Monthly Archives: June 2012

Peace, O Sweet Peace


And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
(Philippians
4:7)

Years ago, I was engaged to be married. However, the engagement ended badly and I called it off. I remember lying in my bed, crying my heart out. All of sudden, this deep peace overcame me. I couldn’t understand it. Here I was, suffering from the biggest heartbreak of my life up to that point, yet, I had peace.

At the moment that I felt peace overtake my heart and mind, I couldn’t cry anymore. My tears instantly dried up. I tried to cry. I tried to remember what had just happened, but I couldn’t produce any tears. The peace I felt was a sign that I was in the center of God‘s will.

The peace of God. I have to say, of all the wonderful benefits that come with salvation, the peace of God is my favorite. When Jesus was preparing to depart from this world, He told His disciples (as He says to believers today)

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid
(John 14:27)

Jesus gives us His peace, which is different from the type of peace that comes from the world. The world tells us, “things will get better” but that is not always the case. Sometimes, a situation may go from bad to worse. But in Christ, we can have peace no matter what happens. The peace of God is not “absence of trouble” because we have been told that we will have trouble in this life. God’s peace is a quiet inner peace that says, “Even though the world around me is full of trouble and heartache, everything is alright with me and my God.” It is a type of peace that let’s us know, whatever may happen, God will carry us through.

Therefore, we don’t have to worry. We don’t have to be afraid. We can be ruled by the peace of God. We can abide in the shadow of His wing and in the center of will. No matter what happens in this life, God has promised us a home in heaven and an eternity of joy. He has promised to one day wipe all the tears from our eyes and to take away evil and death and sickness and sin. The enemy of our souls will not exist forever. But we who have believed in Christ shall live forever with Him. In the end, we will gain victory. People who do not know Christ cannot understand this. It seems foolish, but we are glad to be fools for Christ. No matter what people may say, the peace within our hearts lets us know that we are alright with God.

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The Mind of Christ


Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:2-5)

As Christians, we should have the mind of Christ. Our actions and character should be a reflection of who He is. We are the light of the world, pointing all men to the path which leads to eternal life which is found in Christ alone. In verse 5, when Paul says in verse 5, “let this mind be in you,” he uses the Greek word phroneō. This word means ” to direct one’s mind toward a thing, to seek, to strive for.”

So what should we direct our mind towards? How should we seek to live in the midst of a sinful world? Paul lists a few things in Philippians 2:

  1. Be on one accord
  2. Consider others better than ourselves
  3. Look to the things of others
In summation, to have the mind of Christ means being concerned about others. If we have the mind of Christ, it is not about me. It’s about the next person. It’s not about my problems. It’s about the next person’s problems. We read of few instances in the Gospels where Jesus rested. No where does it say, “A man came to Jesus seeking help, but Jesus said, ‘Can you wait until I’m finish taking care of my business?’ or ‘Right after I take a nap.'” Instead, you will see many instances where the love of Christ compelled Him to go beyond the norm.
The mind of Christ is to love others. And love is inconvenient.

Chosen for Holiness


“..Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…”
(Ephesians 1:4)

For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy.
(1 Peter 1:16)

We have been chosen by God to live a life of holiness. As a holy people, it is our responsibility and duty to live a life that reflects the heart of God. This is not an easy task. For this reason, God has given us His Holy Spirit. One of the works of the Spirit includes leading us in all truth and understanding. He leads us in the truth of God’s Word and gives us the understanding that is necessary to carry out the task of living a Holy life (see John 16:13).

There should be a difference in the way we live, in the way we speak, in our mannerisms, in our morals. Living holy is not shown in the way we dress — it is not an outer display. The beauty of holiness is demonstrated in the heart of the people of God. A holy life begins in the heart. If we act holy but we have not embraced holiness in our heart of hearts, then we are guilty of hypocrisy, which is “a pretense of having a virtuous character, moral or religious beliefs or principles, etc., that one does not really possess” (dictionary.com).

God has chosen us and called us to a life of Holiness. Although it may be difficult, it not impossible.  “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)


The Sacrifice of a Godly Life


Continued from yesterday: Our Pastor, Administrative Assistant Marvin Sanders, speaking on Jeremiah 18:1-6….

So we recognize that the things they were doing then, we are doing [today] in a different sense. Nowadays, people feel like we don’t have to really buckle down and truly worship God and make sacrifice. Nowadays, the sacrifice that we make is the sacrifice in [the] giving of ourselves. The Bible lets us know, “What? Know ye not that your bodies are the temples of Christ?” (see 1 Corinthians 6:15-20) And, so, the sacrifice that you make is  [the] giving of yourself.

The sacrifice you make is putting away some of those fleshy…desires. The things that you really don’t need [in your life so that you will] be able to walk with God. The sacrifice that you make is “laying aside every sin.” And, then, going a step further, “laying aside every weight” – things that would beset us. (see Hebrews 12:1-2) These are the sacrifices that we make.

But we are living in a day and time where folk… want to have their cake and they want to eat it too… They want to have the benefit of living a holy life, but they want to walk hand in hand with the world, too. We want to look like the world; we want to talk like the world; we want to dress like the world; we want to act like the world; but we want to be respected and honored by God.

But God wants somebody that is in love with Him. God wants somebody that is willing to draw the line and say, “Lord I belong to You and I want You to belong to me. I want to be Yours and I want You to be mine.” God wants somebody that realizes that the sacrifice is not too great.

Administrative Assistant Marvin Sanders
Pastor of Shiloh Temple COGIC
Pastoral Teaching
September 13, 2011


The Problem with the People of God


Our Pastor, Administrative Assistant Marvin Sanders, speaking on Jeremiah 18:1-6….

“In this particular scripture, Jeremiah has spent quite a bit of time anguishing, in anxiety, and he was perplexed about how the church was responding to God. The people were not properly responding to God and to His will. They would put aside doing the will of God and they would go their own way. They would do their own thing. They would not seek God. They would not respect God. They would not reverence God. But yet, they wanted to be blessed by God…

“Everybody wants to be pleasing in the sight of God – whether they are living for him or not… But sometimes, the things of this world will lay hold upon our minds and our thinking and it will drive us and cause to wonder in directions that are foreign to the will of God. But it’s up to us to maintain a certain level of focus that will not allow us to stray away from God’s will.

“This is what was going on in the church of Israel. They were doing some of everything. They were worshipping idol gods. They were not respecting or reverencing the Lord’s house. They were not coming to service and serving the Lord with their whole heart. They were not sacrificing unto God. They were not respecting God as their God. But they yet want to walk in the name of God. And some of the things that I am describing now are similar things that are happening in this present day and time.”

Administrative Assistant Marvin Sanders
Pastor of Shiloh Temple COGIC
Pastoral Teaching
September 2011


Praying for Your Enemies


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I stumbled across this prayer while reading “Unconditional?” By Brian Zahnd. This prayer was written by Nikolai Velimirovic while imprisoned in the Dachau concentration camp in World War II.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them. Enemies have driven me into your embrace more than friends have. Friends have bound me to earth; enemies have loosed me from earth and have demolished all my aspirations in the world.

Enemies have made me a stranger in worldly realms and an extraneous inhabitant of the world.

Just as a hunted animal finds safer shelter than an unhunted animal does, so have I, persecuted by enemies, found the safest sanctuary, having ensconced myself beneath your tabernacle, where neither friends nor enemies can slay my soul.

Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even bless and do not curse them.
They, rather than I, have confessed my sins before the world. They have punished me, whenever I have hesitated to punish myself. They have tormented me, when ever I have tried to flee torments. They have scolded me, whenever I have flattered myself. They have spat upon me, whenever I have filled myself with arrogance. Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even bless them and do not curse them.

Whenever I have made myself wise, they have called me foolish.
Whenever I have made myself mighty, they have mocked me as though I were a fly.
Whenever I have wanted to lead people, they have shoved me into the background.
Whenever I have rushed to enrich myself, the have prevented me with an iron hand.
Whenever I thought that I would sleep peacefully, they have wakened me from sleep.
Whenever I have tried to build a home for a long and tranquil life, they have demolished it and driven me out.
Truly, enemies have cut me loose from the world and have stretched out my hands to the hem of your garment.
Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Bless them and multiply them; multiply them and make them even more bitterly against me: so that my fleeing will have no return; so that all my hope in men may be scattered like cobwebs; so that absolute serenity may begin to reign in my soul; so that my heart may become the grave of my two evil twins: arrogance and anger; so that I might amass all my treasure in heaven; ah, so that I may for once be freed from self-deception, which has entangled me in the dreadful web of illusory life.

Enemies have taught me to know what hardly anyone knows, that a person has no enemies in the world except himself. A man hates his enemies only when he fails to realize they are not his enemies, but cruel friends.

It is truly difficult for me to say who has done me more good and who has done me more evil in the world: friends or enemies. Therefore bless, O Lord, both my friends and my enemies. A slave curses enemies, for he does not understand. But a son blesses them, for he understands. For a son knows that his enemies cannot touch his life. Therefore he freely steps among them and prays to God for them. Bless my enemies, O Lord. Even I bless them and do not curse them.

Amen.


Finish the Story


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Do you like to read fiction? Usually in a book, a twist occurs or something dramatic happens to main character. As a result, there may be moments when you wonder “what’s going to happen to the main character now?” So, you continue to read to find out how the story ends.

In our lives, we experience the same thing. Someone passes, we get bad news the doctor, job loss occurs, a spouse asks for a divorce, children begin to rebel, etc. There are a variety of twists and turns that can and will happen in this life. We begin to experience doubt and discouragement and wonder, “where is God? Does He see and know about what I’m going through?”

Well… He does. And if we want to see how things turn out, then we must hold on to our faith, continue to trust God, and finish our story. We never know how things are going to turn out in the end, and we will never find out if we give up in the middle of our story.


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