QUARTERLY JOURNAL
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The Art of Creation

In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.

Genesis 1:1 KJV

     The greatest artist to ever exist is God Himself.  God was the first to employ the basic essence of any artist and that is to make “something out of nothing”.  God showed us the invariable nature of any great artist and that is to take a blank piece of anything or an open space full of nothing and create an awesome masterpiece.  The entire creation is a testimony and stands in awe of God’s masterpiece; “…let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him” (Psalm 33:8 KJV).  God, Himself, examined what He created and said that it was good.  God saw the light and said it was good (Genesis 1:4).  God called the dry land Earth and the gathering together of the waters into Seas and said that it was good (Genesis 1:10).  God created the grass, herbs, and fruit trees and said they were good (Genesis 1:12).  God created the great whales, every living creature that moves, everything that swims and flies and said they were good (Genesis 1:21).  God made all the beast of the earth, cattle, and everything that creepeth on the earth and He said that they were good (Genesis 1:25).  God examined everything that He made and said that it was good (Genesis 1:31).  God says that we all should examine carefully our own work, our own actions, attitudes, and behavior, and then we can have the personal satisfaction and inner joy of doing something commendable in and of ourselves, alone, without comparing ourselves or boasting and bragging to others (Galatians 6:4).  We should honestly examine what we have done in life and if it is good to ourselves then move on with the self-satisfaction that we have done something good (for ourselves) no matter what the enemy says or does in their attempt to destroy our self-esteem and self-worth.  Jesus Christ was the first example of the benefits of having good self-esteem.  The Lord gives us self-worth because He says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and by obeying His Word we have a right to prove ourselves to ourselves and we know through the Lord’s commands when we have done right and when we have fallen short of God’s Word, “Look closely at yourselves. Test yourselves to see if you are living in the faith. Don’t you realize that Christ Jesus is in you? Of course, if you fail the test, he is not in you” (2 Corinthians 13:5 ERV).

     The Apostle Paul says that sin was lurking in the midst of all that beauty that God had created, and sin seized an opportunity through God’s commandment to produce a wrongful desire in men and women to want something that God said we should not have (Romans 7:8).  It was like someone who hated and despised great art throwing paint on the masterpiece in an attempt to destroy it.  The Tree of Eternal Life was in the Garden of Eden and ultimately God would have shared the secrets of eternal life to His children but only by His timing and according to His purpose and His way.  God intended for man to learn understanding by spending time with Him in the garden, not through sinful negative and disobedient experiences (1 Corinthians 14:20).  This truth was a secret even to the invisible forces and powers in God’s creation until Jesus Christ finished his work on earth; “And God gave me the work of telling all people about the plan for his secret truth. That secret truth has been hidden in him since the beginning of time. He is the one who created everything. His purpose was that all the rulers and powers in the heavenly places will now know the many different ways he shows his wisdom. They will know this because of the church. This agrees with the plan God had since the beginning of time. He did what he planned, and he did it through Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ephesians 3:9-11 ERV).  

     The amazing part of God’s masterpiece is that He has made a way to eternal life in spite of the enemy’s efforts to destroy it and man’s own disobedience (Proverbs 23:19).  The Lord’s Way is repulsive to the wicked and drives them away (Proverbs 29:27).  God’s people are excited about Jesus’ way to eternal life (Acts 18:25).  Fortunately for those that believe and unfortunately for those that do not believe, Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life (John 14:6).  The Lord did not come to earth to bring peace between His children and Satan’s children (Acts 19:23).  Jesus Christ came with a sword to bring trouble between those that believe in his word and those that are unbelievers in his doctrine; “Do you think I came to give peace to the world? No, I came to divide the world!” (Luke 12:51).  The enemy sows tares or noxious weeds (unbelievers and false doctrines) among the wheat (God’s people) but the Lord allows them to grow together and then His Word will separate out those that are wicked, disobedient, and unbelieving from His people for judgment and ultimate destruction (Matthew 13:24-30).  Jesus Christ’s doctrine separates the chaff from the wheat.  Jesus was the greatest piece of the art of God’s creation.  Miraculously born by a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).  Born in the most inhospitable environment imaginable (Luke 2:7).  Living a perfect life without ever committing a sin (2 Corinthians 5:21).  Pure, holy, and obedient but physically appealing to no one (Isaiah 53:2).  Humble and innocent but having no home or place to lay his head (Matthew 8:20).  Our Creator was innocent but abused (Matthew 26:67). He was whipped and beaten to a point where he did not even look human anymore (Isaiah 52:14). Even with all of that, in order to allow us access to the tree of eternal life that was once lost to us all, our Lord and Savior was still the masterpiece of the art of His own creation; “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18 KJV).  Ultimately, Jesus Christ was “The Art of the Creation”.

Submitted by Trustee Stanley Ridley



The Importance of Family

One of God’s primary messages for a family in life is to love. As a Christian, I am marked by 3 distinct aspects that define and highlight this directive in my life which include; marked by love for God’s glory, marked by love for our neighbor’s well-being, and marked by love for personal loyalty (self-respect). The Lord has blessed me with a nurturing family that has been able to let and help the seed of God’s word take root in my life. He has surrounded me with a family who has shown me how to love His way, which has proven to be the ultimate love in every aspect of my life. My family has been one of the most important relationships that God has blessed me with. The inheritance of His word was passed down to me through my family to which I am extremely grateful.  A family is one of the most basic and valuable gifts that God has provided and given to our society. It is the first vision, perspective, and understanding that we are shown of relationship with others.

As in Genesis 1:26 KJV, “And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness…”, one of the first and most powerful things that we learn about our Lord, is relationship. We are shown that God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have a pre-existing relationship with each other. Interesting enough but not coincidental, the relationship is one of the first things that we learn and are shown upon being born and placed on earth. These relationships often shape our view of the world, people, and ourselves.

As individuals, we often take for granted the encounters that we have with others while failing to realize how our actions are received and the impact that they may have.  Throughout the New Testament, we are shown how Jesus’ acts of service towards those around him, are an example of how we should love people regardless of their perspective and actions. Christ gives us a living example of what it means to love and how to treat your neighbor. Matthew 22: 39 KJV says, “And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself” and John 13:5 KJV “After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him”. The word “family” stems from the Latin word “famulus” which means “servant”. As believers in Christ, we are shown by our Lord that our lives are meant to be of service. He has placed us in certain situations, hardships, hills, etc. in order to mold our character while strengthening our faith so that He may get the glory in spreading the Word of Christ. A strong family foundation is imperative in helping us build confidence and self-respect in order to fulfill this purpose effectively, with love. God shows us that a family allows you to feel secure; by having people who you can count on, people you can share your problems with, people you can receive direction and accountability, and with people, you can learn to respect.

Today, we see a lack of structure in the family according to the Word of our Lord. In practicality, we also see how these fractures influence the long-term psyche of our children and their decisions in society. Particularly in the African American community, the rates of High School students have the lowest graduation rates from 2017-2018 (“The Condition Of Education – Preprimary, Elementary, And Secondary Education – High School Completion – Public High School Graduation Rates – Indicator May 2019”).

We also see that African American males have the highest homicide rates as of 2019 (“Incarceration Rates Growth Causes”. Prisonpolicy.Org, 2019).

These alarming statistics have tremendously decreased since previous decades but are still among the biggest concerns when evaluating the home structure and well-being of African American children. It speaks to what occurs in not only the home environment but also the surrounding influences. As leaders in the community and those who have had the privilege of being raised and influenced by well-rounded families, it is compulsory that the example be set on what love is while establishing ways on how we can give back to our communities. Opening businesses within the community, mentorships, health and wellness clinics, academic programs, scholarships, investments, etc. are all needed now more than ever. In the age of technology, access to infinite information can play a positive and negative role at the same time. Filtering what children are exposed to has become increasingly hard and oblivion. As we continue to progress as a society, we understand the need for Christ is vital to our well-being regardless of how we feel about it. God’s word continues to prove right and in the most loving ways. Family is the most important in my personal life. God has blessed me with the opportunity to not only receive healthy relationships but also understand what a relationship looks like with Him in the center.

As a Christian, I understand that we are marked by 3 aspects which include: marked by love for our God’s Glory, marked by love for our brother’s well-being, and marked by loving personal loyalty (self-respect). God has placed a hedge around my life while protecting me from society’s influences through my family and I will forever be appreciative. Through countless hills and unfavorable situations, He has managed to keep me close and bless me during obstacles. As I grow as a man, I will continuously pray for brokenness and humility, which will allow me to focus and seek Christ in every waking moment of my life. His love is the ultimate example, the ultimate sacrifice and most beautiful to dwell in.

Submitted By Stanton Ridley



Prayer Still Works

     During a Sunday Morning Worship, a mentally disturbed man walks into a Texas Church, fully armed, and disguised in a wig and false beard, and opens fire on the congregation, killing two parishioners. Another man, in a similar incident, walks into a Jewish Synagogue armed with a machete, and kills two people. If these incidents can happen, literally, IN THE CHURCH, one might be led to wonder, ‘Does prayer still work?’ From its inception the goal of the Shiloh Quarterly Journal has been two-fold; to inspire and to inform. Information, to keep you aware of the goings-on in our Church/Family life, and inspiration, to fan the flame of the Work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, based on the faithfulness of God toward us. Our feeble attempts have not always been successful, but they have always been with the best of intentions.

     So, when it comes to Prayer, there’s very little that I can tell you, that you don’t already know through personal experience. But there have been moments in my life when I questioned, “If Prayer Still Works, and……. What about faith?” Still a novice at prayer, but a student of faith, I know that regardless of what we may encounter in this life, Jesus teaches his disciples, and us, about persistent prayer and faith through the Parable of the Persistent Widow, at Luke 18:1-8 NKJV, where it is written, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying, ‘There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God, nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she same to him saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary’, and he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me’. Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to him, though he bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?’”

     Prayer projects faith and it is the expression of our relation to God and creates in us a yearning for divine communion with Him. Faith does the impossible because it brings God to our impossibility. It is the ever-persevering of our new life to stay afloat with our Creator, amid a fallen world, even when it looks and feels like the ship is going down. The faith that centers itself on the powerful person of Jesus Christ is the faith that creates powerful praying, fully established in His ability, and His compassion for us. We were created to worship; and prayer is the ultimate worship- because it is our heartfelt expression and confidence in the True & Living God, who cannot lie and who cannot deny Himself. True faith lays hold to the Truth that is God’s Word, and it is life-transforming. In prayer, faith is looking to God and resting upon His promises, which gives birth to peace, and peace gives Power to Prayer. With all the preaching and teaching that Pastor has done over the past thirty years, it has been the work of the ministry to change unbelieving sinners into praying and believing saints. We have come a long way, but we have a long way to go. It is through the Word of God and faith that prayer worked, and still works. And we know that before requests are made known, faith must have gone ahead.

 

  • “But without faith it is impossible to please him for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Hebrew 11:16 KJV.
  • “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24 KJV

     In prayer I am forced to get down, off from my high-horse, and submit to the will of Almighty God. It is the assertion of the soul’s dire need to bow down in the Presence of Royalty. Situations, disappointments, and dangers seen, and unseen will weigh on us, but trust in the Lord will bring us to our knees, and if we must wait, then we wait! If we must linger, then we linger!

     It is the lowliness of our pitiful position in the presence of an Omnipotent God that gives us the “substance of things hoped for, and the evidence of things not seen” (Heb 11:1) through faith in prayer. Far from being an expert at Prayer, life has taught me that when it comes to talking to God, all I really need is to come boldly, and with honesty- honest about who I am, and honest about Who HE is. The mere fact that I can talk to Him, about anything is very humbling. The mere fact that He wants to hear from me, and beckons me to come, exemplifies His mercy, love, and grace, to all who belong to Him. With all that He knows about me- He never goes the other way when He sees me coming. In prayer, fire is the motive power, and there can be no successful praying without consuming desire. Power is the wing on which faith ascends; and fervency is the push of prayer. Somebody said, ‘Pray Until Something Happens!’ and I think it bears repeating. Burden of soul, sense of need, desperation, and utter self-abandonment creates in us a thirst for prayer; and consuming prayer in the Word of God is the refreshing living water that quench’s our thirst, bringing relief to our dry, parched lives. Ask the Samaritan Woman at the Well, and she will tell you that; “Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked him, and he would have given thee living water” (John 4:9 KJV).

The life, power, and glory of the church is prayer. The life of its members is dependent on prayer and the presence of God is secured and retained by prayer. This very place is made sacred by its ministry. Without it, the church is lifeless, and powerless. Without it, even this building itself is nothing more than a structure. Prayer converts even the bricks, and mortar and lumber into a sanctuary, a Holy Place. A Habitation for God.  Ultimately, in prayer, in the name of Jesus, it is faith in Christ that is the basis of all working, and we ought to do it often. Every day demands its own prayer, and despite what’s going on in the world today, or even in our lives, prayer through faith still works, and we have new grace and new mercies for the new day. Doubt and fear are the twin foes of faith. So, I ask you, “When the Son of Man Comes, will he find faith in you?” [Excerpt from The Complete works of E.M. Bounds on Prayer]

P             My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O LORD; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee and will look up. Psalms 5:3

R             Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit. Psalms 51:12

A             Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Psalms 142:6

Y              Remember not the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions: according to thy mercy remember thou me for thy goodness sake, O LORD. Psalms 25:7

E              Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. And our dominion endures throughout all generations. Psalms 145:13

R            Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Hebrews 12:28

 

S              For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. Romans 10:11

T              And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced. John 19:37

I               For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 1 Cor. 15:22

L              For The Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first. 1 Thessalonians. 4:16

L              Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Psalm 150:6

 

W            We praise you, God, we praise you, for your Name is near; people tell of your wonderful deeds. Psalms 75:1

O             Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men! Psalms 107:8

R             But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalms 5:11

K             Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee, because he trusteth in thee. Isaiah 26:3

S              For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thessalonians 5:9

 

Amen

 

Submitted By Deaconess Irene Gardon