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Kendrick Lamar

The Rapper Says

The chart-topping rapper Kendrick Lamar is preaching more spiritual truth than most of the dead… So reads the article title in Charisma News. Kendrick is one of the hottest rappers, not just in the U.S, but the entire world. He is rebuking us, Christian leaders in America. Kendrick shines light on the idea that people are rarely ever hearing the words “sin” “repentance” and “judgment” from the pulpits of America and from influential leaders in the Christian world. Kendrick has won seven Grammy Awards and last year Time named him one of the top 100 most influential people on the face of the earth.

“Lamar, the 29-year-old rapper whose fourth studio album (expletive) is sitting atop Billboard charts, believes the churches that only focus on the idea of hope are one-sided.” Charisma News. Lamar went to a local church awhile ago to find the same program and practice that he had experienced when he was a young boy. The same message that “someone’s season was approaching,” pushing the whole idea of hope he says. Yet he felt “a sense of emptiness” when he heard the same sermons he had heard as a boy. He said he left churches feeling “spiritually unsatisfied as a child.” I can relate to that. When you have experienced the genuine presence and power of God, nothing else will satisfy.

Lamar goes on to say that “too many churches fail to address this “hard truth” about the Christian calling.” I know why the Gospel is watered down—we are afraid if we do preach the Word as it truly is, we risk offending those who do come, and thus substitute life-saving truth for hope and blessing messages rather than redemption from sin found in Jesus Christ.

Where’s the manifest Presence of God? Where is the power of the living God coming so strong among us that you can’t help being changed? That’s what the heart of man is longing for, yet we, as fleshly man think we have to manipulate the atmosphere and create comfortableness, etc. We forget that its all about Jesus, not about us. No wonder His glory seldom comes.

Psalm 127: 1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who build it.” The only place of solace for me as a Christian leader is to find my place in intercession, listen to the leading of the Holy Spirit and being careful not to, as Kendrick Lamar challenges “not to preach watered-down messages…” but in unconditional love preach the real Gospel.

Lamar concluded his message by sharing that in light of his recent discovery, he feels called “to share the joy of God, but with exclamation, more so, the FEAR OF GOD…Knowing then power in what He (God) can build, and also what He (God) can destroy.” Charisma News.

In 2 Timothy 4, Paul warned that a day was coming when apostate Christians would “not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears.” I believe there is a day coming when the modern Christian and nations will stop surrounding themselves with teachers and preachers who would only tell them what they want to hear. May we be awakened to the reality of sin, getting on our faces for a fresh, new anointing to preach with wisdom and compassion the reality of eternity and not be afraid to speak the truth about every form of sin and perversion in our culture today. This is when the love of God truly floods into our souls, sets us truly free and infuses genuine change and hope. God help us; God have mercy on this nation and the world and set us on holy fire from above.

hand over mouth blog pic

Keep My Mouth Shut

Sometimes things in life can take a weird turn. Not just one thing goes wrong, but just about everything goes wrong. Tax bills, flu bugs, people around you making wrong choices and somehow weaving you into their drama. The list goes on and on, seemingly never to end. These pronounced seasons give us all pause. This is when I must choose to hang out with an old friend, Madame Guyon. She writes about her life in her autobiography of how she learned to receive everything as from the hand of God. What I am going to say is not for the immature and those who do not truly want to mature. But, the story of Job speaks to us that Satan had to receive permission from God to test Job. God told him he could test him, but not take his life. In other words, God was saying “Have at him. He will not deny Me.” And thus the testing began. I have sat many a time on the ash heap of life with Job, questioning God, trying to figure Him out. Let me tell you, there are times when you will not figure God out. He is God and He knows exactly what He is working and doing in you. We must surrender ourselves to Him in these moments and seasons.

The other night I said to the Lord as I was falling in to bed, “Lord, I am tired of surrendering my all to you. I don’t know what else I could surrender to you.” I have been so to the end of myself that I didn’t have the strength to even lift my arms up one more time. Those are the nights I’ve cried myself half to sleep, just long enough for my soul to get quiet and for my spirit to recognize the still small Voice of God speaking to me, “Put your hand over your mouth.” It wasn’t my thought, it was the still small Voice of God. I knew where that thought came from—Job 40:4-5, Job speaking, “Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.”

So, long story short, Father is telling His daughter, Meredith, to put her hand over her mouth; more succinctly said, “Keep your mouth shut.” Don’t whine, don’t complain, don’t become the “victim,” don’t fall into the pit of self-pity, don’t rail at your Father. Be still. Put your hand over your mouth. Embrace what I am processing in you. Listen to My Voice, for My direction. Embrace Me. Look to Me, not the billowing bile of sin and worry, of failure and unnecessary pain others bring. Look to Me. Embrace Me.

Once His words soak into my dry, brittle spirit, I hear Him whisper again—“Remember how the last chapter of Job ended. I know what I am doing and what I am working in you. Choose to yield to Me. Be still. Trust Me completely and watch and listen. Let me mature you out of your circling, cycling immaturity into someone who truly knows Me. Isn’t that what you’ve prayed and asked Me to do so many times?” My choice…and I am choosing to put my hand over my mouth. What about you?

ship going around in circles

A Cruise to Nowhere

I read a story awhile ago about a cruise you could buy to go nowhere. You purchase your ticket and get on the ship, which then takes you out to sea where you travel around in circles for three or four days. You eat, sleep and play away your time and end up at no specific designation but right back to where you began your journey.

It is humorous, yet sad. It reminds me of the way many of us choose to live our lives. We won’t slow down long enough to ask God to show us what He created us to be doing, and then get the plan of how to begin to do it. Proverbs 28:18 reads, “Where there is no vision (no redemptive revelation of God), the people perish; but he who keeps the law of God, which includes that of man)—blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he.” In our society, we are taught to foster what I call a “me”ism mentality. Think of yourself first, what you want and how much you can escape by getting others to do it all for you.

When my children were teenagers, they had a friend whom I would often hear them complaining about. Every time they go out as a group, he would say he wanted to come but he didn’t have any money. Kindly, one of the others (sometimes one of mine), would pitch in and pay his way. He would come along and hang out with the group as long as someone else footed his bill. When the kids began to catch on to him, he left them for better pickings. The sad thing is that he probably had more money in his pocket than most of the others that were willing to bless him.

Where does such an individual as this grow to, always expecting others to make their way for them, thinking someone else is responsible to make them happy? They are going around in circles.

It is important to set goals, have a vision and then make a plan to get there. God has great blessings along the way for us as we move forward. Never wait for someone else to come along and make things happen for you in your life. Get moving forward towards a goal.

If you constantly feel you need to be affirmed to go forward, you will only move by a few inches upon occasion. To achieve, you must give up affirmation. Let God be the one to affirm you. Affirmation of man is as illusive as the wind, here one day and gone tomorrow. You cannot base a vision upon the words of man. Analyze your gifts and talents, your desires and dreams. Dust them all off. Don’t be afraid to look at this! Remember, where there is no vision, you perish. Oh, you may not physically wither up and die, but inside, where no one sees but you and God, you know you are not truly living. Inside is where you die.

I challenge you today my friend! Arise on the inside! Come to life! Embrace the vision that God has created you to do! Don’t get sad and despondent, and start confessing, “I can’t do it.” God says nothing is impossible with Him. I think when God says nothing, He means it! Take time today to talk to God about every detail of what is rolling in your mind and spirit. There is a clear designated goal and plan, a vision, He has for you!

promise land

The Unfinished Job

Deuteronomy 8:7-9 reads “For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land, a land of brooks of water, of fountains and springs, that flow out of valleys and hills; a land of wheat and barley, of vines and fig trees and pomegranates, a land of olive oil and honey; a land in which you will eat bread without scarcity, in which you will lack nothing; a land whose stones are iron and out of whose hills you can dig copper.”

Doesn’t this blessing of the Lord sound terrific! The catch is that God didn’t just put it into their hands. The Israelites had to go in and conquer it. God said this land was theirs, the brooks and springs, valleys and hills plus the wheat, etc., where there would be no lack. Scripture tells us that they did go in and conquer a lot of what God had promised them but they did not conquer all that He had told them He had given them.

When I look at this passage of Scripture, I have to take a long hard look at myself. Let’s do a self-evaluation today. First let’s look at finances and ask ourselves a few questions. Am I tithing and giving as the Word of God says I should be? Am I remembering that God promised to rebuke the devourer for my sake if I would obey Him in my giving? Am I spending too much of my salary on things I really don’t need? Am I buying on credit when I should save for things I want? Am I saving or am I spending as fast as I can get it?

Oh well…, let’s move right along. Let’s address the health issue next. Am I eating my way into my grave? Am I careful about fat grams and sugar intake? Do I have a good understanding of what I should and shouldn’t be eating? Am I exercising other than lifting my hand to put some food into my mouth? And if I am exercising, am I really pushing or am I babying myself along so I can appease my conscience and tell myself I am really exercising? Do I want to add years onto my life, or do I want to die prematurely?

Let’s move along. Next, a quick look at our relationships. Are they all as filled with peace and joy as God would want them to be? Is there anything I can do to make them better or is it all the other person? Ouch!

Now for one last look at ourselves. Do I trust God in every area for His needed direction? Am I resting in the fact that I daily am where He wants me to be, doing my work to the best of my ability, knowing I am in the center of His full purpose for my life? God has a powerful promised land for each one of us. We, like the Israelites, must get up and go in and conquer the land. God will not just hand over wealth, health, good wholesome relationships and excellent work ethics and trust. What about you? Are there areas that need to change in your life? Will you ask the Holy Spirit to direct you how to move into your promised land, trusting God to give you the grace and strength to fully conquer all the areas of challenge in your life? Receive His direction and counsel into your heart today and enter your promised land.

praying woman

Praying Through

The old timers that I grew up around used to use terminology that I really never understood until I got older. One of their favorite things to talk about was “praying through.” I often wondered just what they really meant. Now I have an understanding of it.

I dislike walking around trying to do my work or being out with others and having something burdening my spirit. I become distracted and I know when I am like this, I am not a good listener. My thoughts are on what is bothering me.

Our verse today has a powerful truth in it. I believe it is telling us that you can pray your way into full faith, coming to the place of full assurance, even while you are still praying that your prayer has been accepted and heard; and in advance of the answer to your prayer with confident anticipation actually become aware of having received what you are asking for.

No earthly circumstances can hinder the fulfillment of God’s Word. Don’t look around you to all that is happening and get your own reasoning in the way. Remember, as long as Peter kept his eyes on Jesus, he would not sink. When he focused his vision on the wind and the waves, down he would go. Look steadfastly at the Word. When we can believe without evidence, then He is ready to do for us according to our faith.

I remember the old mothers and fathers of the faith tarrying around the altar, praying and waiting on the Lord. I couldn’t figure out as a child what was taking them so long. Now I know they were “praying through” to a place in their hearts of full assurance that God was going to move on their behalf.

I have a suggestion for all of us today, myself included. Let’s shut out every other distraction, every other voice and noise, and enter our prayer closets and unload our hearts in full, every detail, every concern to Him. Let’s “pray through” to a solid position of faith, no matter how long it may take. “Then He touched their eyes, saying, ‘According to your faith let it be to you,’” Matthew 9:29. Today, let us ask ourselves, are we ready for Him to move? Always know nothing is impossible with God. According to your faith, let it be unto you. Make a list of areas that you need to “pray through.” Make time to shut yourself away in a quiet place and begin. Let your faith arise and then watch to see what God will do. Record your answers to your prayers as record of God’s faithfulness to you.

Taken from Time Alone with God by Meredith Giles.
Devotional available for download