Moving Forward…

TLP

Depending upon whose list you’d like to follow, there are a number of Spiritual Practices that I haven’t written about, and that I really doubt would work well in a blogging format. I’ve already mentioned Secrecy in passing, but there are a few others…

Submission is the practice of submitting oneself to proper Christian authority and being entirely accountable to them for our spiritual progress.

Service is a commitment to serve the needs of the Church and of others in need for the glory of God.

Chastity is a commitment to abstain from sexual relationships so that one may be fully engaged in following Christ.

Sacrifice is the practice of purposefully doing without for the service of those in need.

Worship is the practice of regular participation in corporate worship as well as adding worship to individual prayer time.

Celebration is the practice of filling one’s life with gratitude and…

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8 Things God Blesses

Matthew Winters (Honest Thoughts from a Pastor)

Matthew 5 begins what is called “The Sermon on the Mount”. Jesus preaches about some majorly relevant issues, and I believe that modern Christians fail to realize this. The very first thing He addresses is happiness. The Beatitudes begin with “blessed” which translates “happy”. If you want to truly be happy and blessed with joy unspeakable and full of glory, you need these qualities in your life.

  1. A humility that acknowledges sin – “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3). This is the humility that takes place when a lost sinner sees his/her need for Christ and results in the lost sinner confessing his/her lost condition to Christ and seeking salvation.
  2. Mourning over sin (v. 4) – This mourning comes when we feel about sin the way God feels about it. Ephesians 4 says sin grieves the Holy Spirit. We should repent of our sin because it breaks God’s heart, not because…

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The Entireness of Our Armour – Application and Use

Apprehended

[Use and Application.]

             Use.  O how few are there endeavour thus to promove in their spiritual state, and labour to perfect what is yet lacking in their knowledge, patience, and the rest.

  1. Tell some of adding faith to faith, one degree of grace to another, and you shall find they have more mind to join house to house, and lay field to field. Their souls are athirst, ever gaping for more.  But of what? not of Christ or of heaven.  It is earth.  Earth they never think they have enough of, till death comes and stops their mouth with a shovel-full, dig­ged out of their own grave.  What a tormenting life must they needs have, who are always crying for more weight, and yet cannot press their covetous desires to death?  O sirs, the only way—if men would believe it—to quench this thirst to the creature, were to en­kindle another after Christ…

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Free Them!

Workhorse (Adam)

Psalms 82:4, “Deliver the poor and needy; Free them from the hand of the wicked.”

The following information is from Polaris.  Polaris is a leader in the global fight to eradicate modern slavery. Named after the North Star that guided slaves to freedom in the U.S., Polaris systemically disrupts the human trafficking networks that rob human beings of their lives and their freedom. Our comprehensive model puts victims at the center of what we do – helping survivors restore their freedom, preventing more victims, and leveraging data and technology to pursue traffickers wherever they operate.

According to https://polarisproject.org/, these are some facts about human trafficking:

  • The International Labour Organization estimates that there are 40.3 million victims of human trafficking globally.
    • 81% of them are trapped in forced labor.
    • 25% of them are children.
    • 75% are women and girls.
  • The International Labor Organization estimates that forced labor and human…

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Right Relations / Thoughts May 28 2018

As I dive deeper into the subject of relationships and see the effort it takes to build good and healthy relationships, and then see how easy it is to allow toxic relationships harm the the healthy ones you have is exhausting me. Yet it is worth the effort if I want to have a better relationship with Jesus my Lord and Savior and with my Heavenly Father. Of course I cannot forget His Holy Spirit. Learning how I relate to others and how that effects my relationship with God is really opening my eyes to the areas in my life that still need so much work. Also seeing the parallels between my life and the lives of those recorded in the Bible is giving me a new perspective on how I view my own life and how much I need the help of the Holy Spirit to overcome my past and even some of my current relationships. The book of Genesis has so many different relationships recorded I wonder how long it will take me to move on to others further down the line, like the book of both 1&2 Samuel, Judges, Job, Esther and Ruth to name a few, and there is still the New testament. All of the relationships recorded from Genesis to Revelation still reflect the relationships we have today. If you have the time you can read from my collection, ‘Letters from God’ fictional letters based on those found in the Bible. The list of both good and wrong relationships can be found through the Bible. Even the relationships found in the parables Jesus taught can we relate to today.

Well It is time for me to dive back into His Word and find my next inspiration for which relationship to write about. I am still looking for testimonies about relationships, both the right and worn and how God worked in your life through them. If you would like to share your testimony leave me a comment and I will give you my email. I will keep your name private if that is what you would like. I understand anonymity with some testimonies is important to the one sharing their story. In sharing how God has worked in your life can be what one may need to find hope for their life. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Thank you and God bless and keep you always.

A Man of God Should Bear Good Fruits

A Man of God Should Bear Good Fruits

Victors' Corner

The imperatives of bearing good fruit

A man of God will bear good fruits. He is not a man of God if he doesn’t!

In my Nigeria where I live, just like in many places around the world, I have realised that many people are quick to be called “men of God.” But the question is, “are all of them truly men of God?”

What I have also come to realise is that some of those so-called men of God hardly live up to that identity.

I am not saying this because I am judging them. But rather because, it can be seen that many of them are not conducting themselves in ways that bring glory to God.

If someone is a man of God, he should not say and do things that are attributes of men of satan.

How can you be a man of God and your lifestyle has no regard for the word of…

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May 20 is Pentecost B

Bishop Michael Rinehart

Acts 2:1-21– Day of Pentecost. Rushing wind. Tongues of flame. Multi-lingual, multicultural event. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
OR
Ezekiel 37:1-14– Valley of the Dry Bones. I will put my spirit in you and you shall live. You shall know I am the Lord when I open your graves…

Psalm 104:24-34, 35bSend forth your Spirit and renew the face of the earth. (Ps. 104:31)

Romans 8:22-27– Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness… intercedes with sighs too deep for words.
OR
Acts 2:1-21 – Day of Pentecost. Rushing wind. Tongues of flame. Multi-lingual, multicultural event. Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15– When the Advocate comes, he will bear witness to me… lead you into all truth.

pentecost ceilingVideo: Here’s an interesting Pentecost video from Working Preacher.

Church musician Mark…

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Right Relations/ Sibling Rivalry/ The Cain and Abel Story

I love the people you find in the Bible. Even the not so good ones, because you can relate to so many of them. I am continuing on my project of ‘Right Relations’ how are earthly relations affect our relationship with Jesus and our Heavenly Father, and how we can learn from our relationships and make them better. Allowing His Holy Spirit to be a part of these relationships.

Back to the beginning / Sibling Rivalry/ The Cain and Abel Story

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   How many of you have brothers or sisters? Next question; How many of you have a relationship that can be compared to Cain and Abel? Do you wonder how others that are close and loving to their siblings do it? I know of many brothers and sister who say their sibling is their best friend. Do you envy these relationships? I know I have wanted since a young child to have a family that is close and loving. I wanted to be accepted and loved and I thought why doesn’t my own family love me? It has been a battle just to survive in my family, and I even had to fight my own brother. My stepmother had said that there was a devil and an angel in our house, referring to me and my brother. Our fights got pretty bad. When we were young and he would come at me I was big enough to get him off me and hold him down until he calmed down enough that I was not afraid he would try to hurt me again. Unfortunately more times than not, one of my parents would walk in and see me on top of him, and even I was only trying to restrain him from hurting me, I was the one who got in trouble. No surprise there, no matter who did what, I was always to blame, and took the punishment (another excuse to be abused.) Eventually my brother got bigger than me and protecting myself became more difficult. Our last fight back when I was in my early 20’s, he had me pinned and was trying to choke me and was yelling things in my face that I will not repeat here. I got him to stop by responding to something he called me, by saying, ‘Yeah, just like Mom!’ He got off me and went to another room. The first time my brother had told me he loved me,  he was 21, and had first started drinking and I came home to find him sitting on my bed drunk. He told me he knew he was an _____ and he would always be one to me, but he loved me. I was in shock, but grateful he could say he loved me. No need to repeat the rest of that conversation but over ten years later we would have a similar conversation. My brother did not call me things I was not already being called by other family members. I could not go out to eat with him and my father without feeling degraded in public. I would be so humiliated as they verbally tore me apart in front of others, and was too afraid to speak up for myself. I always found it strange how easy t was for me to stand up for others but that I could not defend myself against my own abusers.

Okay time to get back to my relationship with my brother. Even as young children we had been at odds with each other. I have one memory though where we weren’t fighting. I was only five years old and what was about to me I had no idea. We were living in Pacoima and a relative of my father had taken me into our (my brother and mines) bedroom. I remember looking from my bed and seeing my brother cry as the door was being shut on him by this relative. What happened is another subject. I just remember him crying outside our bedroom as I was being molested. After this we were never close. We have fought and been distant from each other. We have not spoken to each other in years now. I still pray for him and his son. Who knows one day this relationship will fall into the reconciled relationship file.

Now look at Cain and Abel. They are the first brothers recorded in Genesis. They were the son’s of Adam and Eve. Abel’s story is short lived because his brother murdered him. Cain’s jealousy turned to anger. It was not Abel’s fault that Cain had not obeyed God in his offering. Abel pleased God, and Cain wanted the labor of his own work to be pleasing. When his offering was rejected, instead of doing what was pleasing and acceptable by God, he took his brother’s life. God still loved Cain and showed it in that when He came to Cain after he had murdered his brother, God did not take Cain’s life. Instead He marked Cain so that no other could take his life. Cain had taken a life so God would have been justified but once again God shows mercy. That is our Heavenly Fathers love. What is sad in this story is two brothers seeking approval of Father, could have been so different if Cain had looked at what his brother offered as a lesson in learning to do what is right, instead of demanding with his actions for things to be done his way. Then he got angry when he didn’t get things his way. Now the sadder part of this story is they not got a chance to reconcile and their parents lost both of their sons.

Is there any of you who can relate to their story? I am not saying your brother or sister has tried to take your life, but that there is such strife in your relationship, that you have no relationship with them other than by name? Or do you have one that you are a part of each other’s life, but every time you are in the same room the battle breaks out and damage continues to be done? Do you pray for them and want to have a peaceful and loving relationship with the, or do you want nothing to do with them, as if they do not exist? What if God had the same attitude a lot of us have? What would our lives be like? Can you imagine God saying, ‘I am done with them. I am tired of how they treat me.’
I am not saying allow a person to do harm to you just because they are your relative. Sometimes we have to be separated from our family. Not just live peacefully but to live safely, because if we stay the damage that is done can cost not just your physical life but your can cause a spiritual death. You get so wrapped in the fighting, the hater and bitterness there is no room for love and forgiveness and with each fight your spirit slowly dies. We must guard our hearts. We can love and forgive and walk away from a relationship that is toxic to you. God can still reach their heart while He heals you of the would the relationship caused you.. Pray for yourself and pray for them. Focus on what you can do that is pleasing to God and let God be the one to deal with the other person. Love and forgive them through prayer. Then if the opportunity comes where you can show them the love God has given you and that He has for them, you might find a “Right Relation’ with them.

Now who are some other siblings we can find in the Bible who we can relate to in our own sibling relationships? I have a few in mind but would love to hear from you. I am still looking for testimonies relating to both right and wrong relationships and what God has done for you in these relationships. Please leave me a comment if you are willing to share your testimony and I will give you my email to contact me privately. There is no judgement or condemnation in Christ, only healing and His love. You do not know you may help by sharing your story. I also will not reveal your name if you would like to keep it  private but still have a story to share. Thank you and God Bless you.

 

Right Relations / You said ‘I do’ / My marriage testimony /Commitment

Here is the continued work on ‘Right Relations’

I have written a little about Adam and Eve. The first couple God created and joined together. I guess it was a matter of choice for Adam or Eve; they were the only two living in the Garden of Paradise. Today we have a lot more to choose from when seeking out a mate. Too many of us have chosen to test the waters and date around, and I am using the term date loosely. We even have brothers and sisters in Christ who are what some call, ‘Shacking up.’ This is not God’s way, and it should not be acceptable within the church. Then there are those who get married because they feel pressured to do the right thing. They say they love the person they are with but they are not sure if it is going to work out so they would rather wait. Then there are the couples who before getting married sign a prenuptial agreement. This is a big red flag to me that says there is no real commitment; it is more like a lease to own arrangement. ‘Till death do us part’, has given way to until you do something I don’t like, then I am out the door. Then there is the grass is greener on the other side and you see something you like better than what you have. I know too many of us have been divorced. I am not saying that there are not marriages that needed to end, because there are. My marriage is included in that group. It was not that it was not a happy marriage or that I did not love him. I did love him and when I said ‘I do, I meant it not only to my husband but to God. We were supposed to be married in October of ‘95’.  The date changed to July, not because I was pregnant or that this was my idea. I had gotten off work and I was informed that the upcoming Saturday is when we were going to be married. I was utterly confused, Robert told me that he had discussed it with our Pastor and that there was no reason to wait till October. My response was, ‘Yes there is.’ I was still planning a wedding in October I had friends who would fly from California to Missouri, to be in my wedding, and my father was going to be driving up from Texas. He told me we could have a big wedding on our anniversary and they could come then. Then he told me it was already set with the church. He followed up with, ‘Don’t you love me, and aren’t we getting married anyway?’ I foolishly agreed, thinking this was my first act of submission to my husband.

I look at the wedding video and it is more like a funeral procession and the only one smiling was Robert. By this time it was too late, I had said ‘I do’, and I believed in till deaths do you part. Then I got pregnant shortly after we were married. I had an instant family. He was thrilled of the news of a baby. To be honest I was not so sure. In the beginning he was sweet and attentive. He knew all the right words to say (He had even written a beautiful letter that I framed, unfortunately it was an exact copy of a letter he had written to another woman.  I found this out by coming across the letter to the other woman)and I felt happy to be with him. Then by the time I was a few months pregnant, we moved two hours away and it did not take long for things to change. We had moved back to his old stomping grounds. The abuse, drugs and cheating began. By the time I had my daughter, I had been in every room in the ER. and the nurses and doctors definitely knew who I was. The shame I felt when he would leer at the doctor as he examined, like the doctor was doing something wrong made me feel like such a disgrace. The sad part was in the little town we lived in I was the bad guy. He would call the police after beating me and they would try to arrest me! Thankfully they didn’t when I pointed out that I was not only hurt but pregnant, and that I was raised in California, ‘Sue capitol, USA’. That if they arrested a pregnant woman who had just been beaten I would go public. They would leave and do nothing to him. Meanwhile he also had a number of girlfriends he cheated on me with. I know what you are thinking, ‘Why didn’t you leave?’ I know I had every right to leave, but if my marriage was going to end it was not going to be because I ran away. I had made a covenant with God, and I care more about my relationship with Him than about what people thought. Not that there were many who actually cared about me in our community or our church. Thankfully there were a few. When my daughter was born, things did not get better. Within less than a week of being home from the hospital, I was being taken by ambulance to the hospital. He had punched me so hard in my stomach which had been staple after having an emergency C-section. Nurses started making visits to my home unannounced to check on me. I guess they figured out what was going on. We started going to counseling. All but three women from our church had turned on me. I had been told by leaders and members of our church,  that my husband would have to cheat on me, or beat me if I was a better Christian wife. I was not being a true Christian. More and more damage was being done to both my body and my spirit.

The counselor began meeting with us separately and asked if I wanted to go to a shelter. A part of me wanted to go, but I said no because if I did there would be one less bed for a woman who was in worse shape than myself, that somehow I would get by. Then one of his friends was over one night, and he was the only one of my husband’s friends who was not a drunk or an addict. Houston was the only good friend Robert had. He was spending the night and had heard what Robert was doing to me in the bedroom. When I came out to go to the bathroom, he asked to get me and my daughter out, that he would protect me and my daughter. This time I had to refuse for his safety. I told him that where we lived a black man taking a white woman out of her husband’s house was very likely to find a cross burning in his yard. So once again I said that I would be okay somehow.

The last six months of our marriage I wanted to run so far away. I even wanted to kill myself. Yet I prayed this prayer every day for months, “Father, only You know what is in my husband’s heart and only you can set me free from his abuse. If there is any chance he will repent and stop abusing me, I will love and forgive him. I will be everything Your Word says a wife is to be to her husband. You also know if this marriage is going to kill me, and if this is the case, set me free. I am trusting You with my life and the life of my daughter.’ I prayed this over and over again till six months had passed, and it was the weekend of my birthday in ’96’. He had decided we were going to drive the two hours it took to visit his mother. I had to be the one to drive and it was raining so hard I could not see more than a car length ahead. A two hour drive had doubled. The verbal abuse I endured throughout the drive had worn me down. I was ready to drop him off and leave him behind. I was done, I could not take anymore, and I told him so. The rain may have stopped by the time we got to his mother’s house but his issue with control was in full gear and he refuse to get out of the car. He had my stepdaughter get out and go to grandma. I felt trapped. I wanted him out of the car. I wanted to take my daughter and leave. Next thing I know there is a tap on my window to roll the window down. It was my mother in-law.  She ordered Robert out of the car and told me to sit and listen. She had some not so nice things to say about her son, nothing I disagreed with. Then she pointed out that my step mother did not have a decent mother or father and that I was her only hope. She played her hand well. She got to me using my stepdaughter. She told me I did not have to spend time with my husband but I was to get my rear into her place and that she was making me dinner the next night. I made it through Labor Day weekend to come home on my birthday. Little did I know it, I was about to get a present from God.

Robert told me he was leaving. I asked him if he had someone picking him up because he was not going to take my car. He had already made two of my previous vehicles disappear.  Now we did not have a telephone of any kind. We had to use a payphone next to the community center in the apartment complex where we lived. We had not been home long enough for him to go outside and use it, so when he told me his friend was on his way, I knew he had already planned this. So to be clear I asked him, ‘You are really leaving, and you don’t live here anymore?’ He said yes. I had so much peace and I was actually smiling, which really confused him. He asked me, ‘Why I wasn’t crying?’ My response was, ‘You just gave me the best birthday present, because I don’t have to allow your friends in my house, I don’t have to put up with the pain. I am free!’ I neatly carried all of his belongings out the door and felt like the sun had come out for the first time in months. God had answered my prayers. You see my commitment to God and His faithfulness kept me alive. I might have been banged up, but I lived and He set me free. I don’t mean to say every woman in an abusive relationship has t stay because she is married to her abuser and this also goes for the men who are abused. Get out, and get to safety. I was young and dumb, and it is only by the grace of God that I lived.

Back to beginning of the end of my marriage, we separated back in September of ‘96’. He then began telling everyone, that our daughter was not his, and that I tricked him into marrying me. It took a number of times for him to submit to a DNA test, and how I got him to do that is a story for another day. Then after all of this he refused to give me a divorce. My attorney had told me that unless I needed the divorce to remarry don’t fight him, because he would win and I would be spending money I didn’t have. So I told him he could keep the marriage license I was done.  Then later he finally served me with divorce papers and we were divorced on Valentine’s Day 2000.

God had helped me keep my commitment to Him, and gave me the freedom I needed. I thank God that what He sets free is free indeed. Since then I have had many more tails and tribulations, and if you know the story of what was done to me regarding my daughter which you can read about in ‘Relations Restored’, you can see that God’s commitment to us never fails. Yes my marriage ended but my relationship with Jesus is so much better than it ever was. That is one commitment I will never regret. I could have turned my back on God while I was married, with all the abuse and anger. The betrayal of my husband cheating on me. I could have blamed God, all of this would have been easy to do. I was just learning the meaning of commitment during this trial in my life. You don’t know how many times I had turned away, angry, bitter and filled with rage. I would have liked to say when my marriage ended that all of that baggage left with him, but there were things lodged into my heart. Even though I had a commitment with God and I trusted him with my physical life, there are still things that I have not let go of and anger and trust issues that I deal with today.

My husband had not been the first to abuse me or cheat on me and he was not the last. I just learned as soon as it was going in that direction to get out and start over, until the day I got tired and stopped trying to find a relationship. I did realize though that until my life is right with God no earthly relationship will ever be right completely. I am not against relationships or marriage. I just think it is more important for me to work on my relationship with Jesus, and with myself. This way I will be the person that God wants me to be. I am just no her yet, but I will be. I am learning trust hope, love and faith are things I cannot live without, I just have to learn how to get them and let go of all the pain and bitterness. I know I am not alone on this journey, and that there is still a long road to travel but we will get there.

Once again I am asking for testimonies on relationships. They don’t have to be tragic or abusive. I would love to read some testimonies on some relationships that have endured whatever the world has thrown their way and are just as much in love to day as the day they first said, “I do’.