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Archive for June, 2012

Develop Into Your Role and Enjoy His Benefits

Before you set goals, discover your God-ordained purpose.  You have the ministry (of reconciliation) whether you know it or not.  People are dying because they don’t know what Jesus has done for them.  The economy is no longer robust as it was under the Clinton Administration. Corporate executives are being openly punished and humiliated, as they should, for willful misconduct that negatively affects the lives of thousands of employees.  Multi-billion dollar corporations are filing for bankruptcy protection as a means to save face while, at the same time, personal bankruptcy is at an all-time high.  Police officers are still being videotaped abusing their authority as witnessed in Englewood, California in the summer of 2002. Rodney King’s recent passing reminds us of past institutionalized brutality by selected police officers in a different in the same state. The value of family has deteriorated to the extent of becoming less meaningful than one’s desire to please their employer.  The dot-com and telecommunications bubbles that once seemed impenetrable have burst. Many developing countries are wastelands of poverty, hunger, and disease.  But, as faithful believers in Christ, we have the answer.  Look at some of His benefits and provisions that He has for His chosen children:

“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (Hebrews 13:5).”

Benefit/Provision # 1 – God’s provisions are eternal.

“Behold, I give you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you (Luke 10:19).”

Benefit/Provision # 2 – We have authority over spiritual wickedness in high places in the name of Jesus.

“The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly (John 10:10).”

Benefit/Provision # 3 – We are no longer subject to the power of darkness but have been translated into the marvelous light!  Satan no longer has authority over our lives.

“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee (Isaiah 26:3).”

Benefit/Provision # 4 – Peace will keep you healthy and functional within the kingdom of God.

There are so many awesome benefits and provisions in The Holy Bible that the Lord has provided for us.  To know them, however, we must become intimately acquainted with Him and His holy Word.  Otherwise, you could finish up somewhere you should not be or succeed at something God never called you to do.

Benefit/Provision # 5 – To lose is not always failure.

“This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles (Psalm 37:6).”

Benefit/Provision # 6 – Knowing about God is fascinating; Knowing God personally is life changing.

“But let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the LORD which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the LORD (Jeremiah 9:24).” 

Benefit/Provision # 7 – There are legions of angels helping us, for which the world has no counter-measures.

“The angel of the LORD emcampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them (Psalm 34:7).”

 Benefit/Provision # 8 – Faith sees things that are out of sight. 

“Are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation (Hebrews 1:14)?”

Remember, as children of the most high God, we are to serve others. In parallel, our Heavenly Father has designed His system for us to enjoy the benefits that are within our grasp.

 www.writingforthelord.com

 

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Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” – Mark 12:30 NIV

AND THOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD THY GOD WITH ALL THY HEART, AND WITH ALL THY SOUL, AND WITH ALL THY MIND, AND WITH ALL THY STRENGTH: this is the first commandment.”  – Mark 12:30 KJV

Our Christ-like conduct and character remain the strongest argument for our faith.   Our lifestyle is a visible manifestation of our conduct and character. To Give God the Glory!, there must be a distinctively different lifestyle that will cause others to inquire about (y)our source of peace, joy, love, and positive attributes.  If you honor Christ in your heart, He will be honored by your life.

“Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee.”  – Mark 5:19 KJV

However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” – Mark 5:19 NKJV

Distinctively different

Jesus called His followers to be “salt and light”.  As salt, we are to act as a preservative, penetrating the culture to help sustain what is good and right.  As light, we are to counter the darkness and bring forth truth and righteousness to bear.  Jesus said that we are salt and light, but He warned against losing our saltiness and hiding our light (Matthew 5:13-20).  Here are two safeguards to prevent this from happening:

 Salt as a seasoning is useless unless it is in contact with food and mixed into it.  Jesus calls us to “flavor” society in His name through close involvement with people.

 Light is meant to be visible.  Secret believers need to come out of hiding and be known as disciples.  Their profession of faith must become self-evident through their good works  .

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its salty taste, it cannot be made salty again. It is good for nothing, except to be thrown out and walked on. 14 “You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 And people don’t hide a light under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand so the light shines for all the people in the house. 16 In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.” – Matthew 5:13-16 NCV

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Ye are the light of the world.  A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.  Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.  Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  – Matthew 5:13-16 KJV

SALT

Salt is used to preserve, season, cure, or save for future use.  It changes everything that it touches!  Hence, a salty Christian makes others thirsty for Jesus –  the water of life.  Salt can be thought of as a fertilizer to promote growth and development, it is used to purify, it is used to correct to improve conditions in its surrounding, and it is used as a laxative to clean up messes around it.

www.writingforthelord.com

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Later this month, summer will officially launch around the world. Many of us will travel around the globe and have the privilege of interacting with multiple cultures, customs, peoples, and have experiences that can be life-changing in many aspects. That said, this post will emphasize the importance of the church. Prayerfully, the introduction (below) to our seventh book in the Give God the Glory! series (The Power in the Local Church) will cause you to think and reflect upon several documented reasons to get connected this summer to a good Bible-believing, Bible-teaching church. You’ll be glad that you did!

The Church defined:

any number of souls, called and united in one vow, in one place, for divine worship, where the pure Word is preached, and the sacraments duly administered, and godly living, after His law, as given by the head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I love the church and what is represents.  To me, the church is a place of comfort where, joy, peace, tranquility, rest, and contentment permeates the atmosphere. Over the years, the church has consistently and repeatedly provided an untarnished sense of pure power that is inconceivable to describe.

Power is referenced throughout the Scriptures 242 times!  Its first reference is transcribed in Genesis 31:6 (KJV) – “And ye know that with all my power I have served your father,” and concludes in Revelation 20:6 (KJV) – “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” In the former verse, ‘power’ refers to ability. In the latter verse, there is comfort in knowing that the second death, reserved for the unjust, has no power in the life of the believer.

Church is referenced throughout the Scriptures 80 times! The Greek word for ‘church’ is ekklesia, meaning “called out ones.” Its first reference can be found in Matthew 16:18 (The Message) – “Jesus came back, “God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn’t get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I’m going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out. The last mention in the Scriptures is located at Revelation 3:14 (NLT) – “Write this letter to the angel of the church in Laodicea. This is the message from the one who is the Amen—the faithful and true witness, the beginning[a] of God’s new creation:” In both instances, the church represents a gathering place of believers who worship, celebrate, and praise the Lord corporately. Although I have served as an active member and ministry leader in three denominations – African Methodist Episcopal Zion, Pentecostal, and Church of God (Anderson, Indiana) – since my salvation experience in 1993, the common theme throughout each of these dynamic local churches is that Jesus is Lord! There is power in that name.

I still cherish the memories of my local church as a child. During those formative years, a solid foundation was laid based upon the center verse in the Bible: It is better to put your trust in God than it is in man (Psalm 118:8 – KJV).  My parents understood, and valued, the statutes, commandments, and judgments of our Almighty God.  These principles were instilled in them through their parents, also at an early age in life.  Both of my grandmothers, ‘Grandma’ (paternal) and ‘Granny’ (maternal), were God-fearing women who demonstrated righteousness before God in every aspect of their respective lives. Grandma regularly attended Sunday morning worship services at Fifth Street Baptist Church, while Granny regularly attended Saturday morning worship services at  Ephesus Seventh Day Adventist Church in our hometown of Richmond, Virginia.  Though each observed the Sabbath on different days of the week, I was undeniably convinced that they loved and trusted the Lord with all of their heart (Proverbs 3:6). Their mannerism, discipline, prayer life, service to others, diligence, and lifestyle was on display for all to witness.  I remember our loving interactions as if it were yesterday. In fact, I still recall Granny’s prophesy that I would preach the gospel in due season.  I was eight years old at the time. It was during the summer of 1968. The power of the gospel in their lives resonates perpetually because of their active involvement in the local church.

While observing their Godly lives week after week and year after year, I spent my impressionable childhood years at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia, actively engaged in Sunday school, cub scouts, music, and youth leadership programs.  The experience from active engagement was powerful.  I remember my scout master, Deacon Ross, and my music teacher, Sister Flowers.  They are still active ministry leaders at Ebenezer and I enjoy seeing them as often as I can.  I experienced water baptism at the age of nine.  Although I did not quite understand the significance at the time, there was power in this ordinance.  I could not explain what I felt but it was real and meaningful.  Between the ages of ten to twelve, I recall leading Sunday morning worship services, along with other youth in the church, from the pulpit, reading Scripture and reciting the Lord’s Prayer.  There was power in these leadership positions during our annual youth day programs.

My dad served twenty years in the United States Marine Corps. His love for his family compelled him to decline a promotion to the rank of captain in order to avoid another tour of duty overseas.  During his illustrious career as an enlisted soldier and commissioned officer, Dad served admirably in Okinawa, Japan and Vietman (twice). His decision not to leave us again was a sincere demonstration of love. In exchange for an overseas tour, Dad retained his rank as first lieutenant and our family relocated from Richmond to Virginia Beach in 1973. Dad would serve his final three years of military service at the Naval Air Station, Norfolk, Virginia. We would not return to Richmond until 1976.  During our time in the Norfolk and Virginia Beach area, and during my pivotal middle and high school years, we did not attend church services regularly. I lost my connection with God, but not my need for Him.  Once my dad retired from military service in 1976, we returned home to Richmond and once again actively attended church at Ebenezer.  While I temporarily strayed away from the power in the local church for a brief period of time, God’s Word kept me from falling – “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6 – KJV).

As a result of the solid foundation that my grandmothers’ laid for my parents to build upon, who in turn passed their Godly love on to their children, I am able to write this next book in the award-winning Give God the Glory! series.  This book series has reached a global audience in multiple languages.  It is my prayer that you will experience The Power in the Local Church and pass this revelation along to the next generation as well as those within your sphere of influence.

Together, let’s Give God the Glory! as we journey through the power in the local church.

www.writingforthelord.com

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