BEWARE OF THE PAST. DON'T LET THE ENEMY TRICK YOU INTO LOOKING THERE. ONCE WE LOOK, WE BEGIN TO STARE. NEXT THING YOU KNOW, WE ARE STUCK. OUR MOTTO TODAY IS ... "MOVING FORWARD...NO TURNING BACK!" GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST!
GOD IS SHOWING HIMSELF STRONG AND MIGHTY. HE IS IN THIS SEASON, ALLOWING OUR SITUATIONS TO BACK US UP AGAINST THE WALL, WHERE WE HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE BUT TO TRUST HIM. HE IS TEACHING US TO LET GO AND LET GOD (For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it-HEB 12:11). AND FOR THOSE THAT DO NOT BELIEVE AND HAVE NOT RECEIVED HIM, YOU BETTER KNOW THAT BEFORE IT IS ALL OVER, AT THE NAME OF JESUS, EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW IN HEAVEN, ON EARTH AND UNDER THE EARTH AND EVERY TONGUE SHALL CONFESS THAT JESUS IS LORD TO THE GLORY OF THE FATHER (PHIL 2:10) TO THOSE WHOSE NAMES ARE ALREADY WRITTEN IN THE LAMBS BOOK OF LIFE, LET US GET READY TO REAP THE HARVEST. FOR ALL THAT THE FATHER HAVE GIVEN JESUS ARE HIS AND NOT ONLY WILL HE NOT CAST THEM OUT. BUT HE WILL NOT RETURN UNTIL THE REAPING IS COMPLETE (HE ALREADY KNOWS THE #). REMEMBER: SALVATION IS NEARER NOW THAN WHEN WE 1ST BELIEVED-ROM 13:11. HAVE A BLESSED DAY SAINTS.
Jesus is the Way - a road, a path, a highway affording passage. Passage from darkness and into the marvelous light.
Jesus is the Way - a doorway, a gateway through which leads to a straight path. A narrow way of righteousness.
Jesus is the Way - a lifestyle, a code of conduct. A measurement of the way I am suppose to be.
Jesus is the Way - a state, of mind, a consciousness, a thought pattern. "Let this mind be in me which is also in Christ Jesus".
Jesus is the Way - of discovering who I really am; My purpose & destiny. He is in me. I am in Him. We are one.
Jesus is the Only Way!
A child hurting because of life.
Crying, whimpering loud sobs full of tears;
Feeling as if he has been here too long.
Aged emotionally yet, young in years.
A victim of spiritual wickedness within an environment of hate. Locked-out, locked-in and locked-up.
Seemingly he is trapped in hell's gate.
A young man hustling to make ends meet.
Dealing, slinging, banging; whatever it takes to survive.
A lost lil soul and his maze is the street.
Chaos, confusion and drama is his labyrinth of choice;
In a world where he is counted as nothing.
Just a name in the street without even a voice.
In his world, sexual perversion, hatred and drugs are the norm.
On his eyes the scales grew.
He did'nt even know that a Savior was born.
No morals at home; no more prayer in the school.
No one to teach him the Golden Rule.
A grown-up man now, still hurting because of life.
Inside now he is crying.His spirit is broken.
He is trying so hard but, he can't get it right.
He walks the streets like a zombie. Dead man walking you could say.
Broken in spirit with a heart so contrite. Suddenly, he comes to himself and hears a voice on his way.
"If you are weary, heavy-laden and tired.
Run to me, come to me, yield to me. Harden not your heart on this day".
A saved man now, finally he has found joy & peace.
No suffering in his world now is worthy to be compared to the love of Christ. And His promises and hope that will never cease.
by Carole Noel Johnson
I AM BLOGGING THIS IN AN ATTEMPT TO EXAMINE AND ANSWER THE AGE OLD QUESTION, “ AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?”
IN SCRIPTURE, THIS QUESTION IS FOUND IN GENESIS, CHPT. 4 VERSE 9. IN THIS TEXT, GOD CONFRONTS CAIN AFTER HE HAS KILLED HIS BROTHER ABEL. GOD ASKED CAIN, “WHERE IS YOUR BROTHER?” & CAIN ANSWERS …“AM I MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?”
IN AN ATTEMPT TO ANSWER THIS QUESTION, FIRST, LET US EXAMINE, “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A KEEPER”: THE TRANSLATION OF KEEPER IN HEBREW IS SHAMAR. IN IT’S VERB TENSE, IT MEANS TO GUARD, TO PROTECT, TO KEEP OR TO WATCH OVER; TO CARE FOR AS A PARENT DOES FOR A CHILD.
AS YOU CAN SEE FROM THIS DESCRIPTION ALONE, THE GRAVITY OF THE DUTIES OF A SHAMAR ARE GREAT.
THEY ARE LIKENED UNTO THE MANDATE IN PHILIPPIANS CHPT. 2 VERSE 4, WHICH READS, “LOOK NOT EVERY MAN ON HIS OWN THINGS, BUT EVERY MAN ALSO ON THE THINGS OF OTHERS”.
IN CONTEXT, CHPT 2 OF THIS BOOK LETS US KNOW THAT JUST AS JESUS WAS AND IS A SERVANT TO MANKIND AND THOUGHT IT NOT ROBBERY TO BE SO, SO SHOULD WE BE ONE TO ANOTHER. THIS BEING ESTABLISHED, THE NEXT THING TO CONSIDERED WOULD BE ...WHO IS MY BROTHER/SISTER?
JESUS ASKED A SIMILAR QUESTION IN MARK CHPT 3 VERSES 31-35 ,AS HE SAT AMONGST HIS FRIENDS AND FOES. HERE, HIS MOTHER AND BROTHER COME LOOKING FOR HIM AND THE MULTITUDE OF PEOPLE THAT SAT WITH HIM BEGIN TO SAY, “YOUR MOTHER AND YOUR BROTHER ARE LOOKING FOR YOU”, TO THAT HE RESPONDS, “WHO IS MY MOTHER OR MY BRETHREN?” HE THEN LOOKS ALL AROUND HIMSELF AND STATES, “BEHOLD, MY MOTHER AND MY BROTHERS. FOR WHOEVER DOES THE WILL OF MY FATHER IS MY BROTHER, MY SISTER AND SO ON”. IN OTHER WORDS, THOSE WHO BELIEVE AS I DO, OR HAVE THINGS IN COMMON WITH ME, TO THEM SHALL I BE THEIR SHAMAR. AND THIS IS STILL THE MIND-SET OF THE CHURCH TODAY. ONLY THOSE IN OUR INNER CIRCLES. THOSE IN OUR FAMILIES, IN OUR CHURCHES AND IN OUR COMMUNITIES, DO WE CONSIDER TO BE OUR RESPONSIBILITY. THIS “CLANNISH” MENTALITY IS A MISCONCEPTION OF JESUS'S TEACHINGS AND UNFORTUNATELY, IS HOW WE TREAT THOSE WE CONSIDER OUTSIDERS – NOT BELONGING TO THE CHURCH OR HAVING A FAMILY REPRESENTATIVE IN THE CHURCH AND SO ON - IF WE ARE HONEST WE DON’T REALLY CONSIDER THEM TO BE OUR RESPONSIBILITY.
BUT, I SUBMIT TO YOU THAT THIS MENTALITY IS NOT SYNONYMOUS WITH JESUS’S CONCEPT ABOUT WHO OUR BROTHERS ARE. IN FACT, HIS IDEA OF WHO ARE BROTHERS ARE GOES BEYOND OUR IMMEDIATE CIRCLES – THE SCRIPTURE MAKES THIS CLEAR IN ACTS CHPT 1 VERSE 8 WHERE JESUS COMMAND US TO BE WITNESSES OF HIS GOSPEL UNTO THE UTTERMOST PARTS OF THE EARTH FOR THE SAVING OF SOULS. IT MATTERS NOT IF YOU DON'T KNOW THEM. FROM THE UTTERMOST TO THE GUTTER MOST WE ARE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER.
NO CLEARER ILLUSTRATION OF THIS IS GIVEN THAN THAT OF THE PARABLE OF THE GOOD SAMARITAN IN LUKE CHPT. 10 VERSES 29-37. HERE, AGAIN THE QUESTION IS ASKED, “WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR?’
THIS TIME BY A JEWISH LAWYER WHO KNEW THAT ACCORDING TO LAW, A HEBREW WAS NOT TO ATTEND TO, CARE FOR OR WATCH OVER ANY ONE IN NEED OUTSIDE THE HEBREW RACE.
HOWEVER, IN THIS STORY, WE SEE THE ONE IN NEED OF HELP TO BE A HEBREW. AND, A PRIEST AND A LEVITE CAME AT SEPARATE TIMES AND SAW HIS NEED. ALTHOUGH, IT WAS NOT ONLY PERMISSIBLE, BUT ALSO LAWFUL FOR EITHER OF THEM TO HAVE ATTENDED TO THIS HEBREW’S NEED. UNFORTUNATELY, WE SEE THAT NEITHER OF THEM WERE THEIR BROTHER’S KEEPER.
THEN, JEUS SAYS A SAMARITAN WITH WHOM THE JEWS HAD NO DEALINGS CAME ALONG. AND, NOT ONLY DID THIS SAMARITAN ATTEND TO THE HEBREW’S IMMEDIATE NEED, BUT HE PROVIDED SHELTER FOR HIM AND MADE PROVISION FOR HIS FUTURE NEEDS. TO HIM HE WAS HIS BROTHER’S KEEPER. HERE WE SEE THAT NOT ONLY ARE WE TO BE A KEEPER TO THOSE WITHIN OUR HOUSEHOLDS, OUR INNER-CIRCLES AND SUCH, BUT ALSO TO THOSE WHO ARE WITHOUT.
GALATIANS 6:10 AMP. VERSION, READS, “ So then, as occasion and opportunity open up to us, let us do good [[i]morally] to ALL people [not only [j]being useful or profitable to them, but also doing what is for their spiritual good and advantage].
FINALLY. BECAUSE OF THE WEIGHT OF RESPONSIBILITY IT CARRIES, BEING A SHAMAR IS SOMETHING WE COULD SAY, MORE EASILY SAID THAN DONE. YES, JESUS IS A SHAMAR TO US ALL, BUT AFTER ALL HE IS JESUS, THE SON OF THE MOST HIGH GOD. SO, THE THING TO CONSIDER NOW WOULD BE: “CAN WE BE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER OR “DO WE HAVE THE CAPACITY OR CAPABILITY TO ACTUALLY TO BE A SHAMAR?”
SCRIPTURE TELLS US IN THE BOOK OF JOHN THAT BECAUSE WE BELIEVE ON JESUS, THE WORKS THAT HE DID AND GREATER WORKS SHALL WE DO. SCRIPTURE ALSO TELLS US THAT IF YOU ARE LED BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD, YOU ARE THE SON OF THE GOD!
*** GOOD NEWS FOR THE SISTERS. BECAUSE, ACCORDING TO GALATIANS CHPT 3 VERSE 28, THERE IS NO GENDER IN GOD.
THEREFORE, WE TOO ARE IN THE LINE OF SUCCESSION - HEIRS AND JOINT HEIRS WITH CHRIST. AND, LIKE OUR BROTHERS, WE TOO HAVE THE WHERE WITH ALL AND THE RESPONSIBILITY TO BE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER.
FURTHERMORE, FURTHER DOWN IN PHILIPPIANS CHPT 2 THE SCRIPTURE TELLS US THAT “IT IS GOD WHO WORKS IN US BOTH TO WILL AND TO DO HIS GOOD PLEASURE”, AND WE KNOW THAT IT IS THE FATHER’S GOOD PLEASURE FOR US TO BE OUR BROTHER’S KEEPER.
SISTERS AND BROTHERS, YOU ARE A SHAMAR BECAUSE, YOU HAVE IT IN YOU.
I KNOW THESE DAYS IT IS DIFFICULT TO THINK OF ANYONE BUT OURSELVES.
IN THESES END TIMES, VIOLENCE AND HOSTILITY ARE COMMON PLACE WHICH CAUSES US TO FEAR; THEREFORE, WE ARE RELUCTANT TO DEAL WITH FOLK AS SHAMARS. INSTEAD, WE MIND OUR OWN BUSINESS.
WITH ECONOMIC PRESSURES AND SUCH IT MAKES IT VERY DIFFICULT TO THINK OF ANYONE ELSE BUT OURSELVES. BUT GOD, NOT ONLY DESIRES US TO, BUT REQUIRES US TO ASK OURSELVES DAILY - HOW CAN I SERVE SOMEONE TODAY? HOW CAN I BE MY BROTHER’S KEEPER?
WE LAY BLAME ON THE GOVERNMENT FOR SOCIETY'S WOES, WHEN IN FACT IT IS THE MAN AND WOMAN OF GOD WHO HAS BEEN GIVEN THE AUTHORITY AND THE CHARGE TO SUBDUE AND HAVE DOMINION OVER THE EARTH.
SO I ASK YOU, AS GOD ASKED CAIN IN VERSE 10 OF GENESIS CHPT. 4 “WHAT HAS THOU DONE?” IN OTHER WORDS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING FOR YOUR BRETHREN? ARE YOU PRAYING FOR THEM? ARE YOU ATTENDING TO THEIR NEEDS? ARE YOU PREACHING TO THOSE WITHOUT, THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST? ARE YOU YOUR BROTHERS KEEPER?
BECAUSE, WHEN YOU DO NOTHING, THE VOICE OF YOUR BROTHER’S BLOOD CRYING OUT FROM THE EARTH. AND, AS GOD REMINDED EZEKIEL IN EZEKIEL CHPT 33, “HE HAS APPOINTED YOU AS A WATCHMAN – A SHAMAR! AND, IF YOU DO NOT COME FORTH AS SUCH, YOUR BROTHER’S BLOOD WILL BE REQUIRED AT YOUR HAND.
SO I CHALLENGE MY READERS TO LOOK IN THE MIRROR EVERY MORNING, EXAMINE YOUR HEART'S MOTIVE AND REMIND YOURSELF DAILY WHO YOU ARE BY SAYING, “I AM MY BROTHER'S KEEPER!"
I COME BY WAY OF EXHORTATION AND ENCOURAGEMENT TO SAY, IF YOU ARE A MINISTER OF THE GOSPEL, (APOSTOLIC/PROPHETIC ANOINTING, etc.) ON KINGDOM ASSIGNMENT (FORERUNNERS), ON THE WAY TO YOUR GOD ORDAINED DESTINY, YOU WILL UNDOUBTEDLY EXPERIENCE TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS, HINDRANCES, FRUSTRATIONS, ETC. ALONG THE WAY.
THE KEY TO PERSEVERING AND OVERCOMING SUCH THINGS IS NOT TO LIE DOWN OR ABORT YOUR MINISTRY AND/OR YOUR ASSIGNMENT WHILE YOUR GOING THROUGH. RATHER, KEEP DOING THE WORK OF THE MINISTRY EVEN WHILE UNDER THE WEIGHT OF YOUR TRIAL, BECAUSE, YOUR ASSIGNMENT AND YOUR DESTINY IS DIRECTLY RELATED TO YOUR PRESS.
DON’T ABORT: OPEN YOUR EYES, “THERE IS A WELL SPRING OF HOPE IN YOUR VALLEY OF BACA”
GEN. 21:14-20: NIV 14 Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba.
15 When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. 16 Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she[c] began to sob.
17 God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. 18 Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.”
19 Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.
20 God was with the boy as he grew up. He lived in the desert and became an archer. 21 While he was living in the Desert of Paran, his mother got a wife for him from Egypt.
IN GEN. 21:14-20, HAGAR WAS SUFFERING IN THE WILDERNESS AND HAD HAD ENOUGH. HISTORICALLY, THE PLACE WHERE SHE AND ISMAEL FOUND THEMSELVES AFTER THE EXILE WAS CALLED THE “VALLEY OF BACA” – IN HEBREW – THE PLACE OF SORROWS (REPRESENTATIVE OF ANY PLACE IN LIFE THAT CAUSES SORROW – TRIALS, TRIBULATIONS, DRY PLACES, ETC.)
SO, IN VERSE 15, THE SCRIPTURE SAYS, IN HER DISTRESS, SHE CAST HER CHILD ISMAEL UNDER A SHRUB, THEN SHE HERSELF WENT A BOW SHOT AWAY, FELL DOWN AND BEGAN TO WEEP. NOW ISMAEL REPRESENTS HER MINISTRY AND/OR HER ASSIGNMENT, AND INEVITABLY HER PROMISE AND/OR HER DESTINY. IN GEN 16:6-13, WHEN HAGAR RAN AWAY, AND THE ANGEL OF THE LORD (EL ROI) SAW HER IN THE WILDERNESS ABOUT TO DIE, HE INFORMED HER THAT SHE WAS WITH CHILD AND ASSIGNED HER TO RETURN HOME, TO BE OBEDIENT TO HER MISTRESS AND TO RAISE ISMAEL (HER ASSIGNMENT). ALSO, IN GEN 17:20 GOD PROMISED ABRAHAM THAT ISMAEL WOULD BE THE FATHER OF A GREAT NATION (HER DESTINY). HAD THE ANGEL OF THE LORD NOT REDIRECTED HAGAR, HAGAR WOULD NOT HAVE KNOWN SHE WAS PREGNANT WITH PROMISE AND DESTINY AND WOULD HAVE ABORTED HER ASSIGNMENT AND HER DESTINY. IN GEN. 21, THE ANGEL OF THE LORD HAD TO AGAIN REMIND HER OF THE PROMISE, AND INSTRUCTED HER TO GET ISMAEL FROM WHERE SHE PUT HIM DOWN AND CONTINUE ON WITH HER ASSIGNMENT .
JUST LIKE HAGAR HAD TO PRESS HER WAY, NO MATTER WHAT, WE TOO MUST STAY IN THE MOMENTUM OF THE ASSIGNMENT AND PRESS. BECAUSE, YOUR ASSIGNMENT AND YOUR DESTINY IS DIRECTLY DEPENDENT UPON YOUR PRESS.
FURTHERMORE, THE STORY CONTINUES IN VERSE 19, WHICH SAYS, "And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink." HERE, THE OPENING OF HER EYES REPRESENTS REVELATION. OFTENTIMES, WHEN WE ARE IN A HARD PLACE, WE CAN’T SEE OR HEAR FROM GOD BECAUSE OF THE STORM AND THE TEARS OF SORROW. BUT, IF WE COULD ONLY GET A REVELATION FROM GOD IT COULD CHANGE OUR MINDS AND EVENTUALLY OUR ENTIRE COURSE OF ACTION, AND PUT US RIGHT BACK ON TRACK TO OUR DESTINY. FURTHERMORE, I BELIEVE THAT THE WELL WAS ALWAYS THERE. SHE COULDN’T SEE IT BECAUSE OF HER DISTRESS. SO, THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD HAD TO PROMPT HER TO SEE THE WELL SPRINGING UP.
SO, I ENCOURAGE YOU: IN THE MIDST OF YOUR TRIAL, STAY BEFORE GOD IN PRAYER AND MEDITATION AND WAIT ON THE REVELATION WITH HOPE AND EXPECTANCY. BECAUSE, IN PS 84:5-7 NIV, THE SCRIPTURE TELLS US "5 Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. 6 As they pass through the Valley of Baka, they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools. 7 They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion."
IN VERSE 5 OF THIS SCRIPTURE, THE PROMISE OF BLESSEDNESS IS TO THOSE WHO DELIGHT THEMSELVES IN THEIR ASSIGNMENT AND IN DOING SO, PUT THEIR TRUST IN GOD'S STRENGTH AND NOT THEIR OWN.
IN VERSE 6, THE PSALMIST SAYS, "As they pass through the Valley of Baka, THEY MAKE IT a place of springs. THE PHRASE, "THEY MAKE IT" IMPLIES A DELIBERATE DECISION TO CHANGE THEIR PERCEPTION AND MAKE THIS PLACE OF SORROW A PLACE OF SPRINGS. A PARADIGM SHIFT OCCURRED IF YOU WILL, WHICH MEANS a change from thinking one way to another; BUT THIS CHANGE doesn't just happen; it is driven by agents of change- GOD IS THE GREATEST CHANGE AGENT THERE IS. One must REVOLUTIONIZE one's thought pattern.
THE VERSE GOES ONTO SAY, "the autumn rains also cover it with pools." THE POET IN ME SEES THE POOLS REPRESENTING THE EMPTY PLACES IN OUR HEARTS AND IN OUR SOULS WHERE THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF LIFE HAVE ERODED OR CAUSE A CRATER JUST BY THEIR IMPACT. THE SCRIPTURE SAYS, THE AUTUMN RAIN IS WHAT FILLS THESE POOLS. AUTUMN, WHICH IS THE EIGHT-MONTH. EIGHT BEING THE NUMBER OF NEW BEGINNINGS - the place of renewal and hope.
FINALLY, IN VERSE 7, THE PSALMIST SAYS, "They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion." ZION IS THE HOPEFUL DESTINATION OF WE WHO HANG ONTO OUR ASSIGNMENT AND HOLD OUT AS WE TRAVEL THIS ROAD ON THE WAY TO OUR DESTINY. EACH TRIAL AND TRIBULATION STRENGTHENING US (NOT DESTROYING US) AS WE MOVE ALONG THE WAY. SO AGAIN I ENCOURAGE YOU AND MYSELF: AS YOU ARE MARCHING UP TO ZION – YOUR DESTINY, AND YOU FIND YOUR SELVES IN A WILDERNESS, RIGHT IN THE MIDST OF YOUR ASSIGNMENT, DON’T ABORT, OPEN YOUR EYES AND SEE A WELL SPRING OF HOPE, FOR YOURSELF AND THEY THAT SHALL BEHOLD YOUR TESTIMONY. THANK YOU FOR LETTING ME SHARE, AGAPE!