The Misappropriation of Jamal Bryant

You may have heard that Jamal Bryant, a well-known, Maryland pastor, used the phrase, “These h–s ain’t loyal!” in a recent (June/2014) sermon, which caused a controversy–when is it okay to use worldly lyrics to teach a message in church? The phrase was taken from Chris Brown’s (dancer and rapper) song “Loyal.” Many people were offended by the terminology “h–s” and feel the lyrics are both sexist and derogatory.

I had never heard of the song “Loyal” by Chris Brown, let alone knew the lyrics, prior to this controversy. There were probably others who were present that day that had not heard of the song either. Imagine that you’re in church and you have just followed the pastor’s cue and nudged the lady next to you and said, “They should have listened to me!”. Then, the pastor yells, “These h–s ain’t loyal!” What would you think? How would you feel?

I understand that Bryant was using popular culture to frame the message of loyalty to steer men toward Godly, anointed women and not worldly women (prostitutes). I get that; but teaching a message, at the expense of women, is both counterproductive and problematic.

Using Chris Brown’s (although a talented entertainer but who is, arguably, best known for assaulting Rihanna) lyrics subliminally puts Bryant in the company with Brown, even though this was probably not Bryant’s intention–a position that no man, let alone a pastor, should want to put himself in. Some may argue that Bryant was only talking about a “certain” type of woman. Calling any woman a h– in church is not much different than rappers subjugating all women to b—–s. Let’s encourage men and women at church.

Ironically, Bryant’s message teaches men to stay away from worldly women, but it appears that Bryant is not able to stay away from the world (in his messages) himself. Either we’re in the world, or we’re not.

We walk by faith,
LaTanya Davis

“Real” Love

After listening to Evangelist Le Fridge’s radio program (INSPIRED to go HIGHER on KPRO1570AM–Inland Empire) on LOVE a few weeks ago and reading DoQuoi Greene’s (aka “The Duke”) blog post, “I Really Want the Chance to Love You” (May 29, 2013), I was inspired to write this post on LOVE:

love-inspirational-daily

As Evangelist Le Fridge shared on her program, the Bible portrays four types of love, eros, storge, philia and agape:

Eros
Eros is Greek for sensual. This is the physical love between a husband and a wife and involves sexual relations to bond spiritually and emotionally. (Think Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.) The Book of Song of Solomon portrays this type of physical love.

Storge
Storge (pronounced STOR-jay) is the Greek word for family. This love is portrayed as a very strong love–the strong bond–between family, sisters and brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc., and can be seen in the love that Abraham had for his sons (especially Joseph), the strong love that Abraham had for his nephew Lot, and the strong love that Ruth had for Naomi.

Philia
Philia is the Greek word for brotherly love (as in Philiadelphia–the city of brotherly love). This type of love represents the bond between a close friend or friends. In the Bible, we see this type of love between David and Absalom. It also represents a benevolent type of love–when a person commits a random act of kindness, for no apparent reason, out of the goodness of their heart–not wanting anything in return.

Agape
Agape love–a divine love, is the highest of all the loves. Christ showed this type of love to the world in John 3:16, when he gave his life for the world (you and me). This type of love is exemplified in 1 Corinthians–Chapter 13:

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

As The Duke points out in his post,

At the end of the day, everyone wants to be loved by somebody! Most people want to feel love and want to be loved so much by someone until you feel like you’re the most important person in that person’s world.

(This brought to mind Mary J. Blidge’s early 1990s song “Real Love,” wherein Ms. Blidge sings about looking for a “real” love.)

The way I see it, everyone does experience real love in one form or another–storge, philia or eros. Real love forms a strong bond, whether it is a strong bond between family members (relatives) or a strong bond between a husband or wife.

We all have some type of real love in our lives, whether we recognize it or not. It’s important that we recognize and appreciate and nurture the love that we already have in our lives. God is love; therefore, all love is ordained by God.

This tweet captures the essence of what I am talking about:

Too many of us are ignoring the real love that God has blessed us with to enrich and fortify our lives because the world says being married is supposed to be the ultimate goal in life. (And we wonder why the divorce rate is so high–even in the church.) As Believers, we should question everything the world says, does or promotes. What does Jesus have to say about the matter? In this case, what does Jesus have to say about marriage?

I am going to go against the grain right here and suggest that while every Believer is guaranteed unconditional–agape–love from God, not everyone is guaranteed the eros type of love. You can’t “find” eros love, if God has not ordained it for you. The truth of the matter is that real love comes from God (and he may bless you with eros love, or he may not). Therefore, we should not neglect or reject other types of love solely for the eros type of love because, the truth be told, all of us are not destined to be married.

In Matthew 19:10, when the disciplines said, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry,” Jesus said:

‘Only those whom God helps’ Mathew 19:11

This scripture suggests that “God helps” those who are NOT married, which is the exact opposite of what the world teaches–you are not more blessed if you are married. Remember, the Apostle Paul and Jesus were not married.

And yes, as a single person, you can still respect the institution of marriage; Jesus was single and he upheld the institution of marriage.

We walk by faith,
LaTanya Davis

No Horoscopes, Please!

My people are ruined because they don’t know what’s right or true. Hosea 4:6 MSG

We (Believers) walk by faith NOT horoscopes!. I am convinced that many Believers don’t know what’s right or true when it comes to horoscopes and astrology–that delving in horoscopes and astrology is entertaining evil spirits. Many of you that follow me on Twitter, know that I am not fond of, don’t like, I hate horoscopes!

The Word tells me that it’s okay to hate evil–anything that is not of God:

God loves all who hate evil. And those who love him he keeps safe; snatches them from the grip of the wicked. Psalm 97:10

We have to learn to hate things that are evil–anything that is not of God, to protect our spirits.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines evil as: morally reprehensible, causing harm, marked by misfortune.

I hate it when a new person follows me and when I view their timeline, it’s full of tweets about horoscopes. Or, when I’ve been following someone for a while, and they slip retweets of horoscopes, right along with their tweets of God and faith. We have to be aware of the enemy’s devices, no matter how subtle they are.

Christians and horoscopes do not go together–Christians are to walk by faith and model Christ; following horoscopes is the exact opposite–following Satan and accepting his lies about yourself. We are to believe what the Word says about us, not what some horoscope says about us. Whose report are you going to believe?

Deuteronomy 18:10; 12 warns us:

…And do not let your people practice fortune-telling, or use sorcery, or interpret omens, or engage in witchcraft. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord.

Most people think that it’s cute; but the way I see it, there is nothing cute or innocent about witchcraft. It’s a device that the enemy uses to creep into our lives–to get into our spirit. Horoscopes take the glory, intended for God, and gives it to the enemy. Horoscopes are lethal for Believers because they will kill, steal and destroy you–spiritually. It’s a spiritual attack that operates the same way as an addiction.

Why else would a person feel compelled to tweet things of faith and God; and then, turn around and tweet about horoscopes?

Horoscopes make it seem like we’re all alike:

We’re not all alike! Saying that everyone that is a Pisces thinks alike is analogous to saying that all black people act a certain way, or all white people act a certain way. God made all of us unique, according to the plan he has for our lives. And, God’s plan for our lives won’t hurt or harm us (Jeremiah 29:11) in any way.

Horoscopes are morally reprehensible (evil) as they go directly against God, (only God knows your future) and they will cause your destruction, which is the intent of the enemy.

No horoscopes, please!

We walk by faith,
LaTanya Davis

My Two Friends

If you’ve been to church in the last decade or so, you’ve probably noticed that there is a part of the service called “Praise and Worship.” Have you ever wondered what’s the difference between praise and worship? You’ve probably noticed that the songs that are sang during the Praise portion are different from the songs in the Worship portion–the tempo of the songs during the Praise portion are usually fast and upbeat. During the Worship phase, the tempo is much slower.

Psalm 150:1-2 NLT encourages us to praise the Lord at church:

Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heaven! Praise him for his mighty works; praise his unequaled greatness.

The key for the Praise portion of the service is in verse 2: “Praise him for his mighty works.” When we praise God, we’re thanking him for loving us, the things he’s doing or has already done in our lives–keeping us safe, blessing us with friends and family, providing an abundance of food to eat, giving us a job that pays our bills, blessing us with children, and some of us with grandchildren and great grandchildren, blessing our children, and the list goes on and on.

Psalm 150:6 NLT tell us to:

Let everything that breathes sing praises to the Lord! Praise the Lord!

Now, when we’re worshipping God, it doesn’t have anything to do with what he’s done for you; We’re just praising him for who he is and his presence–to be in his presence.

The difference between Praise and Worship would be like having two friends, one named Praise and the other named Worship. Now, everything’s good with Praise because they’re always doing things for you. You don’t even have to verbally say anything, they just know. if you have a need, whatever the need may be, your rent paid, need some of your bills paid, when you’re feeling low, they’re right there giving you words of encouragement. If you’re lonely, they’ll stop by and keep you company. I could go on and on with this, but I am sure you get the picture.

It’s different with your friend Worship though. There’s something about Worship that makes you just want to be around them. You don’t care what you’re doing or not doing. If you just talk a walk or take a ride around the block, you’re good. Its something about Worship’s presence that you just like spending time with them.

This is the difference between Praise and Worship. You need and want both types of friends, but one friendship is not based on what they can do for you or what they’ve done for you. It’s based on the person–who they are.

We walk by faith,
LaTanya Davis
Author of RETURN TO SENDER, a memoir
Like me on Facebook to find out more about my upcoming memoir.

God Is Up To Something!

Abraham was 75 years old when God called him out of Canaan–a city that worshipped and served idols. When God is calling you for greatness, you will be isolated–your anointing has to be protected. God was calling Abraham out of the world so that he could be used for his glory.

When God calls you out, you’ll find yourself in a totally different environment–a place you’ve never been before (an unfamiliar place), a place you’re not used to (an uncomfortable place), a place where you’re different (or doing something totally different from everyone around you), a place where you must depend on God and no one else (no one else can or is willing to help you).

As painful and uncomfortable as this place may be for you, be encouraged! God is not calling you out for nothing! God is up to something! God has a plan, and his plan is always for your good!

For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

This place where you are now is just a test to see where you are with him. (Just like any other relationship where, every once in a while, the relationship will be tested to see where you are with the other person.) Do you trust him?

In the Book of Genesis, we see how God tested Abraham with Abraham’s beloved Isaac. God just wanted to know if Abraham trusted him because where he was taking Abraham was going to require complete trust in Him.

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Hebrews 11:6

Abraham proved his diligence by his obedience. Once God saw that Abraham trusted him and had great faith in him, God gave Abraham the Promise:

I will certainly bless you, I will multiply your descendants beyond number, like the stars in the sky and the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will conquer the cities of their enemies. Hebrews 6:14

Abraham was destined for greatness!

So, if you find yourself in an unfamiliar place, and you don’t know what to do, there’s really only one thing to do–trust God! God is testing you–to see if you trust him before he gives you the Promise (the vision). God has to know that he can trust you with the vision (plan) he has for your life. (Everyone is not ready for the plan that God has for their life).

It’s a process. Walk it out in faith! The process is going to bring you into the destiny that God has planned for you!

We Walk by Faith,
LaTanya Davis

Everything That Glitters Is Not Gold!

“Everything that glitters is not gold!” This is an old saying. So, if you’ve heard this before, it was perhaps from your grandmother (or grandfather). Of course, the saying is referring to relationships meaning everyone that looks good is not good and certainly not good for you. The older I got, the more I understood this saying.

Well, it’s the same in the Kingdom of God. And, with maturity comes wisdom. Matthew 7:15;17 warns us,

Beware of false prophets who come in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruit.

Yes, they look impressive–saying the right things at the right times–really coming across as spiritual, but they’re really just shaking and faking. They’re about as real as a three-dollar bill.

The problem is that they can be very convincing, saying all the right things appearing to be spiritual
because of their talent and charisma.

There’s a huge difference between charisma and anointing Charisma (charm, personality, appeal, magnetism, allure) is the enemy’s version of anointing, but true anointing (power) can only come from God.

(The enemy tries to imitate everything that pertains to God. So, for everything of God, the enemy has his own version, but the enemy’s purpose is to kill, steal and destroy God’s people–the exact opposite of God’s purpose and intention.)

When God cursed the fig tree for not having any fruit, God was saying, Where’s your fruit? From far away, you looked like you had some fruit (gave a good impression), but upon closer examination, you only have leaves! So, God cursed the fig tree and made it wither and die.

What good is a fruit tree if it can ‘t bear any fruit? (It will only deceive–leading God’s people astray). As verse 17 teaches us,

…a bad tree bears bad fruit…not can a bad tree bear good tree.

False teachers come across as authentic, but if you examine them closely, they’re all talk and no fruit. And if they do near any fruit, it’s bad fruit.

Don’t just listen to what they’re saying. Can you see any fruit? are they making an impact on lives for God’s glory or for themselves? If you can’t see anything but leaves, take note.

No matter how impressive they are, a false teacher can never bear good fruit, even though they put on a good front. Remember, everything that glitters is not gold.

We Walk by Faith
Copyright 2013
On Twitter @wewalkbyfaith88

Happy Easter!

Have you ever wondered what does the Easter bunny and Easter baskets have to do with Easter?

Sometimes, it’s good to know exactly what we’re celebrating and how we came to celebrate it because Romans 12:2 (MSG) urges us not to “become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking.”

Easter, as you may well know, is celebrated worldwide and is, unquestionably, the most important holiday for Christians because this is when we celebrate the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ–the main tenet of Christianity.

How did the Easter bunny come to represent Christ’s death, burial and resurrection?

Here’s what I learned:

Most of us are familiar with Spring being symbolic for renewal of life and fertility of crops, animals and, yes, people (spring time love). Well, Easter was originally Eostre–a pagan festival dedicated to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring.

Here’s how Easter got started:

In the 2nd Century (A.D.), Christian Missionaries, trying to convert Northern European tribes, decided to turn the pagan tradition into a Christian holiday. At that point, the bunny rabbit symbolized fertility (similar to the lamb). And, over time, the pagan Eostre celebration became Easter.

About those Easter eggs and baskets:

I dug a little deeper because I wanted to know where the colored eggs came from. It turns out that celebrating Easter with eggs originated in the 1500s through a German tradition: German children believed that a magical rabbit would leave them a nest of colored eggs at Eastertime, if they were good. (This explains the grass that the Easter eggs sit on on the Easter baskets,)

This tradition was brought to America in the 1700s by Pennsylvania Dutch settlers. (You can probably see why this holiday is celebrated worldwide.)

Something to think about:

Considering the history of the Easter bunny and colored eggs, do you think this is a clear case of following the world and their cultures (practices)?

We Live by Faith
Copyright 2013 LaTanya Davis

On Twitter @wewalkbyfaith88