Posts tagged holiness
Think Before You Drink

There are many topics that can cause a shift between believers. Though the Spirit is one, the personal convictions vary and differ among the Brethren. One of them is drinking.

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Before encountering Christ, I drank like a fish. Alcohol was definitely one of my vices as I indulged in underage drinking. From four Locos--to dry gin--to Everclear, baby girl swam like Nemo.

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10 days after turning 21, I got saved.

I got saved.

*ques harp*

My friends claimed that I was officially legal to drink, but my thirst for alcohol was severed and thrown into the pit of hell.

I wish this was the case for others. Some people drank before being saved and continue to do so after. Some drank liquor before being saved, but after Christ, stick with wine and/or a drink once in awhile. Some don’t make their convictions known to others but drink in the privacy of their homes. All in all, God sees the heart of all believers in regards to alcohol.

Recently, I began to accept that the body would remain in disagreement on this topic and that it was okay if the body differs on this, that each Believer was entitled to their own personal revelation and conviction from the Lord. Either way, I would not advocate for anyone who is a believer to not indulge in drinking. I can not expect you to take my personal convictions as your own, but do you mind hearing me out?

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Here are reasons why I would not advise one who is saved to drink


Out of season

When I say out of season, I do not mean it is out of season to still drink malt liquor just for a cheap buzz post-college. When I say out of season, I am referencing to Paul’s instruction to Timothy.

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.
— 2nd Timothy 4:2

As believers and witnesses of Christ, we are called to do the will of the Father at all times. That means being a vessel when you are in and out the church. That means being an ambassador of Christ when you're around your community and when you are surrounded by unbelievers. That means being a light when all eyes are on you and when you are alone in the privacy of your own room.

However, being ready in and out of season can be hard to achieve if you are under the influence of alcohol. If your judgment and natural senses have deteriorated, how much more will your spiritual sense be impaired? This makes you ineffective to be used unless God wants to minister to other individuals with your decision to drink.
 


The Real Deal

The devil always tries to emulate the Kingdom. From love to happiness, the devil offers us cheap imitations of the real deal. And we often fail to take a closer look at the imitation and buy the illusion. Imitating the Holy Spirit is one of the devil’s tactic. His version of the Holy Spirit is drunkenness.

And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit
— Ephesians 5:18 NJKV

The word is clearly advising us to choose being filled with the Holy Spirit over being drunk with wine.

“But the word said “ ‘drunk’ with wine”

Yes. It does. Because that is the purpose of consuming alcohol. People think that you can drink alcohol without being lit, which I believe is partially false. You may not be “one olive away from a margarita,” but regardless you are impaired to some degree when you consume a substantial amount of alcohol. You are either under the influence or not. Just because you have built a tolerance to it, does not negate the fact that you under the influence of alcohol. You are not immune to intoxication.

Let’s be real. Do you “sort of’ have sex or do you actually have sex”? Imagine telling this to a significant other. No one will buy that you “sort of” had sex with another person. Either you did or you didn’t.


Can’t coexist

For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb.
— Luke 1:15 KJV

John, the Baptist, was destined to lead the way for the coming of the Lord. Before he was in his mother’s womb, his life had key guidelines to follow in order to ensure he accomplished his destiny and he became the man God desired him to be.  

John couldn’t partake in the manner of other men, for he carried destiny.

But let's see what the word had to say about this John.

Assuredly, I say to you, among those born of women there has not risen one greater than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
— Matthew 11:11 NJKV

If we have the same potential to be greater than John, the forerunner of Jesus, would alcohol enable us to do so or hinder us?

***

Now that I’ve presented my case and provided valid scriptures as evidence, you have to make the final verdict? What would it be?

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True Life: I didn't wake up like this [The story before the glory]

I woke up ugly actually. Dried up saliva marks. Bad breath. Flesh. My hair bonnet missing.  Eye boogers. Swollen eyes. Flesh. Irritated. Moody. Did I say flesh?
The Christian world promotes an idea of transparency, but we often fail to do so.  We project a false sense of perfection, while knowing that the only thing perfect about us is God. I fall prey to this too.

Lauren DeMoss Benson once said:  "The only reason why the Proverbs 31 woman can be previewed as ’perfect’ is because she is a product of the God who lives within her. The only thing that's perfect about her is Him. She doesn't place her hope in her husband, her family or her looks, but in God." I have absolutely no goodness on my own, anything good or perfect about me is truly from God and His goodness towards me.


“The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.”

Psalm 145:9 (ESV)


People tend to perceive me as that “Christian girl” that always talks about Jesus. People most often identify me with adjectives and titles like “happy, joyful, kind, prayer warrior and woman of God,” but in this article, I would like to shed some light on “the story before the glory” and what the Lord takes me through in my walk with Him.

A lot of women in our generation desire the “glory” without the “story.” In other words, we want the end product without going through the process, but in this walk with Jesus, there are no shortcuts to glory. There is no product without a process.


“Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.”

James 1:2-4 (MSG)


Let me elaborate in a more relatable way ladies; it's like long, bouncy, shiny & soft Brazilian hair. People admire and compliment it, not knowing that the vendor was terrible. It started tangling by the second week, the shedding amount was ridiculous and you did so much just to get to how it is now. Or for my team naturals, who felt like I just spoke in tongues, you know when you see a bomb twist out and you're like “wow that twist out is so defined and fluffy,” not realizing that the girl you're admiring bought a $12 curl wax and spent 2 hours of her previous night to get it like that. Honey, there is a story before the glory. Can I get an amen?

*waits for congregation to respond*

Before any woman of God can ever be deemed as admirable before the public, she has to go through a process. Here are three major stories that I’m sharing, based on my experience with the Lord and His Word. These are stories that I have to go through on a daily basis (process) before the “glory” that everyone on the outside gets to see (product). All of these stories require obedience in order to truly walk out this relationship with the Lord. Before we can be transformed into His image, we have to first let Him in, listen to what He says and respond with a “yes, Lord,” giving him permission to move in his fullness and it reveals that he is truly the Ruler (Lord) of our lives.


“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you?

Luke 6:46 (ESV)


First Story: The story of Holiness

Before salvation, holiness was once a word that I wasn’t really familiar with. When I thought of holiness, I just imagined a halo above Mother Teresa. Holiness simply means “being set apart unto God.”  It’s a war to live in this world as a young Christian female. I’m most often surrounded by a world that forces me to choose between itself and God when it comes to entertainment, fashion and conversations. I literally choose to neither respond to specific texts nor carry along with specific conversations, nor attend specific events because I know that it's not what the Lord has called me to do or be apart of.

The Lord makes us holy by His spirit; Jesus said that He was going to send us The “Holy” Spirit.


“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”

John 14:26 (ESV)


In a world that’s full of “spirituals,” He could’ve just said He was going to send us his Spirit but He added “Holy” meaning His “set apart” Spirit--His Spirit that is not like any other spirit in this world. He sets us apart because He is already set apart.

It says in Philippians 2:13 “For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.”


 “As for us, we can’t help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth.”

2 Thessalonians 2:13 (NLT)


Before any sort of “glory,” you have to allow the Holy Spirit to set you apart from the world.


“So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:13-16 (NLT)


Second Story: The story of Sanctification

Ouch that hurts!

Do you think my heart naturally wakes up everyday and says "Good morning , beautiful birds! Hi beautiful family that I love ever so much! Jesus is awesome! Let me post something encouraging on Instagram today!" Some people are naturally perky, but I'm definitely not. Don’t get me wrong, some days I do wake up happy, but this isn't la la land. Most times I wake up like, "who's this knocking on my door?! ugh I hate waking up early. oh my gosh, I can't believe I have to do that today. Why is my eyeliner still on my eyes. Oh my gosh, it's raining." I have to make decisions everyday to deny myself and carry my cross and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, because when I wake up, my flesh wakes up too. So what do I do? What do you do? KILL IT. How do you kill it? Live by the power of the Holy Spirit, and the weapon of the Spirit is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17)


For if you live by its dictates, you will die. But if through the power of the Spirit you put to death the deeds of your sinful nature, you will live.

Romans 8:13 (NLT)


Sanctification is holiness in action and also working with God on our pursuit of holiness. When God sanctifies you, He goes through areas of your life that don’t look like Him and He molds them to reflect him. Here’s two out of a million examples; one would be as challenging as music. It was a big deal for me because it was painful to relinquish, but I gave it to God. Guess what? The Lord was sanctifying me to reflect Him and eventually I no longer desired to listen to those artists. The other can be as simple as waking up grumpy. As I read the word, the Lord began to renew my mind and show me that everyday is indeed a day that He has made, He is in control of everything and He is with me.

When you read His word and let the Lord in, that's when you will experience the power of God.


“May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”

1 Thessalonians 5:23 (ESV)


Third Story: The story of Surrendering

Despite how perfect my walk with the Lord may seem on social media or in fellowships, the Lord continuously reveals to me my heart, my rebellious ways and my tendencies to not desire to obey, forgive or rejoice in trials. Instead, sometimes I do want to be petty, respond in anger and irritation or text that boy the Lord told me NOT to. Sometimes I do want attention, sometimes I don’t want to lay my life down and sometimes I’m selfish.

Without Jesus and His grace, I might as well be the prodigal daughter every moment of the day.

Despite how perfect I may seem, the Lord reveals layers and layers of brokenness and hurts that I still carry.  But do you know what separates me from who I was yesterday? Jesus. He doesn’t only show me how I’ve fallen short, but He shows me my identity and His love, strength and power.  Jesus empowers me to walk in His righteousness. Jesus’ beauty transforms my rebellion to my surrender. I love Jesus so much, but it’s His love for me that draws my heart to surrender. He’s so good that even in my unrepentant state, He graces me to repent. Repentance simply means turning from sin and turning to God--but before you can do any turning, you have to first surrender. Surrendering is daily; the only way I can be deemed as “admirable” is because I’ve surrendered to the beauty and perfection of Jesus inside of me.

A life laid down is at risk of experiencing Jesus & his power.


“Then Jesus said to his disciples, "If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”

Matthew 16:24 (NLT)


In Conclusion, as a young Christian female I am here to tell you that we haven’t arrived and as long as we're still on this earth, we never will arrive. In this walk with Jesus, there is always a story before the glory. Our glorious end product is to look like Christ. Allow him to take you through the process so you can have your own story and most confidently attain the end product, which is Jesus, your glory.



 
To The Born Again Virgin

I dedicated this blog post to a special sister. You are beautiful inside and out!

-Lamz


A few weeks ago, I got on Instagram and felt like every believer in the world was at #MeetTheBowmans Wedding—literally—my timeline was flooded with pictures and videos of the wedding. I sort of felt jealous. Not because this was the wedding of the year. I mean, it's not like I wanted a Vera Wang gown or bae to sing to me as I came down the aisle. I mean, no biggie. But would my wedding be gloried the same way as this despite the fact that I am not a Virgin?

*gasps*

Yes, church, I know.  

Being in a ministry filled with young adults, who were once living neck deep in sin, but never "went all the way," can have you feeling impure.

Their virginity is a consistent reminder that you are "experienced.” At times we can even feel too unworthy to be in a relationship with someone who is a virgin.

Also, you are sometimes reminded how impure you are when you have casual conversations with the brethren on relationships and someone shares that they prefer to marry a virgin, despite their own scandalous history. Ouch.

 

If that isn’t bad enough, you battle revisiting past memories that leave you feeling dirty all over again, while gagging over the fact that you even put yourself in those predicaments. It hurts, it’s painful. You have external forces coming against you, adding to the internal battle within your mind. It’s suffocating you from obtaining freedom. But I'm here to “Barnabas” you.

 


    Here is encouragement to the Born Again Virgin

1. You are not your past

You were once a sinner, who said “yes” to Jesus and “no” to sin. Your record of sin was erased clean, and God kept no record of it. So “who you slept with? how many times you had sex?” and everything in between was erased! So your past is just that: your past. You may remember it, but your Father in Heaven keeps no record of it. So why are you still letting it define you? Let it go. It has no power over you.

“Absolutely not! How can we who died to sin still live in it?”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:2‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

“For I will be merciful to their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins.”

‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭8:12‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

 

By holding onto your past, you undermine what Jesus did on the cross. He came to see you free and it's time you walk in that freedom.

 

“For we know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that sin’s dominion over the body may be abolished, so that we may no longer be enslaved to sin, since a person who has died is freed from sin’s claims.”

‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:6-7‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away, and look, new things have come.”

‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

“It is for freedom, Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery,”

Galatians 5:1 NIV

2. You can be restored.

 

God is a healer. He raises the dead. He opens the eyes of the blind. He heals the lame to walk. He opens the womb of the barren. He cleansed the lady with the issue of blood. He woke up dry bones. Where am I going? He can and He will restore back your virginity.*


*DISCLAIMER: The focal point of this post is not to share the idea that you become a physical virgin again once you have had sex.  A virgin is described as a person who has not engaged in sexual intercourse. God can and will renew your mind, restore back your purity, and erase yourhistory; making you whole.  So after receiving salvation, you are seen as forgiven and pure because Jesus died for you. This however, does not equate being a physical virgin. Stating that you are one would be misleading and we don't condone lying.


3. You are pure because He is pure.

The world has the own definition of what purity is.

White, bright, and light.

But that’s the world, so how do we become pure?

“You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.”

‭‭John‬ ‭15:3-4‬ ‭HCSB‬‬

God has deemed you pure and declared it over you. Not as a verb, but as a noun. So that is not something your past can dictate, but more so has to do with your current state with and in God. Abide in Him, because outside of Him, you can’t be righteous, nor produce this fruit of righteousness: purity. So rest and trust in Him, where your true identity lies.

***

While you may not be recognized and applauded for fighting for your purity, there is a Father, who lives in your HOLY Temple, that is pleased and honored that you have made efforts to be set apart and practice abstinence. Now that’s something to glorify!


Four Times We Entertained Sin

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin

Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭6‬ NIV

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.

Romans‬ ‭6‬:‭11-14‬ NIV


The day I said yes to Jesus was beautiful. It really was.  In a second, sin was rendered powerless over  me and my old nature was stripped away. In the next second, the Holy Spirit came upon me and I was empowered to fight against sin. But since that glorious day, I’ve realized that there are times where I wasn’t walking in my empowerment to fight sin. I was actually entertaining it as opposed to really rebuking it out of my life . I can’t be alone, right? Can you relate?


Here are four times we have entertained sin

1. When You Drank

Yes, technically, biblically, there aren’t any scriptures that clearly states that Believers can’t take a little sippy sip. Believe me, I looked. You probably thought,

So I am free to drink.”

No.


Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.

Ephesians 5:18


The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20 idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21


So what’s the issue?

If getting drunk leads to a sin, why would it be okay to even drink in the first place?  This is where you’ve entertained the sin. You engaged in  drinking, but not enough for it to manifest into drunkenness. You participated in drinking, however, you stopped before you reaped the consequence of sin: drunkenness.

Even when you drank Martinelli, you could have possible entertained sin. Many believers treat Martinelli, aka overpriced apple cider, as the “Christian alternative” to the turn up. Tell me I’m lying. In reality, this is a non alcoholic beverage, but in our hearts, we react to it the same way we would if we were engaging in drinking alcohol. That’s when we have turned ordinary apple cider into an idol, and it has become a sin. Remember sin is conceived in the heart, before it is birthed in the physical.


It is not for kings, Lemuel—   

   it is not for kings to drink wine,

   not for rulers to crave beer,

lest they drink and forget what has been decreed,

   and deprive all the oppressed of their rights.

Let beer be for those who are perishing,

   wine for those who are in anguish!

Let them drink and forget their poverty

   and remember their misery no more.

Proverbs 31:4-7


Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler;

   whoever is led astray by them is not wise.

Proverbs 20:1


2. When You Kissed

Yes, I know, again, there is no scriptures stating you can’t kiss. Once again, I’ve checked. I kid.

We can agree that kissing is a sexual act. Right? I mean, you don’t go around kissing anybody and I’m sure you wouldn’t want your significant other to be thinking they can kiss anybody else. Let’s go to the scriptures for biblical reference on this matter.


 


You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.  But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

Matthew 5:27-28


Jesus, you know the guy we all aim to be like, was telling the crowd, that although the law states you shouldn’t commit adultery, adultery starts from within the heart. He was saying that adultery can happen in the physical, as well as the  spiritual.

Let’s apply this to a real life situation. Let’s say two individuals (1 man and 1 woman) engaged in kissing. Question: Did lust come before or after the kiss? Lust came before, therefore, kissing was the manifestation of the lust. Kissing was the fruit bore from the seeds of lust. You see before you act, you must first conceive the thought in your heart to give birth to the act. Thinking precedes acting.


And we all know kissing leads to other things :)

3. When You Used Replacement Words

Believers are known for speaking a language unknown to others. Besides tongues, we speak Christianese. We have nice, encouraging phrases that sound pleasing to the ear, but when used in a rude manner with intent to harm, can be considered equal to a curse word.


Take for instance, a brother or sister in Christ rubbed you the wrong way. Naturally, you would be upset or taken back by their actions. Boiling with emotions, you wouldn’t curse them out. No, that’s not Christ-like. So what do you do? You respond back with “I’ll pray for you,”  “You’re blessed,” “Praise God for your life,” or any Christianese saying that you can conjure up. Although it sounds nice and caring, we all know your intent when saying it. You planned to harm the person in your heart. As oppose to harboring bitterness in your heart, be mature and address the issue then and there or as soon as possible, in a godly manner. No need to suppress the emotions and disguise them for what they aren’t. Let your yes be yes and your no be no.

4. When You Watched An Inappropriate Movie & Show

We don’t partake in sexual intercourse outside the covenant of marriage. Simple fact that everyone is aware of, not really a secret. However, that doesn’t stop most of us from thinking about it. You see, sometimes, in the battle for our purity, we don’t fight. We enable the enemy to plant seeds of lust and sexual immorality in our minds. The number one way they plant seeds: what we let our eyes see. The eyes are gateways to the body.


The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light.

Matthew 6:22 NIV


Now, if you are feeding your eyes things that aren’t holy and pure, don’t be surprised when it starts to bear fruits in your life. This is where you entertained sin. Yes, you aren’t partaking in sex, but watching entertainment that offers sex scenes, allows you to see sexual acts take place, without you engaging in them. Does that sound familiar? It sort of sounds like porn. Soft porn, but porn nonetheless. Don’t entertain this. Fight this and fight for your purity.


So in the battle with sin, remember Jesus won the battle when He rendered sin powerless on the cross. But also remember not to entertain it. Give sin no leeway in your life and discern all appearances of evil.


If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.

Genesis 4:7  (NIV)

 

Therefore,

“Come out from them

   and be separate,

says the Lord.

Touch no unclean thing,

   and I will receive you.”

2 Corinthians 6:17