Curious and Compassionate (Ezekiel 16:35)

BY REV. DORAL PULLEY | Today’s Church Tampa Bay

People do not simply wake up one day and engage in destructive or unhealthy behaviors. There is a process that leads individuals to act and think in certain ways. In Ezekiel 16:35, the prophet discusses Israel’s descent into idolatry, highlighting that this was not an abrupt shift but a gradual progression. This erosion of values often begins with other issues such as promiscuity.

When we encounter individuals engaging in harmful behaviors, instead of passing judgment, it is important to dig deeper into the root causes of their actions. For example, when considering why someone may turn to prostitution or sex work, it is essential to explore the circumstances that led them to this point. Were they facing trauma, abuse, or struggles that pushed them towards such choices?

By approaching these situations with compassion and a genuine desire to understand, we can better support those in need and work towards addressing the underlying issues that contribute to their actions. Let us move beyond labels and stereotypes and focus on providing empathy and assistance to individuals who may be struggling with complex challenges.

They were polygamous, but how did Israel come to practice polygamy? What leads individuals to embrace polyamory or engage in open relationships? Instead of passing judgment, let’s explore the underlying reasons that contribute to these relationship dynamics. Why do some people in committed relationships choose to cheat rather than remain single if they are not ready for monogamy?

Perhaps the desire for multiple partners stems from a fear of commitment, a fear of being hurt, or an inability to find satisfaction with one person. Personally, I believe in one God and practice monotheism, which influences my preference for monogamous relationships. The concept of being the partner of one spouse, as mentioned in scripture, leaves me questioning: How did individuals arrive at the point of pursuing multiple partners?

Let us approach these inquiries with curiosity and compassion, seeking to understand the complexities of human relationships rather than resorting to judgment. By delving into the root causes of these behaviors, we can gain insight and empathy for those navigating intricate relationship dynamics.

My Testimony of Divine Protection (Psalm 105:1)

I have a powerful testimony to share with you today about God’s peace, protection, and forgiveness. Two weeks ago, my granddaughter had been staying with me for 11 days. As I returned her to the airport in my BMW, I encountered a situation that tested my faith and ultimately showed me the extent of God’s grace.

Upon arriving at the car rental facility, I discovered that all the cars were gone. Thankfully, I found another rental facility nearby offering luxury cars at a discount in honor of my birthday. I was able to secure a fully loaded 23 BMW, allowing me to continue with my plans for the day.

After a busy day of meetings and errands, I stopped to get gas. As I attempted to leave the gas station, a car blocked my path. A man approached me with a gun and a crowbar, demanding my keys. In that moment, a blanket of peace enveloped me, reminding me of the promise of perfect peace for those who keep their minds focused on God.

Despite the fear and uncertainty of the situation, I felt a whisper from the Holy Spirit urging me to comply. I handed over my keys, asked for permission to take my phone and wallet, and then peacefully left the scene. Within moments, the perpetrators fled, and I was able to contact the authorities for help.

When the police arrived to investigate, they were astonished by my calm demeanor. The officer noted that in his years on the force, he had never encountered someone so composed after a carjacking. I shared with them the source of my peace and gratitude, citing the verse that speaks of God’s peace that surpasses all understanding.

As I recounted the events of that day, the officers listened intently, amazed by the outcome of a situation that could have ended much differently. I was grateful for their understanding and for the opportunity to share the power of God’s presence in the midst of chaos.

This experience served as a reminder of the importance of faith and trust in God’s plan, even in the face of danger. I am thankful for His protection and grace, and I pray that this testimony serves as a testament to His unfailing love and provision in all circumstances.

 I AM Victorious: Therefore, I Sing Consciously (Ephesians 5:18)

Because I have the victory, when you have the victory, you sing consciously. This means I am aware of what I am singing when I am singing, where I am singing, and how I am singing because I am conscious that I am victorious. Therefore, I sing consciously.

Sometimes, I sing to God directly, not just about God but to God, and that is worship. Sometimes, I sing to myself, encouraging myself in the Lord, and that is a form of self-encouragement. Whether it’s in the shower, while working, or singing around the house, it’s important to sing to yourself and have a theme song to encourage yourself because you are victorious.

I sing to God in worship because I am victorious, and I sing to myself to encourage myself because I am victorious. I have a contagious victory, and I share this victory with other people. Sometimes, I sing to others to support them, build them up, and lift them up. And sometimes I sing consciously to another person to express how much I love and appreciate them because we are all victorious and sing consciously.

Every Experience Gives Me Life (John 10:10)

In life, you are going to have tests, trials, and tribulations. You are going to face temptation, headaches, and pain. You will encounter hurdles and obstacles; it’s all a part of life. However, you get to decide how you will respond to the experiences you face. John 10:10 says Jesus mentioned that the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but He wants you to have a life that is more abundant.

So when a difficult situation comes your way, you have the power to decide if it will harm you or if you will allow it to bring you life. Every experience that occurs in your life gives you a choice. Will you become bitter or better? Will you spiral into depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, or will you learn and grow from the experience? Every experience presents a choice, and I choose life because both options are available. The thief will come, but Jesus also offers His presence. You have the choice of which door to open – the door to the thief or the door to Christ. You can also decide which window to open – the window of the thief or the window of Christ. You have the choice of who you give access and power to in your life and in your heart. Today, I choose life.

I choose to learn from every situation and to receive blessings from each experience. Every encounter in my life is meant to bring me life and blessings; they help me move from mere existence to abundant life. I shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord, knowing that no person or experience can take away my life.

Rev. Doral Pulley is the senior pastor of Today’s Church Tampa Bay, 620 First Ave. N, St. Petersburg, and 3501 North 26th St., Tampa.

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