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Dignified By Indignity

“So they left the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy [dignified by indignity] to suffer shame for [the sake of] His name.” – Acts 5:41 AMP

Protest is defined as an expression or declaration of objection, disapproval, or dissent, often in opposition to something people are powerless to prevent or avoid. When God says in Revelation 3:16, “because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth,” He is telling people that they are not hot or cold. In other words, they don’t stand for anything. They try to put themselves in the middle. In essence, they are lukewarm. God says that it would be far better if they were either hot or cold. Either go to church or don’t go, but don’t just show up sometimes. They read their Bible sometimes. They pray sometimes. It is important for us to remember that the implementation of Biblical principles can only be properly done by God’s children.

Recently, a National Football League player decided that he would no longer stand during the National Anthem, as a sign of protest against police brutality. We can debate whether he was wrong, or right but success is determined by what happens after protests. Peter and the Apostles have the right answer to protesting, “Then Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than men, we have no other choice.” (Acts 5:29 AMP). While the entire history of the United States is documented with stories of protests, the question that must be answered is whether the ‘pro’ test is a Godly test.

Gamaliel, a teacher of the Law of Moses and highly esteemed, in defense of Peter and the Apostles, stood up in the Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court, and reminded the Council about Theuda (Acts 5:34) Gamaliel explained that Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody of importance, and a group of about 400 men allied themselves with him. At some point, Theudas was killed in 46AD as a Jewish rebel of the 1st Century AD and all who followed him were scattered and the protest came to nothing. How will we know whether something is being commanded by God? “How can we tell the difference, whether it was God who spoke or not?” “Here’s how: If what the prophet spoke in God’s name doesn’t happen, then obviously, God wasn’t behind it; the prophet made it up. Forget about him (Deut. 18:22 TMB). Putting God first always assures victory.

What should Christians do when faced with a conflict between human authority, and God’s authority? Serve and Glorify God. Leave your ego at the door. Seeing loyalty to God’s kingdom can be a caveat to draw non-believers to Christ. If we stand for Him, they will come!


Submitted by Trustee Stanley Ridley

The Modern Family

“…A Huge Crowd, too huge to count…” – Revelation 7:9-12 MSG

So, the HGBDF Family Reunion is coming to NY next year. It will be hosted by my family here, who migrated to NY from Alabama back in 1968. It started out in Alabama where everybody went back “Home”, and it grew from a few to many. Now though, a lot of those who started the history on which the Reunion was built upon has passed on. And while their passing has impacted the family in a great and real way, we still stand on the foundation that they built. That speaks volumes to me about family, family values, and the urgency to maintain and retain it. Nevertheless, things, they are a changing and the changes are impacting family structure.

The modern family now consists of 2 moms, or 2 dads. The blended family now consists of a mixed-race mom, or dad, and bi-racial children; or any one of myriad of assorted combination that make up our family. There are step children, foster children, and God-children, and the family no longer looks like dad, mom, the cat, the dog and 1.5 children. My husband grew up in a family of 9 children, 1 mom, 1 dad. My mom grew in a family of 12 children, 1 mom, 1 dad. I grew up with 3 children, 1 mom, 1 dad. So, no two families are the same, but I dare say the foundation on which the family is built ought to be the same: God First. Without God-even Christ & His Holy Spirit, our families are doomed to fail; more likely to fall into the traps of society, and far from God.

The first family failed. The father failed to lead, the mother failed to follow, and the children did not fight for peace. Since that time, our families have been under attack. But I was reminded by Pastor, in a recent Bible Study (in the context of our failures to live up to who and what God has called us to be) that, God is immutable. He does not change. He meets us where we are, and His shed blood is the propitiation for our sins. We may fail, but there is no failure in Him. He expects us to grow in His grace, from our pitiful state to a higher place in Him, as we move progressively through our relationship and responsibility with Him. You know what that means? Hope! Hope, for my family, and hope for yours.

September is the time on our church calendar when we focus on the family. Let us be prayerful for one another. While my family may not be like yours, and yours unlike mine, we have a Father who is God. He is in His Holy Temple. His throne is in Heaven. His eyes behold; His eyelids try the children of men (Psalm 11:5). The physical family is the most important building block to human society, and as such, it should be nurtured and protected. But more important, is the new creation that God is making in Christ, compromised of a spiritual family; the Church, made up of all people who call upon the Lord Jesus as Savior. The parallels are quite clear. When we are born physically, we’re born into a physical family, but when we are “born again,” we are born into a spiritual family. This spiritual family is not bound by ethnicity, gender or social standing. It is a family drawn from every nation, tribe, language and people, and the defining characteristic is love for God, and love for one another. God’s desire isn’t just to save isolated individuals, but entire households.


Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon

The Hidden Flaw of Easy Livin’

“Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and how they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone.” – Judges 18:7 ESV

According to 1 Kings 16:31, King Ahab’s sin was not only that he did wicked and evil things but it was the easiness of how he did those wicked things that was his real problem, “Ahab found it easy to walk in sins…” Wicked behavior is a problem but ‘easy livin’ is man’s real problem. “Easy livin’ , many times comes because of how a person thinks about himself. Job lived easily until God decided to test his heart. ‘Easy livin’ can lead to self-righteousness and idolatry in a person’s heart. ‘Easy living’ contributes to the flaw in people’s lives when they place things and other people, their, idols, on the altars of their hearts instead of putting the Lord where He belongs in their hearts.

The People of Laish were a vivid image of people who totally disregard God’s warning, “Mortal man, he said, tell your people what happens when I bring war to a land.” The people of that country choose one of their number be a lookout (Ezekiel 33:2 GNT). They were living so well, doing what they wanted to do, that they couldn’t even tell what was happening around them. There was no lookout and the people who were trying to warn them every Sunday during church worship services were hardly ever listened to. The time will come when people will not listen to true teaching anymore. The Lord always warns His people to be watchful and ready. But they will find more and more teachers who please them and say what they want to hear. But God’s people need to be prepared always for whatever the enemy may bring our way.

Sometimes the Lord Himself brings things into our lives to test us and to see what we are made of. Those that adhere to the ‘easy living’ free-spirited and careless lifestyle always get caught unprepared and not ready. They will be doing everything that they were always doing and they will get caught off guard, just like the people during Noah’s day and just like the ‘easy living’ lifestyle of the people of Laish; “Sidon was too far away to protect them. Even though their town had no walls, the people thought they were safe from attack. So, they had no asked anyone else for protection, which meant that the tribe of Dan could easily take over Laish” (Judges 18:7 CEV). The people of Laish did not have anyone in any type of authority that would make their lives difficult. As a result of a lack of anxiety, the people of Laish lived carefree. Living carefree is alright if our confidence is put in the right place.

The right place for our confidence should be in the Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ. If we have our trust in Jesus then the Lord will answer our petitions, protect us, and provide for our needs. How are you living?


Submitted by Trustee Stanley Ridley