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how complaining blocks your blessings

How Complaining Can Block Your Blessings

Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High. Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me – Psalm 50:14-15

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. commands the pulpit at West Angeles COGIC.

After their miraculous deliverance from the land of Egypt, the children of Israel observed the plagues that God brought down on their enemies. They saw the Red Sea divide so that they might cross on dry land. They saw the Red Sea destroy their enemies who would have enslaved them again.

After leaving the Red Sea, they traveled for three days, but found no water to drink. When they came to Marah, the water they found was bitter. They began to murmur and complain, but God miraculously made the water sweet and drinkable. He then lead them to Elim, where there were 12 wells of water, but then they began to complain again because of the lack of food.

You know, of course, that a murmuring person has no confidence in that which they murmur against. Murmuring is:

  • A manifestation of a lack of gratitude
  • A manifestation of a bad attitude.
  • A manifestation of a lack of faith.

DON’T COMPLAIN: PRAISE!

In Psalm 50, God says,

16 But to the wicked God says: “What right have you to declare My statutes, Or take My covenant in your mouth, 17 Seeing you hate instruction, And cast My words behind you?

19 You give your mouth to evil, And your tongue frames deceit. 22 “Now consider this, you who forget God, Lest I tear you in pieces, And there be none to deliver: 23 Whoever offers

praise glorifies Me; And to him who orders his conduct aright I will show the salvation of God.”

Murmuring is the opposite of praise. If we want God to bless our lives, then we must obey the word of God and do the will of God. Yes, bad things happen, but God has already done so many good things for us, we ought to just praise Him anyhow!

God needs some “Hallelujah, anyhow” people!

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Exodus 16:4-31, Psalm 50:14-19, 22, 23.

Adapted from the sermon, “The Message of the Manna”, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., at West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

 

 

DID YOU KNOW?  

To “murmur” translates a Hebrew word “raghan,” which suggests the malicious whispering of slander. In the New Testament “murmur” also suggests indignation and fault-finding.

 

 

Message of the Manna

Sermon: The Message of the Manna

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

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

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

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

Highlights from the sermon follow:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

“The Bible does not excuse laziness.”

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

“God is not obligated to help anybody.”

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

“Learn how to hold on to God.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Tell your neighbor, ‘I’m loaded!’”

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

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

 

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



Featured image:  Karen Lascaris with Nathan Vanhorn ℅ CreationSwap

Christian education

Live With Purpose: West Angeles Christian Education

Do you have the desire to grow in your Christian walk?  Did you know that West Angeles is an educational ministry? Read more about the West Angeles Christian Education Ministry, and sign up for our next session.

christian education
West Angeles’ Christian Education (WACE) classes are for anyone interested in using the principles of the Christian faith more effectively. Directed by Elder Oscar Owens under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr., the WACE courses offered provide all levels of biblical study and are designed not only to serve those who are called to careers in ministry, but also to empower any Christian who wants to:

  • Live with purpose through the Word
  • Understand the Bible more thoroughly and how it relates to the times we live in
  • Improve their lives, their families’ lives, and the lives of others.

Classes offered through WACE are designed to help students create a deeper relationship with God, the church, and the Christian faith.

WEST ANGELES CHRISTIAN EDUCATION CLASSES

Taught in both the traditional classroom setting and online, courses offered through WACE are designed to help students to serve the church and the world through responsible imparting of biblical knowledge.

Sunday School – West Angeles’ Sunday School has introductory-level courses for children, youth and adults which are designed to provide a deeper knowledge of the Christian faith. Geared to help students overcome life’s obstacles and daily issues, we offer a variety of classes for children ages 5-12 years of age, youth Classes for ages 12-16 years of age, and adults 17 and older.

School of Practical Christian Living –Directed by Elder Richard Brooks, the School of Practical Christian Living has classes for those who desire to become more effective as a parent, spouse, or worker for Christ. The School of Practical Christian Living is a mid-level study program  which introduces systematic Bible study and foundational biblical knowledge.

West Angeles Bible College provides college-level study in biblical, historical, and theological foundations of the Christian faith. This comprehensive training provides an academic understanding of the Bible to equip individuals to competently serve and apply the teachings of the gospel to the spiritual needs of those around them.

All adult Christian Education classes are at 3045 Crenshaw Boulevard (unless otherwise specified); children and youth classes are held at 3010 Crenshaw Boulevard at the West Angeles Youth Center.

For information regarding schedules for the next session, Bible College fees, certificates offered and more, please call West Angeles Church of God in Christ at 323/733-8300, extension 2345.

 

CHRISTIAN EDUCATION

West Angeles Sunday School teachers and pupils.

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.

Don’t Let These 6 Things Steal Your Potential

Are there “thieves” in your life? Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake exposes the elements of our lives which rob us of our full potential in Christ Jesus.

 

Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. 31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. 32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. 33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion – Luke 10:30-33(NKJV)

 

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. teaches a lesson on the thieves which rob us of our potential.

We’ve heard many times the story of the good Samaritan.  Thieves came upon a man who was on a journey; the  man had a goal. Goals are essential to progress, but good goals must not keep us from the best goals in life.  In order to prosper and to reach high levels of renown and popularity, “good” can often be the enemy of “the best.”

In this scripture, the thieves beat the man and wounded him; they left him naked and half dead.  A wounded person cannot function normally until they have recuperated. Nakedness is a sign of disgrace and of poverty. To be half dead means being only half alive: and this man was destined to die without help.

The man who was devastated and wounded represents  us.

The priest who passed him by represents the rites and the sacraments of organized religion – which, in themselves, cannot save us.

The Levite who passed him by represents man’s moral and ethical efforts – which, by themselves, cannot save us.

And the thieves who beat him represent those things that potentially strip us and wound us and leave us half dead.

In this day and age, so many are moving  fast, but in reality they are really going nowhere. The man in our story had a goal.  He was on a journey; he had a destination.  Like him, men who were once exploding with dreams, goals and potential are now lying beside the road naked and dying. What happened to them?

Thieves happened.

 

6 THIEVES WHICH CAN STEAL YOUR LIFE

 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death – James 1:14-15 (NKJV)

The Bible teaches that sin is a thief. It’s a thief that destroys life and happiness on this earth, and also in the world to come.  The evil forces that would destroy us use various enticements, but the goal is to wound us, to strip us, and to leave us half dead.

God despises sin because of what it does to His children.  Romans 6 says that “the wages of sin is death”: that which is opposed to the will of God will kill us. And 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 tells us that:

Don’t Let These 6 Things Steal Your Potential: Sin keeps us from the fullness of Christ.

  1. Fornication and adultery  are thieves.  They spread diseases which cause sickness and death. They rob boys and girls of their childhood; making them parents while they are still children. They are the greatest factors in the abortion epidemic. They break up marriages and destroy families.
  2. Idolatry is a thief, causing men to serve the wrong God. Anything that separates us from God is an idol and is a sin.
  3. Homosexuality is a thief because it contradicts God’s image of what a family should be. It deprives society of needed mothers and fathers, and it sometimes recruits and draws children into that lifestyle.
  4. Covetousness is a thief. Excessive desire for material things places higher value on money and things than it does on people.
  5. Extortion is nothing more than a high-class thief.
  6. Drunkenness is a thief. Whether by alcohol or by drugs, the jails and mental institutions are filled with victims of substance abuse.

But verse 11 of 1 Corinthians 6 says, “and such were some of you: but you were washed, you were sanctified,  you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our God.”

That means, the better we become, the better our lives become.

 

JESUS IS THE WAY 

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly – John 10:10

The man in the story was on a mission: he had a goal. But even a good objective can become a bad objective when it precludes God and shuts God out.  He was on a journey, but he made a mistake: he should not have traveled alone. It’s time for me to reveal who the good Samaritan is:

The good Samaritan represents Jesus.

Have you been stripped? Have you been disgraced? Are you going through a time of trouble and distress? Know that you don’t have to travel the road of life by yourself.  In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God tells us, 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.”  If you really want to live your best life, then it’s time to fall down before God and to repent for your sins.  Raise your hands and say:

“Lord, thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ. Thank You, Lord, for stepping in just when I need You most, and for turning my life around. Thank You for giving me Your power.  I need the power of the Holy Ghost.”

Child of God, if you’ve got Jesus Christ with you on the road of life, then God will be with you. You’ve got the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: stand up and say, “Power!”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Luke 10:30-37, Psalms 95:6, 101,147:4; Isaiah 43:7, Philippians 3:7, Acts 17:28, John 3:16, 6:68, 10:7-10; Matthew 6:33, James 1:14-15, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 6.

Adapted from the sermon, “Thieves”, by Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., at West Angeles Church of God In Christ. Watch the entire sermon below:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you know what an idol is? Read our post titled, “WHAT’S AN IDOL?” HERE.

Featured illustration for Don’t Let These 6 Things Steal Your Potential by Pastor Kyle Reed, c/o Creation Swap.

Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. – How to Overcome Obstacles and Negative Circumstances in Your Life

Inspired by Psalm 18, the highlights of this sermon, titled “Overcome Negative Circumstances And Negative Emotions” by our Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., reference the words spoken by King David to the Lord on the day that the Lord delivered him from the hands of all of his enemies.

“One of the most important abilities a person can have is the ability to endure and rise above negative circumstances and emotions.”

“It was Samuel Lover who said, ‘Circumstances are the rulers of the weak, but they are the instruments of the strong.’”

“Napoleon said, ‘Circumstances? I make circumstances!’”

“The same circumstances that will destroy and devastate one person will make and develop another person.”

“Arnold Toynbee said, ‘Great civilizations are not born in circumstances where everything is nice or where everything is beautiful; but rather, in environments that are unusually difficult.’”

“It’s not your circumstances, it’s how you respond to your circumstances that is the important thing.”

“Some people don’t need a reason to hate you. They just find out that somebody else hates you, and they’re going to hate you, too! Does anybody know anything about haters?”

“Don’t be surprised when people hate you. Just be glad when you find some folk that love you.”

“If you live, you’re going to have enemies.”

“When you’re in the midst of wickedness all around you, it begins to drain your spirit – if you’re not careful” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr.

“People are afraid today. They’re afraid about their marriage. They’re afraid about holding onto their job…They’re afraid for their children…and then there are some folk that are afraid, and they don’t know what they’re afraid about!”

“If I can get you depressed, I can defeat you.”

“When you’re in the midst of wickedness all around you, it begins to drain your spirit and drain your enthusiasm for righteousness – if you’re not careful.”

“Austin O’Malley said, ‘Sorrow, like rain, makes roses and mud.’ That same sorrow, if you allow God to use it, can create a rose garden in the middle of your mud.”

“One thing about Brother David is that even though he faced these negative emotions, he was under-girded with some firm convictions about God!”

“If you know God, you ought to be able to overcome negative emotions better than some folk who don’t know God.”

“Whenever you see those words ‘OH LORD’… that’s a Tetragrammaton to replace the word ‘Yahweh’ or ‘Jehovah’…that let’s you know the name of our God.”

“Nothing else defines God but God Himself!”

“God spoke out of a bush that was burning, but not consumed.”

“God doesn’t need any fuel to burn!”

“God can send fire, and He needs no fuel for the fire to burn…If our world could do that, then nations could stay at home, and not be out somewhere trying to take somebody else’s oil!”

“God speaks to the things that be not as though they were…and if God wants to create something out of nothing, God can do it. And if God wants to bring life out of death, then God can do it. And Jesus proved that when He died on the cross; nails in His hands, nails in His feet, but on the third day morning He got up!”

“With God, nothing is impossible! Does anybody know God? Does anybody trust God? I’m gonna rely on GOD! Clap your hands! Give praise!”

“When you have a God like that, you’ll stop telling your God about your problems, and start telling your problems about your God!”

“God loves you with an everlasting Love.”

“God wants you to love Him; and if you love Him, He’ll work it out for you.”

“With God, nothing is impossible” – Philippians 4:13

“The psalmist says, ‘I’m going to overcome my negative circumstances; I’m going overcome my negative emotions by loving the Lord.’”

“My love for God will cause me to hold onto God, no matter what else happens in my life.”

“If you don’t trust God, you’ll be overwhelmed by worry. If you don’t trust God, you’ll be overcome by fear.”

“Neighbor, put it down…Cast all your burden on Him, because He loves you. He’ll take care of you.”

“God is courteous…He will not come in until you call Him. If you call Him, He’ll hear your prayer.”

“Does anybody know He’s an on-time God?”

“Are there any overcomers in the house? Let all the overcomers give God a cheer!”

“I’m not going to let fear destroy me; I’m not gonna let negative circumstances drag me down… I’m not going to let the world take my salvation; steal my joy… I shall be saved!”

“Child of God, don’t throw in the towel; Child of God, don’t give up. Your best days are still ahead…Tell your neighbor, ‘Keep going! Hold on! Hallelujah!’ ”

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Psalm 18:1-4 ,“Proverbs 18:14, Psalm 46:1-2; Jeremiah 31:3; Romans 8:28, Matthew 17:20, 22:37; John 3:16, Philippians 4:13, Proverbs 3:5-6, 1Peter 5:7, Isaiah 41:10, Isaiah 40:31, Job 1:13-22, 2:8-9, 23:10.

OVERCOMERS BIBLE FELLOWSHIP – You are invited to join the Overcomers Bible Fellowship, facilitated by Dr. Tonya Lewis. This fellowship can teach you how to overcome any and everything that’s contrary to God’s Word, thus developing you into strong, spiritual, Kingdom citizens. Join us each Sunday morning, 8-10 a.m., or Sunday evening 5:30-6:40 p.m. in the North Campus Sanctuary. Please contact:
Dr. Tonya Lewis at [email protected], or please call 323-733-8300 ext. 2242.

Marriage Series: Should the Christian Wedding Vows Be Changed To, “As Long as We Both Shall Love?”

Our Westa.org Marriage Series continues! This week, Dr. Kenneth Hammonds takes a look at changes to modern Christian marriage vows. Should our vows change for good? Please CLICK HERE to take our poll on Facebook. 

As my wife, Naomi, and I enjoyed a rare day off today, I looked at her and thought, “You know – I really love this woman” (and by the way, I rarely miss a day telling her so). We are soon to celebrate 42 years as husband and wife.

The moment reminded me of an episode of one of my favorite TV shows called “Rhoda,” from back in the late 1970s (yeah, way back in the last century). Rhoda was a beloved character from the wildly popular “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” She was a wise-cracking, single woman whose dating ups-and-downs were the subject of her humor. But in Episode 1 of “Rhoda,” she’d meet Joe…and Rhoda was going to be married.

 

MARRIAGE FOR RHODA MORGANSTERN

I remember the special hour-long episode where Rhoda and her fiancé, Joe, exchanged their wedding vows. Viewed by more than 52 million people, the episode was a touching TV moment. A recent article about the show described ‘Rhoda’s Wedding’ as “a television landmark,” becoming the highest-rated television episode of the 1970s, a record it kept until the original Roots miniseries claimed the title in 1977.

Should the Christian Wedding Vows Be Changed To
“As Long as We Both Shall Love?” Actors Valerie Harper and David Groh from the series, “Rhoda”.

While watching this historic event back in 1974, I also remember clearly being shocked and surprised, however, to hear Rhoda and the man she loved vow:

“to live together as husband and wife, as long as we both shall love.”

Well, I’ve been to a few weddings in my day, and being a Christian minister, I’ve also officiated some, yet I have never heard any couple speak this phrase. But in today’s world – and even in the lives of Christians – the idea of marriage “as long as we shall love” seems to be lived out by many couples.

Although the American divorce rate is down in comparison with the 1970s, 80s and 90s, it is still higher (on a per capita basis, for every 1,000 people in the US) than it was almost 80 years ago, after the nation had endured the Great Depression. Today, article after article continues to promote the idea that ½ of all marriages end in divorce. So, is marriage really supposed to be forever? And should the vows be changed to “as long as we shall love?”

 

TO VOW OR NOT TO VOW: THAT MAY BE THE QUESTION

If a man makes a vow to the Lord, he shall not break his word. Numbers 30:2 

God takes vows pretty seriously. A “vow” in the Old Testament could be made between an individual and God or between two people. Whether to God or to man, a vow was considered a sacred, consecrated promise. It was a personal obligation that was to be fulfilled.

Today’s views on wedding vows and their content, however, are divided. Some still prefer the traditional phrase “As long as we both shall live,” while others seem to prefer the more modern “love.” An informal survey of both celebrity and civilian wedding vows around the world reveals that the phrases “as long as we both shall live,” or “’till death do us part” are still utilized and may even be preferred.

For example:

  • At their 2011 wedding, the Prince and Princess of Wales promised matrimony “so long as ye both shall live,” and “’til death us do part.”
  • Some Hindu wedding vows use the wonderfully poetic phrase, “Till both of us, with age, grow old.”
  • The book, 50 New and Traditional Wedding Vows, plus How to Write Your Own Vows: 10 Guides by Maria Kay, includes the modernized phrase, “all the days of my life.”

Many seem to believe that even if “forever” is not attainable, they still prefer the idea. Could concepts such as “promise,” “sacred,” “consecrated,” and “personal obligation” be of a bygone era?

 

WHAT IS LOVE?

If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us. 1 John 4:12

Love is an interesting human emotion (pain, pleasure, pressure, or whatever you wish to term it), particularly as it relates to the Western “civilized” society’s understanding of marriage. For many couples seeking holy matrimony today, love is that wild emotion; that tingling feeling down on the inside, that little taste of sexual fornication before marriage (if the marriage even happens at all). Others call it “indigestion” or “infidelity”: a breach of trust against God; the kind of stuff that is well below God’s righteous standard for our Best Christian living. This kind of personal, self-absorbed human love for many is merely a blind coagulation of looks, lust, and lucre.

The Greek word psychō (pronounced PSUE- ko;  ψύχω in Greek) refers to a human love that is gradually lessening in its fervor, power, and joy; waning, disintegrating, and evaporating away into non-existence. And the Scriptures do speak of a lower, less developed human-level type of love in Matthew 24:12, where Jesus predicted that the last days would be a time where “the love of many will grow cold” (NKJV). Bible Commentator, Marvin Vincent, defines this growing-colder-human-kind-of-love as a “spiritual energy blighted or chilled by a malign or poisonous wind.”  I would say that this “psychō”-type of love changed up on you! It was passionate, fiery, hot, and alive; but now, cooled off by the winds of time, adversity, or simply the desire for change, it has become cold, distant, impassionate, and dead.

Having spoken of a cold non-agapē love, we must ask, “Exactly what then is agapē in the fuller Christian expansion of this Greek word?” The best description of agapē in summary says:

Agapē is the highest form of love, a God-kind-of-love, whereby the one loving loves the one being loved unconditionally and also seeks that individual’s highest good and well-being.”

And in any human relationship, marriage or otherwise, we will need God to reach into the depths of our spiritual being to show this Christian agapē-love.

 

GOD’S IDEA AND GOD’S STANDARD

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways” saith the LORD – Isaiah 55:8

Should marriage Vows Be Changed To “As long As We Both Shall Love”? Graph charting 144 years of marriage and divorce in America.

Jesus’ theology of marriage was too much for even His disciples to take in. He said, regarding the short-term marriage idea, “Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts, permitted you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so… whoever divorces his wife… commits adultery.” You might respond in shock like the disciples did, saying, “Well Jesus, if this is your view of marriage, it’s better for us not to get married, at all!” (Matthew 19:1-10).

There may also be some young adults today who may say of the Christian marriage vow to love someone for the rest of their lives, “I can’t make that kind of commitment. I don’t know what may happen in the future.”  Maybe modern believers in Christ should just make no such “vows” at all if they are too hard to keep!

Okay, I’m in my 60s. I came from a different era (the generation which created the modern sexual revolution, by the way), but I still believe in the fervent seeking which lives out (or loves out) the biblical standard of marriage: “One woman for one man for life.” Yes, I know there are sometimes extreme challenges to this concept, but in our Christian life’s teaching and living, we must still speak and seek to live up to the best of God’s will, and God’s standard for the best functioning of human society, especially in these modern times. With Jesus, and our own personal commitment, we can perfect, improve, enhance, and advance love.

That’s possible: so, let’s do it daily.

 

WE NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Now back to the phrase, “as long as we both shall love”: should the Christian marriage vows be amended or changed to, “as long as we both shall LOVE” for this modern day, or remain “as long as we both shall LIVE” as it is has stated for the past 500 years or so?

Please answer on Facebook with a simple one liner. Include:

  1. Your age group (20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, etc.) and
  2. One word: “love” or “live” for how you think the vow should read.

Please, be honest. Don’t answer what you think we want to hear! Please feel free to forward this piece to your Christian friends and family; I’d love to hear their answers also.

As for me, I don’t see my 40 years of marriage to my lovely wife as some drudgery or lifelong slavery to an old vow, but rather as a wonderful and joyful relationship. It is for me a daily opportunity to say and honor “I do,” as in “I do love you and cherish you, as well as all the other good and the difficult stuff that’s part of any agapē relationship.”

 

 A PRAYER

“Dear Lord, I thank you for the spouse of my youth. It is an honor have him/her chosen for me by You for the enjoyment of our lives together serving Your purpose and glory. 

In Jesus’ name, Amen.”

 

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES – Numbers 30:2-4, 1 Corinthians 13:8, Matthew 19:1-10, 24:12; Isaiah 55:8, 1 John 2:5; 4:12, 17. 

DR. KENNETH HAMMONDS (M.Div., Ed.D.) is a Discipleship Thinker- Teacher-Doer and Director of Christian Discipleship (Perfecting Believers) for West Angeles Church of God in Christ and Sector Leader for the Adult Ministries Division of the church. Of special theological interest for Dr. Hammonds is the discussion and development of a Theology of Discipleship that is spiritually vibrate, biblically sound, and personally practical.Dr. Hammonds has been a member of West Angeles for 30 years and serves on the Executive Staff as a Division Head. He also serves the Body of Christ as a Certified Life and Leadership Coach, and as a passionate New Testament Greek Trainer. He has been in Christian Ministry for over 45 years.

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DID YOU KNOW?

  • Two years after the “Rhoda” show began, Rhoda and her husband, Joe, broke up and later divorced. Joe revealed to his stunned wife that he had never really wanted to marry her. He said he only married her because she had pressured him into it after he’d invited her to live with him (it seems that an invitation to “move into my apartment” is not the same as an invitation to “move into my life in marriage.” Interesting ending to the vow, “as long as we both shall love”)!
  • The English word psycho is not related in meaning to the Greek word psychō, but rather a slang form of the term “psychopath.” The relationship between the Greek and English words is just an interesting coincidence!
  • The first known reference to the English phrase, “till death us do part” is in the Church of England’s “Book of Common Prayer” in 1529.
  • The idea of a marriage ceremony in the Christian Church seems to have become practice around the 9th century; however, as early as the 4th century there is evidence of couples seeking the blessing of the Church. Couples married in keeping with local customs and/or family traditions, making their own wedding “vows” of commitment, or having vows handed down to them.
  • On Valentine’s Day 2014, Pope Francis challenged 10,000 engaged couples who gathered in St. Peter’s square to consider marriage not as a temporary relationship, but as “The Joy of ‘Yes’ forever.” He said “It is still possible to take the risk of saying ‘forever’…it takes courage, but forever is a prospect that brings joy and allows us to look to the future.

Fast, Pray, Be Filled: 2017 Pilgrimage to Pentecost

Acts 2:4 (KJV) – And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

What is the Pilgrimage to Pentecost? This “50 Days of Prayer” was established by our Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr. in order to empower the saints of the Church Of God In Christ to fervently seek the Power of God in a 50-day period of consecration and sanctification, from Easter (or “Resurrection Sunday”), through the Day of Pentecost.

The purpose of this consecration is for the Church Of God In Christ to petition God for continuance of the Pentecostal revival and outpouring. The aim is for all of the saints, in this changing world, to hold onto our unchanging faith; and as always, to fight for salvation and righteousness in a violent and immoral world.

What is every member of the Church Of God In Christ requested to do?  For the next 50 days, we are asked by our Presiding Bishop to take 11 minutes out of our daily prayer time to focus on the prayer requests provided in the prayer guide.

 

The dates for the 2017 Pilgrimage are:

SUNDAY, APRIL 16 – SUNDAY, JUNE 4, 2017

It is our hope and prayer that:

(1) every member of the Church Of God In Christ who has not been filled with the gift of the Holy Spirit would be filled, according to Acts 2:4; and that

(2) every believer who is already filled would receive a “refilling” of the Holy Spirit, according to Acts 4:31 and Ephesians 5:18.

We pray that this event impacts your life, and that praying for empowerment in the Spirit becomes a lifetime endeavor.

 

 

Please CLICK HERE to download your free prayer guide (PDF).

 

 

 

 

 

Join the weekly prayer call! Please CLICK HERE to download your free prayer call card (PDF).

 

 

 

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Member Profile: Dr. Judith McAllister

West Angeles Church of God In Christ welcomes back Dr. Judith Christie McAllister as she leads West Angeles’ Music and Worship Arts Ministry into its glorious future. Read the latest interview with Dr. McAllister as she discusses her history, her vision, and her musical goals for the year ahead in a recent feature from the Los Angeles Sentinel.

Dr. McAllister, please tell us about your ministry, and your role in the church.

My name is Judith McAllister and the ministry I am honored to serve in is that of “Worship” in every sense of the word. As a Worship Leader, who makes others aware of the presence of God in those special times dedicated to “Praise and Worship” within the church, I have the responsibility to set, maintain and protect the atmosphere, to ensure that it is conducive for the glory of God to reside.

Through the lens of worship, I have the honor of governing in the servant leadership position of the International Minister of Music/President for the

Dr. Judith McAllister.

Dr. Judith McAllister.

Church of God in Christ, Inc., which boasts over 6 million members worldwide. In this role, I coordinate the musical presentations for all of our major conferences and services. I also have the responsibility to travel to various churches within the brotherhood to teach, train, instruct and impart to the constituents tools necessary for excellence in their presentation of worship and music. Also, I have once again been given the wonderful opportunity to serve as the minister of music, worship and liturgy at West Angeles Church of God in Christ, where Bishop Charles E. Blake, Sr., serves as senior pastor.
In addition, I am the CEO of three entities that enable me to mentor, train and empower the next generation in music and worship arts. Judah Music Group LLC, which served as the springboard for the following recordings – “Send Judah First” (2000), “Raise the Praise” (2002), “In His Presence” (2006) and “Sound The Trumpet” (2008); Never Ending Worship (N.E.W.) Enterprises LLC, which houses all ministry products, and Never Ending Worship Ministries, (NEW MIN.) which serves as the foundation for all workshops and ministry engagements.

How long have you been in ministry, and how did you get started in it?

I have been ministering for over 35 years and this ministry began in my home church in New York City, (The Manhattan Holy Tabernacle) where I developed a love for the hymns of the church. Matriculating through my foundational years of school, I was named a prodigy; a classically-trained pianist studying at the famed School of the Performing Arts in New York, (graduating at 16 years of age) which afforded the initial tools necessary to execute my craft with precision and excellence, which in turn opened many doors, allowing me to participate in piano recitals at some of the city’s most prestigious halls such as CAMI, Carnegie and Lincoln Center.

What role has God or your faith played in your ministry?

God is all to me. It is within Him that I live and move and have my being. I do all that I do, because of my love and sincere gratitude for His love, favor and grace upon my life. In being recognized as a trailblazer in the area of praise and worship in the African American Church, my faith allows me to provide new paradigms for kingdom excellence in ministry; and in addition to mentoring music ministers all around the globe, I trust and have faith that my instruction continues to impact the body of Christ by elevating the understanding of radical, reverent and revelational worship.
What is one of the most memorable moments or experiences during your ministry?

Following a very powerful worship service, a young single mother approached me to say that her child was moved to tears while I was singing and ministering in song. I looked at the young 7-year-old boy, who was still under the influence of the Holy Spirit, and spoke into his life that the hand of God was on him and that he too, one day, would be a servant of the Lord in ministry. It blessed me so to see his face light up with joy and the essence of the Holy Spirit overshadowing him. In that moment, I understood and was blessed by the knowledge that the Lord used me as a vessel to awaken something within him, something neither he nor his mother had ever witnessed before!

What are you doing or working on now, and what are some of your future goals?

I am currently working on the “Promises of God” Project, which is inclusive of a CD single, a daily devotional and other worship aids of the same name, scheduled for release June 2017.
One of my many aspirations is to build a School of Worship and Arts for those who desire to be excellent in their presentation, spiritually, musically and professionally. I also desire to utilize my record label to give young, anointed and integral worship leaders the platform to be exposed to the world; to open doors for them that I did not have the privilege of walking through when I was young and on fire for the Lord.

Finally, my life is aptly summarized by this personal mission statement: “To fulfill the purpose of God for my existence to its fullest capacity, to die empty: having maximized every gift, passed on every ounce of wisdom having been blessed to obtain, completed every assignment and accomplished all that God has ordained for my life.”

Adapted from “L.A. Women of the Gospel – Judith McAllister.”  Published March 15, 2017. Reprinted courtesy of the LA Sentinel.


Hear the West Angeles Mass Choir lead by Dr. Judith McAllister in a performance of “Great”; West Angeles Church of God In Christ.

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 –

Let’s Re-elect Our Beloved Presiding Bishop Blake!

As we commence the 109th Holy Convocation of the Church of God In Christ, our beloved, visionary leader Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. is up for re-election to the office of Presiding Bishop. He was elected to the post in 2007 by the General Assembly of the Church of God in Christ at the 101st Holy Convocation, and re-elected in 2012 for another four-year term.

Presiding Bishop Blake: loving husband to First Lady Mae L. Blake.

Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake is COGIC’s fifth Presiding Bishop and the seventh leader in succession. Continuing COGIC founder Charles Harrison Mason’s legacy of holiness, fervent, effectual prayer, and powerful Christ-filled ministry, Bishop Blake’s slogan, “Blake: A Bridge to the Future,” speaks to his commitment to develop a legacy of stellar leadership within the body of Christ for many generations to come.

 

BISHOP’S BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE

As COGIC’s Chief Apostle and West Angeles’s Head Pastor, Bishop Blake’s message and ministry equips the whole person to be a force for good, appealing to all races and ethnic backgrounds. A man of character and integrity, Bishop Blake’s unwavering faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ directs his mission to uplift the lives of others, and to make the world a better place. The loving husband to First Lady Mae Lawrence Blake, father of three and grandfather of eight is the recipient of many awards and appointments, and also has the ear and admiration of U.S. presidents past and present.

The Church of God In Christ has grown from a membership of more than 400,000 under founder Bishop Mason in 1961, to an estimated global membership of 6.5 million today. Under Presiding Bishop Blake’s leadership, the church can now be found in every state in the United States and i"I see COGIC in the future": Bishop Blake, a bridge to the future.n more than 60 nations around the world including Egypt, the Ivory Coast, and Israel. “I humbly ask,” says Bishop Blake, “that you give me the opportunity to continue to serve as your Presiding Bishop.”

Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. is recognized as one of the great leaders of this generation.

 

LET’S RE-ELECT OUR PRESIDING BISHOP CHARLES EDWARD BLAKE, SR.!


DID YOU KNOW?

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors designated February 5, 2004 as Bishop Charles E. Blake Day.

Many thanks to Sister DeAndra Blake for her contributions.

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