"In the Eye of the Storm" (September 11, 2017)
As we contemplate on the fraternity’s national initiative for prayer, I would be remiss if I did not meditate and intercede for the victims of the hurricanes. If you are like me, and have family and friends in Florida, Texas, and in other places affected by the natural disaster, you pray protection for all that are suffering and are preparing to suffer in anticipation for the inevitable. Situations like this really challenge our faith and our capacity for hope. Hope means, "to desire something with confident expectation of its fulfillment." The state of Hopelessness is the antithesis of this and has been aptly described as a type of "Hell on Earth," filled with endless despondency and despair. Today, more and more people are finding themselves alone and depressed. Their depression causes them to hurt others, manipulate, support evil, and even harm themselves. It is dangerous to live a life of hopelessness.
But I have Good news! Help is available! Not the kind the world has wherein it wishes for the best, But Divine help. It is one thing to wish, and quite another to have faith based on the promises of God. Paul wrote that when you place your trust in God, He will fill you with peace, joy, and assurance, (Rom 15:13). Throughout the Bible, God proves His faithfulness to His people by leading them safely through, or delivering them from all their predicaments and troubles. He will never leave nor forsake His people; His plans are to prosper, not to harm us (Jer 29:11). We must remember, people and things will always let us down. In Psalms 33:17, the horse, often used as a symbol of power, is declared a vain hope for deliverance; despite all its great strength, it cannot save the writer. In Jer 17:5 God sternly warns against placing our dependency in man and calls that misplaced dependency a curse.
God wants us to trust in Him. Psalms 147:11 tells us that He is delighted when we put our trust in Him, and in Hebrews 10:23, we are told to rely on Him for He who promised it is faithful to produce it. However, there is a process to deliverance and hope. When we place our faith in God and in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, we then trust Him to take us to Heaven. If we can trust Him with our eternity, surely, we can trust Him with our earthly needs. Jesus said that as God clothes the grass of
the field, so will He clothe us even more. He tells us not to worry about what we shall eat or drink or how we will be clothed. The "heavenly father knoweth that ye have need of all these things," (Matt 6:30-32). So, when you fill like God does not have your best interest at heart, remember brothers, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him," (1 Cor 2:9).
Even if you reach what you consider to be your lowest point, God's Word says He will never leave nor forsake you, (Matt 28:20). He will give you peace and comfort even in the worst of circumstances, lead you through, over, or around the muck and mire of your situation, and again set your feet on solid ground. Our God is the God of new beginnings, with Him, nothing is impossible. Whether you are very young, or considered to be very old, trust in Him because with Him it is always just the beginning. You may even find yourself in such a situation such as a divorce, death of a spouse, loss of health, finances, or whatever forces you to lose hope, but trust in the Lord! Trusting God in difficult times forces us to seek His guidance, and to trust his will. Trusting God through these uncharted waters takes faith and courage, but is worth every effort. The path of His choosing is the only one that leads to true happiness, peace, and hope. Let go of self and cling to God!
Dear brothers, as we begin to set our hearts and minds to pray for our country and our world, and as I pray for EVERY brother in our province, I want to leave you with this message:
“Though the storms keep on raging in my life
And sometimes it's hard to tell my night from day
Still that hope that lies within is reassured
As I keep my eyes upon the distant shore;
I know He'll lead me safely to that
Blessed place He has prepared
But if the storms don't cease
And if the wind keeps on blowing, (in my life)
My soul has been anchored in the Lord”
GOD BLESS KAPPA ALPHA PSI!
"BEAR THE BURDEN" (AUGUST 1, 2017)
We cannot always be a rock to ourselves where we can deal effectively with all pain or sorrow. Sometimes, it is much wiser to appeal to a good friend where you can find solace and understanding. It isn't always easy to open up to another person but speaking about issues of concern will help you to get ill feelings, or experiences out into the light instead of trying to bottle then up and not to admit that you hurt.
No Even Road
And, at the same time, you may also have occasion to be called upon to help bear the burden of a tragic or upsetting life event in another person's life. In each person's life, there are many issues, trials and tribulations that just cannot be avoided no matter how hard one tries to keep on an even track. And, it is all of these occasions that we can help or can lend an empathetic ear. Sometimes people just need someone to listen. Listen without passing judgment.
Do Not Refuse Helping
Everyone who leads a Christian life, a life that is dedicated to modeling the behavior of Christ will find hundreds of situations that call for their assistance. It is not a matter of picking and choosing either. To be alive, and to truly live the word of God means that there is no one that you refuse or that there is no one that is not worthy of your attention, your help or your blessings.
"Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ." Galatians 6:2 (NKJV)
No matter, though, how much you really believe, there is no perfect life just as there is no perfect servant. This means that you must acknowledge your shortcomings and set your goal to be better, to be more accepting of others concerns over and above your own tribulations. To give is more rewarding in the long run for he who gives also receives the bounty of being able to lend a comforting hand.
Bear not the burden alone for you will be forever comforted within the word of God and by those who are with you. Letting others help and being a help to others is a great way to live. Trusting God and talking to Him is also a great comfort.
Needs and Guidance Everywhere
And, if you doubt that there are many, many people who need you to accept their burden along with them, just walk down any street, go into any community center, or any home for abused women or any food bank, and you will find all you need to extend your warmth and caring to. You will also find people whose burdens are a lot heavier than yours. Not only will you help by helping others it will give you an appreciation for all that you have. Help your brother today!
"He (God) can use your strengths and talents to bring victory and blessing into your life and the lives of others." -Jennifer Carter
"WORKING IN MY WEAKNESS" (July 1, 2017)
Although I ended cancer treatment in April 2017, I am still very tired and limited in what I can accomplish as a full-time pastor and professional and in my many relationships with friends, relatives, and neighbors. My experience of weakness has been admittedly frustrating at times, but it has also been, by God’s good and gracious design, very beneficial for me and others. God is pleased to use our various kinds of weakness and limitations to remind us of important truths and refine our trust in him.
Weakness reminds us that our very life depends on God.
Weakness reminds us that our lives are but a vapor, that all flesh is like grass. We are reminded that God provides each and every breath to our lungs and beat of the heart. He has numbered our days (Job 14:5; Psalm 139:16). He is the Creator who upholds all things, even our puny little magnificent lives, by the word of his power (Hebrews 1:3). We cannot take for granted even the mere fact of our lives. This reminder bears the fruit of gratitude and humility. Too often, when things are going well, we are tempted to forget how dependent we are upon God for anything and everything (Deuteronomy 6:10–12). Savings accounts, good salaries, ministry success, healthy bodies, or a charming personality can become the horses and chariots in which we put our trust (Psalm 20:7). When our weakness reminds us that we depend on God and his providence for life and breath, we find joy simply in knowing that we live by his good pleasure.
Weakness reminds us that God will give us new bodies.
Our aches and pains and inabilities point us to our future perfected body and soul. Feeling like you have one foot in the grave reminds you that you have one foot, already, in glory. Our longing for the resurrection is increased by weakness. As J.I. Packer writes, “Our new body . . . will match and perfectly express our perfected new heart, that is, our renewed moral and spiritual nature and character.” Our present weakness increases our yearning for the day when Christ gives us a new body that “will never deteriorate, but will keep its newness for all eternity.”
Romans 5:1–5 says those who have learned to rejoice in their sufferings will endure through trials, trusting God and growing in Christlikeness. That is because they look back to God’s reconciling mercy at the cross and forward to their full and final deliverance at Christ’s return.
Weakness reminds us that we deserve wrath, but receive grace.
All of creation, ourselves included, suffers corruption, pain, and weakness because of the sin of our first parents (Romans 8:18–21). And each of us individually has earned the just wrath of God for our own multitude of sins (Romans 3:23), let alone a little suffering in this life. We don’t deserve a weight of glory (2 Corinthians 4:17), but a weight of wrath. Yet this world and our lives abound with so many good gifts from God. And we Christians have the best gift, Christ, who is our life and our eternal treasure. We have been spared God’s righteous wrath, redeemed, forgiven by God, reconciled to him, justified, adopted into his family. What mercy!
This reminder bears the fruit of sympathy and kindness.The weak, being reminded of God’s tender mercy and forbearance toward them, are assisted by the Spirit to better embody Ephesians 4:32–5:2: “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Therefore, be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.”
The Weak Will Conquer the World
All throughout the Bible, we see that God loves to draw attention to himself and grow the trust of his people by working despite and through their weaknesses and limitations. Consider barren Sarah and Rachel, bumbling Moses, Gideon’s small band, the young virgin Mary, and blue- collar Peter, among others. Jesus himself, the Lamb who was slain, ultimately demonstrates that it is meek sheep who conquer and win the world.
The great — and ironic — wisdom of the cross is that God chooses the foolish, weak, low, and despised to shame the strong and shut the mouths of the proud. God uses our weaknesses to remind us of important gospel truths and to refine our trust in him. So, for just a moment, try weakness.