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Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God, Part II: the rare Aloe polyphylla, commonly known as the spiral aloe.

Bishop Blake: Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God, Part II

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake continues the exploration of God’s creation in Part II of our series, Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God.

God always has been, and He ever shall be. He stood on nothing, because there was nothing for God to stand on. He created a universe with fantastic characteristics, capacities, and cosmic proportions.  He formed all the stars. He formed all the planets. He gave special favor to the planet earth.  The precision of the heavens declare the wisdom of our God; creation is an expression of God Himself.

The universe is a testimony of the wisdom, the greatness, and the power of our God. In order to create a universe like this, God has to be a God of infinite power and wisdom. But after God created the universe, God kept on working. He caused the earth to bring forth 320,000 types of vegetation – trees, plants, flowers – on the earth. Then, 62,000 species of animal life God caused to bring forth from the earth. For His glory, He gave every species amazing capacities by which to function and survive, and every species utilizes what God has given it to its limit:

Amazing Facts about the greatness of God, Part II: The Pinwheel Galaxy, also known as M101. is in the constellation of Ursa Major (also known as the Big Dipper). It is about 70 percent larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Amazing Facts about the greatness of God, Part II: The Pinwheel Galaxy, also known as M101. is in the constellation of Ursa Major (also known as the Big Dipper). It is about 70 percent larger than our own Milky Way Galaxy.

  • The peregrine falcon can dive at a speed of over 240mph.
  • The cheetah* can run at speeds of 70-75mph.
  • The sailfish is capable of swimming at a speed of 68mph.
  • The black bear can smell a food source 18 miles away, and can walk directly to it.
  • An eagle can fly carrying a weight 4 times as much as its own body weight.

Each species maximizes the abilities deposited within it. Their design and capacities are an indication of the greatness and the wisdom of our God in creating all species of life.

Then God Made Man

In Genesis 1:18, God looked at the animals He had made, and “saw that it was good.” But again, God kept on working. And when God made man, He went to an all-together different level. Genesis 1:25 tells us that God created man in His own image, over every living thing on earth.  As was the earth and the animals, man was created to live on the outer limits of his capacity and his ability.

God is expecting you to operate on the outer limits of your capacity also. You’ve got the power. You’ve got the anointing! The same power that raised up Jesus is available to you. I hope someone will decide today to do the greatest thing: to help the most people, to reach the greatest potential that God can bless you to obtain.

God wants you to be great, and to do great things! Hallelujah!

 

FOR FURTHER READING: Genesis 1:27-31, Psalm 81, Proverbs 3:19, Exodus 19:5, Psalm 24:1, Ephesians 1:18-20.

Adapted from the sermon, “God’s Work and Our Work,” by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. See the entire sermon HERE, on West Angeles’ Legacy Broadcast.


*WATCH NOW: “This Is Why You Can’t Outrun A Cheetah” below; excerpt from “Speed Kills,” on the Smithsonian Channel:

Read PART I of Bishop Blake’s series “Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God” HERE


DID YOU KNOW?

  • A life form, or lifeform, is an entity or being that is living. [Scientific] estimates on the number of Earth’s current species range from 10 million to 14 million, of which about 1.2 million have been documented and over 86 percent have not yet been described.
  • In May 2016, scientists reported that 1 trillion species are estimated to be on Earth currently with only one-thousandth of one percent described.
  • More than 99% of all species, amounting to over five billion species, that ever lived on Earth are estimated to be extinct.
  • The Aloe polyphylla of South Africa (pictured above) is commonly known as the spiral aloe in English, lekhala kharatsa in Sesotho, or kroonaalwyn in Afrikaans. The species is highly sought after as an ornamental plant, but is difficult to cultivate and usually soon dies if removed from its natural habitat. In South Africa, buying or collecting the plant is a criminal offence.
A Message from the Stars: Seyfert galaxy NGC 6814. Photo: ESA/Hubble & NASA; credit, Judy Schmidt

Bishop Blake: Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God, Part I

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake ponders the greatness of God’s universe in Part I of our series on God and His creation.

“The heavens declare the Glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.” – Psalm 19:1

Whenever you look out into the sky, even on the clearest night, you see only a small part of God’s universe. The nearest heavenly body to us is the moon, and the moon is approximately 245,000 miles away. The sun, which is a star, is 93 million miles away from us, a gigantic celestial body with a circumference of three million miles around. And there are stars in the universe that are 1,000 times as large as our sun.

Distances in the universe are so great, a basic unit of measurement is a light year – the distance that light can travel in one year – and that distance would be six trillion miles.

Our galaxy, called, “The Milky Way,” is more than 100,000 light years in diameter. Two million light years beyond that, you will arrive at another galaxy system.

Limits of the universe have never been discovered. But as large as it is, the God that we serve is bigger. The heavens declare the glory of God because the vastness of the heavens declares the vastness of our God. God is everywhere present and as mighty as all of those combined wonders are, our God has more power than what He has created…our God is a mighty God!

When you come against something that is too much for you, too powerful for you, too overwhelming for you, when you think you’re not going to be able to deal with it, even with God’s help, I just want you to remember: God has made an infinite number of stars and suns that are bigger than our sun. They’re still burning, still shining…and if God can do that, then God can do whatever you need Him to do.

Adapted from the sermon titled, “A Message from the Stars,” at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. Come back to Westa.org for Part II of Bishop Blake’s Amazing Facts About the Greatness of God.


As our gift to you, experience the entire sermon below, on West Angeles Church of God In Christ’s Legacy Broadcast:

A Message From The Stars, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake at West Angeles Church of God In Christ from West Angeles COGIC on Vimeo.

IMAGES – Featured photo: Seyfert galaxy NGC 6814. ESA/Hubble; acknowledgement: Judy Schmidt.  Sun video /Gyrating active region: both courtesy NASA.gov.

7 PROMISES of GOD

7 Promises of God That Will Motivate You Today

Behold: I am the Lord is there anything too hard for me? Jeremiah 32:27 

The prophet Jeremiah ministered during one of the darkest periods in the history of the Jewish nation. God was displeased, and the Kingdom of Judah was preoccupied with great distress. Babylon, the greatest military force of that day, had launched a deadly attack against the nation of Judah.

God had revealed to Jeremiah that, although He had delivered Judah many times in the past, Judah was then to be defeated. Its land and its assets were going to be confiscated. Its people were going to be made slaves. Many had already been killed by the Babylonians. Others were facing starvation and great desperation.

But Zedekiah not only rejected Jeremiah’s counsel, he also put Jeremiah in jail (and Jeremiah, of course, was proven to be correct; Babylon did overwhelm Judah, Zedekiah’s kingdom).

However, let’s take note of God’s grace and God’s mercy, even in the midst of crisis and amid catastrophe. God, in the midst of their distress, gave Judah a promise. In Jeremiah 32, God let them know that He still had a future for them:

  1. I will gather them from all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to this place…I will cause them to dwell in safety (Jeremiah 32:37).
  2. They shall be my people, and I will be their God (Jeremiah 32:38).
  3. I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear me forever, for the good of them, and of their children after them (Jeremiah 32:39).
  4. I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good (Jeremiah 32:40).
  5. I will put my fear in their hearts (Jeremiah 32:40).
  6. I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul (Jeremiah 32:41).
  7. I will bring upon them all the good that I have promised them (Jeremiah 32:42).

Time and again, God says, ‘I will.’” Even in the midst of a terrible predicament, Judah received promises from the Lord.

NOTHING IS TOO HARD FOR GOD

Some of you are in a terrible predicament today. You’ve got bills, you’ve got creditors, and they’re pressing in on your from every side. The demons of hell are bombarding you with temptations designed to make you a slave, and to exile you from everything that’s valuable and important to you. The evil forces of the earth assault you with relentless fury so that your very survival is at stake. In the midst of it all, God seems distant or silent, and it seems you can go no further.

But I pray today that whatever state you’re in, that you will listen and hear God say, “I WILL.” We have a God who will keep His promises. God has made promises to us that can sustain us in the middle of our distress. If you believe God will keep His promises, give praise to the Lord.

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Jeremiah 32:24-42, 24-57, 33:3; 2 Corinthians 1:20.

From the sermon, “Take Title When You Can’t Take Possession,” by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. 3-5-2017, at West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

WATCH NOW: Experience the entire inspiring sermon, “Take Title When You Can’t Take Possession,” HERE, on West Angeles’ LEGACY BROADCAST.


Hear “Nothing is Impossible” by Sinach Joseph, below:

Nothing Is Impossible performed by SINACH JOSEPH, Nigeria

Be inspired by 8 dynamic qualities of women in the Bible: like you.

The Power of Women: 8 Dynamic Traits of Women in the Bible

On Westa.org, we’re celebrating Women’s Day and Women’s History Month with a list of 8 dynamic traits of women in the Bible which are sure to keep you inspired.

As modern-day women, we seem to have as many mountains to climb today as at any other time in history. We may find ourselves questioning whether or not we have the strength to balance the weight of all the  responsibilities heaped upon our shoulders. We start our days on the run, stressed-out and worried that we’re unable to manage in our multiple roles as wife, daughter, mother, and career woman.

We end our days seeking a moment of solace by immersing ourselves in our favorite TV shows or social media outlets. Instead of finding peace, however, we’re bombarded with soul-shaking news stories and demoralizing images which seem to  challenge our  progress as a people and a nation, or worse – to undermine our faith.

We also know that we should make sure we’re healthy mentally and physically, in order to be at our best for others. However, with so much to do and so little time, we go to bed exhausted and awaken the same way, unsure of how we’ll summon the strength to rise again and start another day.

As women before us have known for centuries though, we must not lose heart when our help is as close as the Bible on the nightstand beside us.

 

8 dynamic traits of women in the Bible.

Prayer Warrior: 8 dynamic traits of women in the Bible.

OUR BIBLE, OUR POWER

The bible tells us the story of our history, and it has the key to our empowerment. Women throughout history have overcome obstacles by seeking and and relying upon the Word of God; gaining strength from its unlimited source of power.  

Here’s a list of 8 dynamic qualities of women in  the Bible to inspire and fortify you:

Prayer warrior. Women in the bible exemplify the power of prayer. Hannah’s prayers produce a warrior for God (1 Samuel 1:9-11); Anna’s prayers are rewarded with the promise of God’s New Kingdom (Luke 2:36–38).

Support system. Together, Naomi and Ruth use Godly wisdom to secure their family’s future – and change the course of history (Book of Ruth).

Purpose-driven. To cure her condition, one woman endures the possibility of disdain, scorn, and banishment in order to connect with Jesus. She allows nothing to deter her from the healing Power of God, and gives us a shining example of unwavering faith (Matthew 9:20-22).

Entrepreneur. The woman described in Proverbs 31 is a hard-working, enterprising, industrious entrepreneur who not only weaves her own fabrics (Proverbs 31:19), but from that fabric she also “makes linen garments and sells them,” and supplies products for other merchants (Proverbs 31:10-31).

Prophet. Deborah knows what would save her nation from oppression. She aligns herself with a leader named Barak who can get the job done (Judges 4).

Life-saver. Esther uses the power of grace, fasting, and marriage to save her people from extermination (Book of Esther).

Ruler of nations. The Queen of Sheba uses wisdom and discernment before giving King Solomon her blessing (1 Kings 10:1-13): but Jesus warns a disobedient generation that they will not have the same results! (Matthew 12:42)

Mother of mankind. Eve is the first woman – mother of us all (Genesis 3:20). And to Mary, a Savior is born, whose existence gives us the only living example of our fullest potential (Matthew 1:18-21).

The next time you need a boost of faith, come back to this list of Biblical heroines to remind you of those who came before you, who faced seemingly insurmountable challenges and, through the power of almighty God, triumphed. Stay strong, encouraged, and focused on the Promise of The Word. As women, we can do all things through Him who gives us strength.


8 Dynamic Traits of Women in the Bible: West Angeles Choir Singing King Jesus Is A Listening from West Angeles COGIC on Vimeo.

LADIES: WE’RE PRAYING FOR OUR MEN!  Please join us for the next “When Women Pray” prayer event.  Please CLICK HERE for more information.

PLEASE JOIN US FOR SUNDAY SERVICES AT WEST ANGELES! Click HERE to go to Westa.org for details.

BLACK HISTORY WESTA 2017 BISHOP1

Highlights: Black History Month Presentation

For West Angeles’ culminating Black History Month presentation for 2017, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake and the West Angeles Music and Worship and Arts team and the took the congregation to school with a  lesson in African American that transcended the ages. 

On February 26 for the conclusion of Black History Month 2017, West Angeles Church of God In Christ delivered an exciting and inspiring Black History Month Presentation which included dance, hip-hop, oral history, and spoken word. Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake began his Black History Month sermon in Africa, thousands of years before the birth of Christ, with the story of Moses; journeying through the reign of the Queen of Sheba, the Atlantic slave trade, and to the roots of Pentecostalism to reveal the connection between people of African descent and the roots of Christianity. Bishop Blake was also inspired by the story of Joseph in Genesis, siting parallels between Joseph’s journey and the historic journey of African Americans.

Dr. Judith McAllister, Marvin Wright-Bey, and the West Angeles Worship and Arts team staged a glorious multi-media presentation, resplendent with interpretations of the African American journey, in dance, spoken word, and song.  Musical performances by the West Angeles Angelic and Mass Choirs were accompanied by featured artists including SuNWhoa Love, Angie Fisher, and West Angeles’ own David Daughtery.

Highlights from “A Sermon for Black History Month” follow (please click the images to enlarge the slideshow).  See the complete service HERE, on West Angeles’ Legacy Broadcast:

“2000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, Moses traveled to Midian, in the southern part of the fertile crescent.  There, Moses married a dark-skinned Midianite woman and worked for his dark-skinned father-in-law, by the name of Jethro. Numbers 12:1 indicate that Jethro and his daughter were Ethiopian.”

“Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the woman he had married…God got upset and smote Miriam with leprosy. Sometimes, Black women are mighty powerful.”

“400 years later, Joseph would marry a dark-skinned Egyptian woman.”

“Almost 1000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, the Queen of Sheba – also known as “Cush” or Ethiopia – visited King Solomon. She came from Africa with many camels, spices, gold, and precious stones. Her nation and her culture had obviously existed long before that time.”

“The Ethiopian, Piankhi, established the 24th Egyptian Dynasty. And at least four Black Kings ruled over Egypt from 730 BC until 66 BC…Great nations, great civilizations, great cultures existed in Africa centuries before Jesus Christ was born.”

“Centuries before Jesus Christ was born, one of the greatest generals of all time was a man by the name of Hannibal – a black man – from the city of Carthage in Northern Africa. Hannibal defied and defeated Rome between 219 and 203 BC.”

BLACK HISTORY WESTA 2017 2

Black History Month: The Angelic Choir sings! West Angeles Church of God In Christ, 2-26-2017.

“In 1498 AD, Portuguese explorers wrote that they found along the east African coast, tall stone cities of comfort and of wealth. They found people who were highly civilized and skilled in the use of the compass, and in reading charts.”

“God has a purpose for your life: and we know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord; for them who were called according to His purpose.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“The city of Timbuktu in West Sudan (was) a magnificent city where merchants made greater profit from the sale of books than from the sale of any other commodity that they sold.”

“In the areas of science, art, medicine, government, law, and culture, and so on, certainly many of the nations of Africa were competitive with, and in many cases more advanced than, the other nations of the world in during that period.”

“All of the things that I’ve described so far have been devastated by the slave trade, by slavery, by Colonialism.”

“William Banks in his book, ‘The Black Church in the US’ gives us the following report:

Nearly 20 million Negroes were made captive over the span of some 300 years, from 1517 until 1840. A more conservative estimate is around 14.6 million. They were jammed and crammed into ships like sardines in a can, and brought across the Atlantic from the Gulf of Guinea to the New World, in a trip called “The Middle Passage.’ It’s estimated that perhaps 12 million Blacks landed in Latin America, and about 2 million of them were brought into the US.”

“What happened to the millions? Some died resisting capture. Some died in captivity, while being held in Africa waiting to be shipped out. Some committed suicide, eating quantities of clay. Others, beaten and too weak to continue the trek in the convoy to the harbor, were abandoned to die.”

“Shackled in irons, they hung beneath the decks of the ships for 16 hours at a time, in unbearable heat filth and stench, barely surviving on the stale spoiled food and stagnant water. They were only given a few minutes a day on deck for fresh air and exercise. If the weather was bad, they received neither fresh air nor exercise. Many died at sea from dysentery, small pox, and other diseases. Some starved themselves to death, refusing to eat. Others committed suicide, jumping into the ocean. Lastly, those who were warriors taken in battle were often beaten and shot to death. Some died soon after reaching American soil.”

“In Christ, there’s no Black, no White, but one race, one blood in Christ Jesus” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

“A meaningful study would be, ‘What was the impact of the loss of 20 million of its inhabitants on the culture and the nations of Africa? How many died trying to defend their families in the violence associated with the slave trade?’”

Dancers reenact the Middle Passage, and freedom from slavery.

Black History Month: Dancers reenact the Middle Passage, and freedom from slavery. West Angeles Church of God In Christ, 2-26-2017.

“After the slave trade came the horrible period of Colonialism, in which horrible invaders did to Africa’s resources what those before them did to Africa’s people. What was the value of 20 million people taken out of their homeland?

“After slavery, black people experienced one humiliation after another, but still, we produced Benjamin Banneker, inventor and maker of the first American clock, Sojourner Truth, George Washington Carver, Charles Drew, a pioneer in blood plasma research…Benjamin  O Davis, Thurgood Marshall, Ralph Bunche, Booker T. Washington, Marion Anderson, and a host of others that rose above their oppression toward a level of excellence.”

Let’s examine now the interaction between Christ and his church and Black people. Because of their concern for the babe Jesus, Mary and Joseph followed an angel to find refuge. It was in Egypt, in North Africa that they sought safety.”

“During the dark day of the Crucifixion, the Jews were condemning Jesus to death. Europe, represented by the Roman Centurions, drove nails into the hands of feet of Jesus, and pierced Him in the side. But Africa, represented by Simon of Cyrene, from Northwest Africa, stepped in when everybody else was stepping back…Simon of Cyrene shared history’s most significant moment with the Christ, as a Black man bore the Cross of Christ up Calvary’s Hill.”

“Listen, if Jesus needed help with His cross, I’m sure He understands when you and I need help with our crosses.  He will help you in the midst of your trials, and in the midst of your struggles.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“One would think that if Jesus needed help with His cross, the privilege would be reserved for Simon Peter, or for John, and for another apostle. But God chose Black hands and wooly hair to perform an act and level of service that all the truly wise men of all the ages would be supremely honored to perform.”

“The Ethiopian Secretary of the Treasury was to pass in his chariot…This Ethiopian nobleman heard and received the gospel, and after being baptized, this nobleman went back to Ethiopia to form the Abyssinian (Coptic) Church that exists until this day. He was the first Gentile of record to be saved. A Black Ethiopian was the first Gentile to be saved, after the Jews.”

“Historian Dean Henry Hart Milman has said: ‘It was Africa, not Rome, which gave birth to Latin Christianity. Africa gave three of the greatest leaders and scholars of the church to the church. Augustine, Tertullian, Cyprian.’”

“Historian and author Dr. H. Vinson Synan says that Charles F. Parham, a white man, and William J. Seymour, a Black man, share roughly equal positions as founders of modern Pentecostalism…Seymour was the outstanding personality in bringing about that crucial Pentecostal revival that we call the Azuza Street revival here in the city of Los Angeles.”

“One key man in that contagious spread (of Pentecostalism) was a man by the name of Charles Harrison Mason, a Black man and the father of founder of the Church Of God in Christ…in 1897.

In 1907, Elder Mason traveled  to Los Angeles and participated in the Azuza Revival and received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.”

“The Church of God In Christ became the first legally incorporated Pentecostal body in the United States.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“Synan also points out that most of the white Pentecostal churches from 1907 to 1914 had no recognizable Ecclesiastical body to represent them, and to ordain their ministers. Therefore they were not authorized to perform marriages or other ministerial duties…Scores of white ministers joined the Church of God In Christ and obtained ministerial credentials from Elder Mason from the Church of God In Christ.”

“One group in Alabama and Texas received permission from COGIC to use the name of the church in 1912, and this continued until 1914, when they organized and called their predominantly white organization the Assemblies of God Church.”

“When Bishop Mason passed in 1961, he left behind him one of the largest Pentecostal bodies in the world.”

“I get the impression that God wanted all of us to be together as one in Him, worshiping Him and praising Him together.”

“Christianity is not a white man’s religion it’s not a black man’s religion: it’s simply man’s religion! It’s the only hope for salvation in this world.”

“In Christ, there’s no Black, no white, but one race, one blood in Christ Jesus. Let’s give praise to the Lord!”

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake teaches the rich history of Black people in the Bible, for Black History Month at West Angeles COGIC. 2-26-2017.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake teaches the rich history of Black people in the Bible, for Black History Month at West Angeles COGIC. 2-26-2017.

“I mentioned a little while ago about Joseph…There are many parallels between Black people and the experience of Joseph, who spoke the words of our text. Joseph had visions…Those visions sustained him in the midst of adversity.”

“I say to you as a people, I say to you as individuals: whatever you’re going through, whatever you’re dealing with, keep on seeing the vision. God said, ‘I know the thoughts I have toward you…future and a hope.’ So God has a future in store for you, and if you see the vision it shall come to pass.”

“In jail, Joseph held on to the dream. Black people held on to the dream in slavery. We believed that God was going to deliver us, and praise God – God did deliver us. We held onto the dream!”

“Our presence here in the United States was not a mistake. It was painful…We were hanged we were lynched, we were abused. But God used what we went through for our good. God raised us up. God brought us out. God brought us through.”

“God’s purpose was fulfilled in us, but God is not through with us yet. You are a child of destiny. God has a purpose in blessing you.”

“Somebody in here is going through something evil, but I want you to know God meant it for good! God is going to turn it around!”

“You are a child of destiny. God has a purpose in blessing you.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“God has a purpose for your life, and we know that all things work together for good for those who love the Lord, for them who were called according to His purpose.”

“What you’ve been through, I’m going to use to bless you and to bless others.”

“Thank you, Lord, for those who have gone before us. Thank you dear Lord, for those who have paved the way for us.”

“God blessed and elevated Joseph, who was sold into slavery by his brothers, reached back to help those who hated him…and blessed them. And thus, he was able to bless literally all the world.”

“Look at your hands please…the hands that God wants to use to transform the world. If you’ll say ‘Yes,’ if you’ll say ‘Thy will be done,” God will use those hands and use your life to bring glory to His name.”

“You are a child of purpose. God has a purpose for your life.”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Genesis 37-50, Numbers 10:29, Numbers 12:1-9, Isaiah 40:31, Romans 8:28; Romans 8:31-39, Jeremiah 29:11, Matthew 6:33.


BOOK Free To Dream by Bishop Charles E. BlakeDO 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.

 

The American Journey of the Negro National Anthem

The American Journey of the Negro National Anthem

At the age of 28, James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) began to pen a poem which would become one of the most celebrated hymns of all time. Johnson was not only a writer, but also a lawyer, teacher, United States diplomat, and the author of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Negro National Anthem. He became the first African-American to pass the bar in the state of Florida, and also served as executive secretary of the NAACP from 1920-1930.

VOICE OF A PEOPLE, SONG OF A NATION

After receiving his bachelor’s and law degrees, Johnson balanced dual careers as educator and lawyer, while also writing poetry. In 1900, at the age of 29, he was asked to speak at an observance at the Florida school where he was principal, but chose to write a piece instead. That piece became what we now know as Lift Every Voice and Sing.

Said James Weldon Johnson –

“A group of young men in Jacksonville, Florida, arranged to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday in 1900. My brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, and I decided to write a song to be sung at the exercises. I wrote the words and he wrote the music. Our New York publisher, Edward B. Marks, made mimeographed copies for us, and the song was taught to and sung by a chorus of five hundred colored school children.

“Shortly afterwards my brother and I moved away from Jacksonville to New York, and the song passed out of our minds. But the school children of Jacksonville kept singing it; they went off to other schools and sang it; they became teachers and taught it to other children. Within twenty years it was being sung over the South and in some other parts of the country. Today the song, popularly known as the Negro National Hymn, is quite generally used.

“The lines of this song repay me in an elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung by Negro children.”[1]

 

In 1939, renowned artist Augusta Savage received a commission from the World's Fair for a work of art. She created a 16-foot plaster sculpture titled “The Harp”, which was inspired by “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”. The sounding board of the harp is the arm and hand of God.

In 1939, renowned artist Augusta Savage received a commission from the World’s Fair for a work of art. She created a 16-foot plaster sculpture titled “The Harp”, which was inspired by “Lift Every Voice and Sing”. The sounding board of the harp is the arm and hand of God.

In 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded and by 1920, Johnson was appointed as its Executive Secretary. As he worked with the organization to combat racism, lynching, and segregation, the popularity of his anthem began to spread throughout the South. Copies of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” could be found in Black churches across the country, and the NAACP had adopted it as its theme song. It was also during this time that “Negro History Week” (now “Black History Month”) was first celebrated, conceived by noted historian Carter G. Woodson.

According to Harry Henderson and Romare Bearden in A History of African-American Artists (From 1792 to the Present)-

“[Lift Every Voice and Sing] resonates strongly as a Christian hymn because it is a song about exodus. It is a story of a journey sanctified by faith, and protected and prospered by God”[2].

Though the Johnson brothers wrote over 200 songs together (mostly for the stage), this anthem would be their most renowed. Recent historic references to Lift Every Voice include the recitation of its 3rd stanza by Civil Rights leader Reverend Joseph Lowery (formerly president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference), for his benediction at the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama in 2009, and a beautiful performance by noted soprano Denyce Graves at the opening ceremonies of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC in 2016.

Lift Every Voice and Sing continues to serve as inspiration of a people, and an anthem of resilience, hope and faith – not only for African Americans, but also for all Americans who are on the journey to freedom, liberty and justice. 

 

LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING

Lift every voice and sing,

Till earth and heaven ring,

Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

Let our rejoicing rise

High as the list’ning skies,

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;

Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,

Let us march on till victory is won.

CLICK HERE FOR A PDF OF THE COMPLETE LYRICS. Watch violinist Karen Briggs perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at West Angeles Church of God In Christ below:

Read more about The American Journey of Black History Month HERE.

See Dr. Judith McAllister and the West Angeles Mass Choir’s presentation of “We Shall Overcome” HERE.


[1] – Poetry Foundation, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” by James Weldon Johnson. https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/46549

[2] – Bearden, Romare and Henderson, Harry:  A History of African-American Artists (From 1792 to the Present), Pantheon Books (Random House), 1993, ISBN 0-394-57016-2. Pp. 168-180.

Image of Augusta Savage, courtesy, New York Public Library.

The road less traveled: 8 things you need to know about finding your purpose.

8 Things You Need to Know About Finding Your Purpose

“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you”

-Jeremiah 1:5

Whether we know it or not, every thing, and everyone, has a purpose. But life can seem pretty hopeless at times if we don’t know what our purpose is. Sure, we all want to be happy, but what if we were to find out that our true purpose in life isn’t contingent upon our own happiness at all?

The dictionary defines purpose as “the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists.”

But God’s word defines purpose in a higher way. Ecclesiastes 3 (KJV) says,  

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”

That means, in a nutshell, that our purpose isn’t our choice, it’s God’s. It’s got nothing to do with our parents’ purposes, or our connections, or a particular industry we may think our skills fit into. Our purpose is strictly between us and God, and that makes it pretty important.

DIVINE DESIGN

Now that we know that God has created us for a divine purpose, 8 Things You Need to Know About Finding Your Purpose also know that the world will be a much better place when we all know what that purpose is, then focused on making it happen. But before we can understand how God’s plan for our lives is revealed, we must also know that the world is going to provide all sorts of ready-made ideas for us to claim a “passion” in life – ideas which can distract us and take us down the wrong path if we’re not careful.

That part of the journey can lead us to proclaim:

  • “I want to work in the ______ industry.”
  • “People like me on television  are doing_____, and I want to do it too.”
  • “_______looks like fun!”
  • “My (dad or mom) was a ______, so I’m going to be one too.”
  • “_______makes me happy.”

These reasons, though, probably have nothing to do with why God created us in the first place.

THE SECRET TO YOUR PURPOSE

To find the answer, we’ve got to turn our own ideas inside out in order to embrace a whole new way of thinking. So if we’re serious about taking this journey, we’ve got to let go of our own egos and desires, then:

    1. Ditch the world’s idea of who you should be (Romans 12:2). This is one of the most important mind-clearing steps to finding our purpose. This may be hard to do: but take a “media fast”, in order to spend time with God. Social media, television, music: all can be distracting and soul-numbing, and can fill the soul with a million voices – none of which are God’s. Even if you could find your purpose by watching endless hours of talent shows, cat fights, musical performances, sports, news, and reality tv, God doesn’t need any of them to make His purpose for your life known to you.
    2. Listen to God (Isaiah 55:11). He speaks in a myriad of ways. Asking God, hearing and listening to Him, and following Him takes commitment. Fasting, praying, meditating on His Word…You have to do the work, but in the end, it’s worth it.
    3. Keep a journal (Jeremiah 30:2). Record your dreams and visions. Let Scripture define each task you do.
    4. Go back to childhood (Jeremiah 1:5). Who you were and what you did best in the early days of your childhood can reveal the skills you’ll need to manifest your purpose. 
    5. Know that you are not your parents (Exodus 20:5-6). God doesn’t want you to take your parents’ issues into your future. You were created for a specific, unique reason.
    6. Understand it’s not about your happiness (Luke 22:42) – it’s actually about someone else’s. Finding your purpose can actually bring difficult times because sometimes your faith will be tested.
    7. Get off the career ladder (Colossians 1:16). That’s society’s vision for you. You were born with gifts and skills to be used for a higher purpose.
    8. Listen to your elders (1 Timothy 4:14). Respected elders can see the vision for your life, and can confirm the path God wants you to follow.

Jesus said in Luke 9:23,

“If anyone would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me.”  

and in John 15:13,

“There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.”

If you look at Jesus’ life, everything He did, all of the miracles He performed, He did for others; for those who needed Him. That’s the secret to unlocking the miracles in your purpose: it’s all about using your gifts for the benefit of uplifting others.

What voice or idea is unique only to you? What aspects of society drive you forward and turn on a light within you? Using your God-given gifts and talents to let the world know who God is, changes the world as only you can. Following God’s call puts you on the road to manifesting miracles found only in living out His purpose for your life.


BOOK Free To Dream by Bishop Charles E. BlakeDO 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.

The sky's the limit when it comes to love!

20 Scriptures and Quotes on Love

As month of February turns our thoughts to love, here are 20 memorable quotes and scriptures to remind us of the true meaning of mankind’s greatest gift.

“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” – The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality…I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies.”

– The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

__________

“There are some who’ve said that it’s the role of the husband to love, and it’s the role of the wife to submit, but I would say that both20 Scriptures and Quotes on Love the husband and the wife must love and submit…The Bible says in 1 Peter 5:5, ‘All of you must submit to one another.’”

“Wisdom and love need to drink from the same cup.”

Before you fall in love, put priority on spiritual and emotional excellence, not just on physical and erotic attractiveness.”

“When two people love the Lord, who committed to the way of God, who believe the Word of God, and who believe in Christian principles, living, and raising their family, they’ve got a marriage that’s going to work and be blessed.”

– Presiding Bishop Charles Edward  Blake, Sr.

“Wisdom and love need to drink from the same cup” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward  Blake, Sr.

__________

“Love should be your top priority, primary objective, and greatest ambition. Love is not a good part of your life; it’s the most important part. The Bible says, ‘Let love be your greatest aim.’”

“If God’s going teach you real love, He’s going put you around some unloving people.”

“The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.”

Pastor Rick Warren

__________

“Never forget that justice is what love looks like in public” –  Cornell West

__________

“We, the People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what’s in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense” – Former President Barack Obama

__________

“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” – Romans 8:28

“Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’” – Matthew 22:37-39

“Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him; I will set him on high, because he has known My name. He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life I will satisfy him,  and show him My salvation” – Psalm 91:14-16

As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” – John 13:34 

“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:16-18

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” – Romans 8:35

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

“A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” – John 13:34.


Hear Hezekiah Walker & The Love Fellowship Crusade perform “LOVE LIFTED ME” below –

PAINTING - Aaron Douglas: "From Slavery to Reconstruction, Aspects of Negro Life"; courtesy, The New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division.  American Journey of Black History Month.

The American Journey of Black History Month

The American journey of Black  History Month begins around 1915, 50 years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. In September of that year, historian Carter G. Woodson, known as the “Father of Black History,” founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), an organization dedicated to researching and promoting achievements by black Americans and other peoples of African descent. Known today as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the group sponsored a National Negro History week in 1926.

The American Journey of Black History Month - Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History Month.

Carter G. Woodson, Father of Black History Month.

 

CREATING BLACK HISTORY MONTH

The son of former slaves, historian Carter G. Woodson was the second African American to receive a PhD from Harvard University. Like W. E. B. Du Bois (who was, incidentally, the first African American to receive a PhD from Harvard), he believed that truth could not be denied, and that reason would prevail over prejudice [2]. Through his organization, the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History (ASNLH), he conceived and announced Negro History Week in 1925. The event was first celebrated during a week in February 1926 that encompassed the birthdays of both Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass[1]. The NAACP was also founded in February in 1909.

Woodson lobbied schools, churches, and organizations to participate in a special program to encourage the study of African-American history. The response was overwhelming. Black history clubs sprang up, teachers demanded materials to instruct their pupils, and progressive whites, not simply white scholars and philanthropists, stepped forward to endorse the effort.

By the time of Woodson’s death in 1950, Negro History Week had become a central part of African American life and substantial progress had been made in bringing more Americans to appreciate the celebration. Mayors of cities nationwide issued proclamations noting Negro History Week. The Black Awakening of the 1960s dramatically expanded the consciousness of African Americans about the importance of black history, and the Civil Rights movement focused Americans of all color on the subject of the contributions of African Americans to our history and culture.

By the 1970s, Negro History Week had evolved into Black History Month on many college campuses.  During America’s Bicentennial Celebration in 1976, President Gerald R. Ford recognized Black History Month as a national celebration, calling upon the public to “seize theThe American Journey of Black History Month opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”[2]

HONORING BLACK HISTORY MONTH TODAY

Since its official, national recognition in 1976, Black History Month has been designated by every American president as a time to reflect upon the history and accomplishments of African Americans, and to honor the individuals and groups which have worked tirelessly toward racial justice.  Other countries around the world also devote time to celebrating Black History.

American Presidents have also adopted the practice of endorsing specific themes for the month’s observations. The 2013 theme, “At the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality: The Emancipation Proclamation and the March on Washington,” marks the 150th and 50th anniversaries of two pivotal events in African-American history.

For Black History Month in 2014, President Barack Obama in his Presidential Proclamation  said the following:

“As we pay tribute to the heroes, sung and unsung, of African-American history, we recall the inner strength that sustained millions in bondage. We remember the courage that led activists to defy lynch mobs and register their neighbors to vote. And we carry forward the unyielding hope that guided a movement as it bent the arc of the moral universe toward justice.  Even while we seek to dull the scars of slavery and legalized discrimination, we hold fast to the values gained through centuries of trial and suffering.”[3]

As the Black American journey continues to uplift the hopes and dreams of those of other cultures worldwide, the stories and testimonies found in African American history serve as a constant light and reflection of the true soul and promise of America. Carter G. Woodson, in promoting the study of black history, has inspired a nation to honor the resilience and spirit of a people.

 

Video, courtesy, Biography.com.  Many thanks!


[1] – “About Carter G. Woodson”, Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). https://asalh100.org/our-history/carter-g-woodson/, accessed 2-7-2017.

[2] – “About African American History Month,” excerpted from an essay by Daryl Michael Scott, Howard University, for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. http://www.africanamericanhistorymonth.gov/about.html; accessed 2/4/2016. 

[3] – “African American History Month”, The National Consortium on Racial and Ethnic Fairness in the Courts. http://www.national-consortium.org/Special-Recognition/African-American-History-Month.aspx

FEATURED PAINTING – Aaron Douglas: “From Slavery to Reconstruction, Aspects of Negro Life”, 1934; courtesy, The New York Public Library, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Art and Artifacts Division.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • In September 2016, the Smithsonian Institution opened the National Museum of African American History & Culture in Washington, DC. Thirteen years since Congress and President George W. Bush authorized its construction, the 400,000-square-foot building stands on a five-acre site on the National Mall, close to the Washington Monument.
  • AfricanAmericanHistoryMonth.gov is a collaboration between The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
  • The Library of Congress has a branch dedicated to law and legislative documents. The Law Library of Congress has compiled guides to commemorative observations, including a comprehensive inventory of the Public Laws, Presidential Proclamations and congressional resolutions related to African American History Month.

 

 

Bishop Blake and John Hope Bryant at the historic Mason Temple, Memphis, TN. 1-2017.

Bishop Blake Discusses Financial Literacy and a New COGIC Partnership

EXCITING NEWS! The Church of God In Christ is partnering with John Hope Bryant and OPERATION HOPE to edify the community with financial literacy, as part of the COGIC Urban Initiatives.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. dedicates the Financial Literacy Center at COGIC National Headquarters, with General Board member Bishop Brandon Porter and Operation Hope CEO John Hope Bryant.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. dedicates the Financial Literacy Center at COGIC National Headquarters, with General Board member Bishop Brandon Porter and Operation Hope CEO John Hope Bryant.

 

Since its inception, OPERATION HOPE has served more than 2.5 million individuals, teaching the building blocks of financial literacy and directing more than $1.8 billion in private capital to America’s low-wealth communities. HOPE maintains a growing army of 22,000 HOPE Corps volunteers, and currently serves more than 300 U.S. cities, as well as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and the United Arab Emirates. Bryant founded OPERATION HOPE immediately following the 1992 Rodney King riots.

 

The partnership between OPERATION HOPE and the Church of God In Christ will be administered through the COGIC Urban Initiatives, which will in turn empower each church to create programs which build upon the principles of financial literacy and economic development within its constituents, in order to create thriving families and communities.

 

OPERATION HOPE also operates the HOPE Inside Atlanta at Ebenezer Church, located on the campus of the King Center. Both the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his father, the Reverend Martin Luther King, Sr., were focused on making free enterprise a reality for all.
Watch this inspiring conversation between our Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. and Operation Hope CEO and Founder John Hope Bryant in this edition of “CIVIL RIGHTS STRAIGHT TALK” below, where they discuss the power of financial literacy for the underserved, and the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement:

COGIC Urban Initiatives – The vision of COGIC Urban Initiatives is to build healthy individuals, families and communities for a successful future.  Our mission is to empower the local church to implement programs that address Education, Economic Development, Crime, Family, and Financial Literacy. The programs will result in measurable improvement in the quality of life for individuals, families and communities served by the Church of God in Christ.


Compton son John Hope Bryant is a financial literacy entrepreneur and businessman. He is the founder, chairman and CEO of the nonprofit Operation HOPE.  Bryant was appointed to the U.S. Community Development Advisory Board [10] for the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and as vice-chairman of the President’s Council on Financial Literacy by U.S. President George W. Bush. He continued this work under President Barack Obama as part of the U.S. President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability (PACFC). He was appointed chairman of the new Subcommittee on the Underserved and Community Empowerment for the PACFC Bryant was selected to be a member of the Global Agenda Council for the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. He is also a best-selling author of several titles on economics and leadership, including How the Poor Can Save Capitalism: Rebuilding the Path to the Middle Class.