QUARTERLY JOURNAL
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The Book of Sobs

For me, working from home during this Pandemic was unchartered territory. What used to be a luxury for some, had now become a necessity for most. It was quite the challenge and I resented it on most days; partly because I just did not want to do it, and partly because I wanted to do something else with my time. It has been challenging I am sure for everybody in one way or another. While I did not have the issue of dealing with small children, it was worrisome, having to meet the dictates of my workday, while “at home.” It became so tedious trying to keep up with all the demands, handling phone calls, emails, problem-solving, and still trying to work through just adapting to the use of new technology; logging in at 8:30 AM -logging out at 4:30 PM. Day in-Day out. I truly wanted no part in any of it. So, yet again in questioning ‘Why me?’ Why Now? ’I had to learn again something about faith that I had not yet learned, and that is, Faith requires action, not on God’s part, but on my part!

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That’s What Family Does

Two kids are talking one day to each other, and one says, “I’m really worried. My dad works twelve hours a day to give us a nice home and good food. My mom spends the whole day cleaning and cooking for us. I’m worried sick!” The other kid says, “What have you got to worry about? Sounds to me like you’ve got it made!” The first kid says, “What if they try to escape?”

“Family,” defined, is “all the descendants of a common-ancestor; or a “group of one or more parents and their children living together as a unit;” or “a group of related things;” “designed to be suitable for all.” And in the family, every member plays an important role, as indicated by the conversation of the two kids above. Every member of the family is important, and every member has something to offer, even if it is in our own best interest. Family relationships are vital because they are a pattern for how we live and relate within the family of God. When we receive God’s salvation, He makes us full sons and daughters by formally adopting us into his spiritual family. We are given the same rights as children born into that family. God did this through Jesus Christ. God created the first family by instituting the marriage between Adam & Eve. “Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created” (Genesis 5:2 KJV).

 “Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh; and they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed” (Genesis 2:24-25 KJV). Here we learn that marriage, and family is God’s idea, designed and established by Him, the Creator. And the scriptural order of priorities for the family is God, first, “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might” (Deuteronomy 6:5 KJV); Spouse – “Husband’s, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it”, (Ephesians 5:2 KJV); Children –  “As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth; Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate” (Psalm 127:4, 5 KJV); “And ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the LORD” (Ephesians 6:4 KJV); Parents, extended family, brothers and sister in Christ, and then the rest of the world. Every family is different in culture, structure, traditions, and size. And in the world today, while very little remains the same, our families are being re-defined by the new norms. Family is different things to different people. To some it is a feeling. To some it is a bond. To some a relationship and to some the entire life. Family can be a group of people or it can be as few as two. Our family can bring out the best and worst in each of us.

 Our family can be the source of our strength, or the bain of our existence. Either way, the result is that we are strengthened in one way or another. But nonetheless, it is the familial relationship that stretches us in ways that we otherwise might not. If we can make it there (in our family) we can make it anywhere. Our family are our harshest critics, and our loudest cheerleaders. Our family cries with us and laughs at us, sometime at the same time. Our family are our burden-lifters, and sometimes our burdens to carry. In the baker’s shop an irate woman burst in and said, “I sent my son in for two pounds of cookies this morning, but when I weighed them there was only one pound. I suggest that you check your scales.” The baker looked at her calmly for a moment and then replied, “Ma’am, I suggest you weigh your son.” The Bible has a lot to say about raising a family. “Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him.” (Psalm 127:3 KJV). The Bible has a lot to say about faith in the family. “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:11 KJV). The Bible has a lot to say about providing for a family. “But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel” (1 Timothy 5: 8 KJV). The Bible has a lot to say about unity in the family. “Bear with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgive each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive” (Colossians 3:13 ESV). And the Bible has a lot to say about His perfection, and our failure as it relates to our family.

The truth is that God often allows us to fail because it turns out that one of the best ways we learn is from our mistakes. Failure is nothing to fear, but something to gain wisdom from. God loves us and knows we will fight sin all our lives. We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check (James 3:2). “For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was; but whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed” (James 1:24, 25 KJV). It was the will of the heavenly Father that Jesus of Nazareth, the incarnate Son of God, should grow up within a human family environment. Joseph, His father was a carpenter. Mary, His mother, was a young Jewish girl, highly favored. Joseph, no doubt, had trained young Jesus in the carpentry business. He most likely had taught Him the faith of the family through leadership, and by instruction; and Mary, His mother, like any mother, dotted on her Son, at one time not failing to chastise Him, but another time at a wedding, received His reprimand.

What makes a healthy, strong family, you ask? The members of the household who are committed to one another. A healthy family spends time together. A healthy family enjoys open, frequent communication. The healthy family turns inward during times of crises. Members of a healthy family express affirmation and encouragement often. The members of a healthy family share spiritual commitment. “Little Johnny’s baby brother was screaming up a storm. He asked his mom, “Where’d we get him?” His mother replied, “He came from heaven, Johnny.” Johnny responded, “WOW! I can see why they threw him out!” Whether, your personal family, or your extended, spiritual family, Pastor would say, “That’s what Family does!

 Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon



Work While We Wait

MIDNIGHT CRY

~Alvin Slaughter

I hear the sound of a mighty rushing wind and it’s closer now than it’s ever been
I can almost hear the trumpet and Gabriel sound the chord at the midnight cry we’ll be going home.

When Jesus steps out on a cloud to call his children the dead in Christ shall rise to meet him in the air and then those that remain shall be quickly changed at the midnight cry when Jesus comes again.

I look around me I see prophecies fulfilling and signs of the times. They’re appearing everywhere I can almost hear the father as he says, ‘son go get your children’s at the midnight cry the bride of Christ will rise, and then those that remain will be caught up to meet him in the air.

At the midnight cry, we’ll be going home!

 

Alvin Marvin Slaughter (born July 17, 1955) is a New York-based gospel musician, worship leader, singer-songwriter, and member of the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir. He began his solo career in the early 1990s signing with Integrity Music. In this rendition of the song, Slaughter tells the beautiful story of the Coming of Christ, the Bridegroom for His Bride- The Church. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 Paul writes, “The Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so, we will be with the Lord forever.”

But until then, what should the church be doing? Pastor would say, “I’m glad you asked?”

As Shiloh celebrates its 113th Year of mission and ministry, established in 1907, by a group of like-minded individuals, the goal has been and continues to be that we will be a bride beautifully adorned and committed to the relationship established by Christ. The church is at its best when every believer is devoted to the mission of the church.

During the lifetime of Christ, His disciples did not understand that some prophecies were to be fulfilled in relation to the first coming of Christ and others in relation to His second coming. It was not until Christ died, rose again, and ascended into heaven that it became clear to His disciples that He would not fulfill the prophecies relating to His second coming until He returns. The church is described in Scripture as a bride waiting for her husband. “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 11:2)

As the Bride of Christ, the role of the church is to receive His love, freely given, and to give Him our love in return. This reciprocal love is what existed between the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost before time or foundation was, and it is the essence of our eternal union with Him. Marriage is a legally binding contract. It changes your legal position and to a certain extent that of your children, even after death. It changes your entitlements and obligations. The church is comprised of those who have trusted in Jesus Christ as their personal savior and have received eternal life. Christ is the Bridegroom, and He has sacrificially and lovingly chosen the church to be His bride. Christ’s coming for His church is often designated as the Rapture. The idea of being “caught up” is embraced by the word rapture, or snatched up, and this is what will happen at the time of Christ’s coming for His church. Shiloh exists to reach people for Christ and to disciple them to maturity in Christ. Churches vary in size, shape, geography, and function, and while Shiloh may not be a mega-church, we are mission-minded, bathed in, and motivated by the grace and mercy of God. Under the leadership of Pastor Washington for the past 30 years, that is a reason to celebrate!

The Shiloh Vision Statement is that We want to be Like Jesus! Living Like Him, Giving Like Him. Serving Like Him. And as much as we want to be like Jesus, God has a purpose and a plan for His church. Shiloh is a catalyst for spiritual growth, and it begins with the new-birth, and regeneration experience. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.” (John 3:6-7 KJV). We are a community, a body of believers, a place where we are all planted and allowed to grow together at different places, spaces, and times. New converts need nurturing, and it is our fellowship that keeps our friendship afloat.

“And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, Now the salvation and power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.”

Rev. 12:10 ESV

Our serving is manifold. We have the balanced purpose to evangelize, reach, teach and develop mature followers of Christ. “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnessed unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 KJV). We are commanded to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19 NKJV); “And he gave some, apostles, and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-16).

While we celebrate our 113th anniversary, and look forward to our soon coming King, we are reminded by Revelation Chapters 2 and 3, that these Epistles were written to the churches in Asia with warnings and encouragements; and just like then, the words of Christ to them, serve as warnings and encouragements to us today. The Bible has much to say about obedience. In fact, obedience is an essential part of the Christian faith. The Bible says that we show our love for Christ by obeying Him in all things: “If you love Me, keep My commandments” (John 14:15). Obedience is defined as “dutiful or submissive compliance to the commands of one in authority.” Dutiful means it is our obligation to obey God, just as Jesus fulfilled His duty to the Father by dying on the cross for our sin. Submissive indicates that we yield our will to God’s. Today, we are not called to obey the Law of Moses. That has been fulfilled in Christ. We will not be perfect in our obedience, but as a body of believers, it is our desire to submit to the Lord and to follow His leading, in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Jesus has said. “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” (John 14: 12 KJV). After Jesus death, burial, and resurrection, He presented Himself alive (Acts 1:3) to the women near the tomb (Matthew 28:9-10); to His disciples (Luke 24:36-43, and to more than 500 others (1 Corinthians 15:6). His ascension set the pattern for His return, among many things. We look forward to when Jesus comes again, just like he left-literally, bodily, and visibly in the clouds. But until then, we have got much work to do. And while we wait, we work, “That he might present to himself a glorious church, not having a spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27 KJV). We celebrate because Sin is Defeated, and we are Alive to Christ! He is coming back for us.

 Happy Anniversary Shiloh!

Submitted by Deaconess Irene Gardon