Saturday, April 2, 2011

Function As Designed (Archived)

Most heavenly and gracious Father, I come before your excellence, not how I pretend to be, but as I am, always in submission before your throne of grace to express my gratitude for your loving kindness you continue to bestow on an undeserving people.  I thank you for waking up me this morning, Lord.  You protected my family and me while we slumbered, and saw it not robbery to provide a hedge of protection for my home, oh God.  I pray oh God, that you did the same for each reader and doer of your word.  I pray a blessing on wherever they are, and I pray that your Holy Spirit reign down on them setting the atmosphere to receive your word in spirit and in truth.  Father you are a loving and forgiving God, and I pray oh God that you forgive us of any sin thought, spoken, or performed.  We give you all honor and praise, and we pray this prayer in Jesus name. Amen

Let me begin by sharing with you, that this morning’s message may be seen as offensive.  Some topics are sensitive to people, but I am a child of God, who has been made free by Jesus Christ.  I am no longer held captive by individual’s preferences or feelings.  However it is not my intent to offend anyone, but to offer what I believe is truth based on the Holy Scriptures, and my opinion also based on the Holy Scriptures, and not by personal feelings backed by what I feel is to be so.  With that being said, I pray that you receive the message, or at least consider it.

I am an IT (Informational Technology) Professional by trade.  I help individuals work from a remote location.  Simply put, I assist them to work from any location outside of their office as though they were sitting in their office.  The function is pretty simple when you know the foundation.  However, there are some users, who do not understand the concept, and try to do things that the program was not designed to do.  For example, let’s say a program was built to multiply only two digit numbers.  Some users feel because it is multiplication, it should multiply any digit numbers.  Logically, this is correct, but this specific program was not designed to do it.  So when the users I support try to do things that my program was not designed for, I explain this to them, and I close the ticket as “No action required.  Program is functioning as designed.”  Now, put this away for a bit in your mental closet.

I got to the gym at least 4 times a week.   When I am at the gym, I look at other men especially if they are targeting the same muscles I am.  When I see a man who has firmer and more developed area of muscle than I do, I watch carefully.  I watch because I know if I mimic them, eventually I would either have the same stature or come close to it.  One evening, I was concentrating on my upper body, and it so happened that there was a young man near me also working on his upper body.  When I saw his face, I could no longer focus on my workout.  I am not ashamed to say this, but that was the prettiest man I have ever seen.  What I mean by this, is his body structure was that of a man, but his face just seemed, feminine to me.  At times I was actually staring at this man.  Not in awe, but more like what the………..My wife does her eyebrows, so I know when someone does their eyebrows.  His was done superbly.  His face did not appear to have any blemishes.  The only facial hair he had was his eyebrows.  This man became a distraction for me so of course, I moved.  I continued my workout and was thinking, well, look at Prince.  He has some feminine ways, but he was known to be promiscuous with women.  I hear of stories all the time about men getting manicures and pedicures, facials, spa treatments, blah, blah, and more blah.  I am just not that type of man, but more power to them.  So I dismissed it out of mind.  After my workout, I went to the locker room to change, and he was there.  It was obvious that he had just come out of the shower.  At that time, another gentlemen came in and stated, “you are just now finishing”, in which he confirmed.  The gentlemen then said, “I am going to run to the store and be waiting outside in 15 minutes.”  Then they embraced in a way, which I considered to be inappropriate for two men to embrace especially if one is barely clothed.  I dismissed it just the same, because not all men behave like me.  What I did not dismiss was when the gentlemen repeated that he would be out there in 15 minutes, and my feminine faced friend responded, “ok hon”.  Ok hon?

With what I’ve just shared, it points to this young man as being a homosexual.  Some may say what is wrong with that?  Well let’s search the scripture.

·        So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth." (Ge 1:27-28)
·        And the LORD God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him."  (Ge 2:18)
·        Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. (Ge 2:22) 

Based on the above scripture, and if we believe them to be true God created man and women and told them to be fruitful and multiply the earth; in other words to procreate.  Same sex couples cannot perform this as God designed.  Let’s look at some more scripture.

·        You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination. (Le 18:22)
·        And they called to Lot and said to him, "Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us that we may know (have sex with) them carnally." (Ge 19:5)
·        And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day; as Sodom and Gomorrah, and the cities around them in a similar manner to these, having given themselves over to sexual immorality and gone after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (Jude 1:6-7)
·        Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.  For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature.  Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due. (Ro 1:24-27)
·        And He answered and said to them, "Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning 'made them male and female,' "and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'? (Mt 19:4-5)
·        Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, (1Co 6:9)
·        Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband. (1Co 7:2 – if celibacy is not chosen)

Please retrieve what I asked to put in your mental closet.  Do you have it?  Remember when I spoke about the program and people attempting to use it outside of how it was designed?  It is the same scenario when a man or woman attempt to have relations with the same sex outside to how they were designed.  When we say it is ok for someone to be homosexual or a lesbian, we are failing to recognize that some mental issues are present.  If a man begins to bark like a dog, or meow like a cat, or do anything that mimic an animal, the first thing we would think, is that this person has lost their mind.  We would say why is this human being behaving like an animal?  It is the same where a man was created a man, yet behaves as though he is a woman and vice versa for a woman.  There is an issue there.  In one of the underlined words above taken from scripture, it states “what is against nature” Meaning this was not how God designed them, yet they will attempt to alter nature.  When we agree when someone says that they were born that way, we are disregarding how God created man and woman.  We are stating that God’s creation was not perfect.  We are not software programs where we have many versions such as mankind v 1.0 until one version has no kinks in it.  We were created perfect by an almighty God who has no error in Him, yet when we agree or consider the possibilities of the above, we are agreeing or considering that God’s creation may have had a flaw.  God created male one way and women another. 
The male organ makes up half of the reproduction process.  The woman’s organ makes up the other half.  Together, they create another human being.  That is how God designed us.  That is what God meant when He said “Be fruitful and multiply”.  Men and women who follow this natural order are similar to those who follow the computer program as it was designed.  Those who feel they want to go against natural order, yet still receive the same results, are those who go against the computer program’s design.  These are the ones, who now want marriage to be re-defined.  These are the ones who have gender modifications.  These are the ones who receive hormonal injections.  The list goes on and on.

That young man addressed his facial appearance in a manner how my wife would.  He was not born this way, but somewhere in his life, there were signs of him choosing to behave opposite his natural gender.  I cannot assume that no one around him taught him different. As children of God, we must take a stronger stance on those things that are opposite of what thus saith the Lord.  Am I saying to create a movement that specifically target homosexuals or lesbians?  No.  Am I saying let’s follow the words of Buju Banton?  Absolutely not!  What I am saying is take a firmer stance on what God has to say on many issues including the lifestyle choices of men and women who desires the same sex.   If not, what we are doing is compromising, and we run the risk of creating a pattern of compromise where we move further away from God instead of closer.  We then determine what we feel is acceptable instead of acknowledging what God states is acceptable.  The Church has become a joke, since the molestation performed by clergy, promiscuous Pastors, thieving Pastors, and to my shock a Church known as a gay Church (UPPC –aka Vision Church).  A gay Church?  What doctrines are preached there?  Are lives being changed?  Is killing flesh a focus?  What about God’s stance on sin?  Or what about who will inherit the Kingdom?  The world has crept into the Church, and now I am concerned that there will be those who would want to redefine the meaning of Church.  Lord have mercy if it does.  Amen

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Blame Game

Good morning Father, and I thank you for another blessed day.  I thank you for a stress free work week.  I pray Father that you will grant me a blessed weekend as well. I pray the same for the reader and doer of your word.  I pray as we continue throughout the day, that you will guide and protect us from all hurt, harm or danger.  I pray a hedge of protection around our loved ones.  I pray that you soften the hearts to those who wish to operate in deceit towards us.  I pray a covering oh God, that would exhibit that we belong to you, and will excite fear in those who dare attempt to attack us physically or characteristically.   We just pray that you just love us as you always do, day by day.  We pray that you instill your Spirit in us to desire the things you desire.  And Father, if we haven’t said enough, we pray that all our current sins, whether by thought, speech, or deed, be forgiven.  We honor, adore, and praise you.  This we pray in Jesus name.  Amen.

About 15 years ago, I knew a young man who ran the streets.  He ran the streets hard, and to him it was beneficial.  People listened to him when he spoke, and many feared when he got angry.  He had power.  However, the time came when he lost that power, and had to change his life around or else he would lose his life.  His prior means for making a living was the illegal way, and since he chose a new direction, he had to find legal means to make ends meet.  What legal and easy way to make money other than working in a fast food restaurant.  He figured if he could not work there, he does not deserve to work anywhere.  He went in without filling out an application and sort of demanded a job, and by a miracle he started the next day.  He started out in the grill area.  It was easy enough, when it was slow.  One time there was a big rush and he wasn’t able to handle it.  When one area was too much he blamed others and made excuses.  When moved to another area as way of comfort, same result.  This happened to every area in the kitchen until the manager got frustrated and sent him to the back to wait.
 After the rush, the manager came to let the young man have it.  He said “you come here demanding a job as though if we did not give it to you there would be a problem.  You then get to start, and you have an excuse for ever area you fail.  I know your kind and you do not scare me.  If you become a problem I will just call the police, and let them deal with you.”  After feeling frustrated the young man decides he does not want to work there, and then the manager says, “So when you go back to the streets and it is not how you left it, you will then blame me.  Man up son or your road will become even more difficult.”  The young man experienced something he never experienced before.  He was not in control, he had no options, and he was faced with someone who did not fear him.  The manager taught him a very valuable lesson.  That lesson was accountability.  That young man eventually stayed at the job for 3 years and was the manager’s 1st assistant.  Unbeknownst to him, that manager was someone else before, and somebody gave him a chance.  Also, that was the beginning of God using that young man.  That young man was me.
Why do some people shift blame on others?  Sometimes they cannot cope with unfamiliar situations so they blame others for thier behavior.  Sometimes it is lack of control so by blaming others it can lead one to believe they have some power.  Also it can be due to guilt for not accepting responsibility for their actions.  Adam and Eve are a prime example.  The bible states Adam and Eve were both naked and were not ashamed (Gen 2:25).  They had no reason to be, because they were in God’s presence and were innocent.  However this changed when the serpent persuaded Eve to disobey God’s command, and Eve persuaded Adam to do the same.  The bible states “Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings.” (Ge 3:7) They just experienced for the first time in their life how it felt to disobey God.   When God was looking for them, they hid.  Adam explained why, and God automatically knew.  He wanted Adam to say it so he asked if he pretty much disobeyed Him.  It was a simple yes or no.  Adam said, “Then the man said, "The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate." (Ge 3:12)  Eve said “The serpent deceived me, and I ate." (Ge 3:13)  Adam blamed God, Eve blamed the serpent, and who was the serpent going to blame, God for kicking him out of heaven? 
Isn’t that how we get sometime?  Things do not go our way; we blame God for not answering our prayers.  A man cheats on his wife; he blames the wife for being boring.  Black men in the dumps, they blame the white man.  Black men dating white women, black women blame the white women for stealing their men.  Blame, blame, blame!!!  When will that nasty pointy finger make an about-face and point to its owner?  This is serious family.  Anyone who blames is selfish, deceitful, wicked, and enjoys living a lie.  Who does these traits belong to?  It surely does not belong to God. When a person is accustomed to pushing blame, they are slow to repent.  They would never acknowledge wrong, and would work hard to shun the truth.  These are individuals who rather hear a dressed up lie because it feels good, than the naked truth which cuts.
When I look back on how I was, I was really headed down a wrong road.  I was a child of the devil and did not even know it.  Family, it is hard to live a Christian life because there is so much things to fix, but by God’s help we can make it; one area at a time.  This may not apply to you, but you can at least identify it for what it is. It is not of God.  Amen!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Who Are Your Friends?

Gracious Father, I thank you this morning for allowing me to see another day, a day which you have made.  I thank you Father for me waking up this morning with my organs functioning and my bones intact.   I thank you Father for eyes to see, ears to hear, and a tongue to give you praise.  All the things that we enjoy each day, that we take for granted Father, I thank you for them.  I am so pleased to be called your child.  I pray this morning that the blessings you have bestowed upon me are also given to each reader.  I pray a blessing wherever they are, and that they are comforted and in peace.  I pray that each day, they draw closer and closer to you, and forsake the things that are aligned with this world.  I pray a blessing on their coming and going, and a pray a blessing of covering on their families.  I pray now Father that this message would be considered. I pray that your Holy Spirit set the atmosphere for them to receive it in love.  I pray oh God that they take inventory of all the people who are around them, and choose those who walk according to your will.  Father we love you, and adore you, and we give you all honor and the praise.  This we pray in the name of your darling son, Jesus.  Amen.

We are so quick to label people we know as our friends.  Why?  Majority of the times it is based on how long we knew the person.  It can be based on the same interests.  Sometimes it could be a person who you work with where you just seem to connect well with them in contrast to others.  You may even hang together outside of work hours.  Is that enough to say that they are your friends?  We all may have different standards that we set as a definition of who our friends are, but I would also pray that at some point we base who our friends are not only on the amount of years of camaraderie, but also on their fruit.  Earlier this month in the message titled “Eyes Wide Shut”, I spoke about two people who I thought were my friends.  We went to both middle and high school together.  We were members of the same gym, so of course we worked out together.  We hung out together and even worked at the same job together for 2 years.  With all of this, I thought for sure they were both my friends.  One I consider a friend no more, and the other, I elevated him to the status of my brother, and I have love for him just as much.  It was based off a simple act of humility which caused me to change the definition in my book of who a friend is.
It was sort of hard to write this message because I wanted to go one way, but the Holy Spirit directed me in this direction.  We are all familiar with the story of Job.  The devil boasted to God how he has been leading His children away, and God asked if he considered Job.  The devil felt the only reason why Job loved God was based off of his possessions (Job 1:6-8).  I wanted to go in that direction to show that the devil watches and plans to sift those who are happy.  He must have considered Job or he would not have made that statement, however I wasn’t able to go in that direction.   After God allowed the devil to remove all which Job had, and seen that Job did not curse God, the devil went to God again, this time asking to inflict pain on Job.  God granted it, as long as Job’s life is spared (Job 2:1-6).  I wanted to show how of course the devil does not play fair.  It should have ended with the taking of the possessions, but noooooo, the devil wanted to change the terms.  I wasn’t able to go in that direction either.  I then tried to express the limited power the devil has in not only causing illness to be inflicted upon us, he can even kill us.  To my astonishment, I was unable to go further in that direction.  It was when I read a little further down, I received the direction.
In the book of Job it reads “So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.  And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.  Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!"  But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips.  Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place-Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him.  And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven.  So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.” (Job 2:7-13) Amen!  Amen! Amen!
Family, sometimes even our friends can be a better friend than our mates can.  Job had possessions.  His friends were his friends.  Remember birds of a feather flock together?  If Job was rich, most likely his friends were rich as well.  When they heard he lost everything, they did not shun him, they went to him.  When they seen the calamity and the affects of his illness, they did not shun him.  They knew that he was an upright man before God, and God blessed him.  When he lost everything, they could have easily said (perhaps a thought) he must have gotten what he deserved.  Aren’t we quick to say how someone is reaping what they have sowed?  His friends did not do that.  No family they screamed and wept for their friend.  They tore their garments and put dust on their heads, which indicated a deep, deep distress for their friend.  Then they sat down with him on the ground.  They left their highly positions and brought themselves low to the level of where their friend is now.  Oh family, what friends did Job have.  They sat with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights without saying a word because they saw Job’s grief.  We do not need a fake friend to cause us to relive what we are going through by wanting to talk about it.  Silence is golden. 
Who are your friends, family?  Can you say for certain that your friends would exhibit similar examples of love if by some chance calamity befalls you?  Would they go through the trials with you, or say how they are blessed not to be in your shoes?  Would they fast and pray for you, without you asking them?  Would they just do for you, instead of asking you if there is anything you need, with the hope you say nothing?  Forgive me if I cause you to question your present friendships, but maybe it is necessary to remove the fake to make room for the real.  Amen!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Generational Curses

Father God, I come to you today to thank you. Thank you for giving me life today. Thank you for the little things we take for granted. Thank you for our family, friends, and church family. Thank you for our jobs.  Thank you for blessing us with what we need Lord.  With these thanks, I pray now Lord for our family and friends that are in need. I pray Lord that you bless them in the areas they are lacking. I pray that you bless them with health and strength Lord. I pray that you remove any infirmities that are in their bodies. Cover them Lord from the crown of their heads to the sole of their feet.  Bless them in their finances Lord.  Help them to be good stewards of their finances Lord and in any area where they are weak Lord.  Father only you alone are able to do these things.  I pray now Lord that you continue to use us Lord to do your will. Lord, remove any distractions that are preventing us from drawing closer to you, and father forgive us for our trespasses. Father we love you, we thank you, we honor you and give you praise.  All these we ask in your Son Jesus’ name, Amen.
                                                                                         Prayer by: Judith Notice

When my son was 13, I signed him up for a community basketball team.  I took him to every practice and of course I was at every game.  The coach at the time had two leagues with different age groups.  Since he was the only coach managing both leagues and because I have played a little basketball myself when I was younger, I offered to help coach.  He would handle the 14-17 age group, and I would handle the 10-13 age group.  My son was a fairly good player offensively, but he was a beast when it came to defense.  He has very fast hands.  I believe that was attributed to his martial arts training.  There was another boy on the team who also had very fast hands, but it was when it came to dribbling the ball.  He was very impressive.  During one of my training sessions I assigned my son to that boy, who I called dribbling machine.  The dribbling machine attempted to trick my son to move one way while he attempted to go the other.  It did not work.  He tried different ways, but my son kept up with him.  Since the dribbling machine now became predictable, when he made the attempt, my son stripped the ball and possibly fouled him.  The dribbling machine became angry, and he pushed my son to the floor.  My son got up and headed in his direction, and I quickly got between them, since my son is a black belt and has an unpredictable temper.  While I was between them, the dribbling machine made an attempt to hit my son, but my son somehow made the dribbling machine hit himself in the face.  The dribbling machine expressed his anger by saying I held him while my son hit him, and that he was going to get his dad.  Are you asking yourself how does the title tie into this story?  You should know me by now.  I like to draw a picture as though you are right there.
The next day I saw the dribbling machine come with his parents in tow.  I had to look twice because I could not believe my eyes.  His mom was pregnant with a very tight top to where part of her stomach was showing.  She had on a pair of real short shorts.  Did I tell you she was pregnant?  She had tattoos on her breast shoulders, and calf and I admit I wondered where else she had tattoos.  She had a toddler who was old enough to walk but young enough to wear pampers.  I know this because he only had on a shirt, pampers, and some sandals.  The dad had dreadlocks that were very unkempt.  He had gold all in his mouth, gold chain that hung down to his stomach, he was pushing a stroller with a little girl in there, and his pants was on his hips where I am able to see his underwear.  I remember seeing the dribbling machine walking towards me with a proud look on his face. (are you kidding me)
The father made some hand gestures and was rambling off but my mind was in a different place.  I was 34 years old at the time, and since the dribbling machine was my son’s age, I assumed his parents were also.  I remember looking at his mom, and wondering how did she get to be like that.  I did the same with the dad.  Then I thought about how rude the dribbling machine was to me as an adult, and I thought about the baby in the stomach, the toddler in pampers and the girl in the stroller.  I remember thinking when would the cycle end.  It was when he asked me if I took him for a joke; I came out of my trance.  It took a lot of humility on my part, but I was able to persuade the parents to accept my apology.
A generational curse is what we label as a negative pattern of behavior that is thought to hold a family in spiritual bondage. They are sins committed by earlier generations and passed down from one generation to the next creating an often devastating cycle.  The bible states “The LORD is longsuffering and abundant in mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression; but He by no means clears the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation.”  (Nu 14:18)  When I first heard this verse, I was much younger and had no desire to know God, and it made it easy for me to stay away.  I said to myself what a cruel God.  Why would He punish the children for what the father did?  But I got older, saved, and love the Lord, and it now make sense.  The fathers walked in disobedience, so therefore their children would most likely walk in disobedience, and the cycle would continue.  That is why in families it can be seen as a curse because you have generations of sexual abuse, physical abuse, substance abuse, alcoholism, divorce, promiscuity, homosexuality, etc.
It all stems from families who do not recognize that demonic influences are at work in their lives.  The ones who are most susceptible to these curses typically have strayed from the will of God and are no longer on the path to righteousness or never were. The above list of abuses or behaviors becomes a learned behavior that takes a stronghold on their lives, providing fertile ground to repeat the pattern of negativity with their own offspring, hence the dribbling machine, his parents and mostly likely the baby (in mom stomach) and toddlers.
Is generational curse the right label?  Maybe not, however there is a cycle of behavior that does pass on from generation to generation and it is negative in nature, and God will visit each generation based on that behavior.  Maybe the next time we hear of someone sexually abusing someone, part of us would have some compassion, since it may have happened to abuser.  Maybe the next time we hear of a husband beating his wife, part of us would have compassion, since as a little boy he may have saw his mom beaten.  Or better yet, maybe we can offer help to break the cycle.  Pray about it then decide.  Amen.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Old and New Covenant

Father God, I come before your grace this morning to express how thankful I am to be called one of your children.  I pray that I continue to walk in the light and to shun those that are contrary to you.  I pray oh God, that you bless the reader and doer of your word.  I pray oh God, that your Holy Spirit set the atmosphere to receive your message this morning.  I pray oh God that any offense performed would be forgiven.  I pray a blessing of peace upon your children, and I pray that you grant me the discernment to see when things are not of you.  I give you all honor and glory, and I pray this in Jesus name, Amen.

Family, I do not claim to know it all.  I do not claim to be a new millennium scholar.  All I can share is God has truly been good to me and my family and I learned that it was by His grace, and by my obedience to His word.  Because of this, I wanted to learn more about God, and how He has behaved towards the inhabitants of this world.  It would make sense to do this because of His omnipresent nature.  If I could learn how to be a better child of God by learning how people of old did it, then I would seek that information.  I could not go to heaven to find these things out.  Nor could I have consulted with an angel.  I am able to ascertain this information by reading His complete, infallible and inerrant word which is compiled in the bible.
Pastor Chris Likely, when giving a topic for his sermons, would always provide definitions for key words in his topic.  This was unusual, and I must say he was the first I came across who did this.  I would even admit that at times it was annoying to me.  Well, I must put my foot in my mouth.  I see why at times it is necessary.  People use words and phrases in sentences all the time, and are unaware of the meaning.  So to take a page out of his book, I want us to clearly take a look at the three key words in my title.
Covenant - an agreement, usually formal, between two or more persons to do or not do something specified.  Bible: (a) the conditional promises made to humanity by God, as revealed in Scripture. (b) The agreement between God and the ancient Israelites, in which God promised to protect them if they kept His law and were faithful to Him.
Old - far advanced in the years of one's or its life: an old man; an old horse; an old tree; belonging to the past: the good old days; no longer in general use: This typewriter is an old model.
New - of recent origin, production, purchase, etc.; having but lately come or been brought into being: a new book; other than the former or the old: a new era; in the New world; being the later or latest of two or more things of the same kind: the New Testament; a new edition of Shakespeare.
                There are 66 books that make up the bible that we read.  It is divided into two main parts.  They are the Old Testament which consists of 39 books, and the New Testament which consists of 27 books.  Now looking at my key words, one can gather that there was an agreement between two parties or more, and that another agreement possibly between the same parties has taken precedence over the prior.  Like in all agreements especially between the same parties, some of the details will remain the same.  However it is the new details which now make it a new agreement.  When reading the bible, there is a reason for why part of the bible is considered old, and the other part is considered new.  There were things that were of practice, but since the establishment of the “new”, those practices are no longer necessary.
I have also learned that the Old Testament consists of 3 parts; civil (law), ceremonial (ordinances), and moral (behavior).  I have learned that the moral part transcends time.  For example, we have the 10 Commandments.  The first 4 tells us how our relationship with God is to be.  The last 6 tells us how our relationship with each other is to be.  Jesus mirrors this by saying “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Mt 22:37-40)  However, the civil and some ceremonial practices are no longer required.  For example, the law (civil) reads “For everyone who curses his father or his mother shall surely be put to death (not eventually will die). He has cursed his father or his mother. His blood shall be upon him.” (Lev 20:9) My neighbors have two teenage sons who curse at them all the time and I have yet to see any of them drop dead (and yes I have spoken to them).  Nor do I see any animal sacrifices being performed in any churches I have been a part of. (Lev 1:1-17)  It appear that people for the sake of a specific direction would refer to an old practice that for one is no longer applicable, and two, they were not part of the agreement.
The covenant that was made in the Old Testament was not made for you and me.  The bible states “And I will establish My covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you in their generations, for an everlasting covenant, to be God to you and your descendants after you.” (Gen 17:7)  This covenant was between God, Abraham, and his descendants who we learn are the children of Israel.  The details of the covenant were explained in Gen 17:10-21.  God is faithful and to continue to honor His covenant, He spoke with Moses after the exodus and laid them out in full detail in Leviticus.  However you have those who want to apply an old covenant as though they were part of that agreement.  We are part of a new covenant.  The bible states “But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.  But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” (Gal 3:22-25)  Does that make sense?  So why don't we try to follow all of the laws God gave to the Israelites?  There is no separation between some of the Old Testament laws.  Some try to separate the “nice” ones from the ones that are not so nice. Either we obey all of the laws God gave to the Israelites or none of the laws God gave to the Israelites. It is not a menu that we just get to pick out the ones we want to obey.  Lastly, why do we need Jesus if we continue to revert to ways of old? 
God allowed a new covenant to take precedence over the old and that all have an opportunity to partake of the promise that was made to Abraham.  The bible states “In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.” (Col 2:11-14) The KJV uses the word “ordinances” instead of “requirements”, and the Greek word for ordinances is “dogma” which is defined as a law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical):--decree, ordinance.  I pray that we all honor God in sincerity and in truth, and rightly dividing and applying His word to our lives.  Amen.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Be Careful Of Complacency

Heavenly Father, I come before your throne of grace, with head bowed, and heart humbled to tell you thank you.  Father I thank you for life this morning.  I thank you for health, strength, and soundness of mind.  I thank you Father, for the covering you have bestowed on my family and me.  I thank you for a sanctuary to worship and praise you in.  I thank you for surrounding me with believers who are unwavering in their faith.  And most importantly, I thank you for Jesus.  I pray this morning God, that all I am thankful for, that others are able to experience them.  I pray a blessing on the reader of your word.  I pray that the Holy Spirit reign down on wherever they are, and set the atmosphere for them to have a wonderful and peaceful day.  I pray that our hearts are tilled so if at anytime we receive your word by divine appointment, that it will be well received.  And Father, I pray that you bless them in their coming and going.  Please forgive us for any thought, speech, or deed, that was not pleasing to you.  We give you all honor and glory and we pray this in your Son’s Jesus name.  Amen.

The more I study God’s word, the more appreciation I have for His evident mercy that He bestows on an undeserving people.  You have some people who live their lives without a worry in the world.  Some are justified in that position.  Those who are Christian, trust in God’s word, and have faith, that they are covered.  Whatever trial they may face, will be for a season, and God will bring them through it.  They are justified.  However you have those who live their lives day to day with the confidence that they are the ones who are in control of their destiny.  These are the ones who base everything they do on sight, and not by faith.   They are not concerned too much with the hidden things.  Some may even acknowledge God, but spend little time thinking on Him.  I am not sure if it is arrogance or ignorance, but if they are not careful, their current position can be detrimental to their life now and in eternity.

We all know of a man, woman or couple, whose current status is that of one being on top.  They are financially well; they are healthy, with no current problem areas in their life.  They mingle with likeminded people, and care less regarding the affairs of others.  These are the ones for the sake of conversation, would say God has blessed them, but in another sentence boast on the things they have accomplished.  These are the ones who feel all that they have was by their hands alone and do not realize or even care that it was made only possible, because God allowed it (De 8:17-18).  Anything close to them losing everything, yet they managed to survive; they would chalk it up to luck.  When I think of these people, I have to fight the feeling of disgust.  Such arrogance!!!!  I am reminded of scripture recorded in the Old Testament.  It is amazing how God’s word can transcend time.

The Word of God came to the prophet Zephaniah regarding Judah.  God listed the charges against them, mainly that of idolatry.  What stood out to me the most and what again is evident how God’s word transcends time was in verses 12 and 13 in the first chapter of Zephaniah.  It reads, "And it shall come to pass at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And punish the men Who are settled in complacency, Who say in their heart, 'The LORD will not do good, Nor will He do evil.  Therefore their goods shall become booty, And their houses a desolation; They shall build houses, but not inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards, but not drink their wine."  Lord have mercy!!!  The key word here is complacency which is defined as a feeling of quiet pleasure or security, often while unaware of some potential danger, defect, or the like; self-satisfaction or smug satisfaction with an existing situation, condition, etc.  God was referring to those who were careless, and satisfied with the material things they obtained.  They put their affection and trust in their riches.  They knew who God was, but ponder little on Him since they did not see evidence of expeditious punishment for their actions. 

Tell me are not some people we know the same way?  They are satisfied with their riches, they are satisfied with their circle of friends, they are satisfied how life in their eyes is good, and they are settled in with how things are going.  They trust in what they have and how it makes them feel.  Guess what?  Those things have become their god.  They know in their heart that they have transgressed and since they see no immediate action from God, they figure they are cool.  Hey, is not like they killed anybody right?  “Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.” (1Co 10:12)

          The word of God is true.  People who are rich and are well off, have no time for God.  Atheism is not far away and their primary focus would be to hoard as many things that they set their heart on to assist in satisfying their flesh.  God is on His way to settle that account, and if He chooses to be merciful, He will remove every object of their affection and leave them with nothing.  They can’t blame the devil for everything.  The only thing left for them to do is look up.  Amen!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Avoid The Dead

Lord, God Almighty, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day. Defend us today by your mighty power, so that we may not fall into any sin, and that all our words may so proceed and all our thoughts and actions be so directed as to be always just in your sight. We pray this prayer through Christ our Lord. Amen.                                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                                                               Prayer by: Ruth Boro

How many of you watch movies?  That may be a silly question.  How many of you watch horror films?  This may also seem silly, but to some of my Christian brothers and sisters, they do not.  It is ok, for we all have different convictions.  I enjoy watching movies and I am very careful of the content, but I must say with movies these days, it is difficult.  Anyway, that is not the direction I was headed, but I wanted to speak about a particular movie.  The movie I wanted to touch on is “I Am Legend”.  I believe it is based on a novel with a similar title.  The quick version, is a virus broke out infecting millions of people.  There were some who were not infected because they were naturally immune.  Those who weren’t immune morphed into cannibalistic like zombies or better known as the living dead.   According to the film, these zombies of course are infected with the virus and if in the process of them feeding on you, if you happened to survive the attack, you will eventually turn into one of them.  Will Smith, played a military virologist who was working on trying to find a cure.  He was one of those who were naturally immune, but he avoided these beings at all cost; simply because he wanted to live.  I pray that you forgive my use of this movie to metaphorically bring a message home.

When a person dies, during the stage of decomposition, there are substances that are produced.  One is called cadaverine and the other putrescine.  These substances are what attribute to that foul odor when the body no longer has life.  What people do not realize, is that if massive doses are ingested (by inhaling), it has been proven toxic, hence the necessity for embalming.  The Bible states “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Co 1:18) The cross as referred in scripture represents Jesus in His entirety.  Who He is, who He is related to, what He stands for, what He taught, and what He desires for our future.  This verse is saying those who hear it, yet consider it foolish talk, or just do not get it, or simply just ignore it, it means they are dying (spiritually).  This is a metaphor, and some things make sense when we look at it from a metaphorical stand point.  The cross stands for all that the world need.  The cross stands for all that we need as believers.  The cross stands for life.  The cross stands for good standards.  The cross stands for accountability.  The cross stands for doing things that is right.  All of these things if someone does not get, or choose to ignore, that person is near death and have the ability to be toxic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I have never seen anyone who decides to be amongst negativity, and not speak negative things themselves.  I have never seen anyone who fellowship with people who constantly use profanity, and not slip up and become profane themselves.   I believe you get the point. 

The cross represents life, and those who oppose it are near death.  Don’t expose yourself to these carcasses.  If you live with one, then this means don’t let what they say or do, cause you to change.  If that foul odor is seeping, put on your mask which is prayer.  God is the coroner.  Make no mistake about it, if you are alive and people around you are dead, he will remove them.  Amen!