Saturday, October 30, 2010
It's Saturday, the day of peace and rest. For many today represents a day off and a day of relaxation. This is a great thing, because some of us are so overworked, so burdened down that we are always mean, angry and on edge. Today's scripture reminds us of how precious and needed peace and rest our in our lives under God, lets look:
The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 (NIV)
It's something about control, when we control our lives and our schedules we we make time for our spiritual rest as well as physical rest and this allows our body to rejuvenate. So keeping this short on your off day, get some rest, abide in Christ, let God rule your life and watch the peace and rest you receive.
God today, grant us grace, peace, and rest. Amen!
Friday, October 29, 2010
People all around the world discuss and debate the validity of the bible, many persons ignore the positive elements of the church because they discredit the bible as being written by men thus flawed and not accurate. We as Christians find ourselves asking the question, can we believe the bible as being true?
Let's look to today's scripture:
2nd Timothy 3:10You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
So how should we respond when we hear others claims that the bible is just man’s words with We should study so tat we can know and articulate our faith better. Remember that over a period of 1,600 years, 40 different authors wrote the 66 books of the Bible. There were 500 silent years between the 39 books of the Old Testament and the 27 of the New Testament. Yet, Genesis to Revelation tell one continuous story. Instead of being discouraged by the others let’s be diligent to study and share what we learn with others.
Someone came into my office today concerned asking if the bible was true of false, and I shared with them that it is true and inspired by God therefore even though written by man because of it's inspiration it can't be defiled or messed up. We must stand on our faith of Christ the solid rock and at the same time be educated and theologically grounded enough to explain our beliefs.
Dear God bless your people with the gifts of discernment and the ability to speak the truth for and about you. Amen!
Have a Safe and Blessed Weekend, Love P.J.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Ephesians6:10-18 (NIV) The Armor of God10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.
Friends, nothing beats being prepared! Know that when we are in a constant relationship with God we are protected by God's armor. Therefore at work when gossip and chaos fell the air, on your worst days remember you're covered. You might have to sneak away and read your bible (sword) or say a prayer but you're covered. When your relationship seems to be falling apart, school seems impossible, you're lonely or depressed, remember your are already prepared for this type of situation because you put God's armor on this morning. God's armor last a life time.
Are you ready? YES you are!
God today protect and keep us no matter what happens remind us that we are protected by faith in you, and grace that comes from you. In Jesus name we pray Amen!
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Our church Mandell United Methodist Church has a prayer ministry that meets on Tuesday evening for six months out of the year while the weather is good, and they covenant to pray alone at their homes during the winter months. Well this year our entire church has agreed to enter into prayer and fasting on Tuesdays during the winter as we seek to strengthen our members, ministries, and spiritual impact on the community. This morning I have been thanking God for the move of the Spirit that has already been seen in just three short weeks. Testimonies have been shared and struggles overcome. Reflecting on all of this I glanced at our website and wanted to share the daily scripture for my reflection today:
Galatians 6:7-9 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
As our members and myself have been fasting, many of us have become weary and worn, tired and discouraged. However I gain strength from the text of Galatians this morning for myself and the church. The text reminds me that God sees all, and as we continue to sow the seeds of faith God will bless us, individually and collectively hear and now as well as with the gift of eternal life! We must not give up, we must not stop, we must not grow weary in our good doing, instead let's prepare for the harvest that God will bring!
Dear God give us the will to keep the faith, give us the power to keep on fasting, praying, and telling others about you and your church. In Jesus name Amen!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Sitting in my office I am often astounded by the number of people that come in to share their concerns about expressing their faith publicly. Many are either hesitant to evangelize or intimidated to witness based on how others will perceive them. Our society values perception highly, we are judged on others perceptions, I know and understand this all too well as an African American Male in my 30's. However when it comes to my faith I can't afford to worry about perceptions, instead my focus is on reception into the Kingdom of God and the body of Christ.
The scripture for today paints a more vivid description, lets look:
Matthew 15:21-28 (NRSV)
Jesus left that place and went away to the district of Tyre and Sidon. Just then a Canaanite woman from that region came out and started shouting, "Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David; my daughter is tormented by a demon." But he did not answer her at all. And his disciples came and urged him, saying, "Send her away, for she keeps shouting after us." He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." But she came and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, help me." He answered, "It is not fair to take the children's food and throw it to the dogs." She said, "Yes, Lord, yet even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters' table." Then Jesus answered her, "Woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish." And her daughter was healed instantly.
The Canaanite mother in Matthew was desperate, she needed Jesus to heal her child. Jesus initial response to her somewhat rude and offensive, but she did not give up- despite Jesus mood! He first ignored and then Jesus pushed her to the side reminding her that she was not a child of Israel, God's chosen ones. This mother was not going to take no for an answer, she knew that Jesus had the power and she didn't care how the disciples or anyone else perceived her, she was a desperate mother. She persisted until Jesus received her prayer, her need, her situation, and her child was healed. For this mother she couldn't care less about the perception of others, she needed the reception of Christ mercy, love and healing ability.
We can see that this woman's faith was great, but that's not my point. We understand that God does not always heal when we pray for healing, but that's not my point. My point is that as members of the inclusive church we should never hesitate to go to God boldly with our needs. We should always have a radical praise on our lips and a testimony in our hearts, thankful that we serve a GOD Who Listens Always. Friends be satisfied that reception by God is what matters most, others will always say and do what they will. Remember only you can establish or sever your relationship with God all others are bystanders! Choose this day to go all out in-order to be received!
Loving God, help us to not focus or worry about how others perceive us but on our relationship with you and how your receive us. In Jesus name we pray Amen!
Monday, October 25, 2010
As I reflected this morning on all that has happened over the weekend, with church, home, family, friends and our environment. My thoughts drifted to how toxic a world we live in, we live in a world with vast amounts of many things but even a great body of water with a little poison becomes extremely toxic. My point is even when the majority of a substance or system is good if a small part contains toxins then the whole system is toxic.
Lets look to the scripture of today's reflection:
ACTS 8: 9Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, 10and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, "This man is the divine power known as the Great Power." 11They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his magic. 12But when they believed Philip as he preached the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. 13Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw.
14When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. 15When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. 17Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money 19and said, "Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit."20Peter answered: "May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! 21You have no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not right before God. 22Repent of this wickedness and pray to the Lord. Perhaps he will forgive you for having such a thought in your heart. 23For I see that you are full of bitterness and captive to sin."
This scripture spoke to me today and reveled that some people are like toxins to the church, the community, the corporation to society at large . They may look harmless, and they blend in with others, they may even be admired or held of high esteem like Simon in the text. See, Simon the sorcerer fit this description. It's amazing that he began to follow Philip. The text says that Simon believed in Christ and even was baptized. However not long after becoming part of the early Church he asked to buy the ability to lay hands on people so they could receive the Holy Spirit. Peter was appalled at his request and urged him to repent.
This made me think about all of the people who use the favorable environment of a healthy church as a network for selfish purposes. These persons are like toxins in a great body of water, they cause much misery, pain and illness. Like Simon, anyone who does this needs to repent, and everyone else needs to avoid contact with such a person. Spiritual look-alikes appear good but their “fruit” is toxic. As members of the church "the body of Christ" we must do two things: 1) We must check our toxic level daily- making sure that we are not harming others or polluting the healthy living environments of the church. We must do our best to live toxin free. 2) We must use the spiritual gift of discernment to stay away and neutralize all other toxic persons. We can do this through sharing the love of Christ, speaking truth to power and faithfully believing that God will equip us to effectively evangelize toxic persons transforming them into healthy members of the church.
Are you living toxin free?
Dear God please help us to live a life that is acceptable and pleasing to you, let us not use the church for our own selfish endeavors but for your praise according to your will. Help us to remember that the church is not about us but about you! Amen!
Until the morning,
Friday, October 22, 2010
You know it's almost funny as I reflect on how many people hold grudges against one another and how many grudges we hold against others. Sometimes it seems that we lack common compassion and the love to forgive. I wonder how many people from my past are still holding things against me that happened long ago? Let's look at the text of my reflection this morning:
Jesus Brought before Pilate
27When morning came, all the chief priests and the elders of the people conferred together against Jesus in order to bring about his death. 2They bound him, led him away, and handed him over to Pilate the governor.
The Suicide of Judas3 When Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he repented and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4He said, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ But they said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself.’ 5Throwing down the pieces of silver in the temple, he departed; and he went and hanged himself.
6But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, ‘It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since they are blood money.’ 7After conferring together, they used them to buy the potter’s field as a place to bury foreigners. 8For this reason that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. 9Then was fulfilled what had been spoken through the prophet Jeremiah, ‘And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of the one on whom a price had been set, on whom some of the people of Israel had set a price, 10and they gave them for the potter’s field, as the Lord commanded me.’
As I reflected on this text today, all I could think about was poor Judas! Judas realized that what he had done was so very wrong and went to the leaders to REPENT, to ask for forgiveness. Despite Judas plea they had no compassion and continued to hold it against him. Judas made the mistake of asking people for forgiveness, when truly we know that Christ had forgiven him, just as Christ forgives all of us.
Thinking about this scripture I've decided to forgive and let go of the bitterness that I have been holding on to, and I pray that others forgive me. Unlike the leaders in the text I don't want hurt, harm or blood on my hands. Thank God for the lessons of Judas. In closing, what are you holding on to today that God is requiring you to let go of, what grudges have you kept way to long?
Dear God help us to have the same love, and compassion for others that you have for us. Amen!
Until next time, Be well!