Friday, March 29, 2024

The Invitation...

After my health incident in 2013, which was followed by a five month hospital stay, I developed a love for the Word of God like never before. I began to read the Word constantly, 
prayed often, several times a day in fact, and I shared the Gospel with anyone and everyone who would listen. As my prayer life grew, and as I studied the Word of God, my appetite for His Word, and my desire to share His Word, also grew. It was then that I began teaching Bible Studies using both FaceTime and Facebook Messenger to individuals and groups around the world, something that I enjoy doing, even to this day. I can still clearly recall the day I received the friend request on Facebook: it was literally an invitation to minister to one of God’s children, from the other side of the world. An eleven hour time distance separated us, but, the desire of this young man, to learn the Word of God, brought us together, and that was the beginning of something great.

Ten years later, we are still working together for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom. Over the last few years, we have worked together to accomplish many goals, we have

Pas. Sajan Baptizing New Believers 
established a ministry that feeds the hungry, helps educate the children and the poor, and ministers to the sick and shut in. Working together with the boots on the ground there in Asia, we have planted a church that, at the time of this writing, has Baptized over a thousand individuals, into the family of Believers in Jesus Christ, and it all began with one invitation. 

In order to be better prepared to serve God’s Kingdom, I both study His Word, and pray on a daily basis. But why? Well, it is important for us to communicate with the Lord regularly, not just for ourselves, but for those around us: we must always be ready and willing to convey God's message of Love, Grace, and Mercy to the lost and hurting, our next invitation could be right around the corner. 

II Timothy 2:15

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

While diving deeply into the Holy Scripture, it is imperative that we ask the Holy Ghost to be our guide. In this way, we can achieve a better understanding of the Bible, as well as a newer, and more relevant revelation so that we might be able to present to the world, the message of the Gospel. Preparation is key, and as Believers in Christ Jesus, we have to be able to  share the message of the Messiah in a manner that the lost and hurting souls can may more easily receive; therefore, it is of the utmost importance that we continue to pray, asking the Holy Ghost to be our Guide. We must ask God to open any doors that He would have us to enter, and to close those doors that He would not. Finally, we must ask that Christ Jesus Himself, would allow the Word to become alive within us, that His Light would shine like a city on a hill around us, so that our eyes could see those around us, just as He does. 

I Corinthians 2:12-14

Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

The Holy Bible
Recently, someone said to me, that although they have read various verses or chapters of the Bible in the past, which were sometimes recommended to them by friends and family, and some of them they read more than once, they simply could not grasp or comprehend the true meaning of the scriptures being read. Although there can be many reasons for this, it is of my opinion that one of the main sources of this is confusion, is the lack of the guidance of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit, called by Jesus, The Spirit of Truth, resides within us, guiding us, and giving us a better understanding of the Word of God, and what messages the writers are actually attempting to convey to us.

John 3:5-8

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 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. The wind g where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit...

Here in John chapter three, Jesus is explaining to Nicodemus, a spiritual leader of the Jews, how that we must be born again of the Spirit if we are to be a part of the Kingdom of God. The same applies to us today, it can be very difficult for an individual to attain a higher level of understanding of the things of God if he or she does not have the Spirit residing within them. Without prayer and guidance, it becomes nearly impossible for us to truly understand what the Lord is speaking to us in His Holy Word. The fullness of who we are can only really come to light when we are both filled with, and lead by the Power of the Holy Ghost, for those of you who may not understand what this means, I will attempt to explain it a little better. 

In the back of our minds, there is a voice, a still and quiet voice, and if we listen carefully, that voice will guide us in making decisions in our lives, from the simplest of matters to the most serious life changing moments, but only if we listen carefully and discern God's voice from the imposter who only seeks to destroy us...

1 Kings 19:12-13

And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?

So, does this mean that  I know it all? Of course not, but what I do know is this... The Lord Jesus Christ came to this earth wrapped in human flesh, and then allowed that flesh to be tattered and torn so that you and I could see what true truly is love is... 

John 15:12-13

This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

After allowing Himself to be beaten beyond all recognition, Jesus Christ gave up His life so that the Comforter, which is the Spirit of Truth, would come, and live within us. The presence of the Holy Ghost, God Himself, taking up residence inside of the men and women, He created, what a beautiful thing, and all we must do, is to accept His invitation.

John 14:15-18

If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.

The Power of the Holy Ghost, that is what Jesus is speaking of

(New Believers Receiving Their Very First Bibles, Printed in Their Own Native Language)

here in the above passages, and unless we have received the Holy Ghost, it is truly impossible for any of us, to enter the Kingdom of God. Knowing this, I come to you now, inviting you to experience the Power of the Living God, as on the Day of Pentecost, there will be a change within you, something you can really feel. Listen, I understand that for some of us, myself included, it can be very difficult for us to submit to an outside authority; however, I can also assure you, that once all control has been handed over to Christ Jesus, all of the difficulties of this life, will begin to smooth over. Now, please understand this, we currently reside in a fallen world; therefore, we will be forced to face trials and tribulations, there is no way around that but, as long as we stand in Faith, and allow the Spirit to be our guide, there is nothing that stand against us.

Romans 8:31-32

What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

So, once again, I would love to extend to you, yet another invitation; it is my wish, that you would come to know Jesus as I have. Please read this carefully, I promise you this, there is nothing special about me, or anyone else for that matter, except the fact that I, and many others, have submitted ourselves to the authority of the Living God. Thereby, allowing us to attain a higher level of freedom, peace, joy, and happiness in this life; yet, more importantly, we shall receive the Greatest Gift of all, Eternal Life in the presence of our Creator!

May God Bless the readers and doers of His Holy Word... If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them here or contact me at the links below:



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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Bishop James “Kenneth” Phillips... My Mentor, My Pastor, My Friend

Bishop James Kenneth Phillips, My Mentor, My Pastor, My Friend

Bishop Kenneth and Wanda Phillips

In 2003, I walked into a church building on E.51st Street in Austin, Tx known as the World of Pentecost, aka. the PromiseLand, and although I had passed by that building at least a thousand times throughout my lifetime, I truly had no idea, of the Power that I would find within. After just a few short years, I would finally learn of the true Power and Authority that flowed from within that place. Moreover, the Man of God and Angel of the house, Bishop Kenneth Phillips, was a man of Prayer, an Orator of great skill, and a leader of leaders. Not only was this mighty man of God the pastor of this church, and not only was the founder and Bishop of churches around the world, but he would become the Mentor and friend who would change my life, and the lives of my family forever. 

It was an early Sunday morning in 2005, I was driving north on Airport Blvd. heading to the home of a young lady and friend I had known for some time. As my car approached the intersection of Interstate Hwy. 35 and Airport Blvd., I turned right, and drove up onto the onramp. As I continued north, it was exactly then that something extraordinary happened, in an instant, I found myself parked at the foot of the Cross, looking up at the sign displaying that the church was open, ready, and willing to accept all who wander in. After sitting there for a moment, and after regaining my composure, I stepped out of the car, and walked inside. As I walked inside and set down in the back row of the church, I was amazed, the Energy, the Music, the Spirit, and the Power, it was like nothing I had ever experienced before, it was simply overwhelming.

At the conclusion of the sermon, the choir began to sing just as the Bishop began to speak. His voice rumbled like thunder, strong; yet, soothing, akin to that calm feeling you get sitting in your rocking chair watching a springtime storm." Hello visitors, hello new members, hello all, come to the front, I want to meet you, I want to shake your hand and pray with you." Now, understanding what that meant, of course, I stood up and began to walk through the back doors of the church, I wanted no part of the "alter call," but then, something happened. As I turned around to walk away, I felt someone grab my hand, Brother Daniel Porter, a young man who would later become one of my greatest confidants, supporters, and friends, he and his family alike; however, that's a story for another time.

On that Bright and Shining Sunday morning, the last thought on my mind was walking to the front of that church and shaking hands with anyone, let alone this staunchly devout man of God; however, what I wanted, and what God had instore where two completely different ideas entirely. However thankfully, Bro. Dan Porter, grabbed ahold of my hand and said, "hey there, I have not seen you here before, let's walk down to the alter together." And so, down the aisle we went, all the way to the front of the church, up onto the platform, and right in front of the pulpit, where he, Bishop Kenneth Phillips was standing. 

As we stood there in front of the pulpit, Bishop Phillips reached out his right hand, and firmly grabbed ahold of mine, and as he began to speak, my only thoughts were to run away, quickly back down the aisle from which I had come, out into the parking lot, and back into my car; however, by the Grace of God, this would not be. As previously stated, earlier in the service, Bishop Phillips had spoken in that forceful and thunderously booming voice; however, now as he spoke, his voice was, while still strong and full of power, a lot softer, smoother, and with a little bit of a country twang, the kind of voice that let's one know, everything is going to be alright. 

(Bishop Kenneth Phillips)

After asking Bro. Daniel Porter how he had known me, to which he replied, "I just met him as he was walking out the sanctuary," Bishop Phillips introduced himself to me, and while with his signature smile, exclaimed that he was glad to that I had come by, and that he was pleased to meet me. Bro. Phillips then encouraged me to return the following week for Sunday services as there would be a guest evangelist, and it was in that moment that I knew, my life would never be the same again. 

Now, simply meeting Bishop Phillips, while amazing, was not the "thing" that made me feel that certain tingling within my spirit, it was so much more than this, it was the totality of the day's events. First of all, at no point was my intended destination PromiseLand church, or any church on that day, secondly, I do not recall exiting the freeway at all, it happened so quickly, one moment I am driving north on the main lanes of Interstate 35, and the next moment, I am parked underneath the shadow of the cross. And finally, just as I was walking out of the church sanctuary, Bro, Dan grabbed me by the hand, just as Bishop Phillips called for all visitors and new members to come to the front of the church. 

Now, to be honest, in my mind, each one of these events; although bazaar, possibly would not have gained my attention; nonetheless, combined, I was convinced that God was trying to "tell me something." Just like the old song, from that old movie, "The Color Purple," when God is trying to tell you something, you had better listen, and I most certainly did. Eventually, l would make World of Pentecost/PromiseLand my home church, I began to attend regularly, bringing my children with me, so that they could learn and grow in the Lord, just as I had. Sunday after Sunday, Wednesday after Wednesday, I would be in the House of the Lord, and once I had discovered Friday night services, FNL, or Friday Night Live, I would attend those as well, and it was not long after this that everything would begin to change.

One Sunday after church, one of the Associate Pastors informed me that Bishop Phillips would like to speak to me, somewhat shocked and a little afraid, I thought to myself, "what have I done now?" The Pastor sensing my hesitation, informed me that the discussion would be in regard to myself becoming a part of the ministry team there at the church. It was only a few weeks before this that Karen Phillips, the Wonderful Daughter of Bishop Phillips, had introduced me to Bro. Phillips once again, they both had witnessed something within me, that I had not even discerned within myself, faithfulness, strength, and the willingness to serve. Although I had been attending PromiseLand for some time at this point, I still had this overwhelmingly distorted view of myself linked to my past life, before God's intervened; however, where I saw worthlessness, they saw worthiness, where I saw a gang member and a thug, Bishop Phillips saw a saint of the Most High, a disciple, and a future member of his ministry team, one who could help him reach the world with the Gospel, and for this opportunity, I am eternally grateful.

As one might imagine, initially, my reply was "no, of course not, I am not worthy, nor do I want that responsibility;" however, God had other plans, and eventually, I had begun my training to become first a minister, and then a Pastor on his team. Day after day, week after week, and month after month, I was trained, prodded, and guided along the path, first by the other Associate Pastors there at the church, and eventually by the Bishop himself. As part of the training, often regarded to as Ten Thousand Hours, I was taught the basics: what is the Gospel, who is Jesus, how do we become part of the Family of God, and then onto the deeper echelons, what is our Doctrine, what do we Believe, and Why?

The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn, as Bishop Phillips would implant deep within my heart, mind, soul, and spirit, the fact that almost anyone can stand up and speak, and God can, and will use them; however, the ministry is much deeper than this, for the true meaning of the ministry, is servitude. To serve God, is to serve others, to be a minister, to truly be in the service of God has little to do with Sunday mornings, but everything to do with the rest of the week. How do you live, what type of example are you showing to others? Where do you go when no one is looking? When you are alone at night, what are you doing then? Are you Praying? Are you Studying? And are you doing your best to live up to the example that Jesus Christ left for us? Are we being Christ-Like, or are we just "playing church?"

(Bro. Phillips and I Throughout the Years)

For some, Bishop Phillips could come across as too stern, grouchy, or mean when counseling and coaching those who served under him; however, as far as I was concerned, he just wanted me to be the best version of myself, that I could be. Bishop Phillips would often tell us not to try to emulate him, rather, to be ourselves, find our own styles, listen to our sermons, find out what we can improve on, and then work on that. Looking back, I can still recall the first time I had a meeting with Bro. Phillips after one of my very first funeral services, I fully expected that he was going to perform the service; therefore, my mind had been set at ease, but when he arrived, he stated that he would speak only a short time, and that I was to run the service. A sense of terror consumed me as I pulled out my notes and prepared to start the service.

Although I was nervously knocking at the knees at that thought of performing my first funeral service with the Bishop sitting on the front row, because I had always been taught to "be instant in season, and out of season," I had fully prepared myself, just in case my number was called. Although I was indeed very nervous, I performed my duty as instructed, and the service went off without a hitch, or so I thought. 

At the conclusion of the day's services, one of the Associate Pastors called me over, and walked with me to the office of Bishop Phillips. After entering and exchanging pleasantries, my Pastor asked me how I thought I had done? to this question, I honestly replied, "I was a bit afraid at first, looking down and seeing you in the front row; however, as time went on, I became a bit more relaxed." Bro. Phillips acknowledged that he had noticed this, and that he was proud of me for being ready and prepared on such short notice. Bro. Phillips also admonished me for delivering such an uplifting and encouraging message on behalf of the family of the deceased, and for always being available when needed. At this point however, the conversation became a little less pleasant as Bishop Phillips began to critique my sermon, and overall performance during the service.

"You need to slow down, why were you talking so fast anyway?" "Raise your voice, even with the mic, it was hard to hear you at times, and you don't have to say good morning after the individual before you just said it!" To be frank, I was terrified, point after point, issue after issue, Bro. Phillips "strongly" instructed me on what was right, and what was wrong. Before shaking my hand, Bishop reminded me to hold the mic closer to my mouth whenever I am speaking, preaching, or otherwise, and then he dismissed me from his office. As the Associate Pastor and I walked out of his office, he exclaimed to me, "Wow! bro, he went easy on you, you should hear him when he critiques me!" I was dumbfounded, and then he said to me, "it's probably because you're still new" to which I replied, "you're probably right," As time proceeded along, I found this to be true, Bro. Phillips did take it easy on me that day, and I would not have had it any other way.

Because of the high expectations that Bro. Phillips demanded of me, I learned to always be prepared to be of service, whether that was cleaning a smelly restroom or mopping a dirty floor, we were to be prepared to serve the House of God, and the People He created, Christian, Jew. Muslim, or otherwise, God created them all, and to Bishop, it was up to us to be the Hands, Feet, Eyes, and Ears of God, to meet the people where they were, and to draw them in, closer to God. Throughout the years I served under Bishop Phillips, I have emptied pails of "foot washing water" in a brand-new suit, I have picked up trash outside on a Sunday morning at 9:00am also in a suit, I have searched above the ceiling tiles looking for the smelly carcass of some unknown creature, also in a suit, I have unloaded, and loaded trucks, I have moved tables, chairs, pulpits, plants, and so much more.

Bishop Kenneth Phillips was a Visionary, a man before his time, always entertaining new thoughts and ideas, all with the same goal, "how can we introduce them to Christ?" "How can we draw them in while presenting the Gospel to them in a way that can be easily digested?" Car shows, concerts, special dramatic presentations, musicals, full page spreads in newspapers all over, leaflets, door knocking, outreaches in the "projects," on South Congress and East 6th Street, all throughout the downtown area here in Austin, Tx, the University Campuses, and so much more, all to reach the lost. 

Campuses throughout the Central, North, and South Texas areas, even as far out as Kentucky, El Paso, and Arizona. Some have remained under the PromiseLand Banner, while others have gone onto to be renamed; however, all of them have this one thing in common, the Doctrine, the Doctrine, and the Doctrine. Acts 2:38, the establishment of the church, Peter's exclamation and answer to the question, what must we do to be saved?

Acts 2:37-39

Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call...

The Doctrine of Repentance, Baptism, and the Holy Ghost, the Death, Burial, and the Resurrection, this is the Doctrine I was taught to adhere to without wavering, without question, and without hesitation, this is what I learned from Bishop Kenneth Phillips. Always look your best, why? because before you can be the part, you must look the part. Always polish the backs of your shoes so that you look good going and coming, and as a child of God, filled with the Holy Ghost, we must remember that we are called to be a step above, no longer ordinary, but Called Out to rise above the fray. Pastor Phillips, as mentioned above, instructed us to be instant in season and out, not just to pray, but to pray in the Spirit, in this way, we communicate directly with God, as our inner most urging is turned over to Christ Himself.

Literally, the list of things learned while serving in ministry at the PromiseLand could go on, and on, and on. Speaking of the valuable lessons gleaned from the ministry and leadership of Bishop James Kenneth Phillips, there is simply no equivalent, no school, no course of study, nothing has impacted myself, and the lives of my children, more than this. Growing up in faith under the guise of Pastor Phillips was truly a gift, he poured into me constantly, and at times, he even pounded into me the lessons of life: how to be a better man, a better father, a better citizen of the Kingdom, and how to present the Word in a way that is both relevant, receivable, and steadfast, focused on the Apostles Doctrine, and the Hope that only comes from a life lived in line with the Gospel. 

 In closing, what can I say about Bishop J,K. Phillips? How do we describe in simple words, his "Old School" twang, or his desire to reach the world with the Gospel? How do we celebrate the fact that in an age when most churches in this country were still segregated, he, then newly elected Pastor Phillips, invited individuals of all races, creeds, and colors into the church? Truly, how can you measure the impact of a single man, who under his guidance and leadership, saw over twenty thousand souls baptized in the Name of Jesus, that’s right, well over 20,000 individuals buried in Christ through Baptism, and Risen into new life, just as Jesus Christ Himself rose up from the grave on the third day. 

The ministry of Bishop Kenneth Phillips is one that has reached around the world, past the borders marked as lines on a map, and beyond the walls of denominationalism erected by man, and all too often used by the enemy himself to fracture and break the unity of God’s Holy Church. Looking back on the past, I can attest to you, just how Blessed I am, to have come up through the ranks underneath his leadership. It was by supernatural experience that I arrived there, directly below the cross shaped sign that Blessed all who past by. And as I walked into that place, you could just feel the energy and passion within, and it was on that day that I met him; however, little did I know, that all these years later, his impact on my life, would be simply immeasurable.

Thank you for your time, if at all possible, I would like to encourage you, and all who read this post, to take a moment to pray for the Phillips family, PromiseLand Church, and all those left to mourn the loss of such a great, and beloved man of God.



Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Lord’s Prayer

 The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord's Prayer is an intricately laced thread of the Christian fabric, and it is a

traditional prayer that unites all Christian denominations both, Orthodox and Catholic, and Protestant and Non-Denominational. The Lord's Prayer can be found in both Matthew chapter 6 and Luke chapter 11, and was a response to a question posed by one of the Disciples, "Lord, how do we pray?" As a child, I can recall learning this prayer, and reciting it on many occasions, from Christmas to Easter and other youth productions and programs throughout the years of my youth. However, as child, I did not appreciate the simplicity and magnitude of this very short, yet powerful prayer. In fact, I truly despised the feeling of being forced to stand up in front of an entire church, filled with both my peers, and strangers, and I don’t know which one was worse, my peers or the strangers. Recalling the numerous instances in which I had been pushed and prodded into reciting the Lord's Prayer, and other verses, and it felt like torture, 
"in my own mind anyway;” however, it was these events that instilled in me, the knowledge of Jesus Christ, as our Lord and Savior, God the Father and Creator, and the Power of the Holy Spirit that resided within us all those years ago, and for this, I am so very grateful. 

(The Youth and I of EBC Circa 1985?)

The life lessons of my youth, especially those five simple verses included within the Lord’s Prayer, and the many others I was required to learn and declare before the entire congregation have played a pivotal role in placing within my heart, soul, and spirit, the foundations of Sanctification, Faith, and Prayer. These three roots, Sanctification, Faith, and Prayer have given me, the foreknowledge and strength to return to my faith in God when my world began to cave in and collapse around me just a few short years ago. In 2013 both my health, and my marriage began to crumble, and fall apart, as I laid down, paralyzed from the waist down, day after day. It would be several weeks, in fact, it would be five long months that I suffered in serious pain while in the hospital, five long aggravating months strapped to a bed, not able to move. During this time, I had a lot of time to think, to cry, to doubt, and to pray, and it was that last one, Prayer, that carried me through those very difficult times; yet, not just then, but even now, to this day prayer carries me through the darkest nights, the deepest valleys, and through the shadows of death.

 Although the entirety of The Lord's Prayer is poignant and beautiful, I would like to look a little more closely at one particular verse regarding Forgiveness, and how we should forgive others: here it is below,

Matthew 6:12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors...

Some of you may be asking yourselves, "why is this verse so important?" And that’s a great question indeed. As we continue to read, we soon find the answer...

Matthew 6:14-15 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...

The answer is found here, simple and plain for all to see, if we do not forgive others for their actions or what we perceive as their wrongdoings, our Father in Heaven will not forgive us of our own sins, shortcomings, and mistakes, and that my friends is quite a scary thought.

Recently, I was asked how I make peace with individuals who “I once perceived” as my enemies, and my answer was simply this. I believe that every word within the pages of the Holy Bible is in fact the Words of God; therefore, I must take seriously every word I read there within. Now, as I read throughout the Bible, it has become quite clear that Jesus Christ was a man of Love, Faith, and Forgiveness, and as the example sent to earth for us to emulate, I must strive to love those around me, those who have wronged me, and in many cases I must learn to forgive myself as well. 

As the verses above detail, failure to forgive will leave you unforgiven, and that's simply not a risk I'm willing to take, and neither should you. And so, my prayer for you today is that sometime soon, you will find it within your heart to forgive those who have wronged you and more importantly, you must forgive yourself. Often, it is more difficult to forgive ourselves than it is to forgive others. Therefore, God has given us some reassurances that should make it a little easier to do so: first, according to Psalm 103:12, God has cast our sins as far as the east is from the west, and He shall remember them no more. Moreover, in John 8:10-12, Jesus declares that He has not come to condemn us, but to set us free, that we may go forth, and sin no more. Similarly, in John 3:17, Jesus declares that He was sent into the world, not to condemn the world, but that through Him, the world might be saved; however, this process all begins, and ends with forgiveness and prayer.

And finally, one last thing, it has been my experience that many individuals will tell me that they do not know how to pray, and that’s ok, why? Because Jesus Himself has left us an example, read it, learn it, and use it as the basis of your own prayers, and you will soon find that prayer becomes easier and easier each and every day.



Friday, April 14, 2023

Pray|The Names of God

 Pray|The Names of God

“When we pray, we must pray with expectations: first, that God is indeed listening, and second, that He will not only hear us, but that He will answer…” 

Bishop Kenneth Phillips| PromiseLand| World Of Pentecost


Genesis 1:1, Psalm 19:1 Meaning "God", a reference to God's power and might.

Malachi 1:6 Meaning "Lord", a reference to the Lordship of God.


  Genesis 2:4 A reference to God's divine salvation.


Exodus 31:13 Meaning "The Lord thy sanctifier"


Psalm 23:1 Meaning "The Lord my shepherd"


Ezekiel 48:35 Meaning "The Lord who is present"


Exodus 15:26 Meaning "The Lord our healer"


Jeremiah 23:6 Meaning "The Lord our righteousness"


Genesis 22:13-14 Meaning "The Lord will provide"


Exodus 17:15 Meaning "The Lord our banner"


  Judges 6:24 Meaning "The Lord is peace"


Isaiah 6:1-3 Meaning "The Lord of Hosts"


Jeremiah 51:6 Meaning "The God of Recompense"


Genesis 14:17-20, Isaiah 14:13-14 Meaning "The Most High God


Genesis 16:13 Meaning "The strong one who sees"


Genesis 17:1, Psalm 91:1 Meaning "The God of the mountains or God Almighty"


Isaiah 40:28-31 Meaning "The everlasting God"


Psalm 3:3 Meaning “The Lord My Glory" 


Judges 6:24 Meaning "The Lord is with you"


Psalm 18:2 Meaning "The Lord the horn of my Salvation"


  Psalm 89:18 Meaning "The Lord Our Defense"


Psalm 24:8 Meaning "The Lord Strong and Mighty"


Psalm 27:1 Meaning "The Lord My Light"


Deut.33:29 Meaning "The Lord, the Shield"


Psalm 18:2 Meaning "The Lord My High Tower"


Psalm 18:2 Meaning "The Lord My Rock"


Psalm 91:9 Meaning "The Lord My Refuge"


Judges 11:27 Meaning "The Lord the Judge"


Isaiah 40:28 Meaning "The Lord Creator"


Psalm 24:8 Meaning "The Lord Mighty in Battle"


Jeremiah 16:19 Meaning "The Lord My fortress"

According to the Miriam-Webster dictionary, the words “to Pray', Prayer, or Praying,” is to address a need, petition, or desire, to God, or other deity, through the verbally spoken word or thought. Furthermore, the words “to Pray', Prayer, or Praying,” are described as an earnest request, desire, or wish, to entreat, to implore or to make a request in a meek and humble manner once again to God, or other deity. Furthermore, the terms “to Pray', Prayer, or Praying” is to address God, or other deity, with adoration, confession, supplication, and thanksgiving. 

(Praying Hands)

As I read through the various dictionaries, and other resources, in search of the meaning of the words, “to Pray, Prayer, or Praying,” I began to realize that the arcadian definitions found in the dictionary, could not possibly tell me what it is I needed to know about those oh so important words, there had to be a better way. After pondering for a minute, and taking another sip of my overpriced caramel latte, my mind began to drift away, and it was then that it occurred to me, if I wanted to know what these words meant to the world today, it would only make sense for me to ask the people who reside here in the world of today. 

Speaking almost audibly, I said to myself, “how do I do I do this, and where do I start?" To which I also replied, "I guess I’ll start right here, right now, right where I am” and so I turned to the table nearest to me, and I began asking this question, "what does Prayer mean t

o you?" In the beginning, it felt a somewhat awkward, the idea of asking total strangers what Prayer means to them, when I wasn't even sure if the individual, I was spe
aking to, even prayed at all, let alone to the same God that I did. Initially, conversing with the patrons of this coffee shop, and asking such unusual questions just seemed uncomfortable and odd, especially in this post-covid, socially distanced world in which we live today, where strangers are to be avoided at all costs; however, the responses I received, made me so glad that I gathered up the courage to do so. 

In the beginning, there seemed to be some hesitation, it appeared that some of those present, there in the coffee shop, were a little reluctant to speak to a total stranger about such a personal and intimate subject; nonetheless, once the ice was broken, there were some really great discussions taking place in Starbucks that day, and it had all begun with just of one simple question," what does Prayer mean to you?"

  • Just talking to God as you would a relative, a close friend, or a loved one.
  • Seeking guidance.
  • Thanking God for all He has done. 
  • Having a conversation with God, it's how we establish our relationship with Jesus.
  • Asking for God's help and direction for your life.
  • Just conversing with the universe, you know, just letting it all go.
  • Just letting it all go, realizing that we are not actually in control of anything, but at the same time, realizing that we are, we always have a choice, even a choice in determining when, if, and to whom, we pray.
  • Just talking, that's it, talking and listening, talking and listening, probably more listening. 
  • Meditating, and connecting with the universe.

Listed above are some of the responses gathered on that day; undoubtedly, the majority of those who took part in the discussion, had at least a partial understanding of what it means to pray. Even those who did not Believe possessed some familiarity and experience with these terms. Although some of the statements and responses provided were unsurprisingly incorrect, in my humble opinion, every single one of the responses received; even the incredibly bad ones, were worth their weight in gold, but why? Because they allowed a conversation to be had, perhaps a seed was planted, and even the slightest the possibility that a heart could be impacted for the good, makes each one of those interactions are precious in the sight of God. 

Now, some of the responses laid out above may ring truer than others, and that's ok, as we realize that ultimately, our goal in prayer is to commune, one on one, or as a body of Believers agreeing as one, with our God, Father, and Creator. We do this, through the Power of the Holy Spirit, the third manifestation of the single God who while both fully Spirit, and fully God, resides within us, to guide us, teach us, and lead us as we live out this thing called life here on the earth. According to the scriptures, the Holy Spirit was present in the beginning when our God and Father spoke the words that created all that we see, the Holy Spirit gives life, not only to all of humanity, but to all living things upon the earth, and it was this same Holy Spirit that gave power to the judges, prophets, kings, and warriors, from Abraham to Moses, Joshua to David, David to Solomon, and all of the Patriarchs and Leaders of our Old Testament, the Tanakh. Even more so, it was the Power of the Holy Spirit that empowered the Apostles, Disciples, and Prophets of the New Testament Era, from Matthew to Mark, Peter to Paul, and Jude to James, and it was by this Holy Spirit, that we have the completed Holy Bible today. 

It was the Holy Spirit that overshadowed Mary, it was the Holy Spirit that filled John the Baptist, the cousin of Jesus, from birth, and it was the Holy Spirit that filled the upper room on the Day of Pentecost. The Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, and the Holy Spirit, were all spoken of by Christ Jesus Himself, in John 14:16, Acts 1:8, and throughout the Gospels, and it is the Holy Spirit that the Prophet Joel spoke of in the second chapter of the book that bears his name, Joel 2:28 "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh..." and now, back to the purpose of this entire article, Prayer.

In the book of Matthew, Chapter Six, we find Jesus instructing His Disciples; therefore, you and I today, on exactly how we should Pray. Before Jesus demonstrates to us the way in which we are to Pray, He first instructs us on how Not to Pray. Matthew 6:7 But when you Pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do..." and in the preceding verses, Jesus instructs His followers to avoid crying loudly in the streets, and on the corners seeking only to bring attention to ourselves, because in doing this, our reward shall be on earth only, causing our Prayers to go unheard, and unanswered in Heaven above. Jesus goes on to teach us that the goal of the Pharisees was only to gain the acknowledgement and praise of others, rather than from God Himself, the Giver of all good things. 

Please understand, this is not meant to be a lesson or in-depth breakdown of the Lord's Prayer, only a brief illustration meant to direct us towards the final conclusion of what it means to Pray the Names of God. However, before doing so, I feel it is important to point out that Prayer is to be a personal and private demonstration of our love, reverence, and honor of God, our Father in Creation, as Jesus Christ in Redemption. and the Holy Spirit in Salvation. It is He who watches over us, Heals us, and makes us Whole, and as we Pray, we are to honor Him first and foremost, before anything else. Next, we are to make our petitions known unto Him, the Holy God, and the only One who can truly make a difference in our lives. Third, we are to intercede for others, and yes. even those who despitefully use us, this is followed by Thanksgiving, and Praise, this is the order of Prayer; however, there is more. 

“When we pray, we must pray with expectations: first, that God is indeed

listening, and second, that He will not only hear us, but that He will answer…” But how do we do this? Well, we declare to God, His own Word. Listed above, are various Names, or really, descriptions of who God was, and is to His people, and each one of these describes certain attributes and characteristics used to exemplify to the Israelites; and thereby, you and I today, all that God is. all that God has done and will do for those who love Him. knowing that God is not a man that He should lie, we as His children can be assured, that when we call upon His Name, Jesus, He will hear us from Heaven, and He will answer. With this understanding, as we Pray, we can declare to God, that, "you are my Elohim, you have all power in earth below, and Heaven above." As we Pray, we can say to God, "y0u are my Jehovah Jireh, you are my provider, or "God, you are Jehovah Ma-genyou are my shield and protector!"

Ten years ago, as I was in the hospital fighting for my life, due to a horrible brain, blood, and bone infection, I began to declare to God in Heaven above, "Lord, you are Jehovah Rapha, you are my Healer, these are your Words, this is within the pages of the Holy Scripture; therefore, you must do what you said you would do, you cannot lie, and so you must act." With expectation, I read Numbers 23:19 "God is not a man, that He should lie...," and declared that I will live and not die! Though the doctor's report was ominous, and the nurses and therapists felt that even if I survived, that I may never walk unassisted again, I continued to Pray to God the Father in the Name of Jesus, and with Great Anticipation, I waited patiently for His reply, declaring to God, His own Words, found in John 14:14 "if ye shall ask anything in My Name, I will do it..." Ultimately, God heard my Prayers, and ultimately, He began His work in me, and although I still have a road to walk before I am completely restored, whether in this world, or the next, I Know and Believe, that the Work that He has begun, God will complete.

So, what does it all mean? Well the answer is simple, Declare God's Word to Him, Pray with Faith and Expectation in Anticipation of what God will do in your life, and even before the completion of your Prayer, God will begin to move on your behalf. May the Good Lord, Bless You and Keep You, in the Name of Jesus I Pray, Amen.

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