Are you in communication with God on a regular basis? In your relationship with him, has he promised you certain experiences by his might and all-performing hand? Has God communicated to you that he will rescue you or a loved one from the jaws of the adversary? If so, please remember this if all of his promises have not yet been fulfilled:
“I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you. I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to the land.”
And another thing…
During this virus pandemic that noted scientist have cloned Covid-19, if it has run amuck throughout your family and friends both near and afar, hold on to this promise, too:
“I will not leave you as orphans. I will come to you.”
There is more…
Do you find yourself on the receiving end of charity and asking creditors for concessions or lenience during your financial crises? Are landlords and or financial institutions threatening legal action against you; especially now that you are without employment? There is no consideration given you even though you have always paid your bills on time. No compassion given that you have made it a habit to share your lot with the less fortunate all your life! Well, be reassured that God knows all, and he says:
The wicked lie in wait for the righteous, seeking their very lives; but the Lord will not leave them in their power or let them be condemned when brought to trial.”
God sure ‘nuf sees this next plea…
Have you been down on your knees since February 2020, bombarding heaven’s throne; partitioning God to make it plain about lessons his people have failed to realize? Have you searched the scriptures for comfort and direction and come away wanting? Have you done everything, including standing in front of your mirror and pointing your extended thumb on your fisted hand backwards? My comforting words to you are just this; hold on to God’s unchanging hand and remember what he says:
“I am leaving you with a gift of peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So, don’t be troubled or afraid.”
Do you believe that your life has a goal? If so, can you identify your goal? Have you declared “Yes” to your goal? Especially if your goal is a spiritual one. Now comes the hard part! Do you know how to bring your goal to fruition? Listen prayerfully to the lyrics of the song below: than read the scripture below:
“Let your manner of living be without covetousness, and be content with such things as ye have. For He hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”;
Scripture Lesson: For strength, please memorize all scriptures given in this blog.
About 25 years ago, I was asked by the leadership of my church to prepare an assessment tool that members of various outreach programs could use to see if their volunteer services were truly adding value to the ministries that they had committed to support.
The problem the clergy was having was that most of his flock were bench warmers and members whose life-style-fate would end up being like those animals in the children’s fairy tale entitled “The Little Red Hen”. If you have forgotten this rich life-lesson, just click the website below to refresh your memory.
So, after prayerfully considering my Pastor’s request, I immediately went to work devising a handbook to be presented at a Saturday Workshop for all church volunteers assigned to various organizations that they had chosen to support.
Needless to say, as I sat at my computer this week and thumbed through my files, searching for a subject to blog about, I came across my finished project compiled more than a quarter of a century ago, entitled “Self-Assessment/Covenant Booklet”, and sub-titled (A Self-Evaluation on How to Keep Your Covenant Vows Before God).
The Holy Scriptures reveals to us that God instituted this ‘covenant’ business shortly after he designed the Garden of Eden, formed man and gave him instructions, and deluged the world with the Flood. And to this day, God has not allowed one word to depart from his promises.
Conversely, many Christians made vows (and made confessions of faith) to God shortly after receiving an invitation extended to them by the Holy Spirit. They joined a house of prayer and also made commitments to receive nurturing, abide by certain doctrines, act in the capacity of disciples, and contribute to the well being of widows and orphans.
HOW’S THAT BEEN WORKING OUT FOR YOU?
Listed below are 6 categories of Church Membership Disciplines that you can measure your participation by. Score each category from 1 to 10 as it pertains to your involvement as a member of the army of the Lord’s. A perfect score would be 60 pints. Anything less than that…well, you decide.
1. Participation in personal growth and development. 2. Participation at church activities/meetings. 3. Participation in Worship Services (or Zoom). 4. Participation with other church members. 5. Participation in the Church’s outreach ministries. 6. Financially support the church ministries/budget.
(Choose one frequency and corresponding point for each topic. Add your score plus any bonus points.)
Regularly = 10 points Sometimes = 7 points Seldom = 3 points Never = 0 points
BONUS POINTS: Ask yourself this question: “What did you do to change the world today? Or, to lead someone to Christ today? You decide the number of Bonus Points you want to award yourself.
A word to the wise…do everything as though you are doing it for God and because it is written and sanctioned by his Son, Jesus Christ.
Scripture Lesson: “So when you talk to God and vow to him that you will do something, don’t delay in doing it, for God has no pleasure in fools. Keep your promise to him. It is far better not to say you’ll do something than to say you will and then not do it. Ecclesiastes 5:4-5
There is no doubt about it! Living with COVID-19 for the past 9 months has caused all of us to live life at a new level. For one thing, it has deepened our reasoning and understanding of the word survival. Once upon a time, you may have defined this word as ‘out living’ someone. Or perhaps you internalized a definition that embraced the thought of ‘escaping’ from a dire situation and rebounding while standing on both feet.
Well, during this world-wide pandemic, that has invaded the United States for soon to be 256 days(*), ‘survival’ has taken on a whole new meaning. We have been forced to carry-on in spite of hardships, traumas, financial stresses, the loss of family members and friends, just to name a few. Our resilience has been remarkable for many of us. But for others, ‘Life for them ain’t been no crystal stair’(**).
The key to being able to ‘thrive‘ while going through the pains of survival is to deal with confidence those things that contribute to the situation. You cannot bury your head in the sand, or pretend that the conditions are a hoax or that no preventative measures need to be instituted. According to Google, a new statistical Pew study tells us that nearly 30% of the USA population are in this frame of mind.
For believers in Jesus Christ, scripture reveals that in most cases, man’s ability to thrive in the Lord is not an external enemy (in this case Covid-19). Nor is it a struggle against our fellowman, or against world leaders, or among domestic rulers, or in the spiritual atmosphere! God has divinely suggested that in order to ward off our enemy we must put on his full armor, so that we may be able to stand our ground (both feet) against life’s threatening temptations from within that lead to (spiritual) death. God does not want us to physically be ‘just barely surviving‘. He wants us to be ‘conquering soldiers‘ with the shield of faith…peaceably thriving against the flaming arrows of destruction. In other words, check out your own character traits! What are you striving for? For whom are you striving to honor and please? YOU, ALONE, MAY BE YOUR WORST ENEMY!!
Poetically…My Own Personal Reckoningin Character building
Mr. Character, your life is an open book. It’s an interesting book extended to all those who care to read it. There is no discrimination; from the smallest child to the oldest human being alive you have a message.
Thus, Mr. Character, I salute you for those unselfish efforts you have attempted to perform in the lives of others. You know, you are really like a mirror…that is, you reflect in every mood. Every experience you encounter is automatically revealed.
For those who can’t read, there are pictures or shall I say reflections that one can pattern after as he or she molds their way of life in this trying world. For the more advanced reader there is a plot to follow which oftentimes may have you bickering with yourself and causing you to put it aside as if it was philosophy.
Thus, in everyone’s library this book is essential. It is a must to take an interest in Character. It is a compelling obligation that we must encounter if we are to advance and know truth and enjoy the better things of life.
Conversely, the characteristics one displays depend upon oneself. The expressions one wears will disclose their disposition. The moods they dress in will uncover their personality. The words they send out will reflect their intelligence indicate their knowledge of divine reasoning.
Come unto me, Mr. Character is calling, and I will mold for you the sweetest disposition known. Come unto me, He beseeches you, and I will shine for you the brightest star of personality. Come unto me, He is beckoning, and I will give you an understanding and peace of mind.
I will give you advice…such as pick your friends, but not to death. Remember to laugh with others, but not at them. Work with initiative, but not against it. Never put off until tomorrow those things you can do today.
This remarkable Book can be yours for only a glance. Mr. Character is a reflection in your nearest mirror. Look it over. The character you see just might be YOU! (Written by Sonja F.) Scripture reference: 2 Cor. 3:18 “But we all, with unveiled face [not looking through a glass darkly], beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed [into servant managers] into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, [Who also gives us] the Spirit.”
COVID-19 IS TELLING US SOMETHING…GET RIGHT, GET RIGHT WITH GOD
Scripture Lesson: Ephesians 6:10-18 “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.”
Notes: (*) March 1 thru November 12, 2020 (**) A line borrowed from Langston Hughes’ poem, “Mother To Son”
The moment the Holy Spirit gave me my title for this week’s blog, He also put a song in my heart. Little did I know that the song, entitled “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus”, was also known as The Heavenly Vision. The hymn, which was inspired by Isabella Lilias Trotter, a missionary, was actually written by Helen Howarth Lemmel in 1918. The chorus is widely known today and is based on Isaiah 45:22. This is an old hymn which has been reprinted in a number of church hymnals (…and caused many a tear to flow). For your information, I have included the first verse and chorus below:
1. O soul, are you weary and troubled? No light in the darkness you see? There’s light for a look at the Savior, And life more abundant and free! CourseRefrain: Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face, And the things of earth will grow strangely dim, In the light of His glory and grace.
The reason why this song means so much to me is because of the first line in the chorus. I discovered many years ago that whenever I was tempted to veer off into mischief, the first thing that I should do was to turn my eyes upon Jesus. Naturally, it took a lot of head bumps to accomplish this, but I finally did. Isaiah 45:22 says, “Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth, for I am God and there is no other.”
Prior to turning my thought to God, I was turning my thoughts on just how to resist the temptation. In other words, all I was doing was stroking the misdeeds, implanting them deeper into my psyche.
When we yield to Truth (Jesus Christ) and His teachings, we win!
Did you know that the more you think about not yielding to temptation (the bad things), the more you do think about temptation? In other words, it becomes an all-consuming fire inside of you. The thing that is tempting becomes subliminal in your mind. (“Subliminal” is a marketing technique used to influence a person to act upon something.) So, you see, you are not helping yourself at all when you think about how to avoid temptation. All you are doing is reinforcing its strength.
One way to yield to Truth and not to temptation is to practice humility. The best example to do that is to cultivate a close relationship with a trusted friend. Someone you can confide in. Someone you can share your inner most thoughts with. Someone who will hold you accountable. Let me be completely frank with you. It’s okay to show weakness! For 1 Peter 5:5b says: “God sets himself against the proud, but he shows favor to the humble.” Therefore, resist the Evil One and he will flee from you.
If this blog has helped you, I invite you to pick up a copy of Reverend Rick Warren’s book entitled, The Purpose Driven Life. Read it and weep and allow your tears to wash away all darkness, fears and doubts. Every word in this book was a blessing and confirmation to me that God truly wants to converse and reveal his Truths to us all. Especially when we have to deal with temptations and emotions that shackle us to this world.
Scripture Lesson: “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world means enmity against God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think Scripture says without reason that he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us? But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: ‘God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble and oppressed.’ Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.'” James 4:4-8a