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A Picture of Peace

By Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.

Today is the International Day of Peace. Please take a moment to read and share the scriptures below, and to do one small action toward creating peace in the world.

An artist was commissioned to paint a picture of peace. He painted a picture of lightning flashing across the sky; he painted debris carried thru the sky by the ferocious wind. Then, in the middle of the picture, the artist painted a huge rock that was cracked. And deep in its recesses within a cleft in the rock, the artist painted a little bird sitting on her nest, chirping softly to the little baby birds that were in the nest beneath her.

When the artist was finished, he stepped back and said, “Now that’s peace.”

Peace is not defined by the absence of storms; peace is not the absence of trouble and distress. But if you’ve got Jesus, you’ve got peace. If you’ve got Jesus, you know things are going to turn out well, and you know everything is going to be alright.

 

7 SCRIPTURES OF PEACE

The following is a list of scriptures on the peace and shelter found within the word of the Lord:

Psalm 29:11 (NKJV) The LORD gives strength to his people; the LORD blesses his people with peace.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Mark 4:39 (KJV) And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.

Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV) Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


DID YOU KNOW?

The WEST ANGELES COUNSELING CENTER offers personal development programs, and classes on marriage, parenting, and more – regardless of your membership status. Please contact (323) 737-7463 or  733-8300 ext. 2360. Email [email protected] Please click here to learn more.

 

Marriage Series: How Bishop & Lady Mae Met

As our Marriage Series continues, Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. and First Lady Mae Lawrence Blake tell the story of how they met:

ARE YOU GETTING MARRIED? The West Angeles Counseling Center offers a wonderful 8-week Pre-Marital Counseling Course to give couples a strong foundation for marriage. Contact the West Angeles Counseling Center today. Phone: (323) 737-7463 Address: 3017 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016

How Jesus’ Love Can Change Your Life

God desires to minister to us, and to bless and encourage our hearts by showing the greatness of His love for each one of us. Remember, although Jesus’ willing desire was to yield to the will of His Father and to die upon the cross (Matthew 26:39), He did ask the Father if the cup of His suffering could be taken from Him. One reason God’s implied response was “No” was because His love for us is as great as His love for Jesus.

God loves us so much that He allowed His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer throughout His life on earth, which concluded with the agony of the cross. This was so that each of us would have the chance to be saved, to experience God on earth, and to spend all eternity with Him.

GOD’S PLAN FOR US

Before the foundation of the world, God had the plan of reconciling man to Himself, even after Adam disobeyed Him and yielded to temptation (of course, this disobedience is what ushered sickness, pain, tears, sorrow, and death into our lives). Because God loves us so much, He had His plan and solution waiting for Adam – and for each one of us – to provide a way out of living life in agony, both here and in the hereafter. That is just how much He loves us!

The same is true today: God has a plan and solution awaiting our arrival, where and when it is needed. Thus, the actions of the Father who sacrificed His Son, and of Jesus who sacrificed His life for us, have assured us that we can believe Romans 8:32,37 (TLB):

32 Since He did not spare even His own Son for us but gave Him up for us all, won’t He also surely give us everything else? 37 but despite all this, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ who loved us enough to die for us.

5 BENEFITS OF JESUS’ LOVE

Now, let’s make these truths personal. As you reflect upon some of His many benefits, you can boldly say,

“Because Jesus loves me”

  • I can trust Him. I can declare His Word and unleash its power in my life. I can speak to my fears and rise up in faith. I can create a happy, fulfilled and prosperous environment.
  • I can change my life by yielding to, and abiding in, God’s perfect plan for my life. I can ask God our Father to teach me what I don’t know. As long as there is breath in my body, I can discover and rediscover my life, and all I was created to be. With the excitement of anticipation, I can continue looking forward to new chapters in my life.
  • I can realize my purpose – I can be assured that God has prepared each day for me to connect me with my destiny; to create blessings in my life, both for others and for myself. Because I will meet the right people at the right time, my encounters with others will be purposeful. I can rightfully believe that as long as I live, there is purpose and need of my gifts and talents, which were handpicked by my Father. I can know that yes, I am a blessing to others and do enrich their lives.
  • I can live and thrive, even beyond the passing of very dear loved ones. I can be honest about my feelings and own up to them. I know that Jesus will relight my fire when the situations of life begin to suffocate its flame.
  • I can have peace. Romans 8:28 says:

28 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.    

Because of the assurance of His love, I can hold my peace and let the Lord fight my battles. I can lay down in peace and enjoy the comfort of bed and covering and sleep. I know that He will work all things out, and that everything is going to be all right. 

YES, JESUS LOVES YOU

Just reflecting upon this partial list of blessings invokes love and praise in my own heart for my Heavenly Father; for Jesus, His Beloved Son, and for the Precious Holy Spirit. There are so many more reasons to praise Him, but know that our Triune God is always watching over our lives to love us, to enrich our lives and to give us fulfillment.

Thank you Lord!

Dr. Tonya Lewis has been a member of West Angeles Church of God In Christ for over 40 years. She serves on-staff as the Executive Director of Bereavement Ministries. She holds both Honorary Doctorate and Earned Doctorate degrees. Dr. Lewis has been teaching the Overcomer’s Bible Fellowship for over 34 years at West Angeles, along with other teaching venues.


Are you in need of peace in your life?  Read Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake’s message, “A Picture of Peace” HERE.

The West Angeles Couseling Center invites you to live a fuller life today and every day, but remember: “life happens” to all of us. We provide support and services to the greater Los Angeles area. You do not have to be a West Angeles member.  To find out more about our programs and services, please call the West Angeles Counseling Center at 323-737-7463.

West Angeles Bereavement Services – The loss of a loved one is never an easy thing to experience or expect and our experienced and dedicated staff serve in empathy and compassion during this difficult time. If you need help, please call West Angeles Bereavement Services  at 323/ 733-8300, Ext. 2242.

 

 

West Angeles Counseling: Which Spirit Drives Your Family?

In Part II of our Focus on the Family series, the West Angeles Counseling Center shares the principles of developing a strong family: starting with the right spirit.

 

Is your family ruled by hope, or by fear? Do you empower your family? Do you express love and acknowledge love in your family? Do you teach and instruct with an even-handed approach?

These are important questions to ask. Sometimes in families, our actions feed and encourage fear, and not power, love, and self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7 says that:

A mother and daughter enjoy Sunday fellowship.

A mother and daughter enjoy Sunday fellowship.

God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear), but a spirit of power, love and, self-discipline (NLT.)

In this scripture, fear comes before power, love, and self discipline, and it can block us from achieving a Christ-like spirit.

THE POWER OF FEAR

When fear is present in a relationship, it can take our power or be used as a weapon to take someone else’s. Our personal fear comes from insecurities in our lives that we bring from childhood or from previous relationships into our families, and if we are not aware of them, they can feed the wrong spirit. These issues can affect our ability to:

  • Be able to be trusted
  • Discipline our children in a fair manner
  • Love one another as Christ loves us

In a relationship, arguments are often driven by our insecurities as we try to protect our fears and shame, but these feelings are not of God’s plan for us. They are events and situations that have happened in the past, but we always have the power and self-discipline to overcome them. Those situations can never rule us unless we allow them to.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTHY COMMUNICATION

Unhealthy communication is an issue in families because of the presence of anger. This is not love. We are instructed that love is not easily angered (1 Corinthians 13:5), and this is one of the core principles that Christ came to teach us. So, if we argue a lot or struggle with anger, then this blocks us from sharing and receiving love. Communicating feelings without blaming others, or addressing and alleviating personal stress in our lives can help a family to communicate and grow with a spirit of love, as opposed to being repressed by fear.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER DISCIPLINE

When you discipline your children, do you only focus on instilling fear in the child, or teaching the child that there are consequences to their actions? For example, if we only instruct our children to not touch the stove without teaching them why, then we are inadvertently instilling fear in them. A person develops self-discipline in their lives when they are free to think through experiences in their lives which help them measure the consequences of their actions. A child whom is taught that touching the stove will lead to a burn is more likely to not do it, and in the future they will make better decisions because their parents did their best to not allow fear to govern how they disciplined their child.

A father enjoys time with his 2 sons.

A father enjoys quality time with his two sons.

CONCLUSION

Challenging ourselves to embrace a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline as husband, wife, father, or mother, can aid in achieving the family harmony that Christ desires. The family we desire is in our spirit, because God has blessed us with it.


West Angeles Church of God In Christ is celebrating family strength and unity! Please join the West Angeles Counseling Center from July 15-18, 2016, as we launch Focus On The Family Weekend, a weekend of family unity packed with four days of events for the entire congregation. Please CLICK HERE for more information!

West Angeles Church of God In Christ invites you to live a fuller life today and every day, but remember: “life happens” to all of us. The West Angeles Counseling Center provides support and services to the greater Los Angeles area. and you do not have to be a West Angeles member. If you need support, and to find out more about our programs and services, please call the West Angeles Counseling Center at 323-737-7463.

July 15 – 18: Focus on the Family Weekend

ATTENTION, WEST ANGELES FAMILY!

This coming weekend is

FOCUS ON THE FAMILY WEEKEND!

At West Angeles Church of God In Christ, we define “family” in different ways. Examples might include:

  • Single parents and their children
  • An elderly couple
  • Two parents, their children, and their parents
  • A foster family
  • Your ministry family, such as your small group at church

This coming weekend, July 15-18, 2016, West Angeles is celebrating family strength and unity. Please join us as we launch “Focus On The Family Weekend,” a weekend of family unity packed with four days of events for the entire congregation:

 

FFW7-15

Friday, July 15 – A Day of Family Prayer

Families are encouraged to participate “together” in one of the West Angeles Prayer Groups on that day:  6 a.m., 12 p.m., and/or 6 p.m.

LOCATION: North Campus Sanctuary.

 

 

Saturday, July 16 – A Day of Family Fun

9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.FFW7-16

Families are invited to participate in the activities for the day: “FunShops” in the North Campus and Crystal Room, Water Splash Zone on the Youth Center Playground, and a Basketball Tournament and Dunkin’ Booth on the 30th Street Parking Lot.

And of course, FOOD IS FREE!

LOCATION: North Campus and Crystal Room, Youth Center Playground, 30th Street Parking Lot.

 

 

Sunday, July 17 – A Day of Family Worship

8:00 a.m. & 11:00 a.m. servicesFFW7-17

It’s “No Pumps, No Suits, No Hat” Day!

Families are joining together for a day of worship in Cathedral. Families are encouraged to dress in identifiable ways that help others to recognize their families.

The Cathedral Concourse will be filled with an array of family highlights, such as families greeting worshipers entering the Cathedral, sponsorship opportunities for a “Family Night of Comedy,” Vacation Bible School information, details about family dining reservations in the fabulous West Angeles Crystal Room and other surprises.

LOCATION: West Angeles Cathedral

 

Monday, July 18 – A Day of Family Time

FFW7-18

West Angeles Church will close at 5 p.m. so that families can go home and share quality time with each other.

Families will have received a “FunShop” packet that supports their quality time with family activities and menus for the whole family.

Activities are planned for all families throughout the weekend. Please join us as we celebrate family.

 


But Jesus said, “Now, go home to your family, and tell them everything the Lord has done for you and how merciful He has been.”

– Mark 5:19

The West Angeles Counseling Center: Find Peace & Experience Joy

“Ministry, when ministered in love, brings Jesus into the now of people’s lives. If we trust Him there’s no limit to what we can do.” – Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake

The West Angeles Counseling Center offers Bible-based services, programs and classes to help provide spiritual support to you and your family both in times of abundance and in times of trial. Through the gospel of Jesus Christ, our Christian counseling combines modern methods of counseling with scriptural principles, using biblical truths as the reference point for integration.

Established in 1988, the West Angeles Counseling Center works to address and support the emotional well-being of individuals, couples, and families, and helps provide you with the tools to improve your mental health and the mental health of those around you.

Our programs and initiatives can help you to:

      • Keep your marriage strong – Receive the tools needed to strengthen your relationship, before and after the wedding.
      • Nurture the family – Our programs edify the whole family, and can help you strengthen the mental health of the children and youth in your life.
      • Deal with life’s trials – Our programs include Christ-centered counseling and support for dealing with issues such as substance abuse, mental illness and more; for individuals, families and groups.
      • Get Connected – Good interpersonal relationships promote good mental health. Develop the tools to build healthy friendships, good working relationships, and a healthy work-life balance.
      • Equip your ministry – The West Angeles Counseling Center is a Certified Academic Institution for the National Christian Counselors Association. We offer ministerial testing and evaluation programs for those who are called to ministry, and we can also help your church gather the resources to better serve your community.

West Angeles Church of God In Christ invites you to live a fuller life today and every day, but remember: “life happens” to all of us. We provide support and services to the greater Los Angeles area. You do not have to be a West Angeles member.

If you need support, and to find out more about our programs and services, please call the West Angeles Counseling Center at 323-737-7463.

The Lord wants to use us to do His will.

The Lord wants to use us to do His will.

 

Member Testimony: Elder Edward & Cozette Bradley

Marriages, especially in today’s world, are subject to many challenges.

Our society seems to offer more hindrances to true love and lasting fidelity than it does support. Add the role of parent to the equation – of not one, but three African American young men – and you might expect an especially challenging situation.

Married for 34 years, Elder Edward Bradley and his wife Cozette are long-time  West Angeles members who’ve gracefully raised three wonderful sons. They’ve been involved in several ministries, including Connections To Care, and the Fatherhood class at the West Angeles Counseling Center.  Elder Bradley’s book, “Fatherhood: The Role of a Father” (Tate Publishing) explores what it’s like to be a man in today’s society where balancing the roles of provider, protector, and head-of-the-household can be difficult, to say the least. He explores reconciling manhood and fatherhood from a biblical perspective, while challenging men to become all that God has asked them to be.

Elder and Mrs. Bradley recently shared with us some of their wisdom, insights, and a funny story or two about maintaining a strong marriage and raising sons into strong men in a new millennium.

Q: Elder and Mrs. Bradley, thank you for sharing your story with us. How did you meet, and how long have you been married?

We were both born in California. We met on June 1st, 1980, on a Sunday afternoon at West Angeles Church of God in Christ. We were married five months later on November 22, 1980.

Q: Wow-a whirlwind romance! Through Him, anything is still possible. We’ve all heard it said that “Marriage is work.” As a wife myself, I do find that to be true – but not necessarily in the way society describes. Can you please share a challenge that you have overcome as a couple, which you transcended and became stronger because of it?

There are books on marriage, but every couple has a different makeup. Learn to work on your strengths and determine what will enhance the relationship. We really did not have any problems coming together. Yes, we had to work on logistics; moving my wife from another city to Los Angeles. We then worked on our finances. But overall it was pleasantly smooth. We were – and are – very happy; that took care of a lot of problems that may have derailed another couple. We made plans for our marriage; and yes, we made mistakes. But through it all, we trusted in the Lord. For our marriage, going to mid-week bible study (at West Angeles) was key. We learned so much as Pastor Blake (as he was known back then) ministered to the congregation. Both Sunday morning and evening services were excellent, but those services in the middle of the week handled life’s issues that may have tested us between Sundays.

Q: Elder Bradley, you’ve written a book on parenting, and you’ve been successful at raising three African American boys into men. Looking at today’s world and the challenges we face, what tips can you share that may help other parents who are struggling to keep their children on the right path?

In parenting, we must live what we preach. Parents should not live a double life at home; another at church, and another out in public places. Your children lose respect for you. Parents, be a person of your word; be “on one accord.” And do not be afraid to discipline your children. “Yes” is yes and “no” is no! Show them love and affection, and tell them you love them, even if you never heard it from your own parents. Teach them the word of God at home. Come to church together and sit as a family.

Q: Has purpose factored into the work you’ve been chosen to do? If so, how?

I was a Correctional Officer. I worked behind prison walls. Seeing people incarcerated and seeing that side of existence gives you another perspective on life. You determine through prayer and hard work at home not to see your children caught up in any negative lifestyle that the world is offering through outside influences. You educate them and other young people on the vices that would pull them down. We must lift them up continually! That is what helped me make the decision on how to raise our family. Also, being married since 1980, we have seen many couples go astray. But couples need to know that Jesus can keep them happy, elated, and satisfied with their own spouse! We would say that our gifts are for the purpose of encouraging young men and women. We minister to couples and try to implant the Lord into their lives. Our purpose is to fulfill the dreams and goals of our church. Wherever we can assist is where we want to be.

Q: How did you come to be members of West Angeles, and how has West Angeles been instrumental in your Christian growth?

I came to West Angeles in November of 1979 out of obedience to God. After 8 months He added a wife to my life, then years later, 3 sons. Coming through the doors of this ministry was a profound move of the Lord, and hearing the Word coming from Bishop Blake was phenomenal, mesmerizing, challenging and encouraging. He taught us young men how to be men of God; good husbands and fathers. As my wife and I grew as a couple, we started to share what we were taught. We had many who told us we were having children too fast because they came 3 years in a row! I told my wife that if they had a question about that to come see me! We are married and we are doing it right and we can afford them. Many others felt that raising 3 sons would be hard. Some said, “Yeah they’ll probably end up in gang activity”, or that they were “not going anywhere”; always giving us negative feedback. We knew that we had – and still have – faith in God for their protection. We decided to listen and reflect on God’s word and accepted Psalm 91 as our family scripture. So faith comes by hearing, and we heard and read God’s word. We put faith into action. Do not allow anyone to cast a negative shadow over your family! Always remain optimistic and positive and put the word of God over every situation.

Q: Are there any stories or lessons you’d like to share from your experiences as parents which may help others?

One story we want to share about raising children is, years ago, we went with several members of our extended to an out-of-town wedding at a hotel by the sea. We had a good time with family and friends. At the end of the weekend, as everyone gathered in the lobby to check out of the hotel, we suddenly heard the fire alarm ring and everyone panicked! The Fire Department and EMS came, but there was no fire, and no one knew who pulled the alarm. For a few minutes there was confusion and questions, but still no answers. As we left the hotel, we asked the kids where they’d been during all of the excitement. As we continued our trip home, we still could not get an answer, and we believed them…somewhat. But my wife kept asking. As we continued to ask them questions over the next week or so, we finally found out that one of them had done it and the others covered for him. We dealt with the untruthful son and the two “cover-up brothers” – in a nice way of course – and with a warning about deceit and dishonesty. The interesting part is it hurt them more to cover up the story than it did for any punishment we as parents could dish out.

Q: That’s a great lesson in using discernment and persistence as parents. In closing, is there anything you’d like to share about how the ministry at West Angeles has blessed you both?

West Angeles Church is a church which flows through the Holy Spirit, in a vertical relationship with God who moves spiritually through its members. Those members who are bold enough grab hold of that Spirit through prayer and supplication. With that, the Holy Ghost flows out of each of us and we are commanded to compel men, women, boys, girls, families and marriages through the power of Jesus Christ. We have to tap in and connect to the spirit of this ministry to make world-wide change. So be encouraged to stop sitting on the sidelines and use the talents and gifts God has given you. Yield to the Holy Spirit; for, as Bishop Blake says, “We are called to minister and witness to a deeply distressed and troubled world.”

Elder and Mrs. Bradley, thank you for setting a wonderful example, and thank you for blessing us with your story.

 

The WEST ANGELES COUNSELING CENTER offers classes on marriage, parenting and more.  CONTACT 733-8300 ext. 2360, or email [email protected]