The stirring John Legend written song, Glory, he and rapper, Common, perform with a little help from a choir as the theme of the movie, Selma, has risen up in my heart again in the present version of the ongoing black American quest for racial acceptance. Well captured in the song and the current news images of students passionately protesting long tolerated systemic patterns of racial mistreatment in American society, its campuses and streets is the deeply troubling pathos involved in continuing to fight the many centuries long battle that cannot seem to be finally won. Even so, as the song asserts, the fight continues to be won at last when the Glory comes.
Glory is a fitting close to the film biopic, Selma, that chronicles the challenges and adversities slain Civil Rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dealt with to safely and peacefully complete a march over the Edmond Pettus Bridge into the now famous Alabama city in 1965. Such marches were the cornerstone of King’s purposeful strategy of nonviolent resistance to America’s legally sanctioned racial discrimination against blacks that also involved students peacefully sitting in at segregated eating establishments across the South. The marchers and protesters stood up carrying in their hearts the long held aspiration of our slave forefathers for freedom, equality and justice.
Recently seeing tears on some faces of University of Missouri black students as they sang, prayed and expressed themselves vocally to protest incidents of racism they felt were ignored or not considered important enough by school officials to investigate coupled with the sometimes very angry marches of those that protest under the banner, “Black Lives Matter,” caused me to easily and compassionately empathize with them. Transported to my childhood a generation ago when the activities of the Civil Rights Movement unfolded in real time on my family’s black and white television screen, I too began to tear up at the sadness that this seemingly easy to resolve struggle continues.
While I do not find every single sentiment expressed in Glory biblical, I nevertheless, greatly appreciate Legend’s recognition and incorporation of the predominant Christian faith of our people going back to slavery. Also, his song includes the fight for what should be common human decency as just, an encouragement to peaceful protest, respect for Jesus Christ as victorious after a public crucifixion and of course, the exclusively Christian hope of His glorious return to make things right as themes. In my mind, these themes enable the song to be an appropriate final anthem for the struggle to a generation forced to face the reality this fallen world will not of its own do right.
Indeed, since Legend’s song invites the wisdom of the elders into the continuing struggle in this generation, I step up. I qualify to do so now after nearly sixty years of experience being black and having the requisite mental and emotional battle scars from wounds suffered in the struggle with secular white as well as professed Christians that practice racism. First, understand as God has judged and declares in His Word, all human beings are sinners unwilling and unable to line ourselves up with His perfect standard (Romans 3:9-20). Nevertheless, God in love, grace and mercy has provided deliverance and help for the willing in Jesus Christ (John 3:16-21; Romans 3:21-26).
Obstinate white men guilty as sinners have resisted doing right from slavery because racism is not just about skin color, but guarding selfish privileges and opportunities--economic and otherwise. In light of this, consider also your generation’s wholesale embrace of the world’s sinfully invented political correctness, tolerance, multiculturalism, gender and sexual equality and how these concepts have not brought the long quest of our slave forefathers to full realization. In fact, in spite of these concepts and a very morally tolerant African-American President, your generation is still marching to protest racism! A holy God is constrained to help because so many marching are in rebellion against Him as willful sinners (Proverbs 14:34; Jeremiah 5:20-29; Romans 1:18-2:11).1
Second, understand that the resistance in guilty white men to do right and your own rebellion is not only driven by sin within, but outside forces are at work too. Ultimately, the struggle of our and all people that long for a world of love, acceptance, peace and justice is opposed by fallen angels led by Satan (Ephesians 6:12). This is why finally, the struggle will continue until the Day I am pleased to say is near; the Day when Jesus Christ, the Glory of God comes in wrath to insert Himself and His Kingdom into this world (Revelation 1:7-8, 6:12-17, 11:15-19, 19:11-16)!
Wholeheartedly come back to the biblical faith of our Christian slave and free forefathers so that you will not suffer the fate of those who mistreat you and all sinners before it is too late! For the kingdoms of fallen men and angels will be destroyed, the victory of Heaven justly won and His righteous reign rolled out! 2 Those who waited on Christ living as it pleases Him (1 Thessalonians 1:6-10, 2:10-12) will joyfully stand in that Day with elect Jews in His triumphant, eternal Kingdom (Isaiah 25:6-10a).3
1 Read the June 2015 blogs under the category, Black History.
2 Read the July 26, 2015 blog repost, Final Deliverance From The Evil Oppressor under the category, Encouragement.
3 With a learner’s heart, I challenge my fellow black American readers to set aside the convictions you may have from the worldview of a victim, to consider a biblical world-
view of the enslavement and suffering of our people presented on our From Slavery To Victory Web Site; reading all the way through the brief presentation to the Vic-
tory Page. Follow this link to be taken directly to the presentation: https://fromslaverytovictory.org/web/JourneyStop1of5/tabid/1363/Default.aspx.
The Holy Spirit is absolutely critical to the life and perseverance of Christians in these latter days as He has been from the beginning. All that God allows going forward separates the wheat from the chaff; the faithful from the unfaithful so that immediately before the full outpouring of His wrath upon the disobedient, the surviving tested, faithful and true Christian remnant are glorified with the bypass of death to experience instantaneous transformation to immortality (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 1 Thessalonians 4:15-17)! They proceed from life to life by the agency of the Holy Spirit who indwells them and through whom they persevered in hope to that glorious moment.
Be reminded again in this edited 2012 blog repost the Lord led me to write that Christianity and the Christian life is no mere religion of manmade invention. God has marvelously revealed the divine reality and Kingdom through the life and work of His Son, Jesus Christ; work that saves and baptizes men into the life giving, dynamic activity of the Holy Spirit (John 1:1-34)! With all thanksgiving and praise, I rejoice in the triune God for having become a partaker in the divine nature and what that has meant for me in a journey that approaches forty years (2 Peter 1:2-4)! I am not worthy of this highest of honors to contain in this earthen vessel the exceedingly great treasure of the great “I AM,” (Exodus 3:13-14; John 8:48-59, 2 Corinthians 4:7, NKJV). Bless our God this Thanksgiving, you saints!
Originally Posted July 29, 2012
It is not just for some small and insignificant reason that the apostle Paul commands members of the church at Thessalonica, “Do not quench the Spirit,” (1 Thessalonians 5:19, NKJV). The Holy Spirit is the Christian’s source of new birth (John 3:1-8), eternal, spiritual life (John 6:63), instruction (John 14:26) and power (Acts 1:8) in Christ. Among the analogies of the Spirit’s presence and work in the believer are “rivers of living water” (John 7:37-39) and “fire” (Acts 2:1-4)! The Spirit of God is as elemental to the spiritual life of a Christian as oxygen is to the body. No Holy Spirit, no sign of divine life or salvation (Romans 8:5-9). This is also made clear in my book, The Strong Man Of God: Back To Basics.
As I was taught from the Word by the Holy Spirit in my spiritual infancy, so, I have faithfully taught: the Christian life is a supernatural life that He leads, controls and empowers! The Holy Spirit must do this or we cannot be Christians much less fulfill the will and instruction of Christ that His disciples do the miraculous works He did and in greater number (John 14:12-14). The Lord instructs His apostles (minus Judas Iscariot) that obedience out of love for Him would pave the way for the Holy Spirit to be sent to them as a Helper (John 14:15-17, 16:5-15).
The Holy Spirit equips us to do the will of Christ. If we abide in Christ by faith, we will live and bear fruit in our service to Him through the Spirit. The Father will even prune us to bear more fruit. But if one will not abide--having quenched the Spirit and being fruitless, the Father cuts him as a withered branch from Christ the true vine and he is thrown into eternal fire on the day of judgment (John 15:1-8; Revelation 20:11-15).
All of the foregoing being true, how is it that for the majority of history after the close of the apostolic period, increasingly, the religious educated elite have attempted to dam up the living water and quench the fire of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers and the churches contrary to the apostle Paul’s command? They have done this with high sounding academic pronouncements and writings that in effect render the Holy Spirit a back seat participant and servant of the activities of outwardly pious, but flesh driven men practicing religion. They declare the Spirit does not talk to men, do miracles through them or still empower all of the New Testament listed spiritual gifts anymore.
This gives another insight into why many Western churches are stagnant, declining and dying with this kind of teaching going on. As I recently wrote, it is to the glory of God that the Third Person of the triune God has worked around human religious folly to accomplish His mission in the Gospel anyway (see Praise For The Almighty God, September 13, 2015 under the category, “Glory To God!")!
Moreover, in a grand display of mercy, the Holy Spirit has also periodically (and strategically) in history poured out renewing fire on the churches in the wake of anointed preaching by men such as Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield in what were called Great Awakenings nearly three centuries ago. And while there may have been some other breakouts of revival here and there since including the 1906 Azusa Street event in Los Angeles that has given rise to the fast growing Charismatic Movement with its accompanying spiritual sensationalism and abuses, parching spiritual drought and cold deadness otherwise grip so many of the churches large and small today.
No human effort can remedy this; only Holy Spirit empowered renewal can bring about the drought busting rains and rekindled fire of revival Christians and our dying churches need. It is time we begin to earnestly seek Him in all confession, repentance and heartfelt petition (Nehemiah 9:1-37; Psalm 51:1-17; Acts 4:23-31).
In being revived, you will be able to understand the prophetic urgency of the strong man of God message and cause. In being revived, surely you will rise up from your religious diddling and aspire to become strong men and great women of God. In being revived, now you can see again the awesome greatness of our God in battle array ready to work through us in all signs, wonders and displays of power to engage and frustrate the enemy as did our Lord instead of the other way around! In being revived, you will understand all of the New Testament spiritual gifts are intended by God to enable His sons to serve His purposes in the Church until Christ returns.
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