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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.”

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.

Bishop Blake: Why We Need The Church

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. shares with us why the church is of vital importance in today’s world.

“I was glad when they said unto me, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’ (Psalm 122:1)
 …not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together…” (Hebrews 10:25) 

 

IMAGINE a world without the church.  Can you conceive of how bad things would be? Conditions are already bad on the earth in which we live. The moral standards of our nation have gone into the sewer; mankind today is doing every conceivable thing – and even some things that have not yet been conceived!

Why do we need the church?

The work of the church is important because:

  1. The church points men to their Creator.
  2. The church defines the meaning of life.
  3. The church prepares men for eternity.
  4. The church talks about morality.
  5. The church gathers people together to hear the Word of God and the will of God.

If the church were not here, who would tell men about Jesus?

If the church were not here, who would point men to God?

If the church were not here, who would stand for morals; calling right ‘right’, and wrong ‘wrong?’

“The work of the church is more important than any institution in the world because it makes the spirit of man its central focus.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

Every endeavor has a place. Every pursuit has a place, and we go to that place to pursue what it stands for. The church is that place which stands for God. We ought to make sure that we have a house where we can worship Him; to lift our hands and praise Him! When we fail to provide a place of worship, it indicates a lack of sincerity and commitment to God.

We also need to make the church as great as we possibly can. God gave us His best when He gave us Jesus Christ; therefore, we ought to give God our best. God’s house ought to reflect the beauty and majesty of God; a beautiful, a spacious place which accommodates the people of the Lord.

David said in Psalm 122, “I glad was when they said unto me, let us go into house of the Lord.”  The work of the church is more important than that of any institution in the world because no other institution makes the spirit of man its central focus.

We need the church to tell men about God’s Will, and to push him higher than he’s ever gone before.  God has a plan for mankind and for this world, and the world needs to turn to God.

2 Chronicles 7:14 (KJV) – If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Adapted from the sermon, “Of Your Own, We Have Given You”; July 26, 2015, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. at West Angeles Church Of God In Christ.  PHOTO – W. E. B. DuBois, 1899. “Photographs of African Americans in Georgia exhibited at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900.” Courtesy, Library of Congress.


WEST ANGELES is growing to better serve the community! Please CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW to give to the West Angeles Building Fund.

GET INVOLVED: The COGIC Urban Initiatives

Dear West Angeles Family,

We are blessed with infinitely greater opportunities than Black people anywhere on the face of the earth. But we are blessed that we might reach out to those less fortunate, and to lift them and help them. We cannot be satisfied to be in a community that’s blessed and prosperous until we reach out and Bless everyone in that community.

I pray that, in this season, every one of us will stand upon our watch, and that we’ll go to God and pray:

‘God, I just don’t want to stand by. I want to have a positive impact on life on earth; I want to have appositive impact on my children, on my family, on my community. God, show me what you would have me to do show me what direction you would have me to go.’

As Presiding Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, I’ve asked every one of our 12,000 churches across the world to incorporate into their operations 5 areas of emphasis. We call this the Church Of God In Christ Urban Initiatives.

Get Involved: The COGIC Urban Initiatives include progressive programs for youth and young adults.

The 5 areas are:
1. Education – Includes mentoring, tutoring, and Christian education.
2. Economic Development – We offer job training, employment counseling and assistance, and entrepreneurship programs.
3. Crime Prevention – We’ve developed alternative programs to proactively keep young people out of crime,

and to create collaborative relationships with law enforcement.
4. Family – We’ve created programs to strengthen the family with a special emphasis on the role of fathers.
5. Financial Literacy – Includes programs for both young people and adults.

Some of the best leaders in our denomination have been assigned to lead the success of these programs across the nation. If every church has these five areas at work, there will be 60,000 programs in inner city America impacting our nation, impacting our communities, impacting the cities of our nation. West Angeles Church Of God In Christ has all 5 of these areas well covered, and we must expand even more.

We are Blessed to be a Blessing.  We need your gifts, your skills, and your involvement, and we look forward to working with you.

Sincerely,

Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.
Presiding Bishop
Church of God in Christ, Inc.

 

GET INVOLVED WITH WEST ANGELES

  • For financial literacy, economic development, and community assistance programs, PLEASE CONTACT: The West Angeles Community Development Corporation at (323) 751-3440. Please click HERE for more information. http://www.westangelescdc.org/
  • For more on our family and personal development programs, PLEASE CONTACT: The West Angeles Counseling Center at (323) 737-7463 or (323) 733-8300×2360, [email protected] http://westa.org/counseling-2/
  • For our “Manhood 2 Fatherhood” sessions, please contact The West Angeles Counseling Center at (323) 737-7463. Please click HERE for more information. http://westa.org/portfolio/manhood-to-fatherhood/
  • For The Brotherhood Organization, please contact (323) 733-8300 http://westa.org/the-brotherhood/
  • For more information on our adult and youth Christian Education Classes including The School of Practical Christian Living, Sunday School, and the West Angeles Bible College, please call (323) 733-8300.
  • For college prep and Education Enrichment contact Deacon John Wilson at (323) 733-8300 x2628, 2629 [email protected] [email protected] http://westa.org/education-enrichment/
  • For Mentoring information, please contact Minister Sam Ransom, email [email protected] or call 323-733-8300 x2629.
  • For West Angeles COGIC Ministries and Auxiliaries – For more information on all of West Angeles’ ministries and auxiliaries, including our Skid Row Ministry, the Prison Ministry and many others, please call 323 733-8300, or CLICK HERE for a complete list. http://westa.org/ministries-departments/

THE COGIC URBAN INITIATIVES: “Building healthy individuals, families, and communities for a successful future.”

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COGIC URBAN INITIATIVES IN ACTION – Please CLICK HERE to watch an inspiring conversation between our Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. and Operation Hope CEO and Founder John Hope Bryant, where they discuss a new COGIC partnership, the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, and the power of financial literacy for the underserved.

What’s An Idol?

Most of us probably don’t make a connection between our favorite activities and the Bible’s definition of an idol.

We’re probably even content to pawn off our neighbor’s statue of the Virgin Mary as God’s idea of what a “graven image.” But the term idol is mentioned or alluded to so many times in the Bible – even in the 10 Commandments – that worshiping them must be a pretty serious offense!

So, before we discuss what an idol is, let’s first talk about what it isn’t, starting with those carved sculptures that are mentioned so much in the Old Testament. Sure, for those cultures that use them, they can be idols too, but they’re only a representation of the modern issues we’re dealing with today.

Second, let’s look at a passage that best defines what an idol is. Colossians 3:5 says it’s “everything that belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed” (NIV). Simply put, an idol is anything we live or swear by which keeps us from truly serving and worshiping God. So, chances are, there are elements of our daily routines which have “idol” written all over them (sorry, but that nightly smoke you “need” to get to sleep? That qualifies too).

Here are five things you probably didn’t know are idols:

  1. Your horoscope. It’s got the First Commandment written all over it (Exodus 20:4). We’re not supposed to worship the image of anything that’s “in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth,” and astrology certainly fits that description. One reason it’s bad: it limits your potential. If you think you’ve got no more capabilities than a goat or a scorpion, then how are you ever going to walk on water?
  2. Television and media images. Yes, I know you’re really into that show, and you also think you can’t live without your Xbox. But entertainment and social media has taken on a life of their own, and these days, unfortunately, there’s very little reality or God in them. Idols created by the entertainment industry now influence almost everything in society, from lifestyle choices to career pursuits. Its images can be as extreme as porn, or as violent as your favorite video game. But they can also be simple images repeated over time, like the thin blonde girl symbolizing universal beauty, or the African American man in handcuffs symbolizing universal fear. These images become idols which influence thought. They illicit desire, disparage a race or gender, create a false reality, or negatively influence our ideas about absolutely everything and everyone – even Jesus. Psalm 97:7 (ESV) lets us know that “All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols.”
  3. Bad habits. Drugs, alcohol and other addictions; phobias, sickness, family history, overeating, uncontrolled emotions, thoughts…the list goes on. How many times have we heard (or said) statements like:

“I just can’t handle [insert phobia here]: that’s just how I am”, or

“We Smiths are [insert vice here]”, or

“My Mom and Grandma had [insert illness here], so I will too…”

Whatever limiting thoughts and ideas we allow ourselves to attach to are not only idols, but they can also influence the way our children and grandchildren think about themselves too (Exodus  20:5).

  1. Society’s norms. Gluttony, racism, oppression, and yes, casual sex; the practices we engage in and ideas we adopt which go against God’s instructions for our lives not only limit our own potential, but also the growth and potential of others.
  2. Money. This is a big one. Yes, it’s part of survival in our society. But love of money is another thing entirely. Jesus makes it plain in Matthew 6:24 that it’s impossible to live for greed and God at the same time. Greed has been at the heart of man’s endeavors from the beginning of time, and manifests itself in a variety of ways, from slavery to economic recession. If the motivation behind any action is monetary gain, as opposed to the intrinsic good of all mankind, then that action becomes an idol. From manufacturing a seed, to building a business, to developing a community or governing a nation: if God didn’t ordain it, then man’s probably in it for profit and control, and its effects diminish and destroy God’s people and His Will for the earth.

Idolatry keeps us from finding true liberty and freedom in Christ, and prevents us and future generations from being all we’re created to be (Exodus 20:2-5). “There are ways which seem right to a man, but in the end are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25). That passage defines idolatry in a nutshell, and God seemed to believe the message was so important for us to understand, He sent it twice! But in Proverbs 19:21, He also makes it clear that, in spite of man’s ways, it’s only God’s methods that triumph.

So save yourself years of trials and anguish: drop the idols and do things His way.

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Colossians 3:5, Leviticus 26:1, Psalm 97:7, Exodus 20:2-5, Matthew 6:24, Proverbs 14:12, 16:25, and 19:21.

Bishop Blake: Do You Want To Be Well? Do These 3 Things

Now a certain man was there who had an infirmity thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there, and knew that he already had been in that condition a long time, He said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”  John 5:5-6 (NKJV)

In John 5, a man had been infirmed for 38 years; yet Jesus, before He would do anything for the man, asked him, “Do you want to be well?” That may seem like a strange question, but let me inform you that there are many people who say, “I want to be sick.”

Some choose to be sick because:

  • They don’t want to be held accountable. They don’t want to go through what they must endure both spiritually and biblically; they don’t want to rise up to the standard that the Word of God proclaims.
  • They do not want to endure the painful medical treatment, exercise, discipline or diet required to be made well.
  • They choose addictions, perversions, even mental illness; creating a false world into which they can escape, which frees them from the pressures and failures of life.

Jesus was right in asking this man if he wanted to be made well, because so many people settle for just any old thing. But I want to proclaim to you today that the saints should not be at the bottom, the saints ought to be the top! You’re not supposed to be “alright under the circumstances,” because God does not put us “under the circumstances.” You are above these circumstances!

Do You Want To Be Well? Do These 3 Things: Bishop Blake leads a powerful altar call at West Angeles COGIC.

In our lives, we should strive for the best: the best spiritually, the best physically, the best intellectually, the best materially, the best in our marriages, in our appearance, and in every area of our lives. We’re not here in the church just having fun, we’re here to establish lifestyles and habits that will give glory to God, and that will open us up to the blessing of the Lord in our lives.

If you’ve got God in your life, if you’ve got the Holy Ghost, you’ve got One in your life that gives you power to overcome and to surmount any obstacle, any difficulty, and any hardship that you might encounter.

 

DO YOU WANT TO BE HEALED?

You don’t have to be below par. You can be everything that God wants you to be. Healing is yours if you want to be healed, but first, you must:

  1. Repent. Ask God’s forgiveness. So many folks never repent; they go in and out of life without repentance. But every once in a while, you ought to look up to God and say, “Lord at my best, I’m inadequate; at my best, I can’t come up to your standard. Lord, forgive me, and help me to turn around; help me to be the person that you’d have me to be. Lord, I’m sorry. I love you and praise your name. And if I’ve done anything that displeased you, then forgive me and try me one more time.  Lord, I’m here, seeking you with all of my heart.” Healing starts with repentance.
  2. Believe in Jesus. Believe He’s the Son of God; believe into His will and into His way. Put your hand in His hand, and your whole heart in Him. Believe that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. If you really love Him, then you’re on the way toward healing. Raise your hands and say, “Lord, fill me with the Holy Ghost! I want Your power; I want Your anointing. I want to walk righteously with You.” Step into Jesus; into His love, His power and His righteousness.
  3. Deny thyself. “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow Me” (Matthew 16:24). If you want to do God’s will, then you’ve got to set flesh and self aside, and when you do, God steps in and begins to heal you and take you higher than you’ve ever gone before. Live your life being filled with the Holy Ghost! Holy Ghost power can work healing in your life (Acts 1:8)!

The Bible tells us to examine ourselves; to take heed of ourselves. A person who is not completely healed cannot function at full capacity. What is your spiritual condition? Are you really healthy, or are you only slightly healed? Do you want the best from God? And do you want to do the best for God?

The power of God can work healing to your life. Lift your hands and say,

“Lord, I’m coming to you for a spiritual examination. If you find anything that does not belong in me, work on me and heal me so I can be the person You created me to be! Create in me a clean heart. Lord, I want to live like You want me to live, and to be what you want me to be. Fill me with Your power; fill me with Your anointing. I want to do Your will; I want to walk in Your way to win others for the kingdom.”

God will take you higher than you’ve ever gone before. God can heal you; God can fix you. If God wants to bless anyone, He wants to bless His people: and if you’re one of the people of the Lord, God wants to bless you!

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Jeremiah 6:14, Hosea 14:4, John 3:16, 5:6; Matthew 16:24, Acts 1:8, 1 Timothy 4:16, Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 51:10.

Adapted from the sermon, “Do You want to be Well? by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.  May 28, 2017, at West Angeles Church of God in Christ. Watch the entire sermon on The Legacy Broadcast HERE.

Hear Pastor Donnie McClurkin sing, “Create In Me A Clean Heart” below:

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. West Angeles Church Of God In Christ makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained on or available through this web site, and such information is subject to change without notice. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with your doctor and other sources, and to review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Consult your doctor before starting any new eating or exercise regimen.

Black Women and Health: 8 Actions to Take Now

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light – 1 Peter 2: (NKJV)

Most medical research conducted in the United States does not include a detailed study of African American women or the uniqueness of the African American physiology.  That lack of knowledge has created disparities in the quality of medical care which African Americans receive. In 1984, the Black Women’s Health Imperative, previously the National Black Women’s Health Project, was formed in Atlanta, GA to address those disparities, and to address the health and reproductive rights of African American women. NBWHP was founded by MacArthur Fellow Byllye Avery, who was particularly influenced by the impact that public policy had on women of color and poor women.

The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI), based in Washington, DC, is the only national organization dedicated to improving the health and wellness of our nation’s 21 million Black women and girls – physically, emotionally and financially. Their mission is to lead the effort to solve the most pressing health issues that affect Black women and girls in the U.S.

Also, in 1995, Boston University’s Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS) was launched, sending health questionnaires to thousands of women including Essence magazine subscribers and the members of  Black Nurses’ Association. For the past 22 years, the study has continued to gather data annually on the 59,000 women who returned completed questionnaires in 1995. The Black Women’s Health Imperative has used research of the BWHS to develop programs, initiatives and awareness to keep African American women healthy.

FINDINGS OF THE STUDY

Black Women and Health: 8 Actions to Take Now. Infographic, courtesy BWHI.org.

Black women are more likely to develop certain health problems than white women. Until the 1990s, most of the studies of women’s health included only small numbers of Black women or none at all. Improving the health of Black women required more knowledge of the causes of these health problems and also more knowledge about how women stay healthy. More knowledge meant more research.

Through collaborations between the two groups, findings from the application of their research have included:

  • Racism affects physical health. Experiences of racism are stressors that might result in health issues. Among participants under age 50, women who reported frequent experiences of racism in daily life or in housing, on the job, and by police were more likely to develop breast cancer. No other study has reported on this issue. Racism is also a contributor to increased obesity through changes in eating or exercise habits. In the BWHS, the occurrence of obesity was greater among women who had the greatest experiences of racism. This was the case whether women lived in segregated or non-segregated neighborhoods.
  • Stress is the enemy. Too much stress can contribute to the onset of diseases: not just psychological illnesses, but physical maladies as well, such as heart disease, obesity, and premature births.  Stress can also create chronic inflammation in the body, which can create other serious physical problems.
  • Breast cancer shows up earlier: and deadlier. Black women are diagnosed with breast cancer at a younger age (median age is 58 for black women, 62 for white women) and die at a younger age than white women (median age is 62 for black women, 69 for white women).
  • Lupus occurs much more commonly among Black women than among other ethnic groups, and yet it is still a rare illness even among Black women.
  • Sitting for long periods increases cancer risk. Women who sit for more than 10 hours a day – even at work – have a 40 percent higher incidence of breast cancer, as compared to those who sat for fewer than five hours a day.
  • Beware of the night shift – The incidence of type 2 diabetes in the BWHS was greater among women who had worked a night shift for at least 10 years than among women who had not worked night shifts. A possible mechanism may involve sleep disturbances, which are increasingly being associated with adverse health effects.
  • More fried foods and meat mean more cancer. High intake of foods in the meat-fried food pattern was associated with a higher risk of cancer.

WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW

Does God want us to be healthy? Yes! God has created us to follow His Word; God’s Word and God’s ways bring us health and strength (Proverbs 3). Here are 8 actions to take now, compiled from the findings of the Black Women’s Health Imperative and the Black Women’s Health Study, with support from the American Heart Association, which can help us to achieve the optimum health which God intends for us:

Black Women and Health: 8 Actions to Take Now – You don’t need an acre to grow edibles; greens, lettuces and certain fruits and vegetables can even be grown in pots.

1. Be proactive about your health (Matthew 7:7-8, 1 Corinthians 6:19).  Get regular physicals, pap smears, and mammograms from doctors you can trust. Ask for referrals, ask questions, and get additional doctors’ opinions on diagnoses. Many doctors will treat us based on our weaknesses: not our strengths, or our ability to change our lifestyles and our eating habits! They will often not offer eating or exercise plans as solutions to common health problems. Seek out information about Black women’s health issues, and healthy eating and lifestyles. Be innovative! Our ancestors and forefathers have always created, invented, and “made a way out of no way.” Grow edibles!  Even if you don’t have the yard space, lettuces and certain vegetables can even be grown in pots or planters.  Create and discover new ways of cooking healthy at home (as opposed to eating out), which studies have found is associated with better health.

2. Get involved with your church. (Hebrews 10:25, Colossians 3:16). Studies show that religious involvement is associated with a healthy mental outlook. The Word of God provides peace, wisdom, and “strength to your bones” (Proverbs 3:8); church provides a support system of friends and neighbors, inspiration, and the opportunity to help others, among other benefits. Women in the studies who said they were very involved in their church tended to report excellent or very good mental health. Not surprising, right?

3. Change your environment – even if it means just taking a day trip (Genesis 12:1, Acts 7:3).  Most people tend to be happier when they’re traveling for leisure or vacationing, of course, but a takeaway learned from a recent Cornell University study is that people also experience a direct increase in happiness from just planning a trip. And according to a joint study from the Global Commission on Aging, and the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, traveling actually keeps us healthier. The study found that women who vacation at least twice a year show a significantly lower risk of suffering a heart attack than those who only travel every six years or so. Also, according to the BWHS, women who lived in poorer neighborhoods more often developed diabetes than women who lived in wealthier areas. So getting away from the ol’ neighborhood for a change of scenery holds benefits for the body, mind and spirit.

4. Fill your plate with mostly fruits and vegetables (Genesis 1:29). It’s not only healthy…it’s Biblical! Include whole grains, root vegetables, dark berries and dark leafy greens in your diet. High intake of foods in the fruit-vegetable pattern was associated with lower cancer risk. Avoid or cut down on processed foods; any food that has 20 ingredients or more should be viewed with suspicion. Cut down on serving sizes. Also important: drink lots of water.

5. Cut out excess sugar and salt (Matthew 5:13-16). Limit high-calorie foods like sweets. Avoid drinks with added sugar. Cancers feed off of sugars, and excess salt creates inflammation: which accompanies many medical conditions including heart disease and diabetes.

6. Stand! (Ephesians 6:13). Stand while working, preparing foods: whenever you can. Walk around for short periods at work, even if watching television. Studies have shown that a sedentary lifestyle which results in 10 or more hours of sitting per day also results in 40 percent greater breast cancer risk. A 50% greater risk for diabetes was shown in those who sat for five hours a day or more.

7. Exercise! (Isaiah 40:31) Vigorous exercise reduces hypertension and depression. Participation in vigorous physical activity was associated with a decreased occurrence of both depression and hypertension among BWHS participants.

8. Rest. (Genesis 20:10) Get adequate sleep.  Sleep deprivation has been shown to not only affect the sex life, memory and physical appearance, but it can also put us at risk for serious health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. Have stress-free mechanisms for relaxation. Prayer; hobbies such as art, gardening and being outdoors in nature; deep breathing exercises, stretching, listening to soothing, uplifting music: all are examples of relaxing activities we can engage in to keep stress at bay.

Finally:
“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:1-2.

With the mighty resurrection power of Jesus as our guide, we can do all things through Him who strengthens us.

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Hear the voices of the Black Women’s Health Study Advisory Board speak about the impact and importance of the Black Women’s Health Study below:

Read Bishop Blake’s post, “DO YOU WANT TO BE WELL? DO THESE 3 THINGS”.  Please CLICK HERE to read.

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only. West Angeles Church Of God In Christ makes no representation and assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of information contained on or available through this web site, and such information is subject to change without notice. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with your doctor and other sources, and to review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Consult your doctor before starting any new eating or exercise regimen.

Bishop Blake: Your Power, Your Authority

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. reminds us to use the badge of power, authority, and strength found only through Jesus Christ.

 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do…If you ask anything in my name, I will do it” –  John 14:13-14

There are some who try to impersonate officers of the law. They will paint their cars as close to that of a police officer as they can, putting on some kind of phony uniform, trying to act like they are an officer of the law. But listen…trying to act like an officer does not make you a policeman  A true deputy is a person appointed as substitute. He is someone who has the power to act.

It is an impressive thing when you read the scriptures that imply that we are deputies of God and of his son Jesus Christ. All these privileges, powers and rights are conferred upon believer,  and you cannot confer authority upon others unless you have established authority within yourself.

“Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.” – Luke 10:19 (KJV)

Who gives us our power? What gives us our authority? Our authority comes from:

  1. God. Jesus Christ gives us our badges. Our badges imply that we are empowered and authorized to act on His behalf. Don’t try to walk the earth on your own authority. People and devils will not respond to us. But when we go forth in the name and the power of Jesus Christ, we can change our situation.
  2. The Word. The power of your authority is in the Word of God; the Word is power! If you stand on the word, the devil has got to back up and step aside in the name of Jesus!
  3.  Prayer. Prayer is the key to the kingdom, and faith unlocks the door. Sometimes our answer is detained; sometimes the miracle we want does not happen right away. He may not come when you want Him, but He’ll be right on time. Hold on to your faith. Hold on to your badge.

    Your Power, Your Authority: Bishop Blake praises the Lord.

Is there anybody who needs to change their situation? Is there anybody who knows that God can change things? If you’re a saved person, you’ve got authority. You are an agent of the Kingdom. You are somebody. Don’t live beneath your privilege. Don’t let problems discourage you. Use your badge!

Holy Ghost power is what we need in this day and time; the Holy Ghost is our back-up! Raise your hands and say,

“Father, I stretch my hand to thee; no other help I know. Lord, I need your power! I need your might! I need your anointing!” 

You can do all things through Christ who strengthens you. If you use your badge, God will show up in your life. You are an agent of the Kingdom!

Hallelujah!

Adapted from the sermon titled, “Use Your Badge,” at West Angeles Church of God In Christ.This entire sermon and more is available HERE, at West Angeles Gospel On Demand

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SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – John 14:12-14, 16:15; Luke 9:1, Mark 16:15-17, Matthew 10:1-7; Luke 10:19, Matthew 16:19, 18:20, 10:40; Ephesians 6:16, Exodus 12:23, 1 Corinthians 1:18, Revelations 1:5, Matthew 6:31, Acts 19:13, Luke 9:23, John 13:34, Judges 16, Daniel 10, Hebrews 14:12, Matthew 22:29, Ephesians 3:20, Acts 1:8, Romans 8:31, Acts 4:13-31, Jeremiah 33:3, Daniel 3:19-26, Isaiah 41:10, Psalm 34:7, Isaiah 40:31.

 

Hear the West Angeles Youth and Young Adult Choir sing,” We need your power”, featuring Darius Maxey. At WEST ANGELES CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST.