the world goes by.

This is also true when there are those that go through a divorce. If both parties don't know what they have done, they should seek counseling in the church before attempting to file papers. It is no different in the case above. It is still paramount to do things that are pleasing to God. God hates divorce. God has called us all to peace (1 Corinthians 7:15 AMP). Is it a conundrum

I know of a case where the husband refused to get a job to support his wife and children. It was taken to the elders in the church over and over again. The pastor counseled the man and he still didn't do anything different. It was as if he snubbed the pastor's advice. Years passed and the tension in the household didn't subside. The wife was tired of going to the pastor and receiving no change. It had become an embarrassment for her and the family. The husband kept making references that if she was miserable, she should go and file for a divorce. He was very careful not to ask for a divorce himself just the suggestion of one. When matters didn't move as quickly as he would have liked, he made the living conditions so uncomfortable, that she contemplated the idea of leaving him.They separated. He started dating and was enjoying his single life. His family spoke to him about his behavior and suggested for him to go to the elders of the church to be reconciled with his wife. He hemmed and hawed but knew what the scriptures state about the matter. He made arrangements for him and his estranged wife to see the pastor. Nothing was resolved even after 4-5 sessions. Finally, after the pastor spoke to him privately, he was over wrought. He called his wife without gathering his thoughts and said, "If you don't want to get back together, I have to live my life. I need a wife. If  it isn't going to be you, it has to be someone. So what are you going to do?" She answered, "I don't know yet. What are you going to do?" He repeated himself. She didn't say anything. Frustrated that she didn't give him the answer he was looking for, he said, "You need to give me a divorce." She said, not knowing the Word as well as she should, "Why don't you get one yourself?" After that, the arguing started but she didn't have to keep listening to it and hung up the phone. 

You see, in this case, the man refused to care for his children. The Word tells us if a man doesn't support his children that he is worse then an infidel (1 Timothy 5:8 KJV). An infidel is a sinner. If his actions depict who he is, he has decided to be a sinner again no matter how he calls himself a Christian. Therefore, he is subject to the laws of the courts. He was taken to the elder of the church and spoken to over and over again. Because he refused to do anything better then he was doing, he disregarded the advice and actions within the church should have been taken. He knew what was right to do and decided not to do it. The Word tells us, this is a sin. His continued acts again makes him who he is - a sinner. Because the church did not take any other action for his disregard of advice, it would be a matter between the pastor and God; nevertheless, because he was not corrected, he thinks he can continue to do as he pleased in the church. Whether he knew it or not, he asked his wife for a divorce. She didn't know that was all she needed to be free and clear of him because it is written (1 Corinthians 7:15 AMP). The marriage continued, estranged as it was, for years even after the separation. His acts of infidelity continued even before a divorce was filed and granted.

It's as if there is this target on our backs for us to be the whipping post for all of those who desire to be bullies but have no one else to pick on but the Christian. Because we have some knowledge in Christ to be the peace givers and the light of the world, we try with every effort not to be argumentative and not to cause dissension anywhere. Jesus is the Prince of Peace. With Him being greater on the inside of each and every one that believes, how then can we disrupt the quiet? How can we be the cause of the storm when we are the ones to call, peace be still? Selah.

The answer is because we are the light of the world we have to stand against the wrong that is being done. If we have someone do wrong against us it is as if the person is doing wrong against the temple of God. You do remember when Jesus came upon those that tried to sell wares in the temple? He said that they had made the house of God a den of thieves (Mark 11:15-18 KJV). There is no communion with light and darkness. When light has been turned on, darkness is eradicated. With this understanding, do what is right. If there is a person who professes Christianity, then he/she will abide by what the church decides according to scripture. If not, then he/she does not believe and therefore, without admitting it, is a sinner. He/she can then be summoned to court, get a bill of divorce, and any other legal matter that is acceptable by the world's standards. It is not because you believe in such practices, it is because the respect and reverence of God is not honored and has been disregarded. Just like Jesus kicking over the tables in the temple, we have the same right to evict the wrong so it is right again. This is why there should be Christians in political office and in everything that would change policy and procedure for the greater good. We don't necessarily have to run for office, we just have to be an influencing factor for those that do. Amen?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Intentionally Deceiving

You know there are specific reasons why a person tells lies. In a nutshell, to deceive the one listening. There is no purpose in sugar-coating it and calling it a tiny white lie. Tiny or colossal, its intent is to deceive. Now knowing that God said for us to be thou holy for He is holy is a command to reiterate to be more like Him (1 Peter 1:16 KJV). We are already retaining a renewed mind, keeping our hearts guarded and Kingdom of God flourishes. Would a faith filled person lie? Could a God fearing man bear false witness? You would think the unanimous answer would be so simple. If there is a complete trust in God, bearing false witness would be as abhorrent as drinking sour milk. No one deliberately does it.

I was going to write this entry about why a person would lie, but we understand that already. Besides in the entry, A Dried Up Kingdom, I wrote about the history of lies and what happens to the listener of lies. Only, that entry didn't show what happens to the bearer of the false witness. According to the verses I supplied in that entry, it would seem Abram came out pretty well. Sure eventually he did only because God said he would; however, just like adhering to that small voice, you can miss the small statements that have been strategically placed.

I have worked with this co-worker that has had some physical ailments that might leave her with some memory loss (allowance for excuses), yet in conversing with other co-workers, she has said several things that haven't been true. I got fed up with it and began calling her on it just to see if she was going to act as if she has memory loss. She couldn't stick with her story. She was all over the map trying to gather some truth to what she had done. The last straw was involving others in her lie. I immediately asked those others. Again I confronted her. Once found out to be a liar, I told her privately, "if you ever lie to me again, I call you out in front of everyone." She was quiet. I suppose no one has ever said that to her before.

Another woman from a different company was talking to me. I noticed one of her co-workers (we will call her Jane) hadn't been around in quite awhile. I pulled a company photograph of Jane and asked the woman what happened to her thinking that Jane had been fired or transferred to another site. The woman I asked had this elaborate story about Jane finishing school and deciding to move to Florida with her children. She said that Jane had a house and a job already set for her. I believed this worker. There was no reason for me not to. One evening while working in a different building but the same position, who would I see come and greet me but Jane. I replied, "back already?" She asked, "back from where?" So I told her what was said to me. Jane said that she was needed on the 4th floor as a constant rather then roaming from one building to another. She continued to tell me that she has been here all along and has never been to Florida. I tried to make an excuse for the other woman who gave me the information stating well, she must have made a mistake. Jane replied, "mistake how? She sees me everyday!" Why would anyone do that? What amusement would she have in telling me these elaborate lies? Who does it benefit?

I didn't say anything about the matter to the woman; however I did notice within days, she was the one that was MIA. She returned a month later stating that she had been taken to the hospital. She couldn't understand how all of a sudden she got so sick. She had gout, emphysema, bronchitis, pneumonia, and was on all sorts of antibiotics and steroids. I just listened to her. It wasn't until I started writing this entry did I recall the verse that is apropos here. God is not mocked, whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap (Galatians 6:7 KJV).

Abraham is a blessed man of God. It was only while he was Abram did he have a dark horror that came over him causing him to shutter with a great terror (Genesis 15:12 AMP). Where did this fear come from? Could it have been the lies he told to cover himself from what he thought would hurt him? Could it have been all of the deception he did while he was with his family? Isn't it interesting that God would have him move from his kinfolk in order for him to be who he became as one of the giants of faith in scriptures? Would Abraham met his full potential staying with a family who made it a habit to be deceitful?

What about you? I have to check my heart on a constant to see is something there that shouldn't be. I know God will test my heart from time to time (1 Thessalonians 2:4 AMP). Whether it be on the road where I was cut off from a lane or faced with someone being belligerent when the situation doesn't warrant it. Many times I have let matters go allowing to choose my battles; other times, I will meet the opposition head on and win. Yet, when it comes to being deceitful, no matter if it means that I will not be looked well upon - I have to keep my trust in God. I have more to fear with Him then what any man can do. This is the conclusion I came away with after reading  what happened to King Abimelech when he welcomed Abram and his lies into his palace (his kingdom).

We have a Kingdom too (Matthew 6:33 KJV). It is the one sought in obtaining peace, joy, and righteousness (Romans 14:17 KJV). Personally, once I have found a liar in the midst, I can and have been angry. Whether the liar realizes it or not, he/she is extracting from the kingdom...that is, if you are willing to believe what the person is saying without acknowledging the one that sees the hearts of all men. Because the liar doesn't know why you are angry, it would be to your benefit as well as the soul of the liar, if you maintain your kingdom by speaking the Word at every chance. Incorporate the Word in your everyday language. Understand, speaking Elizabethan English isn't what I am referring to and it isn't necessary to quote where the scripture is found; however, seeing that the Word is life, it will cause discomfort in the liar. I have done it. Liars shouldn't be comfortable around you. The Word is life. Use it!