Message of the Manna

Sermon: The Message of the Manna

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., at West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

Providing respite from the storms and pestilence which plague our world, Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. preached an inspiring  sermon titled, “The Message of the Manna” at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. The sermon is based on Exodus 16, where God sent manna to sustain the children of Israel for 40 years.

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” 6Then Moses and Aaron said to all the children of Israel, “At evening you shall know that the Lord has brought you out of the land of Egypt. And in the morning you shall see the glory of the Lord; for He hears your complaints against the Lord – Exodus 16:4-7.

“Someone here today is confronted by trouble,” said Bishop Blake, “but sometimes things go  wrong because we have not had the Word of God, according to the Will of God. As a source, God is limitless; capable, dependable, reliable, wonderful. Tell your neighbor, ‘Learn how to hold on to God.'”

Highlights from the sermon follow:

“We’re more self-sufficient in this day. We’re prone to look to people; we’re prone to look to governments, we’re prone to look to employers as our source: rather than looking to God.”

“We turn to God only as a last resort, after everything else has failed.”

“Whatever you get from God, you get it on credit.”

“If God doesn’t do anything else for me, God has already done enough.”

“2080 times, God miraculously preserved the manna for two days. 12530 times, God miraculously sent the manna.”

 “The manna had to be a miracle because no other group of people had ever experienced manna before. It had to be a miracle because it has never fallen again.”

“The manna had to be a miracle, and it indicates that God was their source: and we’ve got to remember today that God is our source.”

 

“We’re prone to look to the government as our source, rather than looking to God.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

 

“The terrible tragedy in Houston lets us know that we’re not all that powerful. We’re not all that mighty. We’re at the mercy of almighty God.”

“God is not only in control, God is in possession of everything.”

“As a source, God is limitless; capable, dependable, reliable, wonderful.”

“Though God provided the manna, the people had to actively work to receive and to prepare the manna.”

 

“The terrible tragedy in Houston lets us know that we’re at the mercy of almighty God.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“Some folk don’t want to do anything…but how many of you know that you’re going to have to do something if God blesses you?”

“In most of the miracles I can think of in the Word of God, God usually asks us to do something before He does what He promised to do. Moses had to stretch out the rod, Joshua had to walk around the wall, the widow had to make a cake first, the woman blood had to touch the hem of Jesus.”

“The Bible does not excuse laziness.”

“God’s blessings must be used or they will be lost.”

“God is not obligated to help anybody.”

“Every step you made, God enabled you to make it. You better point toward heaven and say, God, “By the grace of God, I’ve done what I’ve done.”

“How many of you know God did it? Tell your neighbor, ‘It was God, it was God, it was God!’”

“When we step outside of God’s plan, even our blessings can go wrong.”

“Tell your neighbor, “Don’t hold on too tight!”

 

“God is not obligated to help anybody.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

 

“God’s blessings are always accompanied by God’s instructions.”

“When we fail to obey the instructions, then things go wrong in our lives.”

“Learn how to hold on to God.”

“God has given to us everything we have, and God wants us to obey Him.”

“When we fail to give back to God with our tithes and offerings, when we fail to give back to God, then God begins to step back and let us be responsible for our own welfare.”

“A world that is doing its own thing discovers that what it has gathered is sometimes filled with worms.”

“When we look to be blessed outside of God’s will, no blessing shall come.”

“Someone here today is confronted by trouble. But sometimes things go wrong because we have not had the word of God according to the will of God.”

When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, 14 if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 15 Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place – 2 Chronicles 7:13-15

“When you refuse to do the will of God, then God’s obligation to bless you is cancelled.”

“When you do the will of God, God can preserve your resources when you serve Him.”

“Tell your neighbor, ‘God will preserve your manna.’”

“God can make your ‘little’ go further than another man’s ‘much’.”

“You might not be able to see it, but if you could see it, you wouldn’t need faith.”

“Give your neighbor a ‘high-five’ and tell him, ‘It’s going to be alright!’”

“Tell your neighbor, ‘I’m loaded!’”

“Praise Him for today! Praise Him for yesterday! Help me praise Him!”

“God, we’re still relying on you; we’re still depending on you for tomorrow. We can’t make it without you. We can’t deal without you. We can’t go forward,  survive, breathe, or see without you. We can do nothing without you! Praise the Lord!”

 

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Exodus 16:4-31 , Joshua 5:12, Acts 17:28, James 1:17, Psalm 50:10, Haggai 2:8, Psalm 24:1, 2 Chronicles 7:13,  Philippians 4:19, 14:16, Joshua 6:3, 1 Kings 17:13, Matthew 9:20, Matthew 6:33, Psalm 34:15, Psalm 37:25, Isaiah 43:16-19, 2 Corinthians 5:7, Isaiah 40:31,  Psalm 103:2, 127:1; Proverbs 3:5, 11:24; Psalm 88:9.



Featured image:  Karen Lascaris with Nathan Vanhorn ℅ CreationSwap

Men’s Weekend set for Oct. 20-22

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE WEST ANGELES BROTHERHOOD MEN’S WEEKEND, OCTOBER 20-22, 2017!

JOIN WITH YOUR BROTHERS IN CHRIST FOR A WEEKEND OF FELLOWSHIP AND WORSHIP. THE WEEKEND BEGINS WITH THE MEN’S GALA AT THE BEAUTIFUL L.A. HOTEL DOWNTOWN. OUR SPECIAL GUEST ENTERTAINER IS COMEDIAN KENTE SCOTT. 

TICKETS ARE $65 FOR THIS WONDERFUL EVENING.

 

MEN’S DAY IS OCTOBER 22, WITH GUEST SPEAKER, DR. J. LOUIS FELTON OF PHILADELPHIA, PA AT OUR 8 a.m., 11 a.m., and 7 p.m. SERVICES.

WE ARE LOOKING FOR MEN TO SERVE AS GATEKEEPERS, GREETERS, USHERS, AND AMBASSADORS.

THE MEN’S CHOIR WILL BE SINGING AS WELL. REHEARSAL DATES ARE OCTOBER 17, 19, and 21.

PLEASE MARK YOU CALENDARS NOW TO BE A PART OF THIS GREAT WEEKEND!

West Angeles Mobilizes for Hurricane Harvey Relief

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Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. and First Lady Mae L. Blake spent Memorial Day 2017 working alongside volunteers and members of the West Angeles Church of God In Christ family to coordinate hundreds of donated items collected for the victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas. The wonderful outpouring of love and support included new and gently used clothing, as well as disposable diapers, water, and food, donated by the West Angeles congregation, the KJLH listening audience, and the greater Los Angeles community. Magic Johnson and Courtney B. Vance showed their support and were in attendance on the day; the donation drive continues on Saturday, September 9 from 8:00AM to 12:00 noon.

Give monetary donations to the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund:

  • Sunday, September 10, 2017 at the 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. services
  • Online – please CLICK HERE for our online giving page
  • By text – WEHELP to 91999

Regular donations are received at West Angeles Church of God In Christ Monday-Friday, 7:00AM-7:00PM.  Please call 323/733-8300 for more information.

West Angeles mobilizes for hurricane relief

Complete list of Hurricane Harvey relief items needed, courtesy COGIC Charities.

greater blessings for greater afflictions

Sermon: Greater Blessings for Greater Afflictions

Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. cites the story of Joseph, one of the Bible’s most inspiring examples of triumph over affliction, to uplift us in trying times.

“The more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew.” – Exodus1:12

In this poignant and prophetic sermon titled “Greater Blessings for Greater Afflictions,” Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake shares words of encouragement and hope in the story of the children Israel in Egypt and the life of Joseph.  Joseph’s wisdom and blessings saved his family and his entire people, and brought great wealth to the nation of his captivity.  “God’s providential involvement with His people, Israel, did not stop when Joseph died, or even when Joseph’s generation passed from the face of the earth,” said Bishop Blake. “As a matter of fact, they grew, even in the absence of any leader that we know about. They were increased from 70 souls… to 600,000 men by foot by the time of the exodus; a number which may be closer to 2.6-8 million people, if you count all of those that followed them, according to Exodus 12:37.”

Bishop Blake encouraged, “Adversity and affliction do not mean failure or defeat…The more you’re afflicted, the more you’re going to multiply and be fruitful. I see you going higher than you’ve ever gone before.”

Highlights from the sermon “Greater Blessings for Greater Afflictions” follow:

“Some statistics I read many years ago indicated that only eight out of 100 people live to be 70 years old. Two out of 100 live to be 80…and only one out of 100 lives to be 90.”

“Since my childhood, I’ve seen three generations of leaders pass off the scene. So we would do well to think more generationally, and understand that there will come a time when each and every generation will pass from the face of the earth.”

“Today’s generation of leaders must prepare and make room for the next generation of leaders.”

“And as we grow older, we must think less of ourselves and more about those who will come after us and follow in our footsteps.”

“Every generation comes to a point where everyone in that generation will pass away…Don’t get sad. I didn’t say you were going to pass away today!”

“Every generation should spend a lot of energy planning and working for the good and for the advancement of the next generation. Following generations should be careful to build on the work of succeeding generations.”

It is very tragic when a generation ignores the work of the preceding generation; is incapable of continuing that work, or squanders that work in such a way that it is lost.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“Valuable years of Joseph’s life had been spent in one adversity after another adversity: years in slavery, years in prison, years being forgotten and neglected. All of that was lost because of the adversity that characterized Joseph’s life.”

“Several years after the death of Joseph, a new King of Egypt took control of the throne. This man knew nothing about Joseph…[but] if he had cared enough to look into the books of history, he would have seen the positive impact that Joseph had had on Egypt, making them rich beyond all imagination.”

“He would have remembered how Joseph had prophesied…and Joseph had provided the strategy that not only saved Egypt, from starvation during the famine but also provided for almost the entire known world and made the royal family of Egypt rich beyond all imagination.”

“That king would have remembered that Joseph ascended to the vice presidency of Egypt after a series of afflictions that his enemies – and ‘frienemies’ – had imposed upon him.

“Look at your neighbor and say, ‘You’ve got both enemies and ‘frienemies.’”

“I’m not angry I’m not bitter. God used your evil for my good, so I’m going to take care of you. Isn’t it amazing to take care of folk who hated you and tried to destroy you?”

“Joseph named his son Ephraim, meaning, ‘God has called me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.’”

“Doesn’t that remind you of what God has done for black folk in these United States? Came here as slaves, as captives; worked for hundreds of years without getting paid for that labor; people hated us and tried to lynch us and excluded us, and we can still lift our heads and say, ‘God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my afflictions.’”

“Though we came here as slaves, no black people on the face of the earth are as blessed as we are because of the goodness of almighty God. Come on clap your hands.”

“Joseph named his son Ephraim, meaning, ‘God has called me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.'” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“God had long promised Abraham that he would make of Abraham a great nation. And after 400 years, he would deliver Abraham’s seed out of slavery from the land of Egypt.”

“Joseph and Israel had had a good effect on Egypt…A positive and productive relationship had developed, and pharaoh should have known about that, and he should have attempted by kindness to build on the relationship that the former pharaoh and Joseph had with one another.”

“The new pharaoh demonized Israel…and contrived a plot to destroy them, to break their spirits, and to stop them from reproducing. He wanted to cause them to do despair so that they would die emotionally and ultimately, that they would die physically.”

“Every successful positive person is not a threat to you.”

“Somehow, we project on others what’s in our own mind, then we act on that projection.”

“There’s enough success for everybody; there’s enough resources for everybody…I’m glad that you succeed, because God will bless me with success also! Does anybody know what I’m talking about?”

“This king decided he was going to do everything he could to destroy the Israelites. He said to the midwives, ‘When their children are born…don’t let them live…I’m going to work those folk to death; I’m going to make them build cities; build pyramids and make their lives bitter with bondage.’ The strategy was to break their spirits.”

“One of the great maladies and tragedies of this whole philosophy of same sex marriage: where are the children going to come from?  How is the human race going to be perpetuated?  If everybody married same-sex, after a while, there would be no one left on the face of the earth.”

“Adversity and affliction do not mean failure or defeat. It just means God is going to get a greater glory.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“Notice how long this persecution lasted; notice how long this oppression lasted. It started before the time of Moses’ birth, and continued until Moses was over 80 years of age.”

“The reason they needed to hide Moses in the first place is because the king plotted to kill Moses.”

“They afflicted them. They oppressed them. They humiliated them for 80 long years.”

“Look at your neighbor and say, ‘The more you are afflicted, the more my God is going to bless you!’”

“God is getting ready to work a special miracle in your life.”

“God said, ‘The problem is not the problem. But you’ll earn a blessing from the way I deal with it. You’ll learn humility, obedience, patience; you’ll become stronger and a better person. I want to deal with that problem in such a way that you and those around you will have to lift up your hands and say, ‘Praise God!’”

“God wants to get glory out of your situation…Hallelujah!”

“If Abraham had a child at 30, God would not have gotten any glory from that; that’s normal. But Abraham had a child at 100 years old! Nobody but God could get the glory; nobody but God could get the praise! Come on clap your hands and praise God!”

“God is going to give you miracles for your afflictions.” –  Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“Whatever the Lord pleases, He does…in the heavens, in the earth, in the seas, and in all places.’”

“Neighbor, wait and let God do it His way.”

“Child of God, The lower you go, the higher you go. God knows what’s in your heart and he knows what’s in your mind, but let God do His work in your life because God is pulling you out on the other side.”

“Tell your neighbor, ‘When God gets through, you’re going to be shining just like gold!”

“You are going through trials. You’re going through adversity. Adversity and affliction do not mean failure or defeat. It just means God is going to get a greater glory.”

“God is going to give you miracles for your afflictions. God said, ‘I’m going to give you victory in the midst of your trial. Don’t worry about the affliction and don’t worry about the trial. Just trust Me and I’ll bring you out!’”

“Just keep looking up to God. Just keep trusting God. The more you’re afflicted, the more you’re going to multiply and be fruitful. I see you going higher than you’ve ever gone before.”

“Jesus, the Son of God, is our example. The Bible says:

‘5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: 6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; 11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV)

“Because Jesus humbled Himself, God took him higher than he’d even gone before.”

“I’ve just come by here to give you a message of encouragement and hope and to let you know that God is not only going to deal with your issues,  but you’re going to be better in every way when God gets through Blessing you!”

“That’s what happened in Joseph’s life…When those brothers stood before him he could say to them, ‘Thank you for hating me; thank you for selling me into slavery. Thank you for forgetting about me, because when you forgot me, the Lord picked me up.’”

“The Lord works in mysterious ways!”

“When the devil strikes you, keep on praising Him.”

“When the way is rough, keep on praising Him.”

“When the burden is heavy, keep on praising Him.”

“The time will come when you look back on this day and say, ‘Thank You for every trial; thank You for every challenge, thank You for every tough time You brought me through.’”

“Life might crush you down, but I see you coming up!”

“The greater the trial, the greater the victory! The greater the test, the greater the prize…because of the goodness of almighty God! Hallelujah!”

 

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Exodus 1:5-12, 12:37; Acts 13:36, Genesis 15:20-21,37-50; Psalm 135:6, Deuteronomy 8:14-20, Philippians 2:5-11,  Psalm 25:15, 30:5, 34:19, Isaiah 40:31, Job 23:10.

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free to dreamDO YOUR DREAMS seem to be marked, “Never to be fulfilled”? Do you feel that it is impossible for your dreams to come true? Do you fear your dreams are too big to achieve?  Let  Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. teach you the biblical principles to follow from the life of Joseph and other dreamers. In Free to Dream: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, you’ll learn how faith, integrity and endurance will pull you out of the valley and up to the peak of success. Bishop Blake will encourage you to pick your dreams back up, dust them off, and persevere to the fulfillment of God’s plan for your life.

PURCHASE Free to Dream: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, by Charles E. Blake, Sr. at the WEST ANGELES CHRISTIAN EMPORIUM, 3021 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016.  Phone (323) 731-3012 for more info.

Support Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts

People in the Houston, Texas Metropolitan area are suffering from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey, a storm of historic magnitude. There is a tremendous need for food, shelter, clothing, hygiene products, and volunteers.

We need donations and volunteers.

Learn more and donate!

Coordinating with federal, state and local emergency management officials, West Angeles Church and COGIC at large are immediately executing an aggressive strategy that includes a nationwide appeal for resources and an organized regional collection and delivery process that will maximize impact and speed up response and recovery. COGIC will focus on caring for as many people as possible satisfying the immediate need for emergency food and shelter. The efforts of West Angeles Church are being coordinated through Karen Downard with the CDC and DeLores Brice with the Skid Row Ministry.

Beginning on Monday, September 4 at 9 a.m. at West Angeles Church, we will begin collecting the following:

  • Toiletries
  • Non-perishable food
  • Bottled water
  • Diapers (all sizes)
  • Female sanitary products
  • New undergarments (men and women)
  • Clean, gently used men’s, women’s and children’s clothing
  • Cleaning products
  • Baby formula
  • Plastic garbage pails
  • Shovels and tools
  • Plastic trash bags

All items can be delivered to the hangar located at the cathedral. For more information and to volunteer, please call the church office and ask for the CDC or Skid Row Ministry.

Bishop Blake God's call to action

THE TIME IS NOW: Bishop Blake Preaches God’s Call To Action

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake shared the story of the Israelites in the book of Deuteronomy, who had been in the wilderness for 40 years. But when God communicated to the people through Moses that they had “skirted or compassed this mountain long enough,” and that they should “begin moving forward into the Promised Land” (2:2-3), they instead disobeyed out of fear. Except for Caleb and Joshua, most of the Israelites died without ever entering the Promised Land, or receiving the Blessing God had for them.

Bishop Blake preached, however, that it’s “time to fight” our fears and sins, and calls on us to heed God’s Word in His timing. “It’s your time to be blessed; to be an overcomer, to walk in the power of God,” Bishop said. “When God says long enough, He means long enough, and you can walk into your miracle.”

Below are quotes from the sermon:

“If God says something is going to happen, you need to know: it’s going to happen!”– Bishop Charles E. Blake

“I believe somebody  is going to move from where you are, to where you want to be; from where you are to where God would have you to be.”

“Your ability has nothing to do with it. The blessing that God has for you, God is going to give it to you – by His own Power.”

“Sometimes we’re better off not knowing the true nature of the challenges that stand before us. Sometimes if we had known about the cost and the problem and the difficulty, we would not have started off in the first place.”

“If God says something is going to happen, you need to know: it’s going to happen!”

“Sometimes our pride will cause God to lose patience with us. We’re so wrapped up, caught up in ourselves that we don’t want to focus on the things of God.”

“Sometimes our unbelief will cause us to miss out. Sometimes it’s our sin: sin in our lives prevents us from walking into the blessings that the Lord has in store for us. Sometimes it’s our fear: but God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

“If ‘long enough’ is allowed to pass by us, then ‘too long’ will be the next description of our plight.”

“Now is the time. When God says move, it’s time to move. God wants to get somebody back on His schedule today.”

“Sometimes God has to get you into a tough spot to really prepare you and teach you, and get you ready for what is on the way.”

“If God can bring me through that, there’s nothing that He can’t bring me through. If God stood with me in the middle of that, then I know it’s going to be alright!”

“It’s time to go higher: higher in the Power of God. We’ve been where we are long enough” – Bishop Charles E. Blake

 

“Use your waiting period to allow God to help you to become everything you ought to be.”

“Certain things take a long time. Do you know how long it takes to make a rock? It takes time. It takes heat. It takes moisture. It takes pressure to make a rock.”

“Life always brings some kind of hardship. You’ll never become the person God wants you to be without going through something.”

“It’s on the way. The promise of God will be fulfilled.”

“You can make it. You can endure. You can overcome. God did not come into your life to bring you to failure and to defeat. God has something good in store for you.”

“My objective for you today is for you to decide in your heart, ‘I’m ready.’ The Promised Land is ready. When the Lord speaks…it’s time for you to step out on faith.”

“When you step out into God’s miracle-working power, walls will fall down. When the Israelites went into the Promised Land, Jericho was the first city that stood before them; (a city with wide, strong walls. But) they didn’t have to pull the walls down. All they had to do was walk: and the walls fell.”

“Walls are coming down: walls of trouble; walls of resistance; walls of sorrow. Pull them down in the name of Jesus.”

“Now is the time. Now is the day. Now is the hour. God called on us to walk into our future free and whole in Jesus.”

Bishop Blake: Who Are You Going To Call?

By Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

As a young evangelist, I conducted a revival with a friend of mine at a church in St. Louis, MO. Afterwards, we had another revival to conduct in Denver, CO. We left St. Louis in a driving rain storm that only grew worse as we traveled.

At a certain point, we rounded a curve, and my car lost traction on the wet pavement. We began to hydroplane. We twirled and twirled toward a tree beside the road. As I wrestled with the steering wheel, my friend, who was traveling with me, called out, “Charles! Charles!” The car was spinning out of control at 60 or 70 mph… My friend called my name again, “Charles!” But he wasn’t getting very far.

Our lives flashed before our eyes as I tried to straighten the car without success. I released the steering wheel and we both covered our heads to brace for the impact. Just then, my friend called out “JESUS!” We waited for the crash – but there was no crash. The car had gone down off the highway backwards into a stream.

The back of the trunk was under water the rest on the edge of the shore.

We looked up and saw that we were alright! We never heard a crash. We never felt the car even stop. We got out of the car unhurt, waded through the little bit of water we were in, and made it to shore. We stood on the bank of the stream, lifted up our hands and began to glorify God.

Do you know that you can call on the name Jesus? For John 14:13 says:

“Whatsoever you ask in my name you shall receive it.”

So I’m proclaiming healing in the name of Jesus; deliverance in the name of Jesus; strength in the name of Jesus; peace in the name of Jesus, provision in the name of Jesus.

Lift up your hands and say, “In the name of Jesus!”


Adapted from the sermon “God’s Terms of Engagement”; April 24, 2016 at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. See this entire service and more HERE, at West Angeles Gospel on Demand.

5 Ways To Optimum Health Through Jesus Christ

Often time, the word “health” is misunderstood.

How do we achieve optimum health? Many of us think this only pertains to eating habits. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

To reach true optimum health, we must be diligent in mind, body and spirit. In order to accomplish this, we must honor God and acknowledge that we are His workmanship. Romans 12:1 (NIV) says: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

Maintaining our health is one of the best gifts we can give to God. Along with prayer, exercise and healthy eating, there are many ways to worship Him daily. Here are 5 ways to maintain health in spirit:

  1. Speak The Good News. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Speaking light not only builds the Kingdom, it also helps to keep you healthy through faith and hope (Isaiah 61). There is a difference between having a negative thought and actually speaking that thought into existence. Try to speak of the positive aspects of life. If you speak only of the negative, not only will those negatives come to fruition, others will distance themselves from you. Speak positivity! 
  2. Live by faith, not by sight. A large percentage of what enters our bodies daily is not through our mouths, but through our eyes and ears. Be sure that the media you ingest daily is edifying and your family, and for the Kingdom. We live in a secular world, that isn’t always prone to providing the best examples of Christian living. It is important to remember that our faith resides in the Lord, not in his earthly children. 
  3. Our attachments can make us sick. As Bishop Blake said on Sunday, we can’t plant our seeds in a thorn bush. Bad habits can be destructive to health, but even in our compassion for others, we can sometimes internalize their afflictions and demons. Gently remind others that laying their burdens on Jesus connects them to an eternal wellspring of life and health.
  4. Physician, heal thyself! More and more, we’re relying on statistics, pills, and physicians who do not share our faith in the transformative, healing power we have through Jesus Christ (Matthew 8:1-17). Talk to yourself and talk to Jesus. He will steer you in the right direction in terms of healing, whether that be through a change in diet, a medical expert, or just a change in lifestyle!
  5. Guard your heart. According to the Center for Disease Control, heart disease is the number one killer of Americans today. Maintaining the health of your heart, and accessing the power of God’s universe through Christ, is key to a healthy and abundant life (Prov 4:23). Do your research. Determine was in good for your body and heart, and what isn’t. Don’t rely on others to tell you. God wants you to care for yourself and those around you!

Keeping the Christian Family Strong

There couldn’t be a better time for renewed focus on strengthening and celebrating the Christian family.

A whopping 78 percent of Americans identify as Christian[1], and after decades of unparalleled trials, triumphs and tests, we now know that regaining our stride as a community and a nation requires a reaffirmation of our faith and our beliefs.

For African American Christians in particular, this couldn’t be closer to the truth. Marriage, family, and generational ties were the foundations of our cultures in Africa. Even after being denied to marry during generations of slavery, our ancestors got married and stayed married decades later, making historic strides during the Civil Rights Era. Fast forward to the new millennium, however, and we’re now a generation that’s questioned our beliefs and traditions in favor of society’s trends and movements when it comes to marriage, relationships and child-rearing.

Adopting the permissiveness of the ‘sexual revolution’,  the materialism spawned by the 1980s, and the self-absorption characteristic of the millennial – or “ME” – generation, has thrown some of us off track, landing us in worse financial and emotional shape than our parents or even grandparents. Where previous generations got married and stayed married, many of us have chosen single life or divorce, allowing ourselves an “out” as soon as something goes wrong.  We dissolve the marriage before fully understanding the benefits of enduring and transcending trials.

But there’s no triumph without a trial (James 1:12), and if you’re ready to throw statistics out the window and breathe renewed life into your family and your future, it’s time to get back on track by:

1. Putting Christ at the center of your family life. The common denominator among strong civilizations is a common spiritual belief. Yet, while those of other faiths stand firm in their beliefs, we Christians have seen – and allowed – more challenges to our beliefs than any other religion. Ephesians 6:13 tells us to “put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and therefore after you have done everything, to stand.” As past generations have proven, the only way for us to thrive in an unstable society is to stand by the principles of our faith.

2. Putting the marriage first. When we travel by plane, one of the first things the flight attendants tell us is if the plane goes down, put on our own life support vest before helping others. The same goes for a marriage. The husband and wife – not career, money, possessions or even the children – are the core of the family.  Show love and affection toward each other and attend to each others’ needs. Continue to grow as individuals and as a couple, and always keep your relationship new, exciting and alive.  Joined by God, a husband and wife create a supernatural bond that knows no bounds. And the good news is, we’re not alone: marriage is on the rise [2]!

3. Guarding your heart, mind, and ears. Staying focused on the Word, using discernment when deciphering society’s trends, limiting media intake, and surrounding yourselves and your family with like-minded people are important ways to maintain strength and focus as a Christian family. For example, studies show that you’re 75 percent more likely to become divorced if you spend most of your time with friends and family who are divorced [3].

4. Preparing your children to serve. Cultivate their walk in their God-given purpose – not their wants or desires as promoted by society. Teach them the importance of giving back, and of becoming global citizens (read more on raising strong children here).

5. Doing things together as a family. Whether through meals, vacations, charitable and leisure activities, a family enterprise, or worship, spending quality time together as a family is key. As the saying goes, “The family that prays together, stays together [4].”

6. Having faith in faith. For centuries we’ve overcome trials by summoning faith in Christ. But in modern times, many have turned their backs on faith, thinking that we’ve somehow “evolved” beyond a need for Jesus’ strength. True strength is found in “walking the walk,” having the courage to live by your beliefs, and by being the first example of how your children should live. Being a Christian isn’t ‘weird,’ but very special (1 Peter 2:9).

7. Creating a ‘Vision Statement’ for your family. Call a family meeting to create a mission statement together, and write down your process and your results. Having a mission statement keeps everyone focused on ultimate goals and the big picture, not the quick fix or the gamble. Another great idea is to adopt a family scripture, as the Bradley family discusses here.

8. Creating your “Village.” As the (Yoruba) African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Multi-generational families are making a comeback. We honor the wisdom of the elders to keep us firmly rooted in our faith, our traditions, and our past triumphs, as well as to project a vision for our future. Your village may include trusted friends and your church family, as well as blood relatives. Put the well-being of the family first while setting limits. Discipline is a biblical principle (Proverbs 13:24); allow the wisdom of God to protect your family.

The truth is, marriage and family are central themes in the Christian faith, and they’re also symbolic of the church. To each other, we are “brethren,” “fathers,” “brothers,” “sisters,” and as a unit, we are the “household of faith” (Galatians 6:10).

By far, more people claim Christianity as their faith than any other religion[1], yet no other faith on earth has experienced the level of challenges – or triumphs – that belief in the power of Jesus has. Work hard to maintain your focus on faith, and believe that the strength of your marriage and your family is one of God’s secret weapons of prosperity.

[1] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/04/04/u-s-doesnt-rank-high-in-religious-diversity/
[2] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2014/02/06/new-census-data-show-more-americans-are-tying-the-knot-but-mostly-its-the-college-educated/
[3] http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/10/21/is-divorce-contagious/
[4] – Father Patrick Peyton.

 

Did you know?
• Christians are the largest religious group in the world, and make up 33 percent of the world’s population.

• The common belief that “50 percent of all marriages end in divorce” is a myth. Origins: In 1979, during a time when new ideas and movements like Women’s Liberation and the Sexual Revolution began to hit their peak, the number of divorces peaked at 47 percent of the number of marriages performed that year. However, the number did not reflect the millions of marriages which had endured through previous generations.

• Grandparents’ Day is celebrated in September.