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FORGIVE

Let’s face the truth as long as you are living on this earth there will be someone that will hurt your feelings. There will always be the need to forgive and sometimes that person will not even know they offended you. So, to find out what our response should always be let me share the Word with you.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus spoke to His followers and others about forgiveness taking place between individuals. The first recorded time that He spoke about this kind of forgiveness is in the model prayer found in Matthew 6:12. It says, “And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.” He further expounds on this in verses 14-15, “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” Knowing we are all sinners, Jesus in this passage of scripture revealed there is a consequence for unforgiveness; if we don’t forgive others our Father will not forgive us.

The second time He addresses this issue with His followers is in Matthew 18, a chapter on humility and forgiveness. In this chapter, Jesus uses young children to teach His disciples important principles. He starts by telling His disciples how to be great in the kingdom, He then precedes to talk about the consequences and remedy of offending little ones and the actions of a shepherd in recovering a lost soul. Furthermore, Jesus gives instructions concerning reconciliation with an offender and ends with a parable of an unmerciful servant. The last two verses in this chapter state,” And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.”

Amid Jesus’s teaching in chapter 18, Peter asked this question, “Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times?” and Jesus replied, “I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.” This means we are to forgive someone 490 times a day (Luke 17:4). 

What am I saying to you?

  1. Forgiveness is mandatory for your spiritual well-being.
  2. Unforgiveness opens the door for torment which can encompass physical, mental, and emotional turmoil.
  3. Unforgiveness allows your offender to control your life.
  4. Forgiveness is more beneficial for you than for the person that offended you.
  5. Don’t delay, forgive today.

GO YE

These are the instructions that Jesus gave to his eleven disciples in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Also in Acts 1:8 during his last encounter with His followers, Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

However, according to the history of the early believers they continued daily with one accord in the temple holding steadfastly to the apostles’ doctrine and in prayers, they had all things common, they fellowship breaking bread from house to house and they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ. Acts 6:7a states, “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly.”

Ten years passed and the majority of believers were still in Jerusalem until in Acts 8:1b we read, “And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. In both Matthew 28:19-20 and Acts 1:8 Jesus said he wanted the Word to be ministered abroad, beyond the walls of the temple and the city of Jerusalem, and it took persecution to make it happen.

The, “Go ye” is the mandate not just for the early church but for us too. Therefore, could it be that God allowed the pandemic to cause His people to go into the world. Before the pandemic, most churches held the majority of their services inside of their edifice and if you wanted to hear the Word it was necessary to go into the church. When establishments were told to shut down and shut-in it forced churches to find a new way to meet and communicate with their members and the world.

Social media platforms, digital talk, and video calling services became the answer to reaching church members. It also caused the Word to go out into the world. Before the pandemic the main vehicles used to hear the Word 24/7 were television and radio; however, now the Word is being spread using social media platforms and the great thing is, it is free.

I believe the pandemic has caused the world to suffer but amid all the negative effects, a harvest of souls has manifested with the ministry of the Word. Ministries are reporting they are reaching more people, souls are receiving salvation and the churches are receiving the financial support that is needed to keep them afloat.

Yes, God has a way of doing things and turning what the enemy meant for our destruction for our good, and to fulfill His purpose. So, I believe like the persecution of the church in Acts 6:7, this pandemic is our persecution that has caused believers to “Go ye”

LIVING IN STRESSFUL TIMES

We are eight months into 2020 and for most of these months, we have experienced the effects of Covid-19. For me, two verses from the song, “Thank You” by Walter Hawkins voice how I am feeling. These verses are:

Tragedies are commonplace

All kinds of diseases, people are slipping away

Economies down, people can’t get enough pay

But as for me, all I can say is

Thank you, Lord, for all You’ve done for me, yeah

 

Folks without homes, living out in the streets

And the drug habits some say, they just can’t beat

Muggers and robbers, no place seems to be safe

But You’ll be my protection every step of the way

And I want to say

Thank you, Lord, for all You’ve done for me, yeah.

Don’t these verses describe what is happening in our world. We are living in a time of uncertainty with death, sickness, financial insecurity, chaos, and lawlessness taking over our cities and nation. I am finding that this season is causing me to sing hymns and other comforting songs that remind me that my hope is in God and He is in control. Also, I am thankful for peace and clarity of mind as I hear the reports of those that committed suicide because they no longer could handle the stresses they were experiencing.

When my mind wants to pause and rehearse painful thoughts, I put in practice Philippians 4:7- 8 “And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things” because I know it does not matter how long we have to endure this pandemic if I apply the Word to my life daily, I will be victorious while living in stressful times.

 

 

 

 

 

 

  SCRIPTURE UNFOLDING

On this week President Trump helped broker a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates to establish normal diplomatic relations and he hopes more Arab and Muslim countries will join in this deal. Additionally, these two countries in the future will establish reciprocal embassies and sign agreements on investment, security, healthcare, tourism telecommunications, technology, energy, and direct flights.

Most importantly, this deal is supposed to put a pause on Israel’s efforts to annex parts of the West Bank which are claimed by Palestinians. Unfortunately, many Arab nations are looking unfavorably on this as a violation of the 2002 Arab Peace Initiative which states no normalization could take place until a Palestinian state was established and Israel fully withdrew from the West Bank.

While some are applauding and praising this deal, I caution believers that this is not the ultimate plan of God. If you know anything about Israel’s history, you realize Jews believe that God has ordained the land of Israel to be completely occupied by them, so many will not happy with the idea of given up their land even if it ushers in peace to their territory. God did give a specific territory to Israel which they have been fighting to maintain for a long time and there are those that will be willing to do whatever is necessary to see God’s plan in fruition.

I know with all that is happening in the world we tend to just focus on America but in the scheme of end-time events Israel is a major player. We need to pray for Israel, pay attention to events occurring in that nation, and remember the scripture in 1 Thessalonians 5: 3, “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.” Watch Israel for you will see scripture unfolding.

 

WE HAVE AN ANCHOR

I woke up this morning singing the hymn “IN TIMES LIKE THESE” which talks about needing an anchor that holds and grips IN TIMES LIKE THESE. Then I found myself singing another hymn “WE HAVE AN ANCHOR” and just in case you never heard this hymn or if you heard it and forgot the words I am going to include it in this blog. The hymn is written as follows:

WE HAVE AN ANCHOR

1 Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
when the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift, and the cables strain,
will your anchor drift, or firm remain?

2 Will your anchor hold in the straits of fear,
when the breakers roar and the reef is near?
While the surges rage, and the wild winds blow,
shall the angry waves then your bark o’erflow?

3 Will your anchor hold in the floods of death,
when the waters cold chill your latest breath?
On the rising tide you can never fail,
while your anchor holds within the veil.

4 Will your eyes behold through the morning light
the city of gold and the harbour bright?
Will you anchor safe by the heavenly shore,
when life’s storms are past for evermore?

chorus:

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
steadfast and sure while the billows roll;
fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
grounded firm and deep in the Saviour’s love!

 

This hymn states what the world surely needs and what I pray you have on today.

Presently we are in the midst of Covid-19 and though we would like it to go away, unfortunately, it appears that it will be with us simply because in this country we cannot unite and follow instructions. This week we experienced tropical storm Isaias which left 2.2 million homes and businesses along the East Coast without electricity.

Before the storm in my state, we received the forecast that it would be raining with possible thunderstorms for about eight hours. We also were told that we would be experiencing high winds and possible tornadoes. Well, in my city it only rained several hours but the wind uprooted trees and scattered limbs everywhere.

I was expecting it to flood but that was not the culprit in my area; it was the winds that took down trees that toppled on the electrical wires and poles. Consequently, in some areas, people were told that they would not get their electricity back on for five days.

As you can imagine people were already stressed about their financial status and now, they had to think about the food that they had in their refrigerator spoiling. Praise God, I am happy to report some people were fortunate to get their electricity on sooner and their food was alright.

Also, this week the news reported on well-known persons expressing their anxiety and depression feelings to the media. Plus, reports of suicide are increasing. People are feeling hopeless and don’t know where to turn for answers and relief. It is in times like this we need to be able to declare to our self, “Because of my Savior’s love I have a steadfast anchor that is fastened and grounded to the Rock which cannot move.”

In the fall of this year, along with the flu and hurricane season, we are being told we will probably be experiencing the second wave of the pandemic. Besides these things we have the issues that we are facing such as unemployment, foreclosures on homes, apartment evictions, and unpaid bills. Our world is in turmoil, we are experiencing unprecedented times and if we understand the Word we know things are going to intensify and get worst.

It is important that those of us that know the truth and have the answer begin to speak it loudly and consistently to all those in the hearing of our voice. So, I end this blog saying, “The love of God provides for us the anchor we need during the storms of life and despite all that may happen we will not drift away.”

  SAVE YOURSELVES

As recorded in Acts 2:40, Peter’s first message to unbelievers on the day of Pentecost urged them with many words and exhortation to, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” This message is also our message; it has not changed. There are numerous voices in the world, and they offer a lot of things that are detrimental to our physical and spiritual well beings. Believers need to be alert and on guard for the enemy of our souls is after us to kill, steal, and destroy those that are sleeping.

Hence, this blog is to encourage you in the things of God. During this time of Covid-19, the world had been in a place of fluidity. By this, I mean it is continually moving and changing. What may be true today may not be on tomorrow. What you have confidence in today may fall apart tomorrow. I don’t know about you, but during this time, my prayer has become, “Lord let truth prevail,” and then, “Give me the wisdom to accept the truth and act accordingly.” Unfortunately, many have received truth and still make dumb decisions; I pray that both you and I are not in that number.

Amid all of the turmoil, God has allowed His Word to prevail. Over the airway, via our satellite systems and social media, the Word is preached all hours of the day. Prayer requests are being made, and intercessors are going to God on behalf of people known and unknown. On FB, free conferences are being offered, apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors, and ministers are providing worship, teaching, and preaching services. Zoom and google meet are allowing congregations to meet weekly without cost. Additionally, for those who do not have cable service, religious services are available on the television and the radio.

There is no lack of the Word if you desire it; it is up to us to avail ourselves and take advantage of what God has provided for us. During this time, when the enemy thought isolation and loneliness would overwhelm us, God has allowed the table to be spread, and all we have to do is come and dine on the Word that would build and strengthen us. Thank God, my testimony is, I, along with thousands of others, have taken advantage of several conferences, and we are learning and feasting.

I acknowledge that some of you may be overwhelmed with all that is happening in your life right now, but I want to encourage you and say that God is your helper, and He has not left you alone. I suggest following David’s example for when he was faced with the possibility of being stoned by his men the bible recorded in 1 Samuel 30:6 he encouraged himself in the Lord. When you feel the world is caving in on you as if you are being stoned, weighed down with the cares and problem of this world; get up, shake yourself, take advantage of all the spiritual programs being offered, and most importantly save yourself.

WE NEED YOU, LORD

The song written by Jonathan Butler voices the sentiment of my heart. In it, he first acknowledges the need of the masses, and then he personalizes the need. The song is not lengthy, nor is it hard to remember for it is composed of these two verses which are repeated several times:

We need You Lord, we need You Lord, right now

We need You Lord, we need You Lord, right now

We lift our hands and bow our knees and worship at Your Throne

We need You Lord, we need You Lord, right now.

 

I need You Lord, I need You Lord, right now

I need You Lord, I need You Lord, right now

I lift my hands and bow my knees and worship at Your Throne

I need You Lord, I need You Lord, right now.

Right in here, I know this is what the world and I need. For the last couple of weeks, I’ve received all kinds of prayer requests from people for healing from Covid-19, cancer, mental health, and other related health issues, financial woes, and comfort for the grieving families over the loss of their love ones. Just hearing the request of hurting people and seeing the confusion plaguing this country brings tears to my eyes.

Covid-19 has us living with so many uncertainties. Decisions concerning the best course of action and plan for our lives are changing continually with the reception of new information. This has caused many to become depressed and suicidal, but for me, I am so glad I know God because He has been my resting place amid Covid-19.

Over the years, I purchased material things, things that I thought I needed, and some of which I packed away and never used. I’ve accumulated stuff, and now as I look over all of these things, I am trying to find ways to dispose of them because I don’t need them.

I have come to realize things are temporary, things are disposable, and things that I thought I needed, things that would make me happy, and my life complete have not. What I should have done was pray and ask God the One I needed for guidance before I purchased the stuff.

To conclude this blog, the point I am trying to say is in everything we need the Lord. We need Him in every area of our life, and this fact in our present world could not be more apparent. We need Him for guidance, support, peace, shelter, wisdom, knowledge, healing, answers, protection, deliverance, strength, prosperity, and salvation. (This is just a few areas of need, I am sure you can name many more).

So, let’s spread the word, and tell this faltering world they need the Lord; He is our answer and only hope.

 

 

WILLING AND OBEDIENT

I was in prayer, praying about Covid-19 and asking God to eradicate it, and while doing this, the words of this scripture found in Isaiah 1:19 resounded in my spirit, “If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” The Holy Spirit began to minister to me believers all over the world are praying this prayer, but for it to manifest, we must be willing and obedient to follow the instructions. For everyone these instructions are not spiritual, they are practical for we can’t be like people that pray and ask God to keep us healthy; yet, we go outside in a winter snowstorm improperly dressed

This week citizens in Utah met at the Utah County commission meeting to object to their children wearing a face mask when they return to school. In that small cramp meeting room, these citizens refused to distance themselves socially and the majority of them did not have on a mask. Unfortunately, in a couple of weeks, these citizens will probably realize Covid-19 is real if there is an outbreak of case among those that attended this meeting.

The news also shared the story of a former game show host who tweeted, “everyone is lying (CDC, media, and Democrats) about COVID-19.” On the next day following the tweet, he changed his tune because his son tested positive for the virus. Furthermore, this is not new because the news is repeatedly reporting cases of individuals who became sick with Covid-19 after attending a function where they were not socially distancing or wearing a mask.

In Luke 16:19 – 31, there is a story of a rich man and a beggar. The rich man ends up in a place of torment and the poor man in the bosom of Abraham. When the rich man realizes his fate as compared to the beggar, he requested Abraham to send a messenger to his relatives and warn them about ending in a similar position as him. Abraham gives him this response, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” This story reflects the hardness of man’s heart and their unwillingness to listen to wise counsel from multiple sources, which unfortunately ends with fatal consequences.

If people continue not to follow the guidelines established by the medical doctors and leading scientists and if they believe Covid-19 is part of fake news, the pandemic will remain. We cannot function like the people that lived during the times of the judges where everyone did what was right in their own eyes, for like them, we will suffer the consequences for our misguided actions. All we have to do is do our part and be willing and obedient to instructions, and then God can do His part, heal the land.

 

 

NOT WHAT THEY EXPECTED

After the decree of King Cyrus and seventy years of captivity in Babylonia, the children of Israel, namely the tribe of Judah under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Ezra, returned to Palestine. The story of their return is penned in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, and it shares their struggles, neglect, oppositions, and their accomplishments. Additionally, they rebuilt the temple and their cities in Palestine.

Historians record from the closing of Malachi, the last book in the Old Testament to Matthew the first book in the New Testament, approximately four hundred years passed. This time was known as the “Period of Silence,” for during this time, there were no words spoken or written by the prophets. Furthermore, historians wrote about the fate that befell Israel during this period and how they were bitterly persecuted and their religious practices hindered by the series of conquering rulers that took possession of Palestine. By the time of Jesus’ birth, the Roman Republic had taken control, and the Jews were required to pay yearly taxes to Rome, who gave them some political liberty to control local affairs and permitted them some religious freedom. Also, various Jewish parties: Zealots, Sadducees, Pharisees, Essences, Scribes, and Samaritan, all with their own beliefs, could be found operating in Palestine.

Despite their circumstances, the Jews remembered the Edenic promise of the seed of the woman and words of the Old Testament prophets Ezekiel, Isaiah, and Micah, who talked about the coming Messiah, a conquering king who would redeem man and restore the earthly kingdom of Israel. The Jews were expecting someone prestigious to be their king, someone born of Davidic royalty, someone who was scholastically astute and not someone who came from a lowly background or someone who was placed in a manger at birth.

First came John the Baptist heralding, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and then came Jesus. Throughout His earthly ministry, His teaching, healings, and feeding the multitudes caused many Jews to want to make Jesus their king. At one point, they forcibly attempted to take Him and make Him king, but He withdrew from their midst.

Even His disciples whom He walked with for three years, whom He taught privately and gave insight into mysteries and parables, did not understand because after His resurrection and before His ascension, they asked him, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”

The outcome of Jesus’s time on earth was not what His fellow countrymen expected. Those of us living in the 21st century, and are privileged to read the Bible in its completion understand that He was not coming solely to redeem the Jews but the whole world. We understand the events that needed to occur before His earthly kingdom reign are manifesting now. Jesus was not what they expected; however, He is whom His bride with expectation longingly await and say, “Even so come, Lord Jesus.”

WISE KING SOLOMON WHAT HAPPENED (Part 2)

Last week I blogged on the failure of King Solomon to follow God’s instructions, and thus when Solomon was old, his seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines turned away his heart from the God that blessed Him toward other gods. In this blog, I am going to share more details on Solomon’s failure and delve into why this wise man failed. To accomplish this goal, I must first share some facts from a few scriptures.

Genesis 2: 22-24 shares God’s perspective on marriage, and it says, “A man should leave his father and his mother, cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh.”  Apparently, God’s mandate for marriage was two persons becoming one; He did not mean for multiple persons to become one.

In Deuteronomy 17:14-20, God talks to Moses about the laws of kingship and He made these points:

  1. A king was not to multiply horses to himself.
  2. A king was not to have multiple wives.
  3. A king was to write and keep himself a copy of God’s law, read it all the days of his life, and turn not aside from them.

Unless I overlooked it, there is no recording of Solomon continually reading and adhering to the laws of God, which was the last thing that God told Moses a king was to do. Maybe if he had done so, he wouldn’t have died outside of the will and purpose of God.

Solomon’s father David had seven wives, plus concubines, and from these unions, Solomon had eighteen brothers and one sister. If he had additional siblings from his father’s concubines, it was not recorded. Furthermore, reading the life of David reveals he, with his multiple wives, had a dysfunctional family, and Solomon experienced sibling conflict because of it.

This family dysfunction was also a generational curse that was passed down from multiple generations before Solomon’s birth, for Solomon’s father and grandfather had several wives. Why didn’t wise Solonom learn from the mistakes of his fathers?

In Proverbs 6, 7, and 9, Solomon gave words of wisdom to his son concerning resisting the seduction of strange women. When I read those chapters, I wondered why Solomon did not heed his own advice for the lust of his flesh caused him to overindulge in promiscuity.

Unfortunately, Solomon’s failure is the same failure believers are experiencing today. In many areas of our lives, we fail to bring our flesh under subjection to the Word of God. Throughout the Bible, which is haphazardly read, the scriptures tell us that we are capable of overcoming, but we regrettably succumb to out flesh rather than our spirit.

I don’t know about you, but I am going to be wiser than Solomon. Solomon died at age sixty, I am a bit older than him, and I aim not to die being foolish. I practice learning from the good and bad experiences of others. So, learning from him, I am going to read,  meditate, and follow the Word day and night, and I implore you to do the same.