Sunday, September 27, 2009

May your words and meditation be acceptable

Esther 7:1-6, 9-10, 9:20-22, Numbers 11:4-6, 10-16, 24-29, Psalm 124, Psalm 19:7-14, James 5:13-20, Mark 9:38-50

I'll start with a statement I have tried to drive home in recent lessons: We are powerful. Because of our status as the heirs to the Kingdom of Heaven, we can make things happen on earth and touch God's heart.

God have given us gifts and talents to do wondrous things for each other, becoming a living testimony for God. Esther used her beauty to gain favor with the king and free her people from bondage. Moses used his special relationship with God to provide for his people, even though God had already given them freedom and sustenance.

Jesus even intervened when his disciples wanted to stop others performing miracles, because they believed and were blessed because of it. As God's children, we can do anything in His name. We can heal the sick, aid the poor and change the world we live in. As long as we speak in a way that is acceptable to God and have a clear mind and heart, nothing is beyond our reach.

Elijah prayed for relief from rain and it was granted. Elijah then prayed for rain and it was granted. What have you sought in your life that has not been granted from God? Have you truly asked Him for it? James reminds us that we have not because we ask not.

Continue to walk in your faith and unleash your power. If your words and meditation are acceptable to God, sit back, watch God work, and be thankful for the power you have been given by our Holy Father.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Committing to the Cause

Proverbs 31:10-31, Wisdom of Solomon 1:16 - 2:1, 12-22, Jeremiah 11:18-20, Psalm 1, Psalm 54, James 3:13 - 4:3, 7-8a, Mark 9:30-37


Just a brief word this Sunday morning. The title of this entry is a theme all of us should have every day in our earthly journey as an emerging Christian. The enemy is going to hit us hard from many different angles and the severity will be in many degrees. It will be easy to get distracted, then dismayed.

Nevertheless, if we keep our eyes on the prize of eternal salvation, if we stay committed to the cause of righteousness, if we give our all in all to the One who gave His all for us, then we will overcome our enemies and God's hand will be in the mix.

We will not want. We will not faint. We will not fail. Our God is a mighty God and He made us in His image, therefore, despite our faults, we are mighty as well. When we stray away from our beliefs, we stray away from our precious relationship with our Father, from where our strength comes from. In short, to keep the enemy at bay, from God we must not stray.

Stay positive. Stay faithful. Stay committed to the cause and be blessed.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Apologies

I have had to give public apologies in my life before. It is not an easy thing to do, not because of lack of contrition, but because of personal embarrassment for the mistake and the public scrutiny that follows. People, in this cynical age, try to analyze your sincerity from afar and, thanks to the Internet, offer instant commentary about your overall character. We are a society that is quick to harshly judge someone.

Public apologies have also become a PR event as well, with people specializing in how to make them even. Lawyers, public relations consultants, family members are all involved in a process that is really suppose to come from the heart. That gives the appearance of being a contrived statement and may take away from the impact the apologizer intends to really show, in that they are sorry for what was said or done.

However, unfortunately, it is needed in this instant information age. Case in point, the poor quarterback from Ohio State who had to offer an apology to those he may have offended by wearing the name "Vick" on his eye black tape. Terrelle Pryor stumbled through that moment as awkwardly as anyone could. Pryor was being sincere as he could be, but he was not prepared for the controversy and with his answers created more of a stir.

With the recent flurry of apologetic statements released these last couple of weeks by public figures, it would seem that the general public is becoming numb to boorish behavior and the public show that follows. However, I believe, as a Christian, that an apology should be taken at its face value, and that true contrition will be shown as time goes on. If the person who apologizes for example continues to do things that offend, on a consistent basis, then maybe their sincerity should be questioned.

Yet, the flip side of this is that there are people who do things deliberately to offend and show no signs of contrition. They lie about a person's character and show no remorse. They misrepresent facts and ignore requests to recant their statements. Some of them even get compensated handsomely for these actions. This rewarding of bad behavior, especially in the name of free speech, also diminishes the value of apologies. If people are defiant in all their egregious actions, then those who do try to be accountable are as deemed as being vulnerable and weak, fearing something to lose rather than just being good citizens in this world who admit that they made a mistake.

As human beings, we are not perfect. We will make mistakes. To paraphrase the Rev. Jesse Jackson, we are not perfect servants, we are public servants. It is our duty to apologize when we have offended or hurt someone. It is also our divine obligation to forgive, for we all serve a God that gives us second chances. Let us accept apologies from those that have offended or hurt us and then leave the judgement to a higher power than ourselves.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Complacency of Fools

Proverbs 1:20-33, Isaiah 50:4-9, Psalm 19, Wisdom of Solomon 7:26-8:1, Psalm 116:1-9, James 3:1-12, Mark 8:27-38

We, of the Christian faith, who take their blessings for granted, who fail to pray, who let their spirits diminish in trouble, are guilty of being complacent fools. If we embrace our faith as a vocation of custom instead of a joyous exercise, we are missing out on the beauty of our new life in Christ.

It is time for us to stop being passive in our faith. Members of other religions take time out of their daily lives to make sure that they pay reverence to God, but we say we are too busy. They are passionate about their faith publicly, but we sometimes feel ashamed.

Those of us who are followers of Jesus Christ should never be timid about who we are and what we believe. You don't have to be a blow hard, but you do have to be proud of who you are and to whom you belong to.

At my former church, New Horizon Church International, we used to recite a creed, written by the Bishop Ronnie C. Crudup, during the service to reaffirm our pride in who we were as Christians:

Having received Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of my life and having been filled by the power and the presence of the Holy Ghost, I believe the following to be true about myself, other members of this church, and those in the body of Christ.

1. I am the beloved of the Lord and highly favored!

2. I am saved for all eternity, covered by the Blood, and clean before the Father!

3. I am a citizen of heaven and an heir to the promises of God!

4. I am God’s superman/superwoman: a strong man/woman over my family and home and in all the areas God has allowed me to tread upon!

5. I am a sin-buster, an enemy of the devil and demons, a living weapon, divinely powerful – destroying the works and strongholds of the enemy!

6. I am a saint of God, a faithful brother/sister, a proclaimer of God’s Word and a model of holy living!

7. I am more than a conqueror, a member of the royal family and royal priesthood!

8. I am the redeemed of the Lord, a new creation, a minister of reconciliation, and an ambassador of the kingdom!

9. I am somebody in the Lord! I am special, talented, brilliant, beautiful, courageous, competent – I am strong!

10. I am God’s man/woman!


Even though I am not a member of that church family any more, this creed still reminds me that I cannot be a complacent fool with the power of God that dwells in me, the relationship I have with the Father and with the gift of salvation His son, Jesus Christ, so freely gave to me.

It is my hope that you make a personal affirmation to not be foolish in your complacency as well. May God continue to bless you, be with you and keep you in His favor always.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Changed my mind

I had said that I was not going to write a blog about my anger over the small-minded mentality of some Americans who did not want their children to hear the President's message today. I changed my mind.

Here is the transcript of the speech:
http://www.whitehouse.gov/MediaResources/PreparedSchoolRemarks/

I don't think a President asking young people to listen to their teachers and encouraging them not to drop out of school is a socialist agenda. I don't think promoting math and science to young children so that they may be the ones who discover the cure for cancer is a socialist agenda.

What I am most concerned about is an anarchist agenda. In Mississippi history, people named Lamar, Davis, Hinds and Clinton are immortalized as they challenged "The War of Northern Aggression" and the Reconstruction period, when African-Americans had political power in this state. When Obama won the election, children were told that they could not talk about the results of the election in Mississippi classrooms and now this. If I had to respect the 43 previous Presidents of the United States, then I would expect people to do the same with this one.

Now I know that narrow-minded behavior is not confined to Mississippi, but we, collectively, sure don't do anything to contradict it. After what happened to Van Jones over the weekend though, it is dangerous for me even to complain about it and express my frustration over it, but you know what, so be it.

If Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Mike Savage don't have to apologize, then I won't. If Fox News is allowed to have a broadcasting license, then I have the same right to call them cry babies or whatever else I want to. However, I will try my best to rise above the fray and this controversy will move off the radar screen within days now that the speech has been given.

I am just sad that the feelings expressed by my father a couple of weekends ago seem to be justified and the bitter pills I have endured all my life are continued to be forced down my throat.

Christians are taught that oppression comes in many earthly forms but it all comes from one source. Therefore, I cannot go wholeheartedly after people who choose to be vessels of discord, I have to renounce the one who is to blame. Nevertheless, when Jesus dealt with Peter before the crucifixion, He did tell him, "Get thee behind me, Satan!"

I'll end this rant with this: This is the United States of America. Barack Obama is our President. Get over it. Respect the position and the man given the opportunity to serve. Or else those that can't can take the advice that they so readily give to others that oppose their viewpoints: Leave!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Happy Labor Day everyone!

Proverbs 22:1-2, 8-9, 22-23, Isaiah 35:4-7, Psalm 125, Psalm 146, James 2:1-10, (11-13), 14-17, Mark 7:24-37

No message this week. Just take the time to read the Scriptures and be careful on this Labor Day weekend. Enjoy yourself and your loved ones and I will get at you next week with a God-inspired message.

Take care and love you all!