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Thursday, October 30, 2008

When Jesus come to your house

Luke 10:38-42
Our scripture text scene takes place where Jesus visits two sisters whom no doubt loved Him very much, but from the story Martha misplaced her priorities when it came to worshiping the Lord. Martha busies herself making things perfect while Jesus taught fellow believers and her sister Mary. Mary recognized the most important of service which is giving undivided devotion to Jesus and His Word, meaning when Jesus come to your house, He want your unconditional love, prayer, worship and fellowship with Him. He is not looking for beautiful clean edifices, but your clean heart and soul; a clean edifice is good, but a purified soul is better. How do we get a purified soul is by studying His Word, so that we may live godly lives, keep an open line of communication through prayer, establishing a fellowship with Jesus by daily walking with Him and resisting temptation with the aid of the Holy Spirit.

Let’s restate the question, when Jesus come to your house what will you be doing? Will you be ready to receive Him or will you have to clean a space for Him? Will Jesus find a receptive worship environment or will He have to stand at the door and knock? When Jesus come to your house will you say “come in my Savior I am ready to serve thee”.


Unity among the brethern (believers)
Psalm 133:1

Let’s begin this topical discussion by asking, what is unity? Unity can be defined as being on one accord, or togetherness in an idea, fellowship, action or a common doctrine. Also, unity can be seen as a group/body operating as one. Then how can believers function as one body? Just as Jesus and God, the Father operates as one so must believers come together in one love, faith, holiness, and one spirit to bring about unity that Jesus prayed His followers would established in John 17. The Holy Spirit cannot operate where there is division; Jesus knew this and prayed His followers would develop a unifying spirit which is undergirded by love.

The unity that is being spoken of is not just organizational unity but unity in the spirit, which is based on living in Christ Jesus that comes from knowing Him and His father and their love. Also, believers are to be unified in being separation from the world, sanctified in the truth, receiving and believing the true Word of God, then obedience to the Word and a desire to bring salvation to a lost world. Believers can bring salvation to a lost world by (a) witnessing, telling others about Jesus, (b) daily living for God, (c) using our spiritual gifts to edify the body of Christ, and (d) obeying the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Finally, for believers to be and remain in unity is to have the mind of Christ and follow His example of being totally united with His Father knowing that there is “One Lord, one faith and one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:5-6).

In closing, the believer’s body consists of many members; one body, the spiritual body of Christ consists of many members; one body. Thank God for a unifying spirit. Praises!

Friday, October 17, 2008



This week’s discussion is the results of research on Halloween, its origin, and how it came to America, some of the people involved and their beliefs. This study was prompted by a question on Halloween, why the dark customs, how did the pumpkin become involved, and what biblical significance does Halloween hold? The discussion below is quoted from http://www.history.com/ .

Halloween's origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in). The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other's fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of "bobbing" for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.
By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints' Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints' Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls' Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints', and All Souls', were called Hallowmas.

How did Halloween get to America?
As European immigrants came to America, they brought their varied Halloween customs with them. Because of the rigid Protestant belief systems that characterized early New England, celebration of Halloween in colonial times was extremely limited there.

It was much more common in Maryland and the southern colonies. As the beliefs and customs of different European ethnic groups, as well as the American Indians, meshed, a distinctly American version of Halloween began to emerge. The first celebrations included "play parties," public events held to celebrate the harvest, where neighbors would share stories of the dead, tell each other's fortunes, dance, and sing. Colonial Halloween festivities also featured the telling of ghost stories and mischief-making of all kinds. By the middle of the nineteenth century, annual autumn festivities were common, but Halloween was not yet celebrated everywhere in the country.

In the second half of the nineteenth century, America was flooded with new immigrants. These new immigrants, especially the millions of Irish fleeing Ireland's potato famine of 1846, helped to popularize the celebration of Halloween nationally. Taking from Irish and English traditions, Americans began to dress up in costumes and go house to house asking for food or money, a practice that eventually became today's "trick-or-treat" tradition. Young women believed that, on Halloween, they could divine the name or appearance of their future husband by doing tricks with yarn, apple parings, or mirrors.

In the late 1800s, there was a move in America to mold Halloween into a holiday more about community and neighborly get-togethers, than about ghosts, pranks, and witchcraft.
At the turn of the century, Halloween parties for both children and adults became the most common way to celebrate the day. Parties focused on games, foods of the season, and festive costumes. Parents were encouraged by newspapers and community leaders to take anything "frightening" or "grotesque" out of Halloween celebrations. Because of their efforts, Halloween lost most of its superstitious and religious overtones by the beginning of the twentieth century.
By the 1920s and 1930s, Halloween had become a secular, but community-centered holiday, with parades and town-wide parties as the featured entertainment. Despite the best efforts of many schools and communities, vandalism began to plague Halloween celebrations in many communities during this time. By the 1950s, town leaders had successfully limited vandalism and Halloween had evolved into a holiday directed mainly at the young. Due to the high numbers of young children during the fifties baby boom, parties moved from town civic centers into the classroom or home, where they could be more easily accommodated. Between 1920 and 1950, the centuries-old practice of trick-or-treating was also revived. Trick-or-treating was a relatively inexpensive way for an entire community to share the Halloween celebration. In theory, families could also prevent tricks being played on them by providing the neighborhood children with small treats. A new American tradition was born, and it has continued to grow. Today, Americans spend an estimated $6.9 billion annually on Halloween, making it the country's second largest commercial holiday.

How did the tradition of “trick-or-treat” come about?
The American tradition of "trick-or-treating" probably dates back to the early All Souls' Day parades in England. During the festivities, poor citizens would beg for food and families would give them pastries called "soul cakes" in return for their promise to pray for the family's dead relatives.

The distribution of soul cakes was encouraged by the church as a way to replace the ancient practice of leaving food and wine for roaming spirits. The practice, which was referred to as "going a-souling" was eventually taken up by children who would visit the houses in their neighborhood and be given ale, food, and money.

The tradition of dressing in costume for Halloween has both European and Celtic roots. Hundreds of years ago, winter was an uncertain and frightening time. Food supplies often ran low and, for the many people afraid of the dark, the short days of winter were full of constant worry. On Halloween, when it was believed that ghosts came back to the earthly world, people thought that they would encounter ghosts if they left their homes. To avoid being recognized by these ghosts, people would wear masks when they left their homes after dark so that the ghosts would mistake them for fellow spirits. On Halloween, to keep ghosts away from their houses, people would place bowls of food outside their homes to appease the ghosts and prevent them from attempting to enter.

Remaining questions, What does this research findings say about true faith in Jesus Christ? The question on reincarnation, are people reincarnated requires further research. What happens to man soul? This answer can be found in Ecclesiastes 3:21 & 12:7, Psalm 16:9-11; 45:15; 73:23-26; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2-3. A short answer to the question is, the human body is comprised of a trinity, the spirit, soul and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12) as God is a Trinity. The three components of the human body, only the soul and spirit are indestructible which survives death, either to live in heaven or hell.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

There will be a Harvest

Mark 10:2, Ecclesiastes 3:1-2

Allow me to paint a farming picture of the stages the farmer goes through before he can harvest his crops. First, the farmer decides what and where he going to plant his seeds, second he cultivates the soil getting it ready to plant his seeds, third, he plants his seeds , fourth, he waters, fertilizes, till and de-weed his young plants. But, before the farmer’s planted seed breaks the top soil God in His divine scientific methods causes the planted seeds to germinate and reproduce a growing plant from that which was planted. It is at this stage the farmer nurtures the young plant until it grows and produces the desired harvest (crop).

All praises to God for harvest time- it is at this time the farmer gathers his crop (believers), the good he stores in his barn (heaven) for his desired use and the bad harvest is cast off (hell). The moral of this story is that God is the farmer, the seed is His Word, the fields are all nations (unsaved), and the young plants are new believers in Christ who hears the Word of God and allow it to germinate in their hearts. At some point all believers were new creatures in Christ; and our nurture (watering, fertilizing, tilling and de-weeding) came from mature Christians who tilled God’s soil and young plants (believers) until they became ready for harvesting. Those mature believers adheres to God’s command to “go” out into “all nations”, making other disciples through preaching and teaching His Word, because the “harvest is great, but the laborers are few.” This brings to mind several question, believers, being in the good crop when the farmer (God) gathers His crops, what will God say for the works you have done? Unbelievers, the cast off crops goes to hell, have you decided where you wants to spend eternity? There is going to be a harvest!

Author’s contact: email: white3285@sbcglobal.net, blog: http://willie-writing.blogspot.com, website: www.goodshepherdwritingandpublishing.com.

Monday, October 6, 2008

God's Supply Line

Philippians 4:19

While listening to my pastor’s (Rev. Solomon Smith Sr. New Hope Missionary Baptist Church) sermon this past Sunday, his title was “A blank check on the bank of heaven.” While he was preaching several questions came to mind, what pens are being used to write our checks? Are we using the pen 0f faith? Are we using the pen of trust and or belief in God’s Word? Finally, why would God issue a blank check to humanity cashable on heaven’s bank account?

Let’s answer the above questions by looking at each pen required to fill-in our blank check. First, the pen of “faith” is required by believers to write our check to God on heaven’s bank account. All humanity who writes with the pen of faith has taken God at His word when He states that He “shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The word “shall” is our assurance that God will keep His Word. Another school of thought is that God, the Father gave His best for mankind, and we must accept His Son as our savior in faith, then our faith in God that He is our true source for all our needs. Finally, mankind’s faith is our belief that (a) God is supreme and has no beginning and no ending, (b) God is all knowing, and everywhere and (c) He is the sustainer of all life from beginning to end. Second, believers can use the pen of “trust” to complete our God issued blank check knowing that the check will be cashed based on the word “shall.”

Additionally, believers who have placed their trust in God can say like the psalmist David when he states that “The Lord is my shepherd, and I shall not want.” David and all humanity who has placed their trust in the Lord know the true meaning of a shepherd. A shepherd cares for “all” needs of his sheep, and all mankind is God’s sheep. Additionally, believers have 1 Peter 5:7 where we are encouraged to “cast all our cares on Him.” The “Him” is the Lord God Himself. Why would God ask mankind to cast our cares on Him if He could not or were not going to meet our needs? First, God is a God of truth, and there is not failure in Him. Second, God is love and it is His love that asks humanity to bring all your problems, concerns and needs to me.

Finally, we have the pen of “belief” to complete our blank check written on heaven’s bank account. The question now becomes, what do we believe? Do we believe that God is the creator and sustainer of all life? Do we believe that Christ is God’s Son? Do we believe that Christ died for the sins of the world to bring salvation to mankind and all who accept Him as their savior shall be saves? Do you believe that it was God’s love for humanity that caused Him to give His best for mankind? If the answers to these questions are “I believe”, then we can use the pen of belief to write any check to God with assurances that it will be cashed.

Closing this discussion with a question of who is our supply line? Based on our discussion scripture we see God as the true source of supplying our needs. We have identified three pens believers can use to fill-in our God issued blank check; the pen of faith is our firm belief in God for who He is. More importantly, He can take care of all our needs; after all He is the creator and then there is the pen of trust. Trust is the confidence believers have in God and His provisional care. God’s provisional care encompasses all aspects of human life (spiritual and physical). Reflect with the writer on Genesis 1:1 when God created the heavens and earth, He did not abandon His creations, nor can He be viewed as a masterful watch maker who winds up his watch and leave it until another winding is needed; to the contrary God tenderly cares for all creation, this includes mankind. Man is looked upon as His special creation because we have the spirit of God living within us. Several of the psalms (104, 145) testify of God provisional care as does Job (38-41) and finally John 3:16-17 testifies of the true heart of God and His love for all humanity.

Finally, we have the belief pen used in cashing in on God’s promise of care. Our believe can be combined with faith and trust because believers have the assurances that when presenting our needs check to God drawn on heaven’s bank account, the cashier, Jesus Christ will issue the requested cash. All is cashed in love. Present your check to Jesus Christ, the cashier.

Author’s contact: Email; white3285@sbcglobal.netBlog: http://willie-writing.blogspot.com, www.goodshpeherdwritingandpublishing.com