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Rest

The Bible speaks of rest for our weary souls.  It let’s us know that God will provide us with peace that surpasses all understanding if we keep our heart and minds on Him.  However, it is hard to really tap into those precious moments of unspeakable peace when we are knee deep in angst and stress and don’t know how we will get out of the situations life puts us in.  It just doesn’t feel right to be going through so much pain and heartache and yet be completely surrounded by peace.  It feels contradictory.  I know I am guilty of resting in my worry so that God will be convinced of the severity of my cry and He will come to my rescue.

However, my plan is flawed because resting in the peace of God assures Him that I trust Him and I have ultimate faith in His will.  As we all know, without faith it is impossible to please God.  My favorite lyrics are to the song “What A friend we have in Jesus.”  They say, “Oh, what peace we often forfeit.  Oh, what needless pains we bear.  All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer.”

Bishop Blake reminds us in the sermon, “Rest,” that God’s peace is open to everyone that seeks refuge from his or her storm.  His peace will provide an umbrella in a rainstorm.  His joy will provide steady ground in an earthquake.  His love will hold you in His hand, while the storms rage.  Focus on the scripture, “Be anxious for nothing, but in all things through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Phillipians 4:6-7

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The Last Seven Sayings of Christ

Here are the: Seven Last Words of Jesus as recorded in the Gospel from Luke to John.

1. Luke 23:34 (New International Version)

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

2. Luke 23:43 (New International Version)

Jesus answered him, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.”


3. John 19:26-27 (New International Version)

26When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Dear woman, here is your son,” 27and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

4.a Matthew 27:46 (New International Version)

About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?“—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?


4. b Mark 15:34 (New International Version

And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

5. John 19:28 (New International Version)

Later, knowing that all was now completed, and so that the Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.”


6. John 19:30 (New International Version)
When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head

and gave up his spirit.

7. Luke 23:46 (New International Version)

Jesus called out with a loud voice, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” When he had said this, he breathed his last.

 

Stay tuned for our Good Friday Service and Resurrection Sunday Service that will be streamed live HERE!

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Resurrection Power!

 

“Oh Death where is your sting?” Death is just the doorway to stay with the eternal Father. As long as God lives resurrected in our lives we can live free from fear.

My favorite part of the movie “The Passion of the Christ” is when Jesus carries His cross and falls, and His mother runs up to him, overcome with concern for her son. She tries to help him, but he looks at her and says, “Look, mom, I make all things new.” Jesus knew his death was a means to an end. He knew that His end was already victorious. He trusted His Father in heaven. He trusted His Father’s will, power, capability, strength and love for Him. Death is considered finality, but it shouldn’t be to the believer. We know that death is the means to live eternally with Christ. The death of friendships, jobs, relationships, health, and all things in our lives that we hold so dearly are not final for the God who raised Lazarus from the grave simply by willing it to be. Those things are not final for the Jesus that defeated death with all power in His hands. There are situations in our lives that are on the brink of death and we hold on for dear life, but we must remember Hezekiah, who was instructed to get his house in order because he was going to die, turned his back to the wall and prayed to God, and fifteen years was added to his life.
When it is not in God’s will to resurrect certain things in our life, this is when you should look out for the hand of God. Something great is coming. When Jesus died, he cancelled out a contract of death and damnation for all His children. Salvation could not have been accomplished any other way. I sincerely believe that if there were another way for God’s children to be saved, it would have been done. I also believe that God allowing His only son to be killed in exchange for eternity spent with us was a way to prove his undying and radical love for us, His adopted children.
Death is not a sentence that should intimidate or bring fear to our lives. It is a means to a new lifestyle, a new habit, or a new relationship. We are outside the laws of death. The Bible says, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:1-2 When death happens in your life, believe that it is in the will of Christ concerning your life and remember that you are outside of the law of death and damnation, and you now rest in the hand of Jesus, which promises that he will withhold no good thing from those that love Him and keep His commandments and all things work together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.

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Bishop Charles E. Blake Prays Justice for Trayvon Martin

Following the tragedy of the killing of 17-year old, Trayvon Martin, Sunday, March 25th has been declared as Hoodie Sunday in hopes that his aggressor will be arrested and Trayvon’s murder will be brought to justice. On February 26, Trayvon Martin was going to visit his father in a gated community in Florida. He was returning from a local convenience store and was carrying a bag of skittles and a bottle of iced tea when George Zimmerman shot and killed him. American citizens everywhere have come together and voiced their concerns for the slaying of this young Black high school student, who was falsely identified as a criminal by Zimmerman due to racial profiling. No arrests have been made, as Zimmerman, pleads self-defense as his alibi. However, people all over America are standing up for Trayvon, who was completely unarmed at the time of his shooting.

In both West Angeles’ 8AM and 11AM services, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake has released a statement: “We stand in sympathy and concern and continue to send our prayers up for the family of Trayvon Martin. All loss of life is a tragedy and we will continue to pray for all killings that continue to go on in the nation and in the world. We will continue to pray for a full investigation and that a just outcome will prevail. May God continue to bless our nation to be a place of freedom and safety for all of its’ citizens. Remember, we are one.” We all sympathize with Martin’s family and friends, realizing that this senseless murder could have been our own son. Obama spoke out about this tragedy saying, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.”

American citizens have loudly voiced their demands for justice as people post pictures of themselves in hoodies on social networks and speak out about this injustice. Throughout this past week, the major states around America; Chicago, New Orleans, Atlanta, Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Florida, Kansas City, Los Angeles the cities have organized hoodie days. Many churches are joining in the demonstration; pastors, deacons, clergymen and congregants are wearing hoodies as a demonstration to put an end to racial profiling. Some of the services and demonstrations hand out skittles. Songs and raps have been composed in Trayvon’s memory. On March 21, New York City had a march called the “Million Hoodie March.” Martin’s parents joined this march and spoke out saying that they will not stop fighting for their son’s justice and they thanked the millions of people that came out to fight for their son. There was a march at Leimert and this Sunday on Crenshaw and Exposition there was a vigil for Trayvon Martin.

We must all stand together and know that we can make a difference. In the New York “Million Hoodie March” Trayvon’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, said, “My heart is in pain, but to see the support of all of you really makes a difference.” We must continue to pray that this tragedy will find justice and Trayvon Martin will be the final incident of racial profiling. One injustice is one too many.

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The Testimony of Wilma Rudolph

When Wilma Rudolph was four years old she was diagnosed with polio, which causes people to be crippled and unable to walk.  To make matters worse, her family was poor and could not afford good medical care.  She was from a large family. She was the 20th child of 22 children. Her father was a railroad porter and her mother was a maid.

Her mother decided she would do everything she could to help Wilma to walk again. The doctors told her that Wilma would never be able to walk.  That did not stop Wilma’s mother.  Every week she and Wilma took a long bus trip to a hospital to receive therapy. It didn’t help, but the doctors told Wilma’s mother that massaging her legs daily might help.  She taught the brothers and sisters how to do it, and they also rubbed Wilma’s legs four times a day.  By the time she was 8, Wilma could walk with a leg brace. After that, she used a high-topped shoe to support her foot. She played basketball with her brothers every day.

Three years later, her mother came home to find her playing basketball by herself bare-footed. She didn’t even have to use the special shoe.

A track coach encouraged Wilma to start running. She ran so well that during her senior year in high school, she qualified for the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia.  She won a bronze medal in the women’s 400-meter relay.

In 1959, she qualified for the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome by setting a world’s record in the 200-meter race. At the Olympics that year she won two gold medals; one for the 100-meter race and one for the 200-meter race. 

Then she sprained her ankle, but she ignored the pain and helped her team to win another gold medal for the 400-meter relay!

Wilma retired from running when she was 22 years old, but she went on to coach women’s track teams and encourage young people.

She thought God had a greater purpose for her than to win three gold medals so she started the Wilma Rudolph Foundation to help children learn about discipline and hard work.  She died in 1994 of brain cancer but her tenacious spirit lives on forever.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.  By his wounds, you have been healed.” I Peter 2:24

Thank you Ms. Rudolph for being the living testimony that God’s report is much louder than the doctors.