Category Archives: Community

Why America is in Confusion?

March 2019

The nation of America had a good start and great opportunities to be the first nation to have a truly free people.  The blueprint was fair and just for all people but Americans strayed from the blueprint. The blueprint established freedom, justice and equality for all citizens.  The blueprint was based on the bible that America no longer wants to follow.  The blueprint put forth the standards of Jesus Christ, who illustrated and set up a plan for us to share love with every person regardless of gender, race, culture or past mistakes.  God, as Creator, upholds His own standard of love and truth and He cares for every individual made in His image.

The Europeans who came to America were from a people who fought religious wars, resisted aristocracy and religious authoritarianism and evolved into a people of liberty.  These immigrants escaped European rule and won freedom to practice a new liberty where they followed the bible and their own conscious without the heavy hand of government or church.  With this new freedom, they chose to put themselves under the rule of God and be guided by the values learned from scripture to provide equal opportunity and justice for all citizens.

After Christian evangelism hit Europe and persuaded its citizen of the cruelty of slavery and abolished it (1833); the colonists to America, nevertheless, used scriptures to justify enslavement and used the bible and African slaves to build the new society brick by brick.  European Christian evangelists came to evangelize America against slavery but it took the Civil War (1865) to finally deliver Africans from American slavery.  After abolition of slavery in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, American legislators and hate mongers found new ways to enslave blacks through laws, taxes, social practices, clan activity, miseducation, and religious deception.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 granted blacks’ freedom from discriminatory legal practices but the same racist practices still continue to the day enhanced by voter suppression and gerrymandering to diminish black empowerment. Various ethnic American citizens have suffered injustice by white Americans and have had their complaints settled by court suits or financial reparations while white America refuses to atone for their most egregious sin: cruelty and stolen labor from African slaves who built this nation.

White Americans, descendants of those delivered from European religious and governmental bondage, refuse to recognize their hypocritical reverse treatment toward black people captured and enslaved for profit.  The nation that promised to give every citizen the right to pursue liberty and justice under an oath to God has lied to God and non-white citizens. Their Sunday ceremonial worship and praise cannot alleviate this error.  The long journeys of European explorers and exploiters who travelled distant lands and did mental search of divinity have settled on the opinion of past researchers:  that they are the supreme beings of the universe.   White American citizens, legislators, judges and ministers still justify their discriminatory practices toward black American citizens and make no apology or effort to fulfill their covenant promise to the God that allowed them possession of this land.  In the mist of religious, political, social and economic turmoil; American whites cannot figure out what is wrong.  One news panelist trying to uphold old standards recently said in disappointment, “No one is coming to help us.”  How sad!  Someone already came and they crucified Him! 

The nation of American was set up on Christian values and prayers but now refuses to conform to the requirements of the God of the bible or His revealed Son, Jesus Christ.  Their Christian journey seems to have hit a snag and reverted back to the ways of their European forefathers, before they repented of slavery.  This original sin has tainted the religious faith of white Christians. Many of these “Christians” have made a mockery of the word “Christian” in their practice of Christianity because Christianity is based on love of neighbor as one loves himself; and a practice of racial supremacy by white America reveals proof of hatred against neighbors who do not look like them.  How can they represent Christ, who is love, and finish their Christian journey while hating those He died for?  Has Christ given them an exception from the love clause?  Their faith is found to be fraudulent and their covenant void. Their “god” who lords over hatred is trying to force the nation to serve him and those he has appointed as his leader, cabinet, and false ministers to carry out his plan of false leadership and religion, imitating Christ and His church.  Christ taught much about the last day’s deception using a false church of which true believers should beware. 

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Mat 24:24 

False Christs want us to believe that everything is okay with the church and we are all in line with the Lord but racial hatred and superiority rants expose this lie.   Christ came and exposed a hypocritical church and false leaders.  He pulled the cover off hypocrisy and exposed their evil in order to protect true believers.

Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.  Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. Joh 8:42-44

America, who fought a civil war over racial prejudice, is now fighting a spiritual war based on the lie of racial superiority and is willing to bow to the father of lies to prevail in power. White America needs to remember that it was a non-church attending 16th U.S. President during the Civil War who settled the debate but, nevertheless, surmised that maybe both sides claiming to be doing the will of God were in error. They must have been because the debate continues.  Is God satisfied with the continuing debate?  Americans must individually choose to stand for truth and reject the liar and his lies.  Changing gods or denouncing the True God and His ways mean warfare and we are experiencing the turmoil of this change.  Even the devil wants a peaceful entrance into power and he uses deception and subtlety until he is ready to reveal himself in authority. God prevents this evil unveiling while His people remain in the earth.  The reason the public is confused about determining the right from wrong path is the interference of evil oversight.  The evil one is a chameleon, changing to suit the occasion.  God withdraws His hand when His guidance is refused and evil’s influence is strengthened. Compromise of truth eases us more and more into the way of error.  Jesus has declared though that “I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt. 16:18) so the real church will hold the line by the power of the Holy Ghost until Jesus says it is enough. The masquerading of evil as light must not deceive the church.  Every individual has free will to choose what god to serve, but the True God will judge every decision at His throne.  The best thing the nation can do is to choose wisely by rejecting the god of confusion while upholding truth by serving the True God of Creation, Jehovah God.

For more discussion on this subject, read my book:  Christianity and Ethnicity:  Is Christ Concerned About Race? ISBN: 9781387188253; (https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/christianity-and-ethnicity-joyce-reba-payne/1127151207

Posted to website: joycerebapayneministries.com – March 25, 2019

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LEARNING THE LESSON

March 2019

While our memories are fresh we should pause as Americans to see what we have learned from our recent political discourse.  But you say, “It is not over yet!”  The ordeal might not be over but the lesson is apparent and ready to be learned.  It is amazing that with the multitudes of professions, spiritual intuition and educational knowledge available in our nation; it was the American media that saved the day.  They called out lies that the politicians, church and government would not.  They were a little slow calling a lie a lie but they finally got there.  Their reluctance in calling false statements as lies was probably due to their professional relationship with morality, whose guidelines for truth is rooted in biblical scriptures.  America has had its debate with truth and truth was tossed out on its ear in favor of public opinion.  Truth does exist, however, even though few public leaders want to validate the importance of truth derived from religious faith as the standard and foundation of our society.  Religious wars were fought and settled in nations before America was established as a God-honoring nation.  America must re-establish this baseline truth. We cannot re-fight religious wars within our borders.  Some things, like math, are universally accepted truths across nations and so must be the truth about God, which America had the most liberty to expound across the world.  Has America come to an epiphany about God and yet reverted back to pagan discourse?  Has the church failed at practicing what it has preached?

Chasing After “Shiny Things”

The media unearthed a truth that revealed people were running around in circles. “Shiny things” was a phrase that was repeated over and over by one media outlet who discovered the enemy was hiding the truth by causing the public to chase after “shining things.”  Little children love shiny things and will chase after them and amuse themselves in play with them all day long.  They can easily be distracted by shiny things.  The media found that they were being pulled off topic and off the scent of their journalistic search by shiny things introduced to lead them astray.  They caught on to the game, called it out and decided to stop allowing these traps to ruin their efforts in exposing real problems.  Would to God we all would learn this lesson and stop running after “shiny things.”

The real question is how we ever got into the mess our political system has fallen into.  It’s appropriate to consider: America loves shiny things!  We love the flashy, the bigness, the loudest, the richest and the most visible things.  We love our stars!  If there is a selection to be made, we want the “most-est” of the bunch.  We are Americans and we want nothing less than the best! So we chase after shiny things because they stand out and must represent the best.  We were groomed to seek after movie stars, celebrity preachers and greatness in leaders. Everything shiny is not the best!  Sometimes it’s just greased up.

Choosing Wisely

What am I talking about?  We, as Americans, must learn from our present situation, while the experience is still fresh in our minds, how to make proper decisions from a wide selection of options.  New elections are on the way!  We will have an opportunity to do it again and leaders can and have been proven to lead the masses astray with smoke, mirrors and flashes of light.  Did we learn the lesson?  If we have not learned the lesson, we are bound to repeat it.  I dare say some are reporting, we are already repeating our previous bad history.  The best leader is not always the best looking, tallest, wealthiest, most smooth-talking, charismatic, renowned person we can find.  Abraham Lincoln is believed to have been one of our best presidents yet his success as the 16th President of the United States was not based on popular criteria.

The best source for guidance in selecting true leadership is found in the Word of God.  If we refuse this sound guidance, we will continue to have more of what we are already seeing.  The devil does not need new tricks; the old ones work just fine.  Church instruction was supposed to teach us how to make right choices.  Our first great leaders were chosen by God and He gave mankind guidelines for selecting good leaders.  Here is some biblical instruction:

Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. Act 6:3

 Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tensEx. 18:21 

 And all Israel heard of the judgment which the king had judged; and they feared the king: for they saw that the wisdom of God was in him, to do judgment. 1Ki 3:28

For the LORD giveth wisdom: out of his mouth cometh knowledge and understanding. Pro 2:6 

The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility. Pro 15:33 

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Deu 18:18 

The scriptures above reveal God’s guidance for selection of a leader:

  • One from among us (someone we know and his ways)
  • One of honest report, fears God, Spirit-filled,
  • One who has judgment, wisdom, truth
  • And one who hates covetousness.

Inner-Struggle of Nation

Our nation started out as a God-fearing nation but now mostly choose to disavow God and shun His ways in favor of worldly leadership.  We have compromised our values for the sake of getting along.  The fact that none of us are perfect should not disqualify the guidebook that identifies our shortcomings.  We can see clearly where that has gotten us and we can look back at the list above and realize there is a lack of virtuous traits in our present leadership.  We should not settle for lest of men because we cannot find a perfect human.  We also should not look to man as God, which is idolatry or demagoguery (Suggested audio/video on demagoguery: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IaGHbyWf7c.  This is the right time to look back over the last several years to see how far we have gone from God’s original instructions that the founders valued and we should each determine why we find ourselves in this present state.   Some would say we are doing that.  Unfortunately and as previously explained, the expertise of the media cannot produce repentance, which is God granted.  When America chose to refuse the Christian standard, it also refused godly leadership. Without God’s guidance and Christian values, we no longer have a standard on which to judge righteousness or the proper course for the nation.  When biblical Israel became corrupt both leaders and the people were in darkness.

For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise. 2Co 10:12

Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him. Pro 26:12 

The very definition of right and wrong has been publicly challenged and debated with vigor while the “Judge” over the debate has been muzzled.  We can continue on the wrong course and become worse and worse or we can stop now, acknowledge we went off course, check the guide book to see our error and be corrected.  It is time to seriously evaluate our experience and extract the lesson.  Without a vision the people will perish (Pro 29:18) and the vision of our nation was God’s direction for the nation.

A list of  worldly characteristics to judge the best candidates are usually: strong vision for the nation; ability to put the times in historical perspective; effective communicator; courage to make unpopular decisions; crisis management skills; character and skills (www.ushistory.org/gov).  Careful evaluation reveals the list was derived from biblical examples but it purposely leaves out God’s Spirit as the source of guidance.  We cannot use God’s wisdom while failing to acknowledge Him as the source and expect to be successful.  Kings, prophets and wise men have acknowledged God as the source of their abilities, whereas modern intellectuals show shame. The very nature of God and His commandments refuse to be ignored and demands recognition for who He is.  If we fail to acknowledge Him, He has vowed to deny us.  We are seeing the results of this denial without realizing the cause as forsaking God.  The nation that denies God subsequently goes into decline before experiencing bondage or destruction.

Many mainline Christian churches surely failed us when they showed a stubbornness toward accepting the spiritual gifts God sent to empower the church at the Azusa Street revival, resisted cross-race fellowship that led spiritually-hungry believers to enticement by celebrity preachers who beguiled seekers with false gifts, false doctrine, pursuit of wealth, abandonment of righteous standards in lieu of worldly fellowship and surrender to political leadership without God.

The first appointed leader over the children of Israel was a man led by God, named Moses.  Moses was given the authority to assign public leaders over the Israelites for service as priests, discipline, judge, worship leaders and social care.  All of these positions are part of our present society that we call community, church and government for the people and they are all derived from the original Lawmaker and Sovereign God, who set up foundation standards for the lives of His people and society.  Where we varied from that direction is the point where we went astray. We cannot allow arrogance due to our wealth, modernization, or intellect to cause us to deny the God who made us. The founders (well-versed in law, science and theology) acknowledged God and established, to the best of their abilities, the pattern they thought their descendants would follow and improve on any shortsightedness.  Rather than improve on what the founders did, America has flipped the script and gone all the way backward, ready to return to authoritarianism, monarchy, church dominance, over-taxation and class-rule.

Correcting the Path

It would be ideal to assume that America has learned the lesson from recent and still on-going errors, but there is still that fascination for stars.  We love our stars!  We want a star in the pulpit and as head of our government. Did we learn nothing from King James I of England, who considered his rule divine and unanswerable to men? Fascination with stars assumes that someone else is better than we, whereas Jesus came to disprove that theory and reveal great potential and the Creator’s power in each of us.  We must learn to look for signs of God’s selection of a leader in those who possess maturity, wisdom, integrity, humility, fear of God, honesty and a servant-spirit.  Those are godly characteristics that protect us from charlatans like those being charged in today’s news cycles. Christian ministers were supposed to teach us to resist looking for the glory of man but rather to give glory to Christ. Many instead taught us to glorify them and look for god in man.  The uniqueness of America is a God who gave a Savior and Lord in human flesh whom we as Americans are free to know, follow and emulate

It is so easy to chase after “shiny things” like children.  We must be more studious in our undertaking for leaders because what we do will affect our destiny, the next generation and the world watching us.  We should not miss the purpose of our faith which was to show forth Christ in all that we say and do.  If our present spiritual, political, and community leaders have failed us; we must not give up on the right path but rather return to the original guide book and pattern.  Once we can see the pattern and have the right model, we can pick up where they left off and continue on course, like Joshua.  No leader is to be set up higher than or instead of Christ. Misguided leadership does not have to be the end. God gave us Jesus walking an earthly path as our example to follow and He warned us of making gods of men.  We all have within us the same potential for greatness because we are all made in the image of the Creator.  We have not yet reached our highest national potential and we can still reject the trap of the enemy.  We have a long way to go still if we straighten out our course and reject tyranny. The enemy of our nation, his plan and false way has been fully exposed in plain sight in a time of weakness but we can still denounce the evil choice.  God has given us mercy at the crossroad of grace and destruction so we should learn the lesson and make the right choice. Let’s choose to reject the wrong path and press toward a better future!

America – Ready To Be Judged!

October 2018

Whether Americans believe there is a Creator or not does not really matter to the existence of an All-Knowing, All-Powerful Creator God, who reigns in heaven and who is the Maker of all things and final judge of us all. What we know about the Creator is much like what we know about parental authority:  they were before us, they make all the rules and will render the final decision of our behavior to us.  The wisdom of King Solomon of the bible (Son of King David, a man after God’s own heart) told us: To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted… (Ec. 3:1-2).”

We all are familiar with the cycle of life that includes birth pains, birth, maturity and death.  Solomon identified many seasons and cycles within life but mostly, he expressed the beginning and the end of all things.  It is important to know that everything under the sun that has  beginning also has a predetermined end.   Solomon went on to declare, “I said in mine heart, God shall judge the righteous and the wicked: for there is a time there for every purpose and for every work (Ec. 3:17).”  King Solomon’s wisdom, which was a gift from God, explored the purposes of all things and concluded that it is all vanity in the end. The man who had the highest position in the land and more wealth than all men, paused to consider those that were without any.

“So I returned, and considered all the oppressions that are done under the sun: and behold the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power; but they had no comforter.  Wherefore I praised the dead which are already dead more than the living which are yet alive (Ec. 4:1-2).”

After examining the power of the mighty and the lack of power for the oppressed, he determined that death was better than life.  During his lifetime he had opportunity and wisdom above any man to evaluate every aspect of life and he came to a conclusion:

For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God. If thou seest the oppression of the poor, and violent perverting of judgment and justice in a province, marvel not at the matter: for he that is higher than the highest regardeth; and there be higher than they. Ec. 5:7-8

Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad; and a gift destroyeth the heart. Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit. Ec. 7:7-8

It behooves us all to take wisdom from someone who has had the best of wealth and wisdom and reap his lessons because few, if any, of us will ever gain his abundance  of wealth nor ever gain his wisdom.  How does Solomon sum up his exploration of life?  Here are some excerpts:

All things have I seen in the days of my vanity: there is a just man that perisheth in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man that prolongeth his life in his wickedness. Ec. 7:15

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.  For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Ec. 12:13-14

We see in this book of wisdom that God gave to the highest position of His chosen people the best of wealth and ability to consider all matters pertaining to life and then allowed him to relay it to all mankind in this book.  Even King Solomon, who had the ability to understand life, had to live it out and be judged for his actions in the end.  But wisdom’s road map is revealed by God for all to follow.  He shows us the right path and advises us to take it.  The lesson is that despite the highest abilities and greatest wealth that we all strive for; our work, soul and intents will be judged by God at a set time.

We know of America’s birth, the providence it experienced to be set aside for pursuit of life and liberty under God and all the declarations made to God by the founding fathers upon its inception: “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”  It is those declarations made to God by men that America will be judged by God to determine if it has complied with those vows.  Vows are very important to God:  “Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay (Ec. 5:5).”  The declaration of unalienable rights for all men to enjoy life and liberty  within American borders in devotion to God are promises America swore to uphold and is what America will be judged for.  The nation made those vows and the whole world heard them, some of whom have sought to follow America’s example or crossed waters to enjoy them who will also sit in judgment against her treachery to those vows.  America’s actions against other nations and the immigrant prove that she has lost her way!

Creator God set out a plan and put it before His chosen people that He would bless the faithful with riches and wealth and America has received riches and wealth.  He also promised that the wicked would experience deterioration and horrible punishment before final destruction.  America is now somewhere in the process between punishment and final destruction.  The mercy and compassion of God cannot be overlooked.  Even in a sentence of destruction, God gives man time to consider his ways and change his mind. God actually fights for us and with us for preservation, not willing that any should perish.  Apostles Paul and John taught us about the loving forgiveness of God through Jesus Christ. The Book of Revelations, written more then two millenniums ago, reveal that the final judgment does not come without instruction, warnings, deliberations and then punishment poured out in sequential waves.  We are very familiar with the judgment of our courts but less aware of God’s judgment.  The judgments of our courts can be purchased and wrangled by wealthy men, but God cares for none of that.

At this hour where many have come to the rightful conclusion that the soul of America is being tried, there is still time to consider the nation’s sins and turn around.  “…What doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God (Mi 6:8)?  We saw that Old Testament prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Amos were sent by God to warn and declare the punishment of nations.  Prophet Jeremiah was ordered by God to pronounce judgment against Judah, Israel, and the gentiles, Philistines, Moab, Ammonites and Babylon.  But before the heathen nations were to be destroyed, God first reasoned with and judged the people of promise.

The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the Jews which dwell in the land of Egypt, which dwell at Migdol, and at Tahpanhes, and at Noph, and in the country of Pathros, saying,   Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Ye have seen all the evil that I have brought upon Jerusalem, and upon all the cities of Judah; and, behold, this day they are a desolation, and no man dwelleth therein,  Because of their wickedness which they have committed to provoke me to anger, in that they went to burn incense, and to serve other gods, whom they knew not, neither they, ye, nor your fathers.  Howbeit I sent unto you all my servants the prophets, rising early and sending them, saying, Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate.  But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear to turn from their wickedness, to burn no incense unto other gods.  Wherefore my fury and mine anger was poured forth, and was kindled in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem; and they are wasted and desolate, as at this day. Jer 44:1-6

Jeremiah prophesied and grieved over his own people when he saw them fall into desolation as God promised for their disobedience.  All of these things that transpired thousands of years ago is well-known history for America who was established from the reigns and lineage of many kings but set free from bondage to follow God with her whole heart.  How has this nation fallen into the same sin when there was so much knowledge and teaching about this past?  It is because the wicked nature of mankind is unchanged even though many leaders call themselves “Christians.” Christianity has risen to the forefront in the world, where it is no longer considered weak and inconsequential and even been recognized by the White House and its presidents, where it originally found sovereignty in America.  However, it has been soften and diluted until it now oppresses the poor, immigrant, widows and children.  Some profess hatred for the foreigner, fatherless, and prisoners.  Some ranks of it call out some sin as being more hideous than others, contrary to the teachings of Christ.  They profess God while disobeying God and declaring others must obey the letter of the law they teach, much like the Old Testament Pharisees and Sadducees who Jesus declared were hypocrites.

Jesus was upset with the ungodly Jewish leaders and denounced them.  It was a just system corrupted and perverted to favor greedy rulers, who failed to guide society into justice and morality.   They had perverted God’s way and deceived the people.  Jesus rebuked these leaders in Mt 23:13 for not wanting to enter into heaven nor allowing others to do so.  He went on to accuse religious leaders for devouring the poor and widows while establishing their own self-glory.  The Jewish leaders had uncontested control over the people in governing, benevolence and spiritual matters.  They led corruption in all aspects of righteous living for the purpose of self-gratification.  For all these sins and more which did not follow God or the founding fathers, God sits in judgment to declare His verdict upon a disobedient nation.

As America has sat in judgment over nations and people, now she must stand or fall before her “Judge”.  America has long been ruled by affluent old white men “white fisted” with power that have chosen to devalue the disadvantaged that God has valued and scorned the weak, women, children, the poor, immigrants and widows.  In America, the affluent, with or without Christianity, have made a pact to stand in power against the underclass and devour them for their resources.  This is the same power of the nations judged by God before America was formed and it is the same force that Jesus came to defend the poor and disadvantaged against.  In all this, God allows America time to repent and turn around before final judgment. He appeals to the highest and least that someone might intercede for a nation gone wrong.

We see individual people and organizations pleading for America’s soul and to be relieved of its leaders’ hardened hearts.  Some white women and weak Christians who were complicit now also cry in outrage.  The conundrum we face is that leaders are appointed over people according to their nature or simplified: people get the leaders they deserve.  This dilemma reveals the requirement for the whole nation to repent.  As the people contend for the heart of leaders to change, they must also repent and change.  We saw in the story of biblical Nineveh (Jon 3:3), the whole nation repented of sin and was spared.  Daniel prayed for his people but he, too, had to confess sin.  This problem involves all of us because all of us are party to its ways and will suffer the consequences of America’s sin.  Judgment is imminent unless we turn around.  Now that God has pulled the cover off of America’s long hidden sins of genocide, slavery, abortion, prostitution, rape, greed, corruption, authority abuse in religion and government, religious idolatry or apostasy, pride, racial hatred, treachery, aristocracy, gender bias, lies, etc., and exposed it to all American citizens and placed them before the cameras of the nation and world; none can claim ignorance and must all repent and turn to Christ for salvation and deliverance.  “For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved (Jo 3:17).”   I pray that the nation of America will see her sin, as we all must do, and receive the conviction of sin that God grants to those that would repent in their season.  May God save America!

INEQUALITIES AND IMBALANCES

May 2018

With a focus on the purpose of Pentecost, it is important for us to remember that Jesus Christ came to set the captive free. He did not come to give us another religion or purpose for social gathering.  Those people who were hopelessly in bondage to oppressors were now going to have an opportunity for freedom through accepting Christ as their Savior.  Powerful men of stature had used their power to bring the average man into bondage to their authority through debt, illicit transactions or coercion.   Neither did Jesus come to make void all of those illegal agreements.  Prisoners and criminals did not get released immediately from jail when Jesus came to Jerusalem.  Some believers that actually were free went to jail for the sake of Christ.  Jesus made it known to the people that His kingdom was not to this world.  Yet Jesus did come to do something important about the bondage of people.

Jesus came to Jerusalem when men, women and children could be enslaved to others because of debt and they were brought into captivity by an oppressive conquering army.  He came for the purpose of  liberating the hearts and minds of all people from captivity to the evil one who causes fear and oppression.  People motivated by greed for money were bringing others under their power in many illegal ways.  Citizens and the religious were unable to deliver themselves from the oppressive and illegal practices of the strong.  To liberate these people, a stronger power had to come on the scene and Jesus brought the power of heaven and Father God against the devil and his followers.  The rein of wickedness was to be broken by the all-powerful rule of God.  The wicked were to learn that there was a power greater than theirs.

Diminishing Christian values

America was established as a nation under God and it promoted righteous laws governing the people after being delivered from the tyrannical aristocratic rule of European monarchs and a corrupt and oppressive religious system.  Christian values and expressions of liberty were prominent in the making of America’s laws because of the oppression experienced in their previous homelands.  So the righteous rein of God and deliverance from oppression were powerful considerations in setting up fair laws that declared all men equal under God with a right to personal liberties.  God’s law had provisions for the release of debtors from servitude after seven years and the restoration of property.  As long as Christian values prevail in a nation, righteousness prevails and the force of law protects citizen rights.

With today’s diminishing Christian values and putting away of the Ten Commandments as a guide for correct behavior in the nation, corrupt opinions are establishing unfair laws that aim at again oppressing people.  Much like the people who were under the monarchical rule in European nations, America is experiencing similar times where oppression and corruption are prevailing against the average citizen and there is again a need for true Christian values to stand up against injustice.  The once-Christian nation is now giving authority to a new god, where wealth and elite status prevails as power supreme.  European-style aristocracy which worked secretly underground is now arising to control the once Christian, democratic, free nation. Where church leaders fail to hold up the standard of righteousness, God’s authority is weakened and wickedness replaces it with coercion and fear.  Godly religious leaders were expected hold on to and progress the mantel of righteousness that they inherited from their forerunners.  They, however, became relaxed and comfortable in a land of  ease and allowed the enemy to get the upper hand.  But God is still expecting His Spirit-filled believers to make a difference in their spear of influence and reclaim righteousness wherever possible in the land.  Pentecost brought the power of God in earth to believers to stand against all forms of evil through faith in the preached word, prayer and the believer’s intervention.  The small band of early Christian followers made an eternal difference in the known world.  They upheld a Christian standard in difficult times and were a challenge to unjust laws.  Previous believers established systems that their heirs are merely asked to uphold and maintain.  Every believer will have to answer to God for his or her own role and responsibility in holding up the gospel light.

Preferential Treatment to Those of Power

Inequalities and imbalances prevail in the land when gender, social status and wealth are preferred and granted power at the expense of others.  These practices have been know to progress into iniquity that causes the oppressed to cry out to God because the powerful will not alleviate their pain or show mercy.  While the powerful increase their gain through corrupt and evil practices, the poor sinks into greater poverty with little hope of recovery.  The cries of the oppressed are always heard by God on High Who is the Defender of the poor and afflicted: Job 34:28 “So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted. “  God hates unjust balances and we can expect His intervention when the wicked of the land seem to prevail.

Eze 45:9-10  Thus saith the Lord GOD; Let it suffice you, O princes of Israel: remove violence and spoil, and execute judgment and justice, take away your exactions from my people, saith the Lord GOD.  Ye shall have just balances, and a just ephah, and a just bath. 

Psa 12:5  For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the LORD; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.

Lev 19:35-36  Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment, in meteyard, in weight, or in measure.   Just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin, shall ye have: I am the LORD your God, which brought you out of the land of Egypt. 

The Overthrow of Wicked Power

We have seen recently on the world stage notable men who have been overthrown or exposed for their insatiable appetites that consumed the weak.  Many have been amazed at these exposures without considering that it is the Hand of God that pulls down the mighty to spare the defenseless.  Those in authority have the means and advantage to conceal their misdeeds and maintain their estate but there is a God Who is higher than the most powerful men on earth, who sees what is done in the dark and has the ability to pull down powerful curtains, move mountains of oppression and unleash burdens of captivity.  When God decides to move and show His power, no man can withstand it.  He moves by His  sovereign power to cleanse the earth and release yokes of bondage.

The bible remarkably records for our learning the overthrow of many powerful leaders and tyrants.  Foremost of these examples is the Egyptian pharaoh who oppressed the poor Israelites that put their trust in the God of heaven.  They went through generation after generation of abuse but God did arise eventually to miraculously deliver them.  Because God is an unseen Entity and can seem slow to respond in some situations, some people tend to believe that He does not exist, does not care or will not respond.  They count the long-suffering and merciful nature of God as indifference or inability.  Holy scripture tells us that God is not willing that any person should perish but is long suffering for the benefit of man’s repentance.  He sends warnings to provoke mankind to repent of sin before releasing His wrath.  Divine warnings are being given today through notable incidents that are brought to national and international attention.  God is showing us gross sin and arrogance at the top levels so that we do not put our trust in man that will ultimately fail us.  We marvel at the things that are breaking out in the land but does it merely cause outrage or does it cause personal repentance as we remember God promised consequences for individual and national sin.  In what are we placing our hope?  Devastations are causing some to declare that God must surely be coming soon while others are merely enjoying their liberties!  One prophet wrote:

It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. Lam 3:22

A Long-Suffering God

The long-suffering nature of God can cause the wicked to operate in assumption that there is no force capable of preventing their greedy pursuits.  This very nature of arrogance promotes the wrath of God to come even the sooner.  Prophecy tells us that times will continue as normal and men will be unsuspecting until Jesus comes:

But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.  But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Mat 24:36-39 

The 23rd Psalm reveals the nature of God as a “Good Shepherd caring for the needs of His sheep.  Other scripture refer to Him sending rain on the just and unjust equally and being a caretaker of the birds of the air and the flower of the field.  God is known to be a loving and compassionate God but He also takes vengeance on wickedness to protect His inheritance in the land.  God will eventually judge the wicked for their offense against His word.  He is a just God when He blesses the righteous and when He brings wrath against the wicked.  Warnings that come to the believer and unbeliever gives mankind time to consider the consequences of their actions before wrath comes.  Arrogance and pride discounts even those warnings.  The long suffering and patience of God often causes the wicked to ignore God’s presence and power.  We are living in such days when wickedness is having free rein to do what it wants seemingly without repercussions.  These are the days that await the intervention and judgment of God to show up in defense of the weak because He is their Lord.  It is God who restores balance to the land and exercises His rule over all mankind.  Because God hates imbalance and unjust weighs, we can expect His intervention into the wickedness we see in the land.  But do we still have the ability to recognize when God is moving?  Evil ways have become so dominant that they are now being called normal and acceptable in our society.  Believers must make sure they are found doing the will of God when He comes rather than being caught in agreement with the wicked that are to be punished.  Remember Lot!

The long suffering of God in the preaching of Noah before the flood was intended to bring mankind into repentance but only eight people heard, believed and were saved from destruction. Too many of God’s ministers are failing to sound the alarm so we see God speaking through other medians of news reports, social media, unbelievers, the weather, economy, politics and challenging our own hearts to make a change.  God is showing His hand in the earth but many cannot distinguish the source of the power or know the reason because they do not know God’s word.  People heard and responded to John the Baptist’s plea for repentance and preparation for the coming King but in today’s society people hear and continue doing their sinful deeds because their ears are dull of hearing or hearts are hardened.

Care for the Weak

God is concerned about the needs of the poor, women, children,  immigrants, imprisoned, persecuted, widows and orphans. Because men are given authority over their home and lead in so many authoritative positions, they will have to answer for their use of authority, whether it is just or abusive.  They are given authority to defend the weak, not oppress them for personal gain or pleasure.  They are to represent the good shepherd practices revealed by the Father, who is to be their example.  They will have to answer for those that come under their authority:  Col 4:1  “Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven.”

The overarching darkness and chaos of the earth caused God to create daylight and establish order in the earth before He made the first humans.  Shall the chaos of today’s earth escape God’s attention?  Jesus was sent to earth as an intercessor between God and mankind.  The love of God was so great for all mankind that He made a way of escape from sin and destruction through the atoning death of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ.  The price has been paid for the sin of every man, woman and child that will accept the sacrificial punishment placed upon Jesus Christ as payment for our sin.  Believing Christ delivers one from the wrath to come upon a wicked earth.  The love of God reaches out to every soul to say come into the ark of safety and receive His cleansing love.  The prophets of old declared that even in the last hour, God’s hand still would be out stretched for mankind to repent and come into the ark of safety.  God is the great equalizer and He will give balance to our life and bring it into conformity to His will. We are totally set free from bondage and captivity through our relationship with Him.  God is too good to let evil prevail and His righteousness demands justice.  It is a loving God that teaches us His ways and allows each of us the opportunity to willingly choose whom we will serve and how we want our life to be rewarded. Joshua declared: “…but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Resurrection Sunday: The Mercy of God

April 1, 2018

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Joh 3:16

The eyes of the Lord are always upon the earth because He made the earth and cares for it.  What about man? God made man and says every soul is His. So imagine God looking at the earth in its present corrupt state and how He must feel in seeing everything He made for His glory and left in the hands of man as caretaker.  If you are thinking anger, you are wrong.   Before the foundations of the earth God had redemption in mind (Ep 1:4) for His creation.  Looking through the portals of time God knew what man would do and set out plans for a solution.  He even looks at you and me in a perfected state like He saw fearful Gideon and called him: “thou mighty man of valour.”

What is it about a parent that looks at a child and knows it has done wrong and still sees his own image in that child and shows compassion toward it.  Before the foundation of the earth God knew.  He saw man sin again and again and yet had devised a way out for him.  He sent preachers like Noah, prophets like Elijah and servants like David to show His everlasting love for mankind. When none of these could restore His people to righteousness, God was still not through.  Determined to save His lost ones, God decided He would send His final and best to save His creation.

God, Himself, decided He would pay the cost of man’s redemption. He would pay the price to redeem lost man.  We are told that His word became flesh and we came to know of the man named Jesus who would save His own.  We read that Jesus went to the cross and was willing to suffer, bleed and die an undeserved death for our sins.

God had asked Abraham for the life of his only son, sacrificed by his own hands. As difficult as that would be for any human to do, Abraham was willing to kill Isaac in obedience to his God.  But God must have thought how can I let this one that I love suffer such hurt and so much pain.  He chose that He would endure that suffering and gave Abraham instead a ram to offer as a substitute sacrifice.

Unwilling to let Abraham sacrifice his own son; God, Himself, endured that pain as His only begotten Son made the supreme sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the whole world.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”(Joh 3:16).  That scripture may have become too familiar for some people and lost its meaning because of its familiarity.  But just imagine if it was you asked to kill your only child.  Regardless of how or why it was done; it would bring unbearable pain. God’s love spared Abraham that suffering and He endured it Himself.  God did it for all of us.

Neither Abraham nor his son could pay the price of the world’s sin because they were sinners too.  Just like you and me, he had no sinless life or blood to offer for redemption.  Jesus shed His sinless blood to make a pure sacrifice that was acceptable to God as atonement for the sins of the world.

Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required.  Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me,  I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart. Ps 40:6-8

Not only does God command us to love but He has illustrated perfect love in His willingness to sacrifice Christ for a world full of sinners who were undeserving.  “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends” (Jo 15:13).  Now that He has paid the penalty for our sin, Christ only asks that we take His life and power to live in righteousness.  It is ours for the asking.

In this sacrifice is a valuable lesson for us: a lesson of sacrificial love.  If we only quote the scripture or celebrate the Easter holiday without meditating on what God did in Christ, we miss the whole purpose of Christ’s great sacrifice for us.  Not only that but we also miss the opportunity to help fulfill the work of Christ to restore mankind back to God.  Love is the weapon that defeated Satan at the cross and love is the weapon that defeats him in our lives as well.  When we look at the world and wonder where God is, remember that Christ died so that the Spirit of God could live in us.  It is now our job to dispel the darkness and bring God on the scene by letting Christ’s light shine through us.

Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Man in the Mirror

December 2017

There was a popular song in the late 70’s, re-recorded in following decades entitled: “I’m Every Woman.” It was sung by popular artists Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston and others. The song is the boast of a confident woman who feels that she has the strength of womanhood to do whatever a woman is needed to do. She is the perfect woman above others and no other is needed. She represents the best of every woman. Here are some of the lyrics:

I’m Every Woman – (Excerpt)

Whatever you want,
Whatever you need,
Anything you want done, baby,
I’ll do it naturally
‘Cause I’m every woman
It’s all in me.
It’s all in me, yeah!
I ain’t braggin’ ’cause I am the one
You just ask me, oo, it shall be done.
And don’t bother to compare,
I’ve got it.

We live in a day when a lot of us feel the same way, whether we will admit it or not. People today have the ability to buy, rent or credit whatever is needed to represent their best self. Whether their ideal of themselves is real or borrowed, they have substantiated their image as reality and you would best not dispute it.

As Americans, we have set forth an image that everyone can have success and what it should look like. Those that have not obtained the coveted level of success or perfection are frowned on as being below standard; so everyone tries to obtain above the level of that disrespect. This motivation prompts people to buy, rent, beg, borrow or steal to reach this status of life. The American dream, full of accomplishment and success, is the ideal set forth to the world as something everyone must obtain. Immigrants of other nations strive to obtain passage to America for the satisfaction of obtaining this American ideal. The American dream is set forth as the thing that will make one happy and fulfilled and everyone wants that. Those who have experienced this height of success but subsequently fell off their pedestal are discounted as unfortunate.

The American church has told people that Christianity means being happy and fulfilled. They have promoted the gospel of prosperity as the vehicle to obtain this fulfillment. Multitudes have bought into this religious system but have not obtained material success or fulfillment. They, however, will not confess that it has not worked for them as they continue to “fake it till they can make it” while using other means for immediate fulfillment.  Jesus never taught the prosperity gospel that is being practiced today by mega ministries and storefront churches. The devil is not above using some religious principles mixed in with a lie to ensnare the unwise. While the American dream could possibly include Christianity; Christianity cannot be defined as successfully obtaining the American dream. America did not even exist during Christ’s earthly ministry and Jesus’ ministry and teachings (and that of the apostles) were focused on obtaining heavenly rewards. His goal was salvation for the soul, not material wealth. He promised God would provide for the believer’s needs but taught against an evil love of money. There was no guarantee of wealth in this life even though the ability to get wealth was provided (Deu 8:18). Abraham, Job and King David were wealthy men whose true wealth was their love of God. Wealth was added to them by a faithful God, pleased with their obedience. Jesus taught:

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Mat 6:33

Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Mat 6:30

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Mat 6:19-21

His message seems to be opposite of what the prosperity preachers are teaching. They teach get religion and then seek your material wealth through giving money to them. They teach that you are sowing seeds for future wealth but they seem to be the only ones getting wealthy, while some in the church are discouraged in the gospel because it doesn’t seem to work for them. The prosperity preachers keep waving this carrot of prosperity and teaching new strategies to hold their audience captive to their message. Wealth is not wrong but neither should it be a Christian goal. Jesus taught against this pursuit in Matthew 6:19-34 and later warned: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul (Mar 8:36)? Wealth is not the measure of one’s worth because the greatness of Jesus was not the manifestation of material wealth (He owned it all and we are His heirs) but in the power of God.

A little that a righteous man hath is better than the riches of many wicked. Ps 37:16

The religious system of America has gone worldwide as other nations are practicing America’s religion and buying into its philosophy. The prominence of this religious system has failed to prevent the sinfulness that has taken leadership in America because of compromise. But as long as it appears to be working, it will continue to sell. The object of a good scam is always to keep up the appearance of success. The more people buy into the scam, the more popular and successful it appears. The disillusioned are disqualified as losers and inept. They just did not believe hard enough to succeed even though Jesus boasted of the potency of mustard seed faith. True religion is criticized while false religion is promoted for its profitability in the marketplace. This type of religion is satanic and far from the Christian faith Jesus taught.  Jesus taught and warned fervently about false teachers and a religious system that would arise in the last days. He warned: “…Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them (Lk 21:8).”

The efforts of those who do preach the gospel truth have barely penetrated this false gospel because the promise of the prosperity gospel is so lucrative and appealing to all. God has shown His disapproval of America’s false Christian witness though, through the repealing of blessings and the difficulties our nation has encountered by religious scandals, failing ministries, a poor economy, internal discord, threats from without, government confusion and devastation of various kinds. As long as fool’s gold is flashed, people will continue to follow the false map.

The word of God has foretold everything we are experiencing in America and of everything that happened to the once God-fearing nation of biblical Israel for their disobedience to God. God gave us the living image of God in Jesus as the perfect man following perfect faith as a guide for believers to aspire toward and imitate. Jesus did not exhibit or promote prosperity. Love was to be our motivator, not lust for material things. However, the false church has set up a false image of Christianity and the Christian that is more appealing to fleshly churchgoers. Jesus foretold:

I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive. Joh 5:43

We ought to hold up Christ’s image against our lives or the walk of religious leaders to see if there is any comparison to Christ’s likeness.  If the example shows no resemblance to Christ, it is not of Christ. Christians are made from a good God and that tree bares good fruit.

America has gone way off the Christian course but does not seem to recognize it because the image that has been sold is so great and appealing to the flesh of churchgoers. The troubles in the land have failed to cause multitudes of American believers to turn from their sin and truly seek God. Professed believers and unbelievers united to seek a strong leader that would substantiate your beliefs and champion their earthly causes; and God has allowed them their petition. They sought a governmental leader over the leadership of Christ just like biblical Israel sought a king rather than God. King Saul was not in Israel’s best interest but God allowed it to show them their sin. Israel was even told in advance the evil that would come upon them as a result of selecting this king but it did not stop their desire for their will to be granted. So God gave them their fleshy leader and every event God prophesied through Prophet Samuel occurred as foretold. The people suffered and cried out under their evil leaders but the nation would not repent.

Similarly today, God has given the people the leader they cried out for. This leader was not the best God could provide but it was exactly what the people asked for by name. God has a permissive will that He grants when necessary to teach a lesson. King Saul, in God’s permissive will, brought great devastation to the people but it was necessary to show the people their error.

The “king” that America has been given, an answer to evangelical prayers, was necessary; they would have it no other way. Their king is a perfect representation of the people he represents. He is a supposed Christian, arrogant, egotistical, materialistic, self-absorbed, self-righteous, ignorant of God’s true ways and one who refuses to acknowledge sin or repent. In this leader, America has been given an image of herself that it can see and moan over every single day.

We seldom see our own sin but we can easily identify sin in another. God used this method to reveal King David’s sin. Most everyone can identify sin in America’s new leader and that is good. He has been called racist, prejudiced against foreigners and immigrants, sexual deviant, blatant liar, undisciplined, seeker of self-wealth, unteachable, narcissus, self-willed, selfish, disrespectful and disloyal. In watching and disapproving his actions, I have at times caught a glimpse of myself in him. I hated that thought but cannot deny I saw it. He is a mirror for all of us. In all of his arrogant errors, each of us will find something that is wrong in ourselves. He represents America and worst in us. Some people do not see anything wrong with him; they are in deep denial and may never see their sin even when it is directly before their eyes. Some people have been rendered blind, hardened in heart and will never turn from their sin; but they, too, have been given the same opportunity to see their own sin displayed before them. God gave the Law so everyone could see in it their sin but some still denied any wrong and boasted self- righteousness. When we compare the image shown to us to Jesus Christ, who can deny the difference between love and hate? We are without excuse as Apostle Paul taught. Undeniable evidence has been put before us and we all must admit we are sinners deserving of punishment and fall on God’s mercy with repentance for His grace. We cannot save ourselves. All God asks is that we repent of our sin and He has put the punishment of that sin on Jesus Christ, the Sacrificial Lamb of God. Who can deny the mercy of God in granting us repentance so that He can bless us?

The Word of God teaches in 1Co 11:3l-32 that we should judge ourselves so that we be not condemned with the world and certainly we should not be judged by the world but the world has judged American Christians. The ridicule and judgment is God’s. “But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world (1 Co 11:32)”. We find in Rom 2:4 that “…the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” Let’s finish this message the way we started it: with a song; and may God help us to see the changes we need to make as we pray for ourselves and others.

Man in the Mirror (Excerpt)

I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right…
As I turn up the collar on my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin’ my mind
I see the kids in the street, with not enough to eat
Who am I, to be blind? Pretending not to see their needs
A summer’s disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man’s soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
’Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to know
I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change
(Take a look at yourself, and then make a change)

In this season where we focus on giving, thankfulness, the love of God for us and New Year’s resolutions; it is a perfect time to examine ourselves to see if we are really walking in Christian faith. This season represents Jesus’ birth into a world of sin so that we could be reborn in His image, all our sin exchanged for all His righteousness. God’s perfect, tailor-made gift to us is His Son, Jesus, a perfect representation of God for us to examine, follow and reverence. If the image we see does not look like Christ then, with a tender heart, let’s ask God to help us and others to make a change.

God’s Best to You
Through Jesus Christ, God’s Son

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY – LEST WE FORGET!

That this may be a sign among you, that when your children ask their fathers in time to come, saying, What mean ye by these stones? Then ye shall answer them…these stones shall be for a memorial unto the children…for ever. Jos 4:6-7

January 15, 2016

Our nation will pause this weekend to reminisce on the life of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Many people that are living today were alive during his life and at his death, so the memory of events before and after is still fresh in our minds.  We know the importance of the things he did and what they represent for the black population of America.  But like in the book of Joshua, where God indicated that some of the miracles would be forgotten and later generations would not appreciate the past, it is important that we set up memorials to bring to remembrance those past events for generations to come.

Happy Martin Luther King’s Day to all those that have cause to rejoice over the victories won and the  battles fought for black people to realize equal rights in a country where their fore parents bore the hardship of slavery.  Blacks deserve an opportunity to rejoice after all the pain and suffering of the past.  But more important than rejoicing is the need to reflect on the lessons learned.

In the bible story above Joshua was instructed by God to set up stones to remind the people of the miracle of crossing the Jordan.  It was not just for a memorial about crossing the Jordan.  Along with remembering the miracles of that time, God wanted the children of Israel to reflect back on what God had done for them.  The miracles did not happen as a fluke of luck that came their way, but the Israelites had a God that cared for them and who helped them every step of the way.  God was not finished with His people after they crossed the Jordan, but He needed to help them learn how to prevail in the future.  They needed to know that they would not prevail by happenstance or mere determination on their part.  They had to learn that their help came from the Hand of God.  So along with the story of the crossing of the Jordan, the storyteller was to point out that it was God who led and helped them.

Lest we forget, we must have our memorials in the black community as well.  In telling our stories of victories from slave time to the present day, we must not forget to tell children that it was God who helped us.  While we remember the importance of the life of Dr. King and celebrate his life and work, we must realize that none of it was possible without God.  Dr. King was not just a civil rights leader, but he was a man of God who saw the need to rise up and do the works of Christ.

We could miss the lesson of his life and think that equal civil rights alone is the answer to the black dilemma in America.  We could miss the point of this history lesson and think that protesting the political system is the answer.  We could even miss the lesson by waiting on our next “Dr. King.”  Near the end of his life, Dr. King did sum up his life’s purpose for us in his Drum Major sermon.  He just wanted to be remembered as someone who “tried to love someone.”  He reviewed the humility of Christ as He served and told us to seek greatness through service and love.  Because he set out to bring new freedoms to black people and did accomplish it, we must evaluate his life and extract the message from it.  God knew the heart of man and that they had a tendency to lose the message or lessons learned so he made special provisions for the Israelites to set up the memorial with special instructions for the time of celebration or reminiscing.  In the times to come and when the descendant’s children would ask: “How came these stones hither?” then the parents would relay the miracles that God had done for their people.   God was preparing Himself posterity in the people.  He did not want the destiny of the people to be lost to their forgetfulness.

Lest we forget, we must not just celebrate the man and his life, but we must relay the message of his life.  It was not just that he believed in something better for himself and his family and pursued that dream; but it was that this man had a faith in God, imitated the life of Christ and sought to bring change while he continued to believe and work toward the dream.  If we pursue the dream and forget the God that gave it, then we might as well not celebrate Martin Luther King’s Day.  We could all go to Disney World instead and admire the fantasies that came from Walt Disney’s mind.

We must know and remember that there is a God that has a purpose for His people and that He has a destiny for black people in America.  We must know that God has no step children but that we are all (black, white, brown, yellow, red) the same in His sight.  We must know that we all, as people or believers, have a right to the blessings of God if we trust in Christ.  And finally, we must know that we as black people do not have to be subservient all our lives to the dominance of a white majority in America or anywhere else, but that God promotes the righteous and brings down the foundations of the unrighteous.  Dr. King showed us that it is possible to rise up and be better and do better in America.  It is up to us to move forward with progress from the possibility to the reality.  If we pursue the results and forget the way he showed us, we will have missed the lesson of his life.

God never told any people that the way to full rights and blessings was through petitioning a governmental authority.  Moses told Pharaoh what God demanded.  The Israelites had a right to be free and it was time for Pharaoh to let them go.  It was not a request but a demand from the Sovereign God coming to see about His people.  If we continue to believe and petition the Supreme God instead of a secular government, we, too, in America can see a time when: “… all God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, Free at last, Great God a mighty, We are free at last.’  While remembering ML King, let’s not forget the KING OF KINGS!

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.  And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him. And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears. Lk 4:18-21

HAPPY MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY!