Protection

     Parents are tasked with the colossal responsibility of providing protection for their children. We have to make sure that our children are safe from societal elements that may be harmful to their spiritual, emotional, or physically well-being. Sounds easy enough, but it’s not!

Spiritually, Christian parents make an extra effort to ensure that their children are raised with a biblical foundation, following that mandate that we are to train up children so that when they are older they will not depart from what they’ve been taught (Proverbs 22:6). Despite our best efforts, it doesn’t always work. But our responsibility nonetheless is to erect some sort of spiritual boundary of protection.

Emotionally, many parents try to protect their children from bad relationships. Fathers, especially those with daughters, will sometimes clean their gun in the presence of a young man who is making an attempt to court their daughter. If a dad thinks he smells a rat, he will usually forbid any furtherance of the union, sometimes at the expense of pushing their daughter further into shark infested waters. Again, it is the nature of protection that causes dads to make every effort to protect their child.

Physically, parents want to protect their child from any hurt, harm, or danger just because we cannot bear the thought and anguish of our child being hurt. Mothers especially will cry with their children over the smallest scrape or bruise because they assume their child’s pain and feel as though they should have been their to protect their child from injury.   Many times, we will even put ourselves in harm’s way for the sake of the child.

But the bottom line is this: there is only one reliable source of protection, that is, our GOD. He can protect all of His children from anything physical, emotional, or spiritual. He can protect us from every attack of the enemy, if we trust Him and call solely on Him. Will you?

 

 

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Consecrate and Sanctify

     Many of us have friends or associates who are not church goers and may not even be Christians. We work with them. Communicate with them. And may even have intimate relationships with them. But this nonchalant attitude in whom we choose to associate is contrary to our Chrisitan teaching.

     Paul wrote that a believer should not be “unequally yoked to nonbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14). He was clear in his assertion that those who are righteous have no business in fellowship with those who are unrighteous. Fellowship means companionship, friendship, or a partnership. Yes, there are many times we have to associate ourselves with nonbelievers, but that does not mean that we have to embrace them as friends or companion. Paul further clarifies this by saying that children of light have no business in communion with children of darkness. Communion implies a special closeness or unity.

The bottom line is that we should as Christians should not just be a part of the crowd. We are called by a higher order. We have to separate ourselves from worldly ways and assume our position in God’s Kingdom. We have to consecrate ourselves that we may be able to fulfill our duties to God in a pure and spiritual manner. We cannot possibly achieve our goals and our purpose if we are tainted with sin and unrighteousness. And you should already know by now, that if you keep hanging out with dogs, you are bound to end up with fleas!

 

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Holiness

“What if God was one of us? Just a slob like one of us? Just a stranger on a bus, tryin’ 2 make his way home?” These lyrics, written by Eric Bazilian, recorded by Joan Osborne, and covered by Prince, came about in his attempt to impress a girl. The attempt worked as he later married her and raised a family with her. Yet the song poses some powerful questions for the listener to evaluate their own personal relationship with, or perception of an almighty God.

In the end, thankfully, God is nothing like us.  God is a holy, righteous, and just God and as such, should be worshipped “in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 96:9).  Holiness is a word we often hear associated with religion, whether its Christianity, Judaism, or the Islamic faith. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines holiness as being connected to a god or religion.  Holiness is also defined as being religious and morally good. To be morally good is to be ethical, decent, and honorable. This describes the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who has declared that there is no other God, but Him; a just God and a Savior (Isaiah 45:21).

God is spirit—pure and unadulterated. He could never be one of us, nor could we ever be one of Him. We must separate God from the normalcy of our lives and worship the creator in the beauty of holiness.  He is more than deserving of our worship and praise!

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Prayer

I love the dictionary.com definition which defines prayer as a spiritual communion (intimacy) with God as in supplication (request), thanksgiving (thanks), adoration (worship), or confession (admission).

Prayer is our way of communicating with our creator. It is an intimate communication. It allows us to request from God those things which we feel as if we are in need of. It permits us to thank God for the things that He has already provided for us. It provides an avenue for us to privately worship God because of who He is. And finally, it allows us to admit to God that we are imperfect creatures who are ever so grateful to have the love, grace, and mercy of a perfectly, marvelous God.

Prayer, however, is not a one-way communication. Prayer is a device, just like a telephone or computer, that allows us to connect to God’s phone line.  Because God operates on a heavenly frequency, its a wireless connection; meaning that there are no wires to contend with. There are no answering machines or voice mail so you never have to punch a bunch of numbers to get a connection.  There are no busy signals because God’s broadband is beyond anything we can think or imagine. Prayer is a direct line, like the Bat-phone of old, always open for direct communication with an omnipresent God. When we call, God listens; but the key to prayer is that when we listen, God answers.

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Be Revived and Raise UP!

“Revival” is a modern church word that signifies a spiritual awakening and rejuvenation that can only come from God. Although the word “revival” cannot be found in the King James Version (KJV) nor the New International Version (NIV) of the Holy Bible, its root word, “revive”, can be found seven times in the KJV, but only four times in the NIV. Ultimately, there are three verses using the word “revive” that are common to both the KJV and the NIV: Psalm 85:6, Isaiah 57:15, and Hosea 6:2.

In the Psalms, the Sons of Korah expressed their need for revival by stating their petition unto God: “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” (85:6). This statement makes a sincere proclamation for the need for us to be linked to God and revived by Him in order for us to celebrate who He is. It’s hard to celebrate God when all hell is breaking loose around us. It’s hard to rejoice in God when fear and depression have found a permanent resting place in our minds. Therefore, every now and then we need to be revived that we may rejoice, finding joy in the Lord.

Next, the Prophet Isaiah provides a word from God that reveals who should expect a revival. God says, “I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (57:15). In other words, you cannot expect God to live with you and to revive you upon your beckon call if you are not humble in your spirit. Haughtiness will not get you anywhere with God. Likewise, you must be contrite in heart—ashamed and remorseful for all of the dirty deeds you’ve done. You must be penitent with your heart and actions aligning to reflect such.

Further, the prophet Hosea gives us an understanding that revival is just the beginning: “After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.” We should not stop with just being revived; we need to be “raised up” in order to enter the presence of the Lord. We need to be raised up from the weight of the worldly and elevated to the joy of the heavenly. We need to be raise up from the dungeon of darkness and exalted in the light of the Lord. We need to be raised up with Jesus that we may abide in Him as He abides in us (John 15:4).

I must say: I have been revived this week during our Youth and Young Adult Revival 2014, but more importantly, I’ve been raised up to a new level in Christ Jesus! To all of you reading this, “I’ve Got the Hookup, Holla If You Hear Me.” You must “Get Your Mind Right” if you want the hookup.   And when you’ve got the hookup, you realize that despite all you’ve been through, “Something Good Will Come Out of This!”  R A I S E  U P!

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Worship

Praise and worship is one of the most beautiful occurrences that Christians experience during weekly Sabbath Day gathering with one another. It’s an occasion where participants can feel the presence and move of God. But it is more than a mere feeling. Deliverance occurs during praise and worship. The power of God is manifested during praise and worship. The presence of God becomes imminent during praise and worship. Yet, most people do not realize that there is a distinct line that should be drawn between praise and worship.

Praise is the outward expression and pouring out of the believer that acknowledges the great things that God has done. Praise is an exuberant showing of grateful thanks to a God who has come through time and time again. Worship, on the other hand, is more of an internal occurrence. Although worship is shown outwardly by bowing down before God, it is the inward submission and obeisance to God that makes worship acceptable unto God. Worship is a sincere, spiritual event. Therefore, every Christian should make an effort to transform from being merely praisers to being true worshippers.   True worshippers must worship the Lord in spirit and in truth (John 4:23). So bow down and worship Him!

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Praise

In 2001, Shekinah Glory Ministries crooned these lyrics that virtually established their place in Gospel music: “Praise is what I do, when I want to be close to you, I lift my hands in praise. Praise is who I am, I will praise Him while I can. I’ll bless him at all times.” These lyrics embody the essence of praise and worship.

We are to praise God because that is what we are supposed to do; that is what we were created to do. Praise allows us to get closer to God. It allows us to be in His presence and experience the divine nature of His being.

Praise should not be an afterthought. But it should be a significant part of who we are. We should be praisers, not just some of the time, but ALL of the time. We should praise him with everything we have: our instruments, our voices, our hands, our money…..EVERYTHING! Let everything that has breath, PRAISE THE LORD!

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