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Our Children, Our Blessing

God has a purpose for the life of our children, just like He does for us. They are not just ours, they belong to Him, and we ought to pray God’s purposes for our children every chance we get. June is the time set aside on our Church Calendar to pray for and focus on our children. Pastor Washington is always mindful to recognize the accomplishments of our children and to build them up, almost as often as we meet for worship. It is a known fact here that as much as we praise and honor our God, we are grateful to Him for our children: our blessing. Mine are yours and yours are mine. It does indeed take a village. So it is in the month of June, as we attend graduations, and look forward to the bright futures of our children, that we also commend them for their service as unto the Lord, and their Christian Walk before us.

Jesus, our example, Himself a Son, reflected the heart of God, His Father, when he prayed for the disciples, in John 17:9, where He said, “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those, you have given me, for they are ours.” Therefore, as fathers, and mothers, and sisters and brothers, corporately and individually, we can pray that our children will focus on the purposes of God. Every chance we get, we ought to pray that our children will Live for Christ Joyfully …we should “(Say) these things while still in the world so that they will have the same joy…” (John 17:13b). Every chance we get, we ought to pray that our children will Grow Strong Spiritually…we should “Not ask to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one” (John 17:15). Every chance we get, we ought to pray that our children will Serve Christ Effectively… (Saying)…Lord “Make them ready for your service through your truth; your teaching is truth” (John 17:17). Every chance we get, we ought to pray that our children will Experience Fellowship Personally, praying as Jesus did, “that they will be of one heart and mind just as you and I are…and the world will believe that you sent me” (John 17:21). Every chance we get, we ought to pray that our children will Come to Christ, and Bring Others to Christ regularly, just as Jesus prayed, “I pray not only for them but also those who believe because of their message” (John 17:20).

In the month of June, and the days ahead, we hold fast to the declaration of the Psalmist, who has said, “Behold, our children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:3-5 ESV). It is our profession that we will honor the purposes of God in the lives of our children, and we will begin and end with prayer.

Submitted By Deaconess Irene Gardon

Women of God

There are many roles of a Woman; wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, and friend. We are precious jewels. Fearfully and wonderfully made, are we, by the hands of the Master. It has been said that giving leaves an imprint that endures forever. Let us give love and friendship to build sisterhood in Christ.

Our Prayer:

Heavenly Father, as your daughters we are to always guard and keep the harmony and peace produced by your Spirit. We want to thank you for loving friendships that create oneness because it produces a haven of peace. We want to thank you for friendships that allow open communication because it eliminates strife. We thank you for friendships whereby tenderness is expressed because it promotes love, kindness, and compassion. We want to thank you for friendships that are locked into unity because it leaves no room for greed and selfishness. Lord Jesus, we want to thank you for setting the standard that defines true friendship. Thank you for my friend!

Question: Who do you call Friend?

Submitted by Sis. Danielle Darty

Authentic or Not?

What if we fail the test of authenticity? Suppose we are not what we say we are and we know it but we assume that no one else knows? Is our praise being affected by the façade some of us put on every Sunday? Some of us know that we failed the ‘genuinely real’ test but our conscience won’t allow us to stop coming to church. Guilt keeps many of us coming back to church and it’s what brought the prodigal son back to his father, “The son realized that he had been very foolish”, (Luke 15:17 ERV). We are guilty of hoping that someday the lie will be broken. Unfortunately, many of us are afraid to let others hear us praise God with our mouths or visibly by putting our hands in the air or physically by jumping up and down or with all our might by running around the church. We are afraid to let other people see us visibly, physically, verbally, and mightily praise God. Hypocrites also jump up and down and shout as loud as they can in church but the Lord commands us to not be deterred by them and focus on examining ourselves. It’s God’s job to deal with the hypocrites and the Pastor’s responsibility to expose them (1 Timothy 5:20). God even emphasizes the point of us examining our own selves by stating that we shouldn’t even be concerned about examining Him when we take the ‘truth’ test, “Examine yourselves [not me]” (2 Corinthians 13:5 AMP).

The on-going experiences in our lives are testimonies about the truth in our lives. We know for ourselves whether we are obeying or disobeying God’s commands. Our negative and positive experiences tell us so. We may be able to lie and fool others, but we can’t lie to ourselves and it’s impossible to fool God (Numbers 5:19-21). No matter how much we lie, no matter how hard we try to cover ourselves up in front of others, and no matter who we fool, it’s impossible to get away from the truth that’s found in our Lord. He finds us every time and examines us all the time (Jeremiah 29:13). Therefore, it is imperative that we interpret God’s Word in the right way (2 Timothy 2:15). God also says that we need to examine ourselves in the right way (1 Corinthians 11:31). To lie to ourselves just makes our dilemma more complicated and allows confusion and chaos to dominate our lives and families (1 Corinthians 14:33). Eliminating confusion and preventing chaos starts with acknowledging the truth. Judging ourselves in the right way includes avoiding hypocrisy but it also includes being honest about why we are concerned about what other people will think about us if we jump up and down and throw our hands in the air praising the Lord. Many of us remain reserved in church when it comes to praising God because we are too concerned about what other people think. The Lord says we don’t need to worry about what other people think. People are going to have thoughts about us regardless of what we say and do. Let’s just make sure that the things we say are right (Romans 14:16).

We need to also be ready to answer everyone who asks questions about what we believe in but we must be careful to do it in a gentle way with respect so that we can live with a clear conscience. Unkind words bring on guilt (Proverbs 15:1). People will see the fruits of our obedience to God’s commands and the good that we do as followers of Jesus Christ. Those who say bad things about us will be ashamed of the bad things they say (1 Peter 3:16). The best way to ensure that we are living the right way is to evaluate ourselves to see if we are holding on properly to our faith in Jesus and check to see if we are producing proper fruits in our lives (2 Corinthians 13:5). If there is no fruit in our lives then it’s possible that the Lord may just cut us off (Luke 13:9). King Saul got cutoff (1 Samuel 28:6). Getting cut off from God means not having our prayers answered and having our prayers hindered because of disobedience is a bad place to be in (1 Peter 3:7). Like King Saul, God stops answering the prayers of disobedient people. Like King Saul, people that go to palm readers, call psychic hotlines, and read horoscopes are folks that have been clearly cutoff. If we examine ourselves and judge our own selves in the right way, then we don’t have to fear being cut off from our Lord who is the source and Savior of our lives.

A tree that is cut off from its source withers and dies. Being dead doesn’t always necessarily mean that the body is in the coffin. There are a lot of dead spirits that are people that look like they are alive but are “dead men walking”. Pharaoh was a dead man walking (Genesis 20:3). Spiritual death leads to physical death if people don’t turn their lives over to Jesus Christ who offers both abundant life while on earth and eternal life with Him in Paradise. In some Bible translations, the word ‘worthless’ is used approximately 14 times to describe the lives of useless people. To ensure that we live a vibrant life while on earth free from withering and ultimately dying we must not be ashamed to praise God with the fruit of our lips (Hebrews 13:15). Our spiritual lives are strengthened by our praising God (Psalm 31:24). If we are ashamed of Jesus then He will be ashamed of us (Luke 9:26). King David wasn’t worried about what other people thought about him dancing with all his might before the Lord (2 Samuel 6:14). Some people refused to express themselves before the Lord in church this way because of their conservative lifestyle. Some people see themselves as too shy and conservative that must preserve the existing conditions of their lifestyles so they choose not to behave out of the ordinary. They want to make sure that they keep their ordinary way alive or in existence. The fear is that if we run around the church in excitement before the Lord and our fellow congregants see that then we think people will expect us to behave differently afterward which could create the potential of a feeling of hypocrisy.

There is a struggle going on within ourselves between good and evil in many of these cases. The Holy Spirit is telling us to let go and celebrate the Lord like David with all our might by dancing, jumping, shouting, and running around the church but Satan is saying, “It don’t take all of that to praise God”. The truth is, “Yes it does and much more!”. Not only can we rejoice in the Lord but God allows us to rejoice within ourselves (Galatians 6:4). This is good news for those that have low self-esteem and great news for those that are on their way to college.

We can compare ourselves to ourselves utilizing Jesus as the standard. The Lord is the measuring stick for our lives. To compare our lives to anyone other than Jesus means we are comparing ourselves to someone who is well below the standard. Each of us should test our own work and be happy with doing a good job. The truth is that we don’t need anyone else to tell us when we’ve done a good job because, if we are honest, then we know when we’ve done a good job or not. Just look at your own work to see if you have done anything to be proud of. When we’ve found those things that line up with the high standards of our Lord then hold on to them (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The same Biblical principles that apply to the ones that bring us the truth every Sunday morning from the pulpit is the same Biblical truth that we all can apply to our own lives (2 Timothy 2:15). The result of this type of living is peace, confidence, courage, hope, and a future life full of abundance. There’s no need to be ashamed of a successful life that is grounded in God’s Word (John 10:10). God even told King David that if he had obeyed God’s commands that the Lord was ready to give him more and more and more (2 Samuel 12:8). Of course, we don’t live for Jesus in order to acquire things (1 Peter 5:2). Yet still, there are advantages and profits that belong to servants of God (1 Peter 5:2). J. Oswald Sanders says in his book titled, ‘Spiritual Leadership’ that desiring to excel is not a sin and the Lord never taught against the urge to high achievement because desiring to excel is motivation enough to help determine the character of one’s ambition. It’s the selfishness of people that perverts high achievements and makes the motivation by some unworthy. For true obedient Christian believers, living a holy God-fearing life does come with fringe benefits and the blessings sure didn’t hurt Abraham, Joseph, Daniel, or Job. If you can’t shout in the classroom, then go back to your own room and shout. If you can’t shout in public, then find a church that has no problem praising God and do like King David did and give God all your might because God’s blessings are something to shout about!

Submitted by Trustee Stanley Ridley