Daddy Duties

Proverbs 1:7-8, 10-11, 2:2

As we enter into the book of Proverbs, we see a Father sharing wisdom and instructions to his sons. In verse 7 in Proverbs chapter 1 we see that fools despise wisdom and instruction. Notice in verse 8 we see the sons being directed to listen to and specifically hear or pay attention to instructions from their father. Implicit in that statement suggests there are other people trying to arrest our attention and provide instruction in our lives that don’t line up with our Father. Unlike the wisdom of this world, our Father in heaven desires for us to live not only well but more importantly right.

Certainly our Father loves us with an everlasting love and desires for us to live well, but to that end He is not primarily concerned about our happiness as much as He is concerned about our holiness.  God understands that true long-term happiness is found in our holiness and our obedience to Our Father’s instructions who desires the very best for His children.

There is indeed a difference in living well and living right.  According to this world, living well is determined based on what we can see with our physical eyes. Living right is determined by how you achieved, gain and handle what you have.  How did you get that job? How did you get that money? Who did you hurt in the process, and what rule or law did you ignore to achieve your goal?

God not only wants us to live well, but do the right thing even when it is not popular. In this ungodly world how do we create a lifestyle of doing the right thing in the eyes of God?  Pastor Jackson shared that, first begin by showing respect or reverence to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by worshiping Him with both our lips and lifestyle.  We bow down our will and our way to God’s will and His way for our life.  Secondly, we must learn to listen to God and learn not only what to do, but what not to do in this life.  Thirdly, stay away from those who promote stupidity and behave like they have no sense.  Finally, search for wisdom and understanding wherever you may find yourself.

Amazing things happen when you begin to hang out with God and obey His instruction for your life. You will begin to discover who you are in Christ and who your real friends are and with those you should and shouldn’t be connecting.  As children of God, there are many things we love but just because we love them it doesn’t mean they are good for us. Remember family, as any loving daddy would do, the decisions God makes in our lives are for our growth that we may grow up and become everything that He desires for us to be.

Built To Last

Luke 6:46-49

What an awesome and timely word this Sunday from Pastor Jackson. Pastor began with an illustration about his choice of cars growing up.  One of the greatest mistakes one can make in life when picking out a vehicle is to base it on the looks instead of its longevity. Pastor spoke about a period in his life when all that mattered was what his car looked like and what kind of stereo system it had in it. He shared how it took him some growing up and maturing to realize that it’s not all about the looks but that it is built to last.

This holds true to our spiritual walk with God in terms of putting more emphasis on the outer person, the flesh instead of evaluating the inner person, the Holy Spirit.  In our text we find Jesus giving a parable and referencing our character to that of someone building a house. He implies how important it is to be obedient to His words and instructions. Jesus shares that at times our actions are not aligned with our words nor our walk.  There are moments when we must evaluate our actions to make sure it lines up with the word of God.  Do people see the Christian we profess in the character that we possess? I have learned that it is easy to act Christian like at church, but God wants to see if we can be that same Christian out of church. This requires changing your mindset from impressing people to impacting people.  It is imperative that we put into practice what we read in the word of God. The more you practice something, the more it will become permanent.

In the text, Jesus asked the question of why be polite and do the opposite of what He asks instead of being obedient?  Obedience will require you to change the way you hear God. In order to grow in Christ and see results, we must apply His word to our lives. We will not see the results nor the growth if we ignore what God is telling us to do. There are times when we need to get away from all the noise of life and get into the presence of God so we can hear Him without distraction.

The enemy will use people, problems and predicaments to distract us from God’s plan and purpose for our lives. Obedience also requires us to trust God. The world will make it look like the enemy is winning, but that is just temporary because we know that victory comes to those who trust God and stay the course.

Jesus gives the parable of a builder building his house on sand instead of a solid foundation. The house built on sand cannot withstand the storms, but that which is built on a solid foundation will last through the storms. This is why having a foundation in the word of God and being obedient to it is so vital to the believer’s life.

When the New Beginnings Fellowship Church began in 2004 Pastor Jackson imparted into the congregation that “Obedience Pays Off”. I’m sure at the time we never imagined what our obedience would produce but after 13 years, we can truly say the obedience is still paying off. Family, God has so much in store for you and all He asks is for us to be obedient to His word and watch Him bless you beyond your imagination.

Thunder on Thursday – Dr. Jazz

Fighting Temptation (The devil never made him do it)

by Vanessa M. Fry

Hardship will happen in life not because of anything we’ve done or as a result of punishment but instead, God will allow us to face adversity to test our character. Developing character is crucial in order for God to take us to new levels. Developing character takes time and isolation, it is in our hidden-ness our purpose is formed. The bible shows us Jesus was hidden for the vast majority of His life. It was during those hidden years He spent time with God that lead Him up to one of His greatest purposes in life: His death and resurrection for the redemption of man. This was no small task, but character was crucial in Jesus’ life and so shall it be in ours for us to fulfill Gods’ purpose in our lives.

Just like our Savior Jesus Christ, once God develops us in private, He’ll show us off in public. God affirmed Jesus by claiming Him in public. God celebrated Jesus by opening the heavens and descending as a dove.  God then identified Jesus to everyone as “My Son” so there was no doubt as to who He was to anyone including His (Jesus’) enemies. After character has been developed, responsibility follows.

God knew Jesus was responsible because of the time they spent together developing character and because of how Jesus responded publicly. Jesus proved He could handle both rights and responsibility. This is why God, the same Spirit that led Jesus to the water for baptism, lead Jesus to the wilderness. God will never allow us to go into the wilderness if He knows we cannot handle it. Yet God allows us to enter the wilderness because God wants to make sure we have an authentic shout and not just a facade.

Hardship will happen in life but when we praise God in the midst of pain, we’re proving we have relationship and not religion with Him. Furthermore, we’re signaling to both God and the devil that we’re not just playing church on Sunday, but that our worship is for real. Because the one thing the enemy cannot stand is a wounded worshipper. Satan’s last and greatest temptation was in exchange for Jesus to worship him. But the devil never made Him do it. Jesus stood firm and used the Word of God as His sword to defeat Satan. Our Savior did not fall into temptation.  When temptation arises remember praise is our weapon. The only way we can conquer and fight any temptation is with our worship and with God’s Word.

Dr. Jasmin Sculark
Victory Grace Center
Bladensburg, MD

Are You Ready To Rumble?

Genesis 32: 22-26

What a timely word on Sunday from our guest preacher Pastor Reginald Bell Jr. He broke down the story of Jacob wrestling with God in a very impactful way.  In life there is one thing for certain that each of us has in common and that is that we either are wrestling or have wrestled with something in life. The question is not will we win, but God said if you stay in the fight, victory is yours.

Our relationship with God secures our victory so it doesn’t matter what life throws at you. You can handle whatever you may be wrestling with because of your relationship with God. Sometimes the problem can seem big, but keep in mind that we serve a bigger God. Pastor Bell explained what to expect when we are wrestling with our problems.

There will be moments of solitude as we are wrestling with our problems. It may seem like you are facing that problem all by yourself, but remember God said He would never leave you nor forsake you. Therefore you may not trace Him, but that is when we must trust and believe He is with us.

There are moments in life when God has to put us in isolation so we may receive His revelation. Just because you may feel alone doesn’t mean you are alone.  God wants you to lean and depend solely on Him.

As we wrestle with a situation, we may even become wounded. Most of the wounds that we have are not visible to those who encounter us because they are deeply rooted. They can be physical, emotional, spiritual and relational. Regardless of the wound you are dealing with, the most important question is what you have done about it? God said the fact that we are wounded makes us a prime candidate to be a witness to the world of His power and love. The key to overcoming whatever your wound may be is to never let go of God. You may feel like giving up, throwing in the towel and quitting, but hold on your blessing is right around the corner.

When you hold on and hang in there that is telling God I trust you.  There is strength in your struggle that will make you stronger physically and spiritually. Now we can have confidence in the fact that whatever we face in life we have the victory because it’s a fixed fight. Family, continue to hold on to God and always trust His plan for your life.

What’s Inside Will Come Out

Proverbs 28:1

What a timely message from our Pastor on Sunday. He caused us to examine our lives to see who or what is influencing our decisions in life. You can tell what or who is influencing us based on how we behave. It is certainly true that what’s on the inside will come out.

In verse 1 of Proverbs 28 we see the contrast of one who is being influenced by that which is wicked and one who is being influenced by that which is righteous.  Those who desert God’s wisdom for their lives are like a person who is running away from something that is not chasing them. In the message version it states, “the wicked are edgy with guilt, ready to run off even when no one’s after them.”  When we consistently disobey God and do things our own way, it produces guilt and mistrust of others.

You will always think someone is out to expose your dirt or you will falsely interpret statements or questions from others because of the guilt of your choices. God gives us a contrast to the wicked in the one who seeks to consistently make choices that are pleasing to God. The text says that those who seek to make their ways pleasing to God are relaxed, confident and bold as a lion.

The Bible never commands us to be perfect, but speaks of the believer growing in righteousness or right living. If the truth be told in all of our lives, righteousness is like a person taking four steps forward and one step backwards. Sometimes we fall but Our Father is there to pick us up.  Sometimes we stumble but with power of the Holy Spirit, we catch ourselves before we go all the way down.

Let’s thank God for the Holy Spirit that causes us to do right when our flesh would do wrong. As believers when walking in obedience to God, we are like the lion that’s able to stand and walk even in the midst of those who would love to destroy and remove him from the food chain but simply can’t. Yes, the weapon will be formed and Satan would love to destroy your testimony but it just won’t work. Satan comes to steal, kill and destroy, but our God came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. Because of Christ we can live relaxed, confident and bold as a lion as we seek to make our ways pleasing to God.

Stay Woke and Remain Clothed

Revelation 16: 12-15 NIV

When the believer reads the book of Revelation, it is a source of encouragement for those that are connected to Christ. There are some people in life who want the crown without the cross, rewards without responsibility, and to get to the reward without going through anything.  As we look at this text through the eyes of Christ we understand that challenges that we go through in life are not necessarily tribulation, but preparation for God to take us to the next level in Christ.

Some of us have been crying and going through tough times in our lives. Our attention has been focused on the problem and not the problem solver. If this is the case, be mindful that we serve a God that’s bigger than all of our problems put together and then some.  Remember, God knows what He’s doing when He directly or indirectly sends or allows trouble and pain to come our way.  Our Father sees kings and queens in His children. We may not always see it, but God sees things in us that we don’t always see in ourselves.

There is always a process before promotion and production takes place in our lives.  So when we start experiencing hard times just know that God is up to something great in our lives and if we will just hold on to God’s purpose, we won’t trip during His process.  Why do people ask for blessings, but are not prepared to handle them? One of the worst things in life is not the idea of not getting your blessing, but getting your blessing and not being prepared for it and lose it. Our heavenly father certainly does not want us to have something that we are not prepared for because he knows it can destroy us if we are not prepared to handle it.  That said we should thank God for what seems like tribulations in our life for we know that it is only preparation for next level blessings.

Stay awake with your spiritual eyes in a position of expectancy standing and waiting for God to show up like a thief and bless you when you least expect.  Stay clothed in righteousness and faith until your change comes. When God shows up He will not only surprise you, but your enemies too.  They will be amazed at how God moved in your situation.