The photo is credited to the owner, Xavier Horton. Using some of his photos for my Soul Searching blog in 2023 is an answered prayer, and I thank God for blessing us this way. When I looked at this photo, I received multiple downloads about our history.
Day 1- Soul Searching Introduction
As I mentioned in the series overview, as a nation under God, our past extends far beyond our founding fathers in America. So! I knew we would discuss biblical history first; however, I thought we would begin this series with Moses or Esther in the Old Testament or Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well or Saul’s encounter with the Lord on the road to Damascus in the New Testament. I didn’t think we would begin with Peter; however, it makes sense. Peter did harbor prejudices in his heart as an apostle. Did you know that? To be honest, I didn’t know that when I started this Soul Searching journey in 2020. I’m sure that I heard it at some point. After all, I’ve been in church for most of my life. (Surely, my pastor at the time didn’t choose that rebellious period in high school when I stopped going to church because I wasn’t feeling church folks to discuss this). Oh, well! That’s neither here nor there. The fact is, a classmate and a dear friend educated me about Peter’s prejudices and it set me on a path to study this part of scripture. On this journey, I’ve gained a new level of grace and mercy toward people in ministry. (We’ve all been called into ministry, by the way). However, it still isn’t easy to be around Christians who wear their prejudices on their sleeves and parade them around on social media. To be honest, I’ll probably never get used to that.
So! As we begin this series, please pray and ask God to search our hearts for prejudices that prevent us from sharing the gospel with our neighbors. Time is winding down, guys! We have to get real with ourselves and God. We can’t keep saying, “I don’t have a prejudice bone in my body.” Prejudices are not in your bones, by the way! Prejudices are an emotional bias. They can be buried deep within us. That’s why it’s important for us to ask God to search our hearts, souls, and minds. It could be hidden, even from us, which would explain why some people feel as if they’re exempt from having them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say, “I can’t be prejudice because of this or that,” and I am here to tell you that this or that has nothing to do with the prejudices you may or may not have. You see, it’s easy to accept people within our friend group or family, but what about the people outside of our circle? How do you really feel about them and why?
Let us pray! Father God, we come to you like David. We ask that you search us, O God, and know our heart! Try us and know our thoughts! And see if there are any offensive (NIV) or grievous (ESV) way in us, please lead us in the way everlasting. We give you permission to visit us like you visited Peter in a vision. We welcome you to come into our lives and uproot everything that doesn’t add to the kingdom, and we thank you for loving us thus far. We thank you for being patient with us. We thank you because your grace and mercy are new every morning. And as we go through this series, we will discuss difficult times in history, but there is nothing more difficult than your crucifixion. Yet, you asked the Father to forgive the ones who crucified you! So, we ask you to exchange our judgmental and unforgiving ways for grace and mercy, Father. Allow us to see YOU in the midst of it all. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen!
Now I want you to think about it. Then, go to the Father and pray about it.
#Soul Searching with Our Father#