“And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.”
Romans 13:11 NIV
I have a morning issue, well that may be better said as I have an issue each morning. It is called the “Snooze Button”. There is just something about that half asleep, half awake feeling that I enjoy and I want to steal a little more time in bed than I should. So I end up pushing the snooze button on my morning alarm much more than I should. But there is a point that I become fully awake and the allure of sleep falls away and I realize the need for me to be up and about my business. The needs of the day and the responsibilities I have to fulfill become my focus. Sometimes this awareness comes as a shock, a sudden realization “I’m late!” or “I have an early meeting, I better get going!”. And then I’m up in a panic, trying to make up for the time I spent sleeping that I should have used to prepare for the day. This is feeling I’m sure that all of us have had at some point in our life’s, it just seems to happen to me more than it should. The truth is that as much I enjoy using my snooze button to steal a bit more time from the day for sleep, I regret the loss of that time to do my work.
Brothers and Sisters hear the word of the Lord. It is the time for the Church to “Wake Up”! We can not afford to sleep. We have work to do. It is time for us to be about the our Father’s business. We don’t know when our time here on earth will come to a end. Now is the time for us to fulfill God’s calling.
“…the night is coming when no one can work.” John 9:4
In today’s time, it is ever increasingly possible for the cares and crazy of this life to overwhelm us. We await news reports, COVID-19, racism, unrest and then add in all the private and personal pain, while stirring in the challenges of family and friends. We must stay connected. Connected to the Lord, connected to His Word and connected to one another. The enemy destroys people in solitude as he hopes no one is looking in or seeing. We are to be strength to one another as the Lord strengthens us. We must keep our eyes open, remain sober and not allow the airways to intoxicate us with a venom that does not acknowledge Jesus and Lord and God. Some days you will be the encourager and other days you will need encouragement. Some days you will feel like the victor, while other days you may feel like the victim. Some days you will have a song resonating in your heart while other days you will strain to hear any melodic tones. Jesus warned us of the cares of life that choke us. Jesus told Peter at one point that satan wanted to “sift him like wheat” and then everything for Peter went wild as life came crashing in. Ever feel like that? Life crashing in? Well, Jesus is still the ever-present help in time of need. It is for this reason I have called us at various times to fast from food, social media, etc, in order that we might refocus ourselves on the Lord and tune our ears again to Him rather than to the noise of multitudes of voices that foster frustration and a host of other ills. We must stay connected! Our connectivity as previously mentioned will bring about strength and a steadfastness that we all need together in Jesus. Please know that you are loved, valued and interceded for before the Father. These storms will pass, eternity with Jesus must be our constant goal and His Word a continual dynamic in our lives. We are honored to walk together with you.
In 1 Corinthians 13:4 the Apostle Paul pens these word that “ Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast it is not proud.” We are living in a time where no one wants to show the Godly love that the Apostle Paul told the church in Corinth to show. It is time to show the Godly love that the people of the world need, in order to let them know that God is still God. It is time for the Church to speak out God’s love to this world. We need to stop hiding behind the shadows waiting for God to do something even though we know he can do it and has done it. He has sent us, his children, to show His love around the world so that more people are willing to get to know Him as Lord and Savior. Remember that God so love this WORLD that gave his ONLY SON ( John 3:16). It is time for us to show the love of GOD to others.
In the 5th chapter of Luke, do you remember when Simon Peter and other fishermen had been fishing all night and had not caught any fish so they had left their boats and were on shore listening to Jesus teach about the Word of God. Jesus got into Simon’s boat and asked him to push it away from the shore so that the people could see Him and then continued teaching while He was in the boat. When He had finished speaking, He told Simon to push the boat out into the deep and drop their nets to catch some fish. Well Simon tells Jesus (verse 5) “Master, we have fished all night long and haven’t caught anything but because You tell me to do so I will drop the nets.”
When they obeyed the Master, They caught so many fish and the nets were so full that they were breaking while pulling them in so they signaled to their friends in the other boat to help them. Not just Simon’s boat but both boats pulled in so many fish that they were starting to sink.
When Simon Peter saw this, he was afraid and fell at Jesus’ feet and begged forgiveness because he and his friends, James and John were so astonished that obeying the voice of the Master could bring them such amazing results. (In verse10) Jesus told Simon Peter “don’t be afraid; from now on you will be a fisherman of men. “ So they all three, Simon Peter, James and John pulled their boats ashore, left them there and followed Jesus.
Peter’s compliance to Jesus’s request paved the way for a life- changing blessing. From his example, we also learn how essential it is to obey God in even the smallest matters. This also witnessed to the crowd that saw the results of Peter’s obedience.
Our obedience always benefits others, in particular, those closest to us. For example, when a parent obeys the Lord, the entire family reaps the reward of God’s blessing. Likewise a child’s obedience will bless his or her parent. This does not mean that those who choose to disobey will not face discipline.
When we obey God, we will not be disappointed. Peter may have assumed that Jesus’ fishing instruction were a waste of time but he humbly complied to Jesus’ simple request which followed with a miracle that gripped the heart of Peter and others around him.
When He tells you to do something and you know without a doubt it is His will, then you need to obey based solely on who is doing the talking. When you choose to obey the Lord, He will bless you.
1 Samuel 15:22 says: Obedience is better than sacrifice
May you be blessed.
Pastor Sandra, Care Pastor
Romans 8:28 (AMPC) We are assured and know that [God being a partner in their labor] all things work together and are [fitting into a plan] for good to and for those who love God and are called according to [His] design and purpose. Some manuscripts says “God works all things with them.” So knowing that we are supposed to be aware and alert to things going on around us, as many have already stated, we need to be asking this question: What do we need to be aware of in ourselves that needs to be changed and transformed? If this verse is true, and I believe it is, then God’s mission to complete His work that He began in us (Phil 1:6) needs to apply here. We have to do a “gut check.” It is imperative. It is critical. God will not zap our prejudices and sin out of us. We have a crucial part, and the starting point is recognizing the sin and our motivations behind them. My gut check over the past three months reveals that there is work that I need the Lord to do and I need to allow Him to. God is good. For those familiar with the Lion, the Witch and the wardrobe, Mrs. Beaver tells Lucy, “if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or just plain silly.” Lucy replied “Then e isn’t safe?” Mr. Beaver replies “SAFE?” “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe, but he is good. He’s the king, I tell you.” Jesus is our King, and it is good for us to trust our deepest thoughts to. “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.” Psalms 138.8. It’s a promise and it’s liberating.
Rev. Barbara Stevens
Fighting injustice with injustice is like fighting a volcano with a napalm flame thrower, no one leaves unsinged. More than ever we need the presence, peace, provision and process of the Lord revealed in our day. The church more so today than at other times in history must stand for the right without the actions we stand through negating the principles we are fighting for. As we pray for our country, we ask the Lord to push back the evil veil that has covered our perspectives and sweep away the fog that has made our sight unclear and let us see the value of every life and embrace each as such. The racial divides exist, and this is devastatingly sad. Yet, the church must lead this conversation and see into fruition the transformation within in order for the world without to be healed and changed. One of the most difficult questions that we all will grapple with is, what are your own personal bias or prejudices that are held within. And once answered we must allow the Word of God to shine into these areas and bring us wholeness. As we are learning just because one generation feels it defeats a giant, doesn’t mean that another generation will not face the same. The Lord told Moses that He would have a war with Amalek in every generation, Exodus 17. Giants are destructively powerful and demonstratively deceptive. The only defense that will prevail is the one mentioned there, THE LORD IS OUR BANNER… Stay tuned for more today!
1 Thessalonians 1: 3-4 “remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God.
Do you ever remember as a child raising your hand and sitting on the edge of your seat in great anticipation of the teacher calling your name so that you could answer the question and prove to the class that you were smart and knew the answer? On the other hand, maybe you can remember those times on the playground when you deeply just wanted to play for the kickball team and not be the last one picked so you would participate in all sorts of antics to get your friends to pick you first. I remember those times. In reading this scripture this week. I was thinking of the fact that God chose us first we did not choose Him. In fact, quite the opposite. God moved heaven and earth to have a relationship with you and I, He did so much He sent His Only Son to die for you and me. The scripture above talks about this election by God, and that out of that election we should then be without ceasing in our work of faith, labor of love and be patient in our hope of Jesus Christ. If you read further in the chapter it talks about how far reaching the church in Thessalonian took the gospel as a result of this found election in God. We should put the same effort into our relationship with God as we did as a child in our antics to play for the team, or answer the question for the teacher. We should let the whole world know by our faith, our love and our hope in Jesus Christ just what team we play on and what team we want them to play on too.
Team Players Together
Psalms 1:1-3 says, “Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers, but whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers.” The word meditation is most often associated with eastern religions. We don’t think of meditation as applying to Christianity. But it does. Christian meditation is not an exercise to empty the mind, but the focusing of the mind on what God has done, on who God is, and on His interaction in our life. This is a powerful and essential part of every Christian’s life. Learning to focus our thoughts on God transforms the way we see the world around us. As we remember His grace and mercy to us, we are reminded to be gracious and merciful to others. As we think on His blessings to us, we are inspired to bless others. As we think on how His word has renewed us, we burn to share that renewal with others. As we focus are minds on God’s greatness, the cares, pleasures, and attractions of this world fade from our thoughts and we become more like Him.
Thank God for moms! A mom is vital! She is more than a baby keeper, baby carrier, and birth giver. She is a nurturer, a care giver, a provider, a supplier, a chef, a counselor, a chauffeur, a tutor, a teacher, a nurse, a doctor, a skills modeler, a speech therapist, a janitor, laundry manager, dietitian, bookkeeper, coach, event planner, facility director, photographer, recreational therapist, tailor, interior decorator, and so very much more. The value of a mom today at salary.com is approximately $162,581.00. WOW, and yet, no words can ever express enough thanks to our moms for the value that they are. Many are celebrating today without their mom present either by distance on earth or distance in heaven, yet no distance will cause moms to ever be forgotten. I am grateful that I have a great mom. She put up with two boys growing up and managed to stay sane. I am thankful for my mom and encourage you all to remember your mom’s influences and give thanks to her and to the Lord for all that she was, is and continues to be in your life. I sure do wish we were gathering together today, but until then; stay faithful, stay calm, stay sane and stay strong, we love you all!
Happy Mother’s Day,