THE COMMON THREAD

I find it interesting the commonalities that all of humanity has stored in our genetic inheritance. Research has shown that all cultures begin with words for color as black and white. If the culture adds a word for a third color, it is always red. All humans, for example, register the same basic facial expressions for fear, disgust, anger, sadness, shame, pride, and happiness. Children born without sight display emotion on their faces the same way as children born with sight. All humans divide time into past, present, and future. Just about all of mankind initially fear spiders and snakes the same way they threatened our ancestors thousands of years ago. All human cultures and societies produce and express art. They all, in theory disapprove murder and rape. They all without exception dream of harmony and worship what they know as God.

It is not by mistake that we share so many traits across such a great gulf of miles and geography. All children fear strangers and prefer sugar solutions to plain water from birth. All mankind enjoy stories, tales, and proverbs. In all societies men engage in more group violence and travel further from home than women. In all societies, husbands are on average older than their wives. People everywhere rank one another according to prestige. People everywhere divide the world between those inside their group and those outside their group. The catch is that these tendencies are all stored in deep place below our surface awareness. None of us live in a universal thing called ‘culture’… We live in specific cultures which differ from one another.

In some cultures drunken men get into fights, but in some cultures they almost never do. In some cultures drunken men grow more amorous, but in some cultures they do not. Although we share so many common traits – we also differ in how we steward these freedoms of conscience and choice. God has created us to know Him and has placed that desire in all of humanity. Within these choices and if we’re honest with ourselves, humanity understands the culture that it is creating, changing, and is promoting as the days unfold. Will we create a culture of goodness and love of our Creator? Or, will we will continue to promote cultural behaviors that are self-serving, self-aggrandizing and self-idolatrous?

We share so much in common but we must wake up to the fact of our increasing social, cultural, and institutional polarization and ask, ‘why’? God’s not dead…He has always been there to love and help us individually and nationally if we would only ask. Could it be that a culture of asking for help from God is the answer to humanity’s ills? Individuals and nations that refuse to bend the knee have always collapsed. We are crying out about many wrongs in the world today rather than crying out to God whom is the holder of our cultural inheritance as human beings.

WAVING GOODBYE TO JIM CROW

It’s important to note that the parallels applied in this message are not to resurrect the past or to inflict salt in unhealed wounds. However, the parallels that I hope to shed light on are historical truth and a vivid picture of protectionism and associated systems or institutions built upon the foundation of control, fear, and deception. The Kingdom of God is advancing upon the institution of “religion” which is a far greater enemy of peace than humanism/secularism as history speaks voluminously. The New Jerusalem is quaking in the heavens for a glorious decent upon the Earth and the people of God are rightly connecting to birth, purpose, and liberty which is the antithesis of systematized religion and the current social-political climate. The church which is residing in Babylon, yet not permitting Babylon to reside in it will become our mandate as foretold events continue to unfold. Many Christians are unknowing residents of Babylon. Thus, far too many have forfeited God’s gift of rest and deceive themselves by placing their trust and identity in careers or feats of accomplishment within both secular and religious structures. The truth is that the natural Jerusalem is being replaced by a New Jerusalem and with this said, we should be careful not to be a resident of the one that is being replaced.

In parallel – after the Civil War, white Southerners, out protectionism of existing institutions moved quickly to eliminate black people’s new-found freedom. They wanted to return blacks, in effect, to their prewar status as slaves. In order to do this legally, they passed new laws, that appeared on the surface, to be neutral and fair to all races. However, these laws were actually designed specifically to repress black people which were now full citizens by birthright.

At first, these laws were called Black Codes. But because of their deceptive nature, they eventually came to be known as the laws of “Jim Crow.” Jim Crow was the name of a character in a minstrel show and minstrel shows were popular during that time in history. Some of these shows would feature white actors in “black face,” or black make-up. Because of this, the name Jim Crow represented the fact that Black Codes were based on disguise and agenda.

Many parts of south began to establish Black Codes immediately after “freedom” was proclaimed. For example, the South Carolina Constitution of 1865, passed only a few months after the Civil War ended, failed to grant African-Americans the right to vote (being part of a corporate voice). It also retained racial qualifications for the legislature. Consequently, black people had no power to combat these unfair laws via the law itself! Some of the common Black Codes in state constitutions that were passed around this time stated:

“No person of color shall migrate into and reside in this state, unless, within twenty days after his arrival within the same, he shall enter into a bond with two freeholders as sureties.”

“Servants shall not be absent from the premises without the permission of the master.”

“Servants must assist their masters “in the defense of his own person, family, premises, or property.”

“No person of color could become an artisan, mechanic, or shopkeeper unless he obtained a license from the judge of the district court – a license that could cost $100 or more.”

The interpretation of these historical events is a type and shadow of the western church’s condition in its current state and vividly frames the spiritual battles that lie ahead in becoming a spotless, free, and glorious church. Defending and rationalizing our condition as well as our past only expounds the church’s and our personal need for reformation as history speaks for itself. Minstrel shows, or should I say: “ministry shows” are still popular today with make-up and masks hiding the genuine article of Christ-likeness. On the same hand, not much has changed in regard to “laws” that seem neutral and fair on the surface, but actually enslave and repress the true work and power of the Holy Spirit and the liberty the Lord provides. The modern church also has its codes of works, tithes, titles, and expectations that in the flesh define spiritual qualifications but fail to recognize spiritual power and maturity which are gifts of grace. Truly, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. The bondage of religion is understood by many. But just as important to understand, is the fact that many tares are in the field that desire to sufficate and overtake our freedoms to protect the religious establishment.

The Emancipation Proclamation was a finished work just as the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ was a finished work. Yet, man cannot help but to discriminate or prejudice in the form of a clergy/laity system and a set of controlling values that contradict the finished work of Christ and His proclamation against the myriad forms of spiritual slavery. The church from the time of Constantine has embraced a religious structure that mirrors a slave – slaveholder mentality. The organizations of flesh are structured by hierarchy which demands a slave-like bondage of “servant-hood spent” and “compensation demanded” rather than Holy Spirit ordained ability and anointing. Much of the church is chained and shackled with denominational membership requirements, monetary requirements for blessing, and dead works rather than simply abiding in the Kingdom of God and rightly connecting to the Body of Christ. Even today, people seem to forget that America (where most reading this message reside) was founded upon individual liberty, freedom, and that every man was on equal footing in regard to opportunity and destiny (both naturally and spiritually). No longer was an individual man subject to the rules of hierarchical or monarchical-like systems and their extractive claims. But today, I am embarrassed by the begging, deception, and manipulation of television ministries, radio ministries, and even local churches. Maybe, just maybe, it’s time for self proclaimed ministers to get a real job or get real with everyday life. Islam is the fasting growing religion in the world and we need to start asking “why?” Maybe, it’s because modern Christianity has lost touch and sight of the purpose and meaning of the cross which is unconditional love…And unconditional love is the antithesis to all forms of bondage and slavery.

The Kingdom of God is descending upon the Earth and those called into this new “City” are prophetic forerunners of spiritual understanding. Again, anointing and maturity is not based on tenure, tithes, and works – It is based on hearing the voice of God and acting upon the leading of the Holy Spirit. Being “filled” with the Holy Spirit is a free gift of grace upon salvation. Being “led” by the Holy Spirit is a personal choice and the crux of our power and position as the church. Being filled provides you and I many opportunities, but being led is the birthing of obedience which not only leads to opportunities – it ultimately rewards us with victory when heeded.

Jesus does not need to come down with the New Jerusalem to defeat Babylon (the essence or fullness of slavery) – He already came down and defeated all enemies and made them His footstool. The church does not need a second or bodily coming of Christ to realize victory over Babylon. You and I are the second coming of Christ! Christ in you, the hope of glory is the second coming and power of Christ manifested in the world which is representative in Pentecost – the second feast. Christ’s bodily or physical return will be the third coming which is representative in Tabernacles – the third and final feast. Jesus (the giver and proclaimer of freedom and liberty) will return upon all of His enemies being defeated. This is amazing since you and I have been ordained as a part and fulfillment of this promise which will be accomplished in YOU!

Prophetic Statements:

That we love unconditionally and recognize that the greatest cross to bare is to love our enemies when persecuted. We are no longer slaveholders who demand warped and emotional justice to satisfy fleshly desires, emotional and economic gain We no longer desire retribution and a giving of a greater punishment than what we have experienced or endured ourselves. The temptation of humanity to execute punitive damage rather than forgiveness is the fuel that fans the vicious cycle of retribution and war.

That we pray for those who persecute us and whom try to inflict bondage upon us. We must recognize that we are a “friend” to all people with eternal significance hanging in the balance. Jesus, now calls us “friends” with purpose and significance. Genuine friends will continue to express love and a guidance of truth even when slighted and slandered. We need not be enslaved…But we must direct those in love and truth who are ensnared within the social and religious institutions of bondage.

That we hold the value of relationships as our primary purpose in life. In relationship with God as our starting point – It’s not so much what God can do for us, but who He is that truly matters. God’s promises are not based on how hard we pray, how much we tithe, or how good we think we act. His promises are based on who He is and the Bible states that He is love. With genuine “love” comes all forms of provision and care. We can only experience the abundant life through relationship and the understanding of who He truly is. Similarly, it is who people are and our willingness to meet them where they’re at – just as Christ meets you where you’re at.