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Forgiveness is Important

Do you remember the last time you forgave someone? Some people find it hard to forgive. Living in an “eye for an eye” society, most people don’t even consider forgiveness anymore. Most people find it hard to just look past things. These days, people enjoy seeing others suffer. For some reason, it makes them feel better. The lack of forgiveness in our world has allowed people to think it’s okay to get revenge. I’m here to tell you that’s it’s not.

Let me first explain what forgiveness is. The standard definition of forgiveness is the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. The biblical definition is giving up my right to hurt you, for hurting me. Now that you know what forgiveness is, let me explain to you why it’s important. In life, we are going to deal with negative people. Sometimes it can be friends, family members, classmates, co-workers, managers, or even your brothers & sisters in Christ. The intentions behind some people can be really evil. In most cases, if a negative person sees you doing better than them, they try to find ways to bring you down. Some might try to talk about you or some may even try to hurt you physically. Once when they attempt to bring you down, some might expect or want a reaction out of you. This is what some people call a “testing period”. Not only are they testing you, but God is also testing you. Sometimes the negative people are placed in your life just to test your faith. This is why it’s so important to forgive people even when you really don’t want to.

We also have to remember that if God forgives us for all of the bad things we’ve done, then we can forgive as well. “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” (Matthew 6:14-15). In some cases, people can’t bring themselves to forgive someone right away, which is fine, but you would want to eventually get to the point of forgiveness. When you hold on to grudges, it brings you down too. If you’re constantly thinking about what a person did to you years ago, you’re not going to be able to focus on the blessings that are in your life right now. You need to let go of things that are no longer important. “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins” (Mark 11:25).

To successfully get through these hard times, you need to pray for the person that has done you wrong. You don’t know what that person could be going through. Pray that they find happiness. Ask God to forgive them and to bless them with wisdom and knowledge. Don’t forget to pray for yourself too. Ask God to place the right words in your mouth. Also, ask God to keep you away from negativity. Once you get to this point, this allows you to grow in your spiritual life and it might even allow the negative people to ask you for forgiveness. Once God sees you forgiving those that tried to bring you down, He will bless you.

“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

Come Let Us Pray

The Language of Prayer 

It is continually through our walk through the Book of Psalms, that Pastor has taught us so eloquently, and preached, we’ve learned that prayer is talking to God. And when we approach Him, we ought to talk to Him based on who He is. He is El Jehovah; I Am. His covenant name is Jehovah. He is self-sustaining. He is self-maintaining. He needs nothing outside of Himself to exist. The literal meaning of His name is, “I Be!” He is, because He is. He is the “IS-NESS” of God. The fact that He “IS” causes Him to be active, and He specializes in taking nothing and making something out of it, and that is His creative power on display.  

How then do we, who have been made something by the One with creative Power, talk to Him? What language do we use? What do we say? In the Book of Psalms, David has been our example of how to talk to God, and not so much by instruction, but more by relationship. Have you ever been in a prayer setting, and wanted to pray but did not? Why not? Did you think that what you had to say was not important? Or that your speaking was not eloquent enough; that your prayer would sound elementary? I have had all those fears and concerns, and I have sat in many prayer meetings where I lacked the boldness to pray. In those times, while prompted to say something to God (to pray) what I had to say seemed inadequate, beyond a simple “Thank You!” But the language of prayer is just that; the prompting of the Spirit of God in your heart to compel you to speak to Him out of the abundance of your heart; to burst out in praise, song, word or worship, in your own unique way.  

Knowing the Word of God is important when talking to Him because it reminds you & Him of His promises. It’s not that He forgets, but rather that you be reminded that He has not forgotten you. Over the years we have had lectures on prayer; numerous prayer breakfasts and sat in many prayer seminars. We have read & studied many books, and prayer methods, and still, what God requires most of us (time spent in fellowship with Him) we find difficult to do. But we’re learning from David in the Psalms, that talking to God ought to be as simple as talking to an old friend, based on relationship. And in those times when we don’t know what to pray, we have an Advocate; an Intercessor who speaks on our behalf. Perfect love casts out all fear, and God wants our focus to be on the One who blesses, and not what people think about how we pray. 

The Languish of Prayer 

If I don’t know you, I may consider time spent with you as unimportant. Our conversation, indeed, our prayer with God is the same. It’s built on relationship, and it works the same way. How do we build relationships? How do we get to know one another; or to a place where we’re not just passing one another by? By stopping to look at self, seeing who I really am. Knowing my own strengths, and weaknesses. By recognizing my own needs. When I am confident of who I am, and when I can confess my own faults, I have no need to fear you. Our prayer life with Jesus is the same way – seeing ourselves considering who He is, helps us in our prayers, and in our communication with Him. We can come boldly to His throne. We can come casting all our cares upon Him. We can enter His courts with praise – and we can leave it all on the altar as sweet savor and sacrifice to Him. We ought to do it often, and with courage and the confidence of knowing that God Hears Us. He cares for us. And even if delayed, He Will Answer! 

The Lack of Prayer 

If I am intimidated by the prayers of others (corporately or privately) and fail to enter into relationship with Christ, first by receiving His free gift of salvation, and then failing to forsake the assembling of myself with other believers, there is a tendency to miss out on so much because we only pray by ourselves. Yet when Jesus gave us the model for prayer, He emphasized praying together… “Our Father…give us this day…Lead us not into temptation” (Matt 6:9-13). There is power in group prayer. Likewise, if we are failing to grow in His Word, we might live a life of hopelessness – like an eagle in a hen house – not knowing that if I just start flapping my wings – I can fly above all that would keep me down.  

When we pray, we should be persistent in our prayers. God is not a vending machine, waiting to spit out answers instantly. So, we are to keep praying even when we have no answers. It’s important to remember that when you make a request to God, He always wants to answer in a bigger, better way than you’ve prayed. If you’re asking too small, He may delay, because He wants to give you something bigger and better, but He has to prepare you first for it. A delayed response gives you time to clarify exactly what you want and refines your prayers. It separates deep longings from mere whims. We can be confident in our prayers when we realize that insemination is where life begins. Birth is where life evolves; and Eternal Life in Christ has guaranteed New Life with Him, forever. Prayer is the way we talk to Him now but in Eternity, we will be face to face…with Him. What will you say to Him, then?  

Come, Let Us Pray! 

Prayer, with its manifold and many-sided forces, helps the mouth to utter the truth in its fullness and freedom. A holy mouth is made by praying, by much praying; a brave mouth is made by praying. Praying gives sense, brings wisdom, broadens and strengthens the mind. The best, the greatest offering is an offering of prayer. Prayer has no magic, potent because it gets the Omnipotent God to grant its request. In the Christian system, unction is the anointing of the Holy Spirit, separating unto God’s work and qualifying for it. Preachers need the prayers of the people, and the people need the prayers of the preacher. Our Wednesday night prayer meeting and Bible Study are under-attended in comparison to our Sunday Morning Worship and somehow the practice of corporate praying by the church has fallen into disuse or become discounted. Prayer, to the preacherand to the congregation at large, is not done simply out of duty, or privilege but it is a necessity. It is an absolute necessity that the people pray for the preacher and that the preacher prays for the people. God’s call on us is to pray for the Man of God, that He may be able to meet his responsibilities that God has set him apart to do. This is our call to pray. Come Let us Pray!  

Submitted By Deaconess Irene Gardon 

The Super Bowl

“Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!” 

Psalm 47:1 ESV 

Over 40 years ago, I put on my first helmet, my first shoulder pads, my first jersey, my first pair of cleats, and carried my first football. Twenty years later, I helped my sons put on their first uniforms. For many young men and boys, football is a way of life. Many of them will tell you that playing football is a way of life. Many of them will tell you that playing football is like being part of a family. The comradery, the relationships, and the kind of memories that are made can’t be found anywhere else. It’s a special experience.  

Football has had such an impact on the American culture that in the movie “Concussion”, where Will Smith plays the role of Dr. Bennet Omalu, the NFL Commissioner says, “The NFL owns one day of the week. A day that used to belong to the Church”. If you observe what athletes and fans go through to experience a football game on Sunday it almost seems like “a religion”. The excitement and the fervor that goes into the face paint and costumes worn by fans can only be matched by the committed efforts that Christians go through to prepare for Sunday Morning Worship. The football pools, the cheerleaders, the bands, and the tailgate parties are synonymous with choir rehearsals and prayer meetings. The ultimate draw of sports that makes them irresistible is the excitement and thrill of the game. The cheers and the loud noises are contagious and leave lasting memories on anyone who participates.  

I wonder what kind of energy would fill a room if the Creator of the Heavens and Earth, Jesus Christ, walked in? What kind of cheer would go up if the Holy One stepped into our presence? Jeremiah 25:30 mentions roaring and shouting. Psalm 50:3 says not to keep silent. Luke 19:40 gives us a practical idea of what kind of cheer our Lord will receive from His people. What kind of cheer would be appropriate for Jesus Christ? Should people just clap? Should people give Him a standing ovation? I think the excitement and reaction of the fans that we see at the Super Bowl are indicative of the excitement and reaction that the fans of Jesus should be giving to Him. So, when you watch the Super Bowl, and you hear the cheers of the crowd, picture the Lord Himself descending from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and picture the dead in Christ rising first (1 Thess. 4:16). I think that’s what the Lord had in mind when he set aside the Sabbath. He was giving us one day a week on earth to practice our cheers for His eventual coming. O clap your hands, all ye people, Shout unto God with the voice of triumph.  

Submitted By Trustee Stanley Ridley