Thursday, May 9, 2019

Remove Not the Ancient Landmarks (Landmarks Part Two)




(We Are The Hands Of God)
To serve God is to serve others, wether believers in God, or the people of this world, to truly serve God is to serve His people. As for myself, it is an honor to be in a position which allows me to reach out to those in need of assistance, regardless of what that actually need is. Why you ask? Because to be the hands and feet of the Father is to honor His Word, and according to James 1:27, it is the purest form of religion. Adhering to the scriptures contained within the pages of the Bible, and by following the instructions of those God has given charge over us, we are cleave to the Landmarks established by God and the elders who have gone before us.

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction…

(Orphaned Children From Africa)
In just over twelve years attending the same local church here in Austin, TX, the pastor was never forced to request of me to perform a certain task or duty more than once; why, its simple, because the respect and reverence I had for him required that I honor his request, direction, and expectations, to do otherwise was to ignore God’s design for my life. The Bishop of the house in which I served, had his own expectations, which included excellence in all things, all areas of ministry and the church as a whole, a five star experience was not merely expected, it was demanded. These expectations of excellence were to be an area of focus in all areas of the Christian’s life, including the way we carried ourselves, ministered to others, and represented the church. 

Whether we were at home, work, or anywhere else, it was understood that the rules and  standards set forth by our pastor were to be strictly clung to without question. Unfortunately; in today’s liberal and hedonistic climate, these Landmarks and standards have begun to fade away at an alarming rate, replaced by the ways of the world, just as the light snow on a sunny day, our traditions and standards are evaporating into just a memory before our eyes. Frighteningly; the “will of the people” has replaced the ways of God and has now allowed the plumb line of God to be replaced by the wavering ways of the unstable mind. As the children of God, it is imperative that we always remember and understand that even Peter, one of the greatest of the apostles, and the one Jesus called a rock, was used by the devil, completely unaware.

Proverbs 22:28
Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set...

Today, so many have decided to let go of the Faith, everything we have been taught throughout the years has so easily been set aside, but why? How is it that so many have effortlessly turned away from the scriptures and teachings go God? The Word repeatedly advises us against the disregarding of God’s Word; yet, so many times we openly decide to do just that, we remove the standards what we do not like, choosing the path of less resistance, which often times, leads back into the world. Today’s church no longer celebrates the Living God, but instead it has become the church of the ”modern era,” a church of man pleasers, who have replaced the God chasers of times past. The Landmarks of old were put in place to help Christians maintain the straight and narrow path as described in Matthew chapter seven; however, it would seem that we have all decided that as man kind, we know best, we are the makers of the rules, and no more are we to follow the instructions left for us by the prophets and preachers, nor must we look upon the Acts of the Apostles as our guides. The modern church, will no longer operate according to the Word of The Lord, instead it is the word of "man" that leads the way. In this hour, it is of the utmost importance that we are not caught with our candles under the bushel, or our lanterns unlit, because as we know, the day of the Lord’s return is known by no man: this is the importance, of maintaining the ancient landmarks.

Pro.23:10
Remove not the old landmark...

(King Herod's Caste, Iraeli Landmark)
Holiness has always been an anchor, pillar, and foundation of the Church; nonetheless, today, the word holiness has, to some, become an outdated, undesirable, and divisive set of ideals, no longer needed in today’s assemblies. In the past, the word Holiness, and all associated connotations, were once exemplified, an example of man’s desire to follow in the footsteps of Christ, and yet now, the mere mention of the word breeds anger, claims of legalism, and oppression. Godliness, devotion, and dedication to God, the desire to attain spiritual purification, throughout our daily lives, within the confines of our homes, and in the workplace, has somehow been replaced by a “Sunday morning only” doctrine, as if consecrating oneself to God is of no importance. 

For the past 2000 years since Christ ascended into the heavens, as well as the many thousands of years that preceded that Glorious day, Holiness before God has been an integral part of the Judeo-Christian faith and an expression of one’s love for God, and dedication to His Word. The Landmarks of our faith have been established since before the stars shown bright in the midnight skies, and the sandy seashores welcomed the fishes of the ocean’s deep and the birds that soar above. From those very beginnings, Holiness was to be the standard in which all of creation was to  agree, a holy people, set apart by a Holy God, and for that same Holy God. According to the Bible Holiness is the expected standard by which we all must live, it is the key by which we are to see God, and it is the outward sign of an inward desire to be like God, a benchmark to indicate that we are His possession: the children, and redeemed of Christ Jesus our Lord. In the book of Hebrews chapter twelve, we find the following statement, Follow peace with all men, and Holiness, without which no man shall see God.”  Clearly, the Lord expects us to live a way that exemplifies an ever increasing and acceptable level of Holiness which displays to others that we are the children of God; thereby, assuring our acceptance and entrance into the Kingdom. 

As the great apostle Paul stated in II Corinthians 12:9, God’s “Grace is sufficient for thee,” He accepts us for who we are, and as we are, we can come to the Cross heartbroken, shattered, and full of pain; yet, God will still come to us, comfort us, and forgive, carefully lifting us up out of the muck and mire. However, we must also acknowledge that God is also, indeed Himself Holy; accordingly, He cannot be in the presence of unholiness, which indicates to us, those that believe, that we must ourselves be transformed into the image of Holiness if we are to live with Him on that great day of the Lord. Yes, Jesus Christ will accept us as we are; even so, we have a responsibility as well, we are to adhere to the Word of God, we must cast out the old, and become new, in other words, there must be transformation in our lives. You see, we must not remain the same, we must exhibit a change that divides and separates the old from the new, not even Jesus remained the same after His encounter with the Power of the Holy Ghost atop the mount of transfiguration, Abram became Abraham, Sarai became Sarah, Jacob became Israel, Saul became Paul, and Peter became the Rock, no longer a pebble, but a mighty mountain who preached the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost, clearly, if these mighty Biblical characters had to change, so must we.

Romans 12:2 ...Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that ye may prove what is good, and acceptable, and the perfect will of God…

We as the people of God, must understand that Christ Jesus does not only want us to enter into the kingdom of God, but He wants us to become the kingdom God. Clearly, it isn’t the Lord’s desire to simply accrue a massive amount of church members, if that was the end goal, Christ would not have sacrificed Himself on the cross, instead He would have called down angels from to defend Him, and conquer the earth. Instead, He did the opposite, the Messiah, our Lord and King, gave up His life freely, a ransom in exchange for ours. The church, that is who we are to become, this is why God gave up His only Begotten Flesh for each and every one of us, but how do we become the church if we are not willing to be transformed into the image of the Living God, the image of Holiness? The answer is clear, we cannot. 

If we as individuals, and as the church as a whole, are to become more like Paul, and less like Saul, we are going to have make a choice, we must completely change the way we talk, the language we choose, and the words we speak. By voluntarily making these choices, by showing love, and by extending kindness to others, we show the world around us that we are the children of God. To be transformed into the image of the Living God, there must be a shift, we must change how we dress, we must change how we act, and we must change every other aspect of our lives that is not of God, simple put, if we are to enter the Holy of Holy’s, we must change. The church of today must work to reestablish the landmarks of old, the days of compromising the Word in an effort to appease the itching ears must be placed aside as we put on modesty, moderation, and morality; thereby, assuring all, that we are no longer followers of the world, but followers of Christ, and workers in His kingdom.

Amos 7:7-8
(The Ancient Plumb-Line)
Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand. And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people…

“The famous words of Amos the prophet,” said no one ever, in spite of that, these are very important words, a set of verses that we should perhaps look at a bit more closely, but first, what in the world is a plumb-line? According to the internet, a plumb-line is a tool used by craftsman, such as carpenters and plumbers to ensure that walls, pipes, boards, and other things are perfectly in line, and without corruption according to required standards, and measures, much as it was used in the days of Amos. Joseph, the earthly father of Jesus, as well as Jesus Christ Himself would have used this device in their work as carpenters, as well as many of the tradesman of today. Here in the scriptures above, the Holy Spirit, through the writings of Amos, uses the word plumb-line to describe to his contemporaries, the people of Judah, the importance of adhering to the Word of God and the established Landmarks of the Faith at that time. As a prophet of God, and minister to the people, it was Amos’ job to inform the congregation of the Lord’s law, instructions, and desires for His people, just as it is the duty of God’s ministers today. Unfortunately, in the church communities of today, many have forgotten this verse, turning away from the standards of the plumb-line, removing the Landmarks that have guided us for so many years, Landmarks such as maturity, moderation, modesty and faithfulness to the house of God. It is of the utmost importance that the Amos’ of today cry out in the wilderness, encouraging all of creation to repent, and return unto the Lord. 

Proverbs 23:10
Remove not the old landmark…

Sadly, the modern church has strayed away from the standards, customs, and traditions established before us by the saints of old, leaving us instead with a church that looks much like the world we claim to have left behind in our quest for God. In the Gospel of Matthew chapter 16, Jesus, speaking to Simon Bar-jona, declared that, “thou art Peter, and upon this rock, I will build my church,”  the original word used here, transcribed as church, is the Greek word ekklÄ“sia, which in it’s original language means to be called out, an assembly of saints, or a gathering of men. This definition of the root word for church, indicates that we, as the living church, are to be called out from the world, a gathering of saints and men, dedicated to God, along with Holiness, this is yet another foundation of the faith, and a Landmark for us all.

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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

God Is Able, Just Have Faith...

(Myself, Fred Blackman II 2014)
This week, five years ago, I was rolled out of St. David's hospital in Austin, TX. after a five month stay. My time there had been filled with no less than five surgeries, and a multitude of procedures, injections, and doubtful diagnosis from the doctors and medical staff. Although they definitely did everything in their power to help me both physically and emotionally, the time I spent there was nothing less than physically torturous and spiritually draining, and yet, I made it. Minute after minute, hour after hour, and day after day, the pain endured, the reports were dismal, and the expected outcome was grim, but God!

You see, God made a way, even after the doctors came to my room, and said that they would make me as comfortable as possible, as the infection in my spinal cord and brain seemed unstoppable and that there was little else they could do. At that point and time, it was up to myself, and my God to make a move, for their hand had played out, and the bacterial infections was ravaging my body. Five surgeries and ten hours a day hooked up to an IV pump, as the strongest antibiotics on the planet flowed into my chest cavity, through a port connected to my blood vessels, sent the medication directly to, and through my heart. Although I was desperately afraid, I was also filled with the confidence that only comes from a relationship with God, that no matter what happened, things would be alright.

You see, I knew that God would make a way, and that in the end, I would be alright, for even if
(My father Fred Blackman I 
& I)
He did not cause the pain to cease, the infection to die, and the nerves in my back to reconnect, He could do it with just one Word, and that even  then, I’d be just fine. Even through the doctors had spoken their negative diagnoses and report, I knew that Christ Jesus would have the final say, and with that thought in mind, I sought His face, I was determined to have a conversation with Him, as I declared, that in the end, His will would be done, and that no matter the outcome, I would be satisfied knowing that it was not my will, but His will that was done, but then God moved, and five years later, here I am... God is Able, just have Faith...

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

The Holy Ghost

The Word of God has prophesied to the believers of the past, and present alike, that there would be a time when true worshippers would come unto the Lord, to worship Him in Spirit and in Truth, and there are many who have claimed that this time is now. Joel, the Old Testament prophet, foretold of a time when the Spirit of God would be poured out upon all flesh, a time when dreams would be shared, and prophetic visions would be seen by the children of God. For us today, that prophecy and promise from God, is in still in full affect and available to us today, it is a power that few outside of the church understand; yet,  all are free to receive.

(Baptism of Water & Spirit)
In the Old Testament books of Ezekiel and Jeremiah, the Lord our God speaks of a time when the Word would be written onto the hearts of men, that the wretched heart of mankind would someday be replaced by a heart of flesh, and therein the Word of God would be written. In the New Testament book of John, chapter 14, Jesus speaks of a Comforter that would come once He fulfilled the scriptures, and departed from this earth: this Comforter, also known as the Holy Spirit, would teach us, guide us, and encourage us in the ways of the Lord.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, and the Power of the Holy Ghost are all One and the same, a Promise of God from the days of old, and a Promise that applies to us today, right up until this very moment. According to the book of Acts chapter two, the Promise of the Holy Spirit is given unto us, our children, and as many as the Lord should call. The Holy Spirit moved upon mortals, guiding them as they wrote the Words that we read, study, and live by today, It moved upon the prophets, informing them of things to come and teaching them in the ways of God, and it is this very same Holy Ghost Power that caused Jesus to arise from the grave and ascend into heaven two thousand years ago. 


(The Holy Ghost)
The Power of the Holy Ghost, as discussed above, is available to you and I today: it is a freely given gift, presented to all who would request it, by the mighty God Himself. Although we understand that the Holy Ghost has been given to those who believe as a source of comfort and peace, It is also so much more than that, it is the evidence of our relationship with the Lord, it is the authority behind our prayer, and it is the Spirit of the Living God, residing within us. Repentance, Baptism, and Faith, these are all that we need to receive from God, the gift of Himself, operating and living within us. What a beautiful experience, what an amazing gift, and what a wonderful feeling to know that Jesus Christ is alive today, He is our God, our Comforter, and all that we need to face the world today.

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Landmarks (Part 1)

(Holy Word Of God)
In recent years, we have witnessed a number of changes within the Body of Christ, to some of us, these changes have been quite concerning, especially to those who trust, believe, and declare that the Holy Scriptures are the unadulterated and unchanging Word of God. As an individual who holds this belief, that the Holy Bible is more than basic instructions or clever stories intended to help us be better humans, but it is  instead, the very foundation of life itself. The scriptures are the Foundation and Landmark by which we are to traverse this reality and life, more than just a guide, the Holy Bible is, and contains within it's pages, the very meaning of life itself. Before moving forward, it is imperative to express to you that not all of these changes are to be considered negative, some change is always needed, for if the “body” doesn’t constantly evolve, change, and grow, it will simply cease to exist. While some of the changes to be discussed throughout this article are negative, many have helped to expand the reach of the truth and the Gospel in our world today. Some examples of this consistent adaption of the church can be found in technologies such as the internet, radio, and television broadcasting, these media resources have allowed individuals residing in church starved areas and those plagued with certain restrictive illnesses and ailments to participate in church services, and to feel a part of the Christian movement; however, it must also be said that there is no substitute for physically attending organized church services whenever possible. 

Hebrews 10:23-25 KJV
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for He is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching...

(The Only Constant Is Change)
It is well known that there is only one constant variable in this life, and that, my friend, is change. The continuous sifting, shifting, and evolution of what we call life is the only part of our existence here on earth that remains the same. No matter who you are, or where you are from, everything around us, everything around you will constantly change and evolve, including “church culture”. It is important to state once again that the modification and evolution of the way we “do” church has helped we as believers spread the Gospel, and in some ways remain relevant in today’s world; however, some changing attitudes and ideas within the church body need to be placed under a microscope and examined a little more closely. The desire to alter customary church operations and traditions in the name of progress and simplicity, may in itself appear to help the church grow and function more efficiently; however, others may seem, in all honesty, as an effort to conform the Church to the world in a time when the Church should be rising up and becoming a leader for the world to follow, rather than the church following the world, as presented to us in Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Romans 12:1-2 KJV
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God...

In the above verses, Paul implored the church of Rome to present themselves as living sacrifices unto the Lord by not becoming conformed to the world that they lived in, that same warning applies equally to us today. One may ask the question, what does it mean to be conformed to this world, and that is a great question, and here is the answer. To become conformed, according to  dictionary.com, is to act in accordance or harmony with prevailing standards, attitudes, and practices os a society or group. For the church, lowering expectations, and creating an atmosphere in which the statement "God accepts us as we are but He doesn't want us to stay that way," no longer applies and perpetuating a climate in which terms such as holiness, moderation, modesty, and maturity have been replaced by modernization, comfort and a quick dismissal, this is what it is for the church, as a whole, to be conformed to the world.

(Drive Thru Church Service)
Of course, we all know that wasting someones’s time is both rude and impolite; however, the “if this preacher doesn't hurry and finish, I'm leaving” or the “I gotta get home before the game starts,” attitude is not only immature and disrespectful, but it places other individual activities either  equal to, or above that of the Lord, and as the Bible states, our God is a jealous God, there can be no other gods aside from Him. It must be said that these types of attitudes should never be considered as the basis for placing time restraints on church services or church attendance, to do so minimizes the authority of our pastors and leaders, and more importantly the Power and Influence of the Holy Spirit. To comply to the directives of the world of today only works to turn modern Christianity into a quick drive through service in which we call upon the Lord as if He is a Jenny in the bottle. Remember this, a hospital is run by the doctors, not the patients, to be the opposite, most of the patients would remain ill, while still others would die from their untreated wounds and ailments. 

There was a time not so long ago when the instructions passed down through the preacher were adhered to without hesitation, nor question, a time when to stand up and walk about while the pastor was speaking was considered completely unacceptable, never to be done. Growing up as a child, I was taught that we should never walk across the front of the church, onto the platform, or in any area adjacent to or in front of the pulpit/alter area after church services had begun; however, these very acts have become commonplace in today’s church.

Unfortunately, gone are the days of men and women dressing appropriately for church, when change on the inside was reflected by change on the outside. Sadly, class,  and modesty have now been replaced by shorts and flip flops, and wearing our “Sunday Best” occurs for business meetings and holidays only, no more are Sunday mornings and Wednesday evenings the best dressed days of the week, displaced by Friday and Saturday nights, these two days have been regulated to “come as you are, and stay as you are,” apparently, God no longer expects us to reflect the change within, onto the surface without, no more must we offer ourselves up to God as living sacrifices for the world around us to see, no longer is the church a cultural leader, but she has now become a follower of trends.

The title of the article you are reading today is simply, Landmarks, and before we proceed any further, we must take a look at what exactly the term Landmark really means according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary.

Definition of Landmark:
(1936 Texas Centennial Marker)
  1. An object, such as a stone or tree, that marks the boundary of land.
  2. An event or development that marks a turning point or a stage.
  3. An object or structure that marks a locality, a point of orientation.
  4. A structure of historical interest, one that is officially designated and set aside for preservation.

(Jewish Temple)
As we discuss the topic of the Landmarks of church culture and Biblical standards, there are not any iron clad “physical” Landmarks to speak of; however, there are a large number of what some may consider to be significant and spiritually important locations scattered throughout the world, beginning in Israel. These are not the Landmarks of which we speak; although, one should never overlook the importance of these historic and Biblically established locations, it should be stated that the Landmarks of which we speak, were put in place and ordained by God before time began. As for places such as Israel and Samaria, we all should strive to visit them if at all possible in our lifetimes, after all, they are the literal foundations of the Christian Faith by which we live, and the literal ground that Jesus Himself, and many other saints, walked on over 2000 years ago. 

Now, looking at the word Landmark, its definitions as listed above, and the “spirit” in which we are discussing the word today, a Landmark can be described as the traditions, rites, rituals, and standards established to help govern the church, and the Body of Christ as a whole. Many of these standards and landmarks, have endured over the millennia, from decade to decade, and century after century, when it comes to church culture, and one of these traditions is simply referred to as wearing your “Sunday Best.” Your Sunday Best is often used to describe an individual’s best looking outfits, or clothing reserved for Sunday church services, or other special occasions. As far back as I can remember, no one ever attended church services without wearing their very best, whether that was a suit and tie, slacks and a button down, or a fresh pair of jeans and a polo shirt, one common thread ran through everyone attending services, they had worn their Sunday Best to honor Christ Jesus, the One who died in place of us all.

Giving of oneself to the local church is another Landmark or standard that has clearly changed for the worse. You see, there was a time when giving to the church meant more than just a couple bucks on Sunday, but it was your time, your sweat, your tears, your love, and even your blood if need be, whatever it took, whatever you could give, was shared with the church, and those around you; however, nowadays, it is not uncommon for someone to place a five dollar bill in the offering tray, and then ask the usher for four dollars in change. Yep, that "old time religion," that saved souls, men, women, and children alike has become as rare as an African White Rhino, they’re just so hard to find. You see, If we keep selling out the old traditions and landmarks for the sake of making “things easier,” we may just end up losing our souls along the way. There’s a saying, and we have all heard it, the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions.

II Thessalonians 2:15
Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle...

The traditions, standards, and Landmarks that once helped govern the Body of Christ and hold them accountable have all been replaced by special programs and home groups. Now, before we move any further, it must be stated that special programs and home groups aren’t in themselves a negative or “bad thing,” it is only when these types of programs are used to remove the ministers and pastors from the process of discipling the saints, that the results can become devastating. 

(Old Country Church)
At one point in history, Pastoral guidance and instruction during the decision processes of life was both requested and highly regarded, especially in the most serious of situations. Unfortunately, nowadays, most church members, seemingly, do not even take time to thank the pastor and shake his hand after preaching his or her heart out in order to save their souls, let alone ask them for assistance, heed their warnings, or adhere to the Biblical principles laid out before them by the Pastor, the preaching, and the Word of God. Throughout the time I attended the local church here in Austin, TX, there was not a time in which I, myself and family, missed a scheduled church service without alerting pastoral in advance. Letting the pastor of the house know exactly when we will be missing, and why, was then, and is now, the proper protocol by which we all should follow.

Honoring our pastors and leaders is actually an ordinance and requirement found in scriptures, but more than that, we should honor them simply out of reverence and respect for God. You see, the Lord has given our pastors charge over us, and they have expended immeasurable time and energy in prayer and study on our behalf. Our leaders put forth untold amounts of time and energy in order to help guide and lead us to heaven, they deserve our honor and respect. Unfortunately, just as some of the other Landmarks mentioned above have expired, the days when our ministers and spiritual leaders were honored and revered have seemed to have also passed us by, never to return.

To serve God is to serve the people, it is to honor His Word, by adhering to the instructions of those He has set over us, and it is to adhere to the Landmarks set before us by God and the elders who have gone before us.

Fred Blackman Jr

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

By The Word

Indecision, confusion, fear... These are just three of the exponential number of tools the enemy of your soul has used, and will continue to use against you, me, and the multitude of others that he has sought to steal from, kill, and destroy...

What? Why so surprised? Jesus tells us Himself in John 10:10 that the enemy literally and figuratively wants to destroy you... Not just mess up your day, or make us feel a little down from time to time, but He wants to kill us all! he desires to steal our futures, and destroy every bit of faith, and every single dream the Lord has deposited within us...

So, how do we get through this? What tools do we have in our arsenal to counter the attack of satan and his minions on our lives? Well, we have the full armor of God as found in Ephesians chapter six, we have the Name, the Blood, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and all of these are Great Tools, However, we have something else...

Revelation 12:11
...they overcame him by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony...

Wow, we have yet another tool to defeat the enemy! and it is so simple! All we do is remind the enemy of past the victories in our lives... We remind him that although he attacked our minds, our bodies, our families, and our friends, we overcame him! We resist him, and he flees because he now knows that within us is the knowledge that we've already beaten him once... and if we can do it once... we can do it twice, or three times... All we have to do, is begin to speak and share with others, what the Lord has done for us…


Now, from this point forward, we will have all of the tools necessary to defeat the devil, his minions, and all evilness that he has planned against us... Simply by using what the Lord has already given you at the cross... His Body, His Blood, and His Victory over death... His Resurrection, the Power of the Holy Ghost, and the voice God gave us when he breathed life into our lungs at the beginning of  time... BUT, in order to attain this victory for ourselves, we need to declare that our Faith in God, and His finished work at the cross has paid the price for our Freedom, we need to declare to others that God has done the miraculous for us... No more are we bound, because by the word of our testimony, we are made free... God Bless...

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

...Until Our Old Age... Pt. Three...

Waking up early one morning, I hear the distinct beeping that can only mean one thing, another facebook message. Why! I ask, why is it always me who receives these endless request? Over and over again they come, one after another, and they seem to never end; However, before I can answer my own question, I receive yet another "ding" from facebook messenger, deciding that I would read through all the messages at a later time, I place my phone on the night stand and proceed to complete my morning routine, beginning with prayer.

(The Holy Word of God)
While brushing my teeth, I begin to think to myself, just how wonderful it is that the Lord had placed me in this position, that He would allow me to be His hands and feet upon the earth, wow, and that those in need would choose to reach out to me, what an honor, truly amazing. After completing the morning routine of reading the Word, and thanking the Lord for the day, I grabbed my phone and began to scan through, and reply to the morning’s messages. Suddenly, I came across one that just stood out to me, it was a request for me to head over to a local hospital, to visit with the family of one of our former church members. After reading through the text, I asked the young lady to supply any pertinent information so that I could visit the family later that afternoon.

After arriving to the hospital, and struggling to find parking, I quickly searched out the elevator, went up to the specified floor, walked down the hallway, and entered the room. As I entered, it was clear to see that this would not be just your average hospital visit, there was such a spirit of faith in the room, it was palatable and thick, a heavenly aroma. Looking around, I spot an older gentleman sitting in a chair, his hair is thinning, and clean shaven face is slightly wrinkled; yet, as he stood up and shook my hand, it was clear to see and feel that his many years working in the healthcare field hadn’t weakened him one bit, and his faith in God had strengthened his soul.

(Aunt Violet)
The gentleman, we will call uncle John, introduced himself to me as I did the same, before informing him that his niece had asked me to come by to pray for both he and his wife, who we shall refer to as, aunt Violet. Now, here comes the most amazing part of the story, and the reason I chose to share this story with you is that I was so touched by what came to next. After I outlined the plan for the visit: chat, bible verse, and finally prayer, uncle John began to describe to me how his wife had fallen down, resulting in several injuries, and an extended stay there in the hospital. As I listened to him speak, it was very easy to hear the love he had for this his wife of over fifty years, and this woman, was the same girl he had met and loved loved since he was just fourteen years old. As uncle John spoke, aunt Violet lit up, and they both began to share stories of their youth, how they had met, traveled the world, and witnessed the birth of children, grand children, and great grand children, they were so in love, and that day, they still were, shining as examples for all to see.

In amazement, I listened to their many stories, I could literally hear the love in their voices and see the passion in their eyes as they gazed upon one another. As if they were teens sharing their first kiss, they glared at one another, and spoke to, with, and about one another with love. As this couple, this example of what true love should be, continued to describe the love they had shared, year after year, I began to to visualize in my mind, what it must have been like, to go on your first date in a 1949 Chevrolet Master Deluxe, or to take a ride, side by side in a Tri-Five 210, and they had done it, together. As the years passed by, and the future dreams became their own reality, they continued to love one another, they continued even unto their old age.

Proverbs 5:18-19 KJV
Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe... and be thou ravished always with her love...

Ecclesiastes 9:9 KJV
Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which He hath given thee under the sun...


You see, although I had arrived that day to encourage and pray fo this couple, uncle John and aunt Violet, whom counted between them many years, it was I who was encouraged, it was I who was uplifted, and it was I who received a Word from the Lord. Too many times, we as a people tend to overlook the benefits that those of the hoary hair have to offer us, even as I was walking into the room on that sunny October afternoon, I thought that it was I who was about to Bless this couple; however, it was I who received it. 

Bishop Kenneth Phillips, pastor of Promiseland Church, often exclaims from the top of his lungs that we must make up our dying bed, and that it is of the utmost importance that each day, we live our lives for and with Jesus. That we must know, without a doubt, that when we die, we will make it to heaven, and that we lived our lives as closely to the example Christ had left us as possible.

Now, you may be asking yourself, “why is this guy talking about death?” Well, because only a few weeks after meeting this wonderful couple, I accompanied uncle John to the funeral of his beautiful wife, after a simple fall, her health began to swiftly deteriorate, and she passed away, quietly in the same hospital in which I first met her, only a few blocks from her home. You see, we are not promised tomorrow, and in all actuality, we are not even promised today, and so it is imperative that we work out our Salvation with fear and trembling, we must follow the path that this couple has driven through woods, troubles, and storms of life.  We must Love God, and we must Love others; we must love our spouse, and we must do our best to keep the Love young and strong, by doing this, we can honor those who have gone before us, and we can honor our God, for it is He who watches over us, even unto our old age...

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Even To Your Old Age... Pt.2 Righteousness

The word Elderly, can have a negative connotation in today's society, especially amongst the young people of this generation; however, it is my belief, that if we would just take a moment to see that they, those with the hoary hair, are in actuality, some of our greatest of assets, full of knowledge and experience, it would be very advantageous for us all. According to the website, dictionary.com, the word elderly simply means: old, or of advanced age; however, it is clear that to God, those who are elderly serve an entirely different purpose. Moses, Abraham, Zacharias, all of these men were considered old and elderly; yet, they are important individuals in the Christian Faith, even Sarah, who fulfilled the promise of children for Abraham, all of these, great individuals, spoken of even to this day, even in their old age, served the Lord...

Proverbs 16:31
The hoary (Grey) head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness...

(Righteousness)

A crown of Glory? yes, this is what it is to have a head covered in grey hair, and yes, we have all probably known a few individuals who have “greyed” before their time, the most common manner in which one would  attain this “Crown of Glory” is to earn it throughout our years lived upon the earth. Before moving further, let us place into proper perspective, the second part of this verse which states that only if it, being the grey hair, be found in the way of Righteousness, it is a crown of Glory, any other way, and it is only an example of pain, adulthood stress, and the tole of time on the human body.

Now that we have established what it is to be elderly according to the definitions of this world, and of the Bible, we must delve into the concept of Righteousness described here in Proverbs 16:31 as it is an important aspect of the Crown of Glory. Once again, we will be referring to a great resource, dictionary.com and their definition of Righteousness. Righteousness: the state of being righteous, or righteous conduct, now in order to determine what we are looking at here, allow me to look into the root word of Righteousness, which is the word Righteous. Morally right, justifiable, characterized by uprightness, or morality, these are a few of the definitions listed for the word righteous; however, the unadulterated truth is that Righteousness is of the Lord, and no man can attain true Righteousness outside of a real and honest relationship with Jesus Christ the Lord.

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from a friend, who happens to be the mother of another good friend, whom we shall call Jane. Jane at one time acted as a surrogate mother to me and many others in our old neighborhood. As one may expect, as time passes, relationships can sometimes change in ways never before expected in the past, and this was one of those situations. When I was a younger man, going all the way back to my teen years, I had a tendency to get trouble from time to time, and when I did, Jane would sometimes be the woman I would call in an attempt to prevent my own mother from discovering the trouble I was in. Fast forward several years, and now Jane, a woman I call mom, was calling to ask for help as I once called to ask for her assistance, and so I answered, and I listened to hear what it was I could do for her.
(Old Age Is A Gift)

Upon answering the phone, I could hear sadness in Jane's voice,  in response, I began to speak softly to her, reassuring her, that whatever the problem was, I was more than willing to help. As she began to speak, I began to understand what it was that she needed, grandma was sick, and not doing well, approaching the eldest of the elderly years, grandma had realized that she hadn’t been baptized, and her request was to be Baptized into the Kingdom, and I quickly volunteered, I told Jane that it would be my honor and pleasure to baptize grandma.

A few days later, on a sunny Sunday afternoon, grandma was baptized.  What does any of this have to do with Righteousness? Well, in actuality, it has a lot to do with Righteousness, you see, if we are not Righteous in the sight of God, we are not deemed worthy to be in His presence; therefore, we are cast away, far from Him, into the pits of hell. But, and there is always a BUT: if we are to live with the Lord in Heaven, and if we are to become the Hands and Feet of the Lord here in Austin, Texas, USA, or anywhere else, we must first take a few steps in the right direction. According to the Word of God, we must repent of our sins, we must give our lives to God, we must be baptized, we must honor the things of God, and we must be filled with the Holy Ghost.  In order to please the Lord we must continue to study the Word and unite in Prayer, we must understand that Jesus Christ is our source, and our Righteousness.

Righteousness? What does any of this have to do with Righteousness? You see, although grandma was up in age, she chose to give her life to Christ, she accepted Him as her Lord, Savior, and King, she was Baptized according to the Word of God and the scriptures, she was washed clean, and became brand new, Righteous in the sight of God and man, washed by, covered by, and filled with the Power of the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ our Lord was beaten far beyond recognition, battered and bruised, and it is that Blood that was shed on Calvary Hill that has become the source of our Righteousness, and it was that blood that has made grandma’s grey hair, a Crown of Glory, and it that same Blood that can wash away our sin, making us brand new at any age.


Unfortunately, only one week after her baptism, grandma passed away; however, because she accepted the Lord Jesus Christ, and because she followed the tenants of the Lord, she  has undoubtedly been accepted into heaven to be with our eternal Lord and Father, Jesus Christ the Lord, and Messiah. So what about you? What if you only had one night? What would you do if you knew that you’d go to sleep tonight, and not wake up in the morning? Not possible you think? Well, this is exactly what happened recently at our church, a wonderful woman of faith by the name of Dolores attended our Friday evening service, I saw her, spoke to her, and witnessed her praying in the Alter before I went home that evening; however, early Saturday morning, she had passed on to be with the Lord. So, what about you? Would you be ready? Do you have any idea where you would go if death, rudely, busted down your door and ripped you away from your family? In the presence of God, there will be no iniquity, no sin, only Righteousness, and the only way to achieve Righteousness to follow the example set before us by the hoary grey hairs, the elderly, those wearing a Crown Of Glory… God Bless…