"Oh Happy Day," a black gospel arrangement of a colonial hymn, was topping the charts worldwide 50 years ago today. Its upbeat account of the joy of finding the Lord captivated the nation at a time when race riots were flaring across the country.
Just as a very white English clergyman and very black Church of God in Christ youth choir came together in that tune to reach millions for Jesus, so we in the church need to put aside our racial and other differences and work as one to spread the Gospel and worship as one in spirit and truth. We cannot let a worldly, unsaved news media's lies and secular education's violence divide the Universal Church Triumphant created by the Lord Jesus himself.
I find when black and white (and any other color) talk with each other as individuals, not races, they realize we all have troubles, challenges, heartaches and victories. We are all equally human and worthy of respect.
Share this with a friend from another race and talk about it. I bet you get some eye-opening revelations and a better understanding of each other.
Happy summer! "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, and day and night shall not cease," God says in Genesis 8:22.
Summer has two patterns: Time for travel, vacations, family reunions and other warm-weather fun, or hot, sweaty, and provoking of destructive passions.
We should go outside and enjoy it, sleep sufficiently, and be careful to prevent heat from getting to us. We all must be sure not to let resentments build up, getting mediation if necessary and advising others to do likewise. Let "cooler heads" prevail.
Remember that when we continually get resentful and/or overly tired in our lives, something is wrong. Perhaps we have put our spouse ahead of God; maybe we need to give up a certain activity. Ask the Lord what’s going on, to make it clear, and he will. Have a great summer!
This is Juneteenth, the anniversary of Civil War troops announcing to Texas slaves that they were freed by the Emancipation Proclamation. The edict had taken effect 2 1/2 years before, but Confederate troops did not surrender until 1865. Union General Gordon Granger read the proclamation from the balcony of a hotel in Galveston, freeing a number of African-Americans in the Baptist congregation of a pastor who was an ancestor of mine.
God is for freedom. "Thus says the Lord: 'Let my people go, that they may serve me,'" he told Moses to say to Pharaoh of the children of Israel (Exodus 8:1). The Egyptian leader refused to liberate the Hebrew vassals until God struck down the pagans' firstborn sons. They then begged the Hebrews to go and gave them gold, silver and valuable clothing to send them out quickly.
Many Christians have been suffering great hardship over the last several years as America and the rest of the West turn secular and Islam terrorizes "infidels" worldwide. However, I can testify the Lord does miracles if only we will wait for him, resisting the temptation to take matters into our own hands. "I tell you that God will avenge them speedily," Jesus says in Luke 18:8. "Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he really find faith on the earth?"
Yes, the days may pass slowly as we pray for our needs and hope in God. But rest assured he hears, knows, and will answer his elect who cry to him. His timing is perfect, and he makes rich while adding no sorrow (Proverbs 10:22).
“Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed,” Joshua 1:9 implores. The Israelites are about to head into the Promised Land as Joshua takes leadership. He begins his book of the Bible by challenging his people to move in step with God and his Word.
The 12 tribes decades before had let fear keep them from doing the Lord's will, and I'm sure some were fainthearted at this juncture as well. However, God and Joshua got the Hebrew nation to cross the Jordan and possess the land, even if incompletely.
"Let's roll," in the modern heroic parlance. Let's not allow the enemy or our own trepidation block us from Jehovah's best for us in this, the world’s final hour. Remember, he's called "Almighty" for a reason.
As Father's Day approaches, I recall I was born on that observance. This is the first one without my flesh-and-blood dad, who died very recently.
My earthly father taught me hard work, integrity, and honesty. I always appreciated his providing for our family.
My heavenly One has given me mercy, grace, pardon, acceptance, peace, joy and more. "The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and have believed that I came forth from God," Jesus says in John 16:27, his final teaching before the cross.
I miss my earthly father but rejoice daily I have mine from above. Eternity is made of this.
Common Sense Media recently found that those 10-19 are on their phones an average of 9 hours a day. This is another indication our society is so connected, it verges on overloading its wires and us. It's no sin to be out of electronic touch of others.
Think of what the Bible says about Christ: "Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. Now when evening came, he was alone there" (Matthew 14:22-23).
Even our Lord needed to get away from it all. He showcased balance in life. Nowhere does Scripture indicate he wore himself to exhaustion or was lazy. Christ ate and drank robustly. He went to prayer with others as well as by himself. Jesus showed us there's a time for fellowship and an hour for solitude.
As summer begins, try to take a couple of days for quiet, solitude and disconnection from ringtones, social media and Facebook updates. I bet you'll find it's a pause that refreshes.
“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection,” says Revelation 20:6. All those saved by Christ will be part of this great raising. They will rule and reign with Jesus as he leads the planet for its final 1,000 years.
There will be a second enlivening, but in it the unbelieving also will be assembled from the land, sea and anywhere else their remains lay. At that appearance, made before the Great White Throne, few or none of the lately resurrected will go to be with the Lord forever spiritually.
What a great honor, privilege and glory it will be to serve with the living Christ! Let us carry out our existence with this wonderful goal in mind and heart.
"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen," says Hebrews 11:1. When we say we believe there is a God, we become a witness that there is something more than what we call "everyday reality."
In changing our lives due to that knowledge, we give the Lord a tangible presence on Earth and make the world without excuse as to its Creator. How will people hear without a preacher? (Romans 10:14).
We cannot simply speak things into existence, but we can work on them with God's unction and see them come to pass. We can pray for change and witness of it when it comes.
That's what this verse implores us to do: be living, breathing, striving disciples who see their prayers and the Bible come to life. Live Hebrews 11:1 today!
U.S. Sen. Bobby Kennedy, former attorney general and brother of the late president, was shot to death this day in 1968. Kennedy had been pushing for civil rights legislation, but his assassination by Sirhan Sirhan was an act of anti-Semitism. The killer, an immigrant to the USA from the Holy Land, said he did it because the official supported Israel against the Palestinians.
"I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you," the Lord says to Abraham, father of the Jews, in Genesis 12:3.
We have a similar situation today: Our racial conflicts appear to be the big problem, but at the heart is spiritual wickedness. Much of the war over color is due to false or misleading reports from our news media, which have corrupted themselves into political minions. That we have congresswomen openly proclaiming hatred of Jews and Israel, and these same ones stir racial schisms in our nation and are approved of by our journalists, shows us what is at the core. These ladies' allies also have urged violence against government officials.
"We do not wrestle against flesh and blood" (Ephesians 6:12), so these U.S. representatives and their friends are not the enemy. However, their actions, words and fruit tell us their stances are not of God.
God in his Bible warns us, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7). The devil often tries to throw his voice, making a false front to divert attention from the true problem. Pray for godly wisdom and an end to Satan's spreading of hatred against the people of the Almighty, be they Jews or Christians of any color.
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