A few weeks I watched several documentaries about the festival that never happened. One of the things focused on were the models who helped promote this festival on their social media. They called them influencers because they were able to increase awareness simply by posting a picture.
A simple picture. Or just one word. That’s all it took for people to buy into the idea of being on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean listening to music, eating good food and enjoying good drinks-partying. So here is my question, how much influence are we having on the people in our lives? Do people look to us for the picture or the word that will cause them to buy into the idea of eternal life?
The models were able to get people to envision themselves in a better place than where they currently were. They hadn’t touched the beach. Tasted the food or drinks. Felt the warm air but they wholeheartedly believed in what they were sold. That’s how much influence we as Christians should have. Who we are, how we live, what we speak should make people envision themselves living a life filled by the holy spirit.
In the end the festival never happened. The people who paid their money to attend the festival were swindled but it wasn’t just them. The models were also swindled. The awesome thing about God is that He never swindles anyone. The glory of the life He promises will never return void. There is never a fear of leading people to Jesus because He will never fail.
Sunday’s sermon was about standing when you’ve done all you can do and it was taken from Ephesians 6:10-18. It seems so simple but it’s often the hardest thing to do. Standing will look different for each and everyone of us but no matter how it looks it’s the one of the strongest things we can do.
Stay strong in this new year. If your standing means putting your feet on the floor…stand. If your standing means today you took a shower…stand. If your standing means going to a job you no longer enjoy until something better comes along…stand. If your standing means today you hugged your children…stand.
Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 NKJV)
I spend way too much time on Facebook. It has become one of the biggest wastes of my time. I find myself checking it not necessarily to see if anyone has responded to something I posted because to be honest I don’t post all that much, but I find myself watching videos, scrolling through my news feed, reading posts in the groups I’m connected to. Sometimes it’s good because I can get inspiration but most of the time it’s because it causes me to focus on the wrong things.
The same thing has happened to this world with Nike’s endorsement deal with Colin Kaepernick. There is so much controversy about Nike’s endorsement and Colin’s decision to take a knee that those have become the issue. But those aren’t really the issue. Colin didn’t take a knee because he was tired. Colin didn’t take a knee because he had to tie his shoe. He took a knee in protest of the lives that have been taken at the hands of people who have abused their power.
No one however is talking about the reason why he took a knee which is exactly what Satan wants. His desire is for us to focus on everything except the issue so that we never deal with whats truly going on and so that we will never heal. His mission is to kill, steal and destroy by any means necessary including deception & distraction.
He won’t come right out and tell us that what he’s presenting is wrong but he’ll present in such a way that we won’t know it’s wrong until it’s too late. This country has been teetering on the edge for so long that it’s only a matter of time before we implode. We are never going to be what God intended for us to be if we don’t recognize that slavery, bigotry, hatred and murder was and still is a part of our make-up.
Our President talks about being great again however if we have never acknowledged the injustice that has taken place since the moment we stepped foot on this land we will never be great. Greatness isn’t just given it’s earned and you can’t earn it without sacrifice. Letting go of preconceived ideas of entitlement, acknowledging mistakes, asking for forgiveness and working toward restoration.
So let’s begin the healing process. Not by distraction of the Nike-Colin Kaepernick deal but by looking at our history, seeking to understand and working toward forgiveness.
What causes us to hold onto hope? How do we know that things will work out when they seem insurmountable? How do we hold onto our faith? These are questions that I’ve asked myself over the course of my life and as recently as yesterday. It seems that when I’m faced with problems I get what my Pastor calls “spiritual amnesia”. This occurs when we forget how much God has done for us in the past.
I am in the process of finishing a reading plan on biblical meditation and one of the day’s scripture reading was on remembering our history with God. One of the verses they highlighted was Psalm 77:3-12 which speaks to just this idea. The writer was lamenting about not seeing God work in his situation and questioned if he has lost favor with God. But by the end he remembered just how much God had done for him and he concentrated on God’s goodness as whole.
Honestly, I am constantly telling myself to think back on everything that God has done for me and think about how far I’ve come just because of His goodness. This is a hard-fought battle for me because I can burrow deep in my mind and find the darkest corner and stay there. Not healthy.
One of my favorite scriptures is Philippians 4:6-8 which talks about not giving in to anxiety but praying to God about the things that are making us anxious and to think on things that are positive which includes God’s goodness. If we focus on the positive instead of on the negative things will get better. Maybe not right now. Maybe the situation itself won’t change but how we view it, how we deal with it will change.
We then have hope. We believe in others & ourselves. We most importantly believe God’s word and can continue to walk with the confidence that we can face anything.
I’ve heard people say before that they don’t celebrate birthdays and every time I hear it I wonder why. Why not celebrate the day God gave you life? Why not celebrate another year that you were able to live? Why not rejoice in who you are and in who you are becoming?
And I wonder if it’s just birthdays or if it’s other important dates. Do they celebrate anniversaries? Do they remember loved ones who have passed away? Do they stop to think about the importance of Christmas and Easter or are those just regular days to them as well?
Maybe they don’t want the attention to be placed all on them. I can understand that. Maybe they think having a huge party with lots of gifts seems unnecessary. I can understand that as well. But what if that day is spent thanking God for everything He has brought you through over the last year of your life.
I can just imagine how God feels as the day of your birth gets closer and closer and He’s sitting in Heaven in anticipation of How you will celebrate the day you were born and you just treat it like any other day.
That to me seems incredibly selfish-treating that day as any other day and not acknowledging it as the day God gave you purpose by giving you life. Please don’t get me wrong or misunderstand what I’m saying. Everyday in our lives is important but why not just step back, and relish in the fact that God thought so much of you and what you could become that He felt the world needed you. Each day, each month, each year you are here is an opportunity to thank Him for that life.
How humbling and honoring to think of your birthday in that way.