This morning I turned on the fan in my office as normal. The fan started but immediately slowed to a crawl that produced no air for dissipating the heat wave in my office. I tried switching the plug out, turning it off and on again, moving it, shaking it; but nothing worked. In semi-panic mode now, I immediately went on the hunt for another fan because not having a working fan in my office was not an option!
I found a fan in a vacant office and grabbed it with hopefulness. I came back into my office and … my fan was working … circulating as normal. I felt the difference in the atmosphere immediately.
How often and how quickly do we get anxious or panic when things in our life don’t go as we plan, expect or anticipate?
What is our first knee-jerk reaction or response to delays or detours?
Being honest with yourself, how quickly do you recover and invite God into the situation?
Do you bother God at all and just roll with your emotions?
The truth is, when we practice a behavior long enough we don’t have to think about it – we’ve trained ourselves to act in an autopilot mode to that behavior. If anxiety has always been our first response to an unexpected event, then my automatic response to anything unexpected will be anxiety. Without putting into practice a more positive response, anxiety will rule my life.
One thing I’ve learned in my relationship with Christ is thathis ways are not my ways.In the same manner, I have learned not to expect others to deal with life issues in the same way that I would. This has given me a greater appreciation for the beauty of our uniqueness as individuals. Acknowledging that God has perfect timing for the things He wants to accomplish in us and through us brings peace into our lives as nothing else will.
Don’t rush God’s processes; instead, practice waiting on the Lord, while reckoning yourself beingseated in Christ in the heavenlies. This is the only way to perfect auto responses with godly love.
Matthew 18:19-20 19Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. 20For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
Although it is a story of rebellion, the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) gives an example of what can be accomplished when people stand together to work toward a common goal. Likewise, in the book of Nehemiah we find the story of the citizens of Jerusalem banding together to rebuild the wall around the city (Nehemiah 4) while warding off the naysayers and enemies that taunted them.
These stories give credence to Jesus’ statement wherein he says, “He that is not with me is against me…” (Matthew 12:30; Luke 11:23). This truth flows into every part of life, and is most likely at the heart of everything that is broken. When people are not joined together, touching and agreeing, there is division. A small breach left unattended in a structure, with enough pressure, becomes a gaping hole in that structure that eventually crumbles into a heap of nothingness.
We see this in companies. Staffs flourish in a company where management exhibits and demonstrates care for their well-being, praises them, and shows appreciation for their contributions. You find the opposite in a company where management has tyrants who micromanage, criticize, and show little respect for the employee or their work. These companies will usually have a high turnover rate.
We see this in marriages. When a husband thrives at demonstrating and living the biblical command to love his wife as Christ loved the church, he lives with her according to knowledge. A wife under such authority willfully submits to his leadership authority, and you often find a couple who genuinely adore and respect each other … they have become “one.” But let the husband be an insensitive bully or the wife an odious (hateful) woman, and you may find a drifting apart that creates a gulf impassable, fostering outside alternatives that choke out the hope of reconciliation.
We see this in churches. Where there is a stronger presence of believers who are solely focused on giving their all to the vision and work of the ministries of their church body, there will be little posturing for position or title. This church body is grounded and fortified for the service of God with servants able to withstand the attacks of the enemies. The flip side of this is a cluttered mess of individualized, spiritual separatists vying for dominance and recognition while the work of the ministry falls into stagnation and apostasy.
“What is your point,” you may ask? It’s simple … don’t aspire to join the Tower of Babel! Look to your left, look to your right, look in front of you and look behind you, then look within/without the body of Christ…
• Take A Hand–Walk beside each other so we can hold each other up in the times when the battle and weight of our trials are too much to bear…even for the strong.
• Take A Hand–She’s young and without knowledge of her virtuous treasures which have been soiled by the world; help her exchange the ashes of her life for beauty…and love.
• Take A Hand–He wants to be a man but all he knows about manhood has been derived from his dysfunctional environment absent of leadership; he’s silently afraid of the dying around him, but you can introduce him to a New Life.
• Take A Hand–Whether old or young, they have been striped of human dignity at a price of civil rights, abusive nights, or rejected by sight; rebuke them not, but in gentleness and respect teach them the ways of God’s holiness and sanctification.
Let us now agree as touching on that which is most needful for the expansion of the Kingdom of God — the gathering together in His name, the sharing of the gospel message, and the edifying of each soul through the power of the Word of God.
Since truly settling in and purposelylearning more about my Savior, I continually find a beauty in how God uses His children’s backgrounds and makeup to accomplish His work. But I am extremely appreciative of those who have been called to Pastor and Shepherd God’s children. Having spent the last 18-plus years working side-by-side with these Servants as a church secretary or clerk, I marvel at their willingness and perseverance in working with the spiritual sheep and goats (Matthew 25:32-36; no disrespect intended as I have been both) under their pastoral care.
I am always in wonder of God’s sense of humor. While praying to work full-time for my own pastor, my current position opened up and I was invited, accepted and now work for a pastor – Pastor Rowan. I recently enjoyed a letter he posted to his members in their newsletter. May it give you some food for thought as well …
On Wednesday, September 29th, we will have our annual Family Dinner here at the church. It’s been my prayer that each year the number would grow and grow creating a move to a larger location. We haven’t reached that growth yet, but I am hopeful one day we will. So, why is this such an important activity for your pastor? Glad you asked me that question, and here’s the Why (emphasis added).
Study after study continues to show the benefit of families eating together at a table without the television and electronic devices (cell phones) occupying the minds of both parents and children. We gather in the kitchen only to retrieve food and then retreat to our “sacred places” to entertain ourselves, losing out on the valuable opportunity to have mindful conversations.
One report states that 59% of Americans report having fewer and fewer family dinners then previous generations. As a baby boomer, I affirm that statement and, in our home, dinner was a time everyone ate together with very few exceptions. If you missed the dinner, momma would clean up and close the kitchen. Your options – start drinking water, eat peanut butter and jelly, or dream about breakfast. Remember, there were no microwaves to heat up dinner back then.
With the advancements in technology, recreational and school activities, dining out, me time, and fast food, the dinner hour is on the endangered species list unless we say – no more.
If you seek to study this more, you will find several reasons suggesting the importance of “Family Dinner.” Here’s just a few:
Improved Mental Health
One study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that kids who regularly enjoyed family meals were less likely to experience symptoms of depression and less likely to get into drug use. Nobody ever said, “please pass the joint” at the dinner table — although it would be a lot cooler if they did.
Research also suggests that when a family eats together they feel a strong bond with one another. Everyone leads disconnected lives at work and school, and this time allows them to reconnect. And you’ll also be able to keep tabs on your kids’ lives. So, when Ricky tells Tina that Julie said Tommy was going to ask Rebecca to be his girlfriend, you’ll know about it.
The National Center On Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA) has done a series of studies on the importance of family meals. One showed that kids who eat with their family less than 3 times a week were twice as likely to report receiving C’s or worse in school. Kids who ate with family 5 to 7 times per week did much better, reporting mostly A’s and B’s. Either your lasagna is genius fuel, or dinnertime is the perfect time to make sure they’ve done their homework.
Families that eat together make better food choices. One study from Stanford University reported that kids who eat family dinners are less likely to grub on fried food and saturated fats, while seeking out stuff like fruits and veggies.
This is just a short list and don’t forget saving money. Yes, the older our children become it’s still the same. Grown folks need to communicate as well.
It’s important to understand the value family has as viewed by generations. We hear so often the term “postmodern” where many of our assumptions about culture, identity, history, religion, and language are fundamentally reassessed to fix a norm of our behavior. Let’s get back to what we know is God’s true plan and His plan for healthy families.
In a recent study conducted by Barna Group entitled Forming Family Values in a Digital Age, the survey results concluded a point I would like to share. 
If we value something, we will support and appreciate it more and more each day. It’s not just dinner.
See you Wednesday for some fun and family time.
Cedric Rowan, Senior Pastor
[1-4] Health & Science/Nutrition 6 Scientific Reasons Family Dinners are Important for Your Child.
 Forming Family Values in a Digital Age, Infographics in Culture & Media • June 27, 2017.
The number 8 is biblically the number of new beginnings. When God poured out his wrath upon the earth and its wicked inhabitants, he chose to rebuild using the family of Noah–8 people. Preserving sets of the animals and creeping things, he kept with his original design of pairing male and female of each species. For one year, man and beast would exist harmoniously together.
Who kept Noah, his wife, his sons and his son’s wives from going crazy locked up on a boat with all those animals and creeping things? The smell alone would have been enough to gag you; and yet, this family was given charge and authority over the care of this magnificent zoo as God washed away the wickedness of man that was so great upon the earth.
In our continually changing times, soaring prices, job instabilities and tightening budgets and belts, life can seem like a zoo. Sometimes, trying to take it in more than one day at a time can be overwhelming and disheartening depending on the trials and tribulations being faced.
But, Ohhh … how wonderful it is to know that there is a master zoo keeper who is able to keep our lives from spinning completely out of control. He alone holds the keys that unlock the cages we are sometimes backed into; He alone cracks the whip that keeps the enemy at bay. In one name is all power and that name is Jesus!
Understandably, prayer – both personally and corporately – is a very necessary dependency needed to keep our sanity in this life. In the midst of a world that is increasingly becoming a zoo; a place wherein the heart of man grows increasingly anti-Christ-like ~~ depending on the master zoo keeper is insurance against losing our minds, our hopes and our joys.
12 Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee before the sons of men! 24 Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord.
To admonish beforehand; To inform previously; To give previous notice; To caution beforehand
Forewarn (Strong’s Concordance):
To exhibit under the eyes; To exemplify (instruct, admonish); To show by making known future things
This I know because it has been foretold,
That in these last days, perilous times would come,
Where me, myself & I would be lovers of their selves;
Where the heart would covet, boast, and proudly ignore.
Where blasphemers rail against knowledge to disobey parents,
Unthankful for their welfare, and unholy in their cares.
Without natural affection, trucebreakers who falsify pacts.
These false accusers fill jails; incontinent slackers they are.
Under fierce attacks, they are despisers of those that are good.
Traitors who prey relentlessly, always heady in mischief.
Highminded, they are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.
Delusional in their form of godliness, they deny the power of the source.
Beware my sisters, for they creep into houses to lead silly women captive;
Catering to those laden with sins and willingly led away with divers lusts.
Beware brethren of ever learning, when acts and deeds uncover
The inability to come to the knowledge of the truth,
Under the shadow of what is still yet to materialize …
4And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. 5But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear him. Luke 12:4-5
It’s been a while since I shared a poem from my latest book, Emotionally Charged (Amazon, 2016). This poem came to mind as I listened to the words from King & Country’s “God Only Knows” official music video (below). It made me think of the countless young women and young men who are wandering through life — hopeless, wounded, afraid, and ready to give up on life.
I can so relate to those feelings. As I’ve mentioned before, I personally dealt with suicidal thoughts as a teen and young adult. I know what it’s like to feel so alone and/or hurt that you don’t think life is worth living. God brought me back from the brink many, many times! God wants to impart His love to the lost and the hurting; He just needs them to reach out and take hold of His hand.
If you have an experience or encouraging word you can share with those who will read this post, please do. Someone may need to hear your testimony to starve off the hopelessness nipping at their heart.
It is my belief that in mankind’s pursuits lays the desire for a connection to others beyond customary. Hidden beneath society’s downward spiral into moral madness, and disguised as human rights, politics, justice and the rights of the people, lies very basic needs. Every man, woman, and child has a need to be loved, a need to belong, and a need for true intimacy.
Mention the word intimacy and many things may come to mind, so let me clarify what I’m not talking about. I’m not talking about that physical imitator passed off through verbal graphics of bodies intertwined while the heart remains tucked away untouched and unaffected. I’m nottalking about sharing space or pleasantries or moments of time with another. And, I’m not talking about a surface driven state of euphoria that incites our emotions.
Nope — I’m talking about i-n-t-i-m-a-c-y …
I’m talking … a longing for; an ardent (warm, affectionate, passionate) desire
“As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.” Psalm 42:1
I’m talking … a very eager or urgent or fervent desire for
“O GOD, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is;” Psalm 63:1
I’m talking … a deep, almost painful craving
My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Psalm 84:2
This desire occurs in the deepest, most remote part of our being. It’s seated in our mind and in our heart. It has been covered, concealed and is often replaced with temporary idols in a vain attempt to escape the pain produced when it is unmet in its most genuine, sincere form.
Who on earth doesn’t crave a kindred relationship that makes your eyes light up, your heart warm over with deep appreciation, and your smile spread big and bright across your face? Who hasn’t searched out the kind of intimacy that causes you to voluntarily and unconditionally open your arms to receive, to embrace, to take comfort in, and to bask under the protective coveringof another!
As much as we crave this intimacy, we’ll continue to fall short of experiencing such depth of heart as long as we skirt entering the portal of God, where true intimacy begins. As long as we are willing to run along the edge or remain on the border of detailed knowledge and close association with God, the mind, heart, and soul will continue to have a great thirst for intimacy.
I love the way “Till I Found You” by Phil Wickham paints a picture worth a thousand heartbeats! DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT LISTENING to the video below. In it you will find two beautiful pictures for all of us:
An intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, the source of Salvation where our hunger to be known is met with the confession of our mouth, and the heart belief of God’s all-knowing, all-seeing sovereignty; and
Never lose sight of the fact that Christ came from his heavenly home specifically to create an opportunity to have intimacy with you by the redemptive power of his blood. The Plan of Salvation is available to YOU!
Isaiah 64:8 (KJV) – But now, O Lord, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.
Ephesians 2:10 (KJV) – For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Masterpiece – Danny Gokey Official Lyric Video – Published on Mar 4, 2018 – Official lyric video for Danny Gokey’s “Masterpiece” from the album RISE.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted a song blog, but with everything that I and others have been facing lately, this Wednesday Worship goes directly to the core of everything God’s children may be facing. With understanding and the right heart, we count the trials and tribulations as an honor!
Only God’s Children – those who have accepted the gift of salvation according to the scriptures by confessing with their lips their belief in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and believing in their hearts with prayer for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit – can comprehend the magnitude of what an eternal privilege it is in having our lives turned upside down and inside out, for God’s glory.
I was taught to be my own person growing up. Now more than ever, I am learning to exchange self-will for God’s will through daily surrender as 1 Corinthians 6:19 becomes a growing, tangible2 truth:
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?
There is still room at the cross!
There is still time to answer the call!
There is still time for huge Savings!
Salvation Remains Free For the Asking
As Does Your Free Will to Choose or Reject the Gospel Truth!
2: an area in which one fails to exercise judgment or discrimination
Your chest is on fire; your eyes burn with cloudiness; your breathing is labored. Your head hurts as swirls of darkness envelop you like a soft glove. You are rattled to the core and left feeling as if a sledgehammer has pummeled your chest. Surely you must be dying; surely the pain will be to your demise.
Tremors ripple throughout your body leaving you spineless. Your body, in slow motion, crumbles into a heap upon the floor. Using the last bit of strength you can muster, you wrap your arms around your body as you curl into a ball. As tears fall, draining you of any coherent thought, even death becomes a welcome idea.
You have just been blindsided by the blind spots in your life. While you were busy managing the multiplicity of life, you left yourself vulnerable to the attacks that are constant against those in Christ, and that which is common to the flesh. Sometimes, the greatest blind spot is to believe one is exempt from the very temptations and troubles that accumulate into lusts of the flesh, the eyes, and pride, even though God’s Word speaks to the contrary.
In our failure to stay spiritually and mentally alert through God’s Word and an active prayer life,complacencycreeps in like a tiny spider—unseen until its webs are anchored in the dark spaces our eyes did not see — and our lukewarm hearts did not feel. Blind spots take many forms: stubbornness, carelessness, laziness, pride, trust issues, scriptural starvation, spouses, work, multiple endeavors (spiritual & physical), worldly lusts, fear, ministry(ies), bitterness, fatigue, children, weariness, etc., etc., etc. Their development grows as one gets a little toocomfortable in their state of fellowship and worship with the Holy God.
Old Testament stories highlight this common breach in the life of those on varying levels of relationship with God. Nothing new under the sun, for there are many examples of strong beginnings of faithful servants who later falter and fall. A tour of the internet provides an increasing number of moral failures in our churches for our learning in these modern days. And, it is this faltering that creates the breach in our spiritual fortress. The story found in Nehemiah is a welcome reminder.
In learning thatThe remnant …left of the captivity…in the province… (were)in great affliction and reproach: (1:3), Nehemiah’s response provides us with a picture of one whose heart is towards God and God’s people, much like an uncompromising shepherd in this Laodicean church age. In short, verses3b-11is the hope of a heart for what God loves … his people. Note:
3 … the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire. 4 And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven, … 6 Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, … 11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: … and grant him mercy in the sight of this man…”
We are warned to remember the examples in the Old Testament by1 Corinthians 10:1-12– tonot lust after evil things, be idolaters, commit fornication, tempt Christ, or murmur. Nonetheless, when there are blind spots in our vision, the walls of spiritual protection fall, delivering our moral compasses into the hands of worldly versions of right vs. wrong, causing spiritual weakness and compromise.When I read “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, and yet is not washed from their filthiness.” (Proverbs 30:12) or the warning cry of Isaiah 5:21- “Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” it is like the slap of wet hands upon the face saying, WAKE UP! Ignorant I am not – I have fallen into several pits with scars to show. I suspect there may be more. So there is a great need to minimize more damage by banishing complacency, and opening my eyes and ears. It is as good a place as any to start – at least for me.
The walls are failing, the breaches are widening, and God’s people cannot afford to abandon theirposts#2.
Lord, wipe away the haze from our eyes; open our ears to hear the crumbling of the walls that we may turn our hearts to you again. Though our fortresses are weakened by decay, help us arm ourselves with the building materials of your mighty sword (Hebrew 4:12) and vanquish the enemy of our flesh. Keep us from getting lost in the fabric of a busy life, that we may fortify the kingdom of God and secure the breaches with armed watchmen upon thy walls.