Get Right With God

The past couple days of been somewhat somber for me. A family that I mentor and advise spiritually lost the lady of the house. The most immediate impact of her untimely demise is to her husband of thirteen years and four young children from the ages of seven to eleven. While I can delve into the hurt and pain associated with losing a loved one the thing that came immediately to my mind was the old song “Get Right With God.”

Yes, there is mourning taking place. Even I expect to see her sitting in her favourite spot when I enter the family home. It simply does not seem real because she was taken out by a sudden massive heart attack. But I am reminded of the fact that when Christ returns to collect His Church He will come quickly and without warning. He has provided us with warning after warning of His soon and sudden return. Preachers having been warning for years that the return of Christ will be as a thief in the night as the Church is suddenly taken from the present world. Just look at the present situation in the United States alone.

It is accepted by many to tell lies of the lie is harmless. Yet Scripture teaches that all liars will have their place in the lake that burns with fire. Yet even those holding positions in church choose to lie. But lying is part of the problem. Many continually entertain unclean thoughts. The vast array of unclean thoughts will not be addressed here but one can easily surmise that when thoughts are not taken captive according to the Word of God any number of things can happen.  Unclean thoughts are part of the reason that many are living with the idea that altering their minds with marijuana, alcohol and other illicit drugs are OK so long as no one else is being harmed.

And the evil thoughts continue in so many ways such as the increase of immorality on every front. Said differently, this nation has succumbed to the disease of sin. Sin is what pulls away from God and sin will be the cause of eternal damnation. You see in the Book of Numbers God provided His people specific instructions. If they adhered to God’s Word they would find themselves walking in God’s blessings. Yet if they disobeyed Numbers 32:23 clearly indicates that “But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.”

I certainly mourn the untimely death of this forty-six year old lady even while I wonder how many people die without making things right with God. How many die knowing that God is there for them yet they figure that they have the rest of their lives while the numbering of their days is at hand? And then what about those on the fringes of the church walking around with a form of godliness but denying the very power thereof? And then you have those that work as though their very services are the means to get into the Kingdom.

It is high time that this nation return to its roots of trusting in God. We have left our first love and need to fall on our faces in repentance. No, just a verbal acknowledgement of shortcomings but rather actions turning away from those things that turn from the holiness of God. It means that those on the fringes will submit to the Cloud that covers and protects while allowing the Holy Spirit to not only indwell but also to guide and comfort. It is time that we, collectively and individually, get right with God and do it now!

Perpetual Thanksgiving

It is official, the day set aside to give thanksgiving is over. Turkey has been eaten and potatoes mashed. Pies and cakes have been devoured causing many to sit back in easy chairs unable to move in that gluttony has taken over thanksgiving allowing only for deep breathing and occasional sighs of relief as the mounds of food finally settle within the bodies of many. 

Now, there is no suggestion here that there should be no enjoyment of things God has provided for us. But the real attitude of Thanksgiving has little to do with the plenteous foods now being stored in refrigerators and freezers. In fact I would venture to say that attitudes of thanksgiving actually fall short of the meals that we eat. 

Let me explain. When I woke this morning it was more than evident that I did not wake under my own power. In fact I am sadly reminded of a gentleman who lived across the street from me. You see he went to the hospital for a kidney transplant. While I understand the surgery was initially a success things began to go wrong. Things went so bad medically that this gentleman crossed into eternity this past Tuesday. You see, I have much to be thankful for.

Not only did I rise this morning but I rose with a sound mind. Some have not that luxury. Even more I rose with no sicknesses and able to move without the aid of a walking stick. Some have not this blessing. Even more my children are well and growing in prosperity (and I mean not merely monetarily). Many do not share my testimony.

My point to this brief missive is simple. Thanksgiving is not merely a temporary utterance of words said to God just before we dive into well prepared meals rather it is the recognition of God and Who He is. But thanksgiving still goes well beyond that. The fact is that God loved man so much that He sent His only Son to die for us. Immanuel loved us so much that He gave His life so that we could live. And as I pen these words I can think of a multiplicity of reasons for which to be thankful which have nothing to do with cranberry sauce nor the fatted pig. Yet if I were to enumerate upon the goodness of God in my life I suppose that I could fill volumes. So, I will not start in on my testimonies at this point rather I will simply say please do not give up on offering thanksgiving to God merely because the end of a formal holiday has arrived rather  have a perpetual attitude of thanksgiving for which God will be pleased and receive as a sweet smelling savour.

It’s Not About You

The below are notes of a message I presented a few days ago. While it is not normal to post such notes I know that many are hurting and wondering why. Perhaps some encouragement will come from my lesson.

It’s Not About You!

For

Springs of Refreshing Fellowship Church

1932 Gwynn Oak Ave

Woodlawn, MD 21207

Prepared by:

Elder William James Carter, The 1st

25 Oct 2012

© The Christian Perspective

It’s Not About You!

Many Christians today are enduring considerable troubles. Some are being lied to and lied upon. Others are being otherwise mistreated. One song writer said that she had been lied on and cheated, talked about and mistreated. Another declared “troubles in my way, I have to cry sometime. So much trouble, I have to cry some time. I lay awake at night but that’s alright because I know that Jesus will fix it after while.”

But there has been trouble for the people of God long before the advent of modern Christian music.  Let’s consider Joseph for a moment. He was a son favoured by his father Jacob. With that Jacob (Israel) made him a coat of many colours. This along with the dreams of Jacob caused considerable jealousy and anger in his brothers. The anger was such that the brothers plotted to kill Joseph.

One brother decided not to kill him but pretend that he was killed. The plot thickened as Joseph was sold into slavery. But the slavery was not to be the end of Joseph. He soon found favour with the Pharaoh and was made head of the entire house. But then there was more trouble as the Pharaoh’s wife sought to ensnare Joseph. But because he would not give in Joseph was lied on and sent to prison.

But once again he was given favour and placed in charge of the jail. Again all had to answer to him but again he was lied to. Again promises were broken and he ended up spending more time in prison than he should have. All the while he was growing in favour and eventually was called in to interpret the dream of the Pharaoh. God was not finished with Joseph because favour was once again restored upon him so that not only was he in charge of the Pharaoh’s house but he was made to be second in command of the entire land answering to no one but the Pharaoh.

The whole time Joseph was going through the trouble being away from his father God was working in and through him to bring about a desired end. God allowed Joseph to be sold and imprisoned because of the promise that God made to Abraham. If Joseph had not been in prison at the time of Pharaoh’s dream then he would not have been in place to interpret which is the reason he was promoted to second in command. This was done as a fulfillment of the dreams of Joseph showing that he would rule over his brothers and rule over his brothers he did.

Even so it  was not the whole purpose of God for Joseph to rule over his brothers rather God was looking through the annals of time for when His Son would be manifested to the saving of a people. This is where Genesis 50:20 comes into play:

“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.”

This is one of the most misapplied text in Scripture. This text has nothing to do with God working solely for Joseph rather it is evident that God’s intent was to save “much people alive.” The fact of the matter is that Joseph did not go through all that he went through so that God could reward him rather God allowed the trouble so that He could save much people alive. God’s purpose was to maintain His promise to Abraham and had little to do with Joseph. In fact if Joseph had not been there God would have used someone else. The trouble was not about Joseph.

How do we know that the trouble was not about Joseph? It is because of God’s promise not only to Abraham but those promises reiterated to Isaac and Jacob.  Even more chapter forty six of Genesis provides a genealogy of the tribes of Israel. Among those tribes is the Tribe of Judah. It is through the Tribe of Judah that God would save many people alive through His Son Jesus. It was through Joseph that God saved a nation which included the Tribe of Judah. Joseph’s trouble was not about him rather it was about saving a people.

Looking back at Genesis 50:20 the word “thought” means: to think, plan, esteem, calculate, invent, make a judgment, imagine, count[1]. Joseph, speaking to his brothers reminded them that they planned to do him harm. He brought to their attention that the plans they had for him could have cost them their lives especially considering his position. But it was not in the will of God to have them killed rather it was God’s plan to save them alive for a greater plan.

Evil plans were not a matter that only Joseph had to endure. Matthew chapter nine shows that Jesus was onboard a ship traveling to the other side of Capernaum. Upon his arrival a paralyzed man was brought to Him which resulted in Jesus forgiving the man of his sins. But some of the scribes saw this action as blasphemous and Jesus knowing what was going on in their hearts confronted them and then healed the man.

The scribes intended no good for Jesus but the end result of their intended trap was well know by Jesus. Jesus knew that the healing of man would bring glory to God so that others might live. And others did live to glorify God because of the healing. But the evil intent discussed in this chapter serves only as a type of the suffering that Jesus would go through that He could save many people alive.

Such was the entire life of Jesus. He was sent to earth not to glorify Himself but so that the Father would be glorified. There is no more evidence of this than during Christ’s travailing prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. As a side note that Gethsemane was really an olive grove. Olive oil is often used to represent the presence of the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew what he was about to endure. He had already been ridiculed, lied on and lied about. Some had already tried to stone Him. Yet  Jesus had done nothing worthy of any wrong doing. He was suffering because He stood for righteousness but that the suffering was not about Him rather about the One that sent Him. Christ had to die to save many alive.

In order to better understand a brief examination of the life of Jesus must be examined. Certain items are a must when suffering for godly reasons. This is a partial list of items necessary to know when suffering is to save many alive:

ü Must be a Christian-Born Again: John 3:7 “Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.”

ü Suffering must be relative to righteous living: II Timothy 3:12 “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”

ü Suffering must not be self-inflicted: I Peter 2:19 “ For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.”

ü Desire to please God: I Thessalonians 4:1 “Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.”

ü Rejoice in suffering for Christ: I Peter 4:12-19 “12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. 16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? 18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? 19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.


[1] Blue Letter Bible. “Dictionary and Word Search for chashab (Strong’s 2803)“. Blue Letter Bible. 1996-2012. 24 Oct 2012. < http:// www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?
Strongs=H2803&t=KJV >