ARE YOU IN THE
NUMBER? JOHNNIE DENT GOD’S LOVE LANGUAGE BRIANNA TRIPLETT
Landrum LOVE:PAY IT FORWARD
HELP! I DON’T
LIKE TO EXERCISE
14 DAYS TO SAY, I LOVE
CONTENTS MINISTER LANDRUM
4 THE BLESSING OF CLOSED DOORS Donna Renay Patrick 6 FOUNDERS PAGE Pastors Greg & Sharina George 8 14 DAYS TO SAY, I LOVE YOU Elder RD Anderson-Bailey 10 THE HAPPINESS FACTOR Leslie Elia, Financial Article 12 CHOOSING CONTENTMENT Alia Worthy, Single & Saved 14 I DON’T WANNA WORKOUT Angela Mosley, Physical Health 16 ARE YOU IN THE NUMBER Johnnie Dent, Feet to Your Faith
18 COVER STORY
Minister Bronsen Landrum “Love: Pay it Forward”
Minister Donna Renay Patrick
22 LOVING GOD’S WAY Evang. Carmella Hill, Mental Health
24 MANHOOD PERPETUATED Bishop Clarence Pope, Men to Men 26 GOD’S LOVE LANGUAGE Brianna Triplett, Precious Oill
28 WHY AM I HERE Ruth C. Dept, Poetry Corner 30 TEEN CORNER Artrez Alexander & Taylor Hauser
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The BLESSING OF CLOSED Doors
Donna Renay Patrick
“I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose.’” (Isaiah 46:9(c), 10) Has God ever shut down your plans? I believe somebody can testify to the fact that at some point in your life, you made plans, and everything was in place. You considered any unforeseen snafus, the
future looked good; at least you thought so. I heard these words from a well-known local pastor that basically said, “Rejection is protection and direction.” When you walk close to God and have surrendered your life to Him, there are times when God will shut a door that you thought should have been opened. It is really all about perspective You may feel that God has wronged you by closing that door. How could He have done that? Why would God not give you what you worked so hard to achieve? You had planned it so meticulously. Well, try looking at it from a spiritual perspective. Take all of your skill, education, and talent out of the equation for a moment. At all times God is working all around us as a protective Father. He may not always
share His reasons for what He does or does not allow, but keep in mind that God sees much further down the road than we do. Consider the example of Abraham in Genesis 12:1. God told Abraham to leave his home country and travel to a land that God would show him. God didn’t begin to unfold His plans concerning this particular move until Abraham obeyed his directive. Years after leaving Egypt, a member of the family in Pharaoh’s house, Moses was living well in the land of Midian. He was now married, started a family and had the favor of His father-in-law, Jethro. In Genesis
chapter 3, Moses is standing barefoot before a bush that is burning, yet not being consumed by the fire. While there, God revealed to Moses exactly what His plan was for him: Return to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let God’s people go so that they can serve Him. Moses came up with all sorts of reasons why he couldn’t do what God was requiring of him. Unlike Abraham, God told Moses from the beginning exactly what he was being sent to do. The common denominator to both of these personal encounters with God is obedience. We cannot see down the road like God can.
He sees the end from the beginning. God knows where we belong and where we don’t. He knows the secrets of every one of our hearts. He knows every question, desire, longing, and anxiety. God is inviting us to trust Him even when we can’t see what He is doing. God will sometimes close certain doors in our lives to teach us to raise our thinking to a spiritual level to know that He is at work. I can witness to the fact that at times I thought my experience or all my studying would produce the desired result. But it wasn’t my skill and experience that God was after; it was my trust. He wanted my complete trust – not in myself, but in Him! When I look back over my life story, I am still thanking God for some doors that He shut. I didn’t understand when it happened, but as I continued to grow into a deeper relationship with Him, I learned to respond trustingly when He closes a door, whether I understand it or not. If you know you are living under divine authority, yet God has shut a door in some area of your life and you don’t understand why, I issue an invitation to take a closer look. Begin to praise God because He stopped you from making a big mistake. Perhaps you were headed right into a moving train and God blocked it. Thank God that He has your back at all times and in all places! You can trust God because He knows the end from the beginning.
Donna Renay Patrick is a transformational speaker, award-winning author, musician/choir director, and worship leader. She has authored two devotionals focused on making worship a lifestyle, At All Times, and It’s In Your Praise. Recently, she co-authored a devotional for women in the workplace entitled, Be Refreshed. She often teaches in three areas where she is most passionate: The priority of worship, knowing your purpose, and effective leadership. Visit her website at https://donnarenaypatrick.com. Follow her on social media: Facebook: Donna Renay Patrick, Author Twitter: @DonnaRPatrick Instagram: Donnarenaypatrick LinkedIn: Donna Renay Patrick, M.A.
Pastor Greg George Pastor Sharina George
Graphic Designer Xcellence Marketing
Cover Photo Antonio Neal @toto24aln
Donna R. Patrick RD Anderson-Bailey Leslie Elia Alia Worthy Angela Mosley Johnnie Dent Carmella Hill Clarence Pope Brianna Triplett Artrez Alexander Taylor Hauser Ruth C. Dept
Praise the Lord faithful readers, February seems to have a common theme, “Love.” As the people of the Kingdom of God we understand that love is the substratum to our faith. Jesus loved us so much that He decided to give his life for us. As you go through the month of February decide in your heart that you are going to give to someone you do not know. Decide to make a sacrifice that will cost you something. Let’s decide to give out of a pure heart. May God continue to bless you as you read this magazine. God bless you, Pastors Greg & Sharina George All rights are reserved and no part of this publication can be copied or reproduced without permission from Xcellence Publications LLC.
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14 DAYS TO SAY, I LOVE YOU!
Elder RD Anderson-Bailey, MFT
This year, instead of becoming overwhelmed on Valentine’s Day, how about sharing 14 days to say I Love You! Each day, starting today, February 1, I want you to commit to “telling your mate” you love them. If you do this right, by Valentine’s Day, you will have fallen deeper in love than you are today. First, I want you to suspend the idea of increasing the amount of physical intimacy as a goal of this experience. This means don’t make these actions an automatic lead in into intercourse. I know for some, this may be a challenge and just the very thought of refraining seems like a punishment. But trust me, it isn’t. As a married couple, physical intimacy may be fluent, but don’t make this exercise a part of that goal. Are you up for the challenge? Let’s begin!Day one: Take a moment to have a conversation.
Day I want you to take a moment and grab a cup of hot cocoa, tea or coffee at a nearby café.
While there, try to avoid conversations that are focused around the kids, if applicable, bills, problems and past talks. Try to learn something new about your mate during this conversation. Ask questions like, “Babe, what is one thing that you liked when we first met that you don’t like now?” Remember, don’t be offensive or defensive, just ask and listen for the honest answer and include follow-up questions. Be curious as to what changed. When the drinks are done, hold hands and look each other in the eye and say, “I LOVE YOU” and head home.
Day two: Take a moment to walk down memory lane. Now that you have had a conversation on day one, make day two a moment of reflection. Take 15 minutes before heading to bed to sit together and recall your first date. See how much you both remember. Make it fun and keep it light. Laugh over the different storylines you both come up with and keep it playful. After 15 minutes, hug and look each other in the eye and say, “I Love You!” Day three: Plan and make a meal together. Cook together. Make something for the two of you or the family. Don’t get too complicated, but make something different than your usual and say, “I Love You.”
Day Day Four: Recreate your favorite date night.
Plan a date night for your spouse that reminds you of a past date night that was amazing. Tip: It should be outside of the home, non-intercourse related.
Day Day Five: Your Spouse will re-create DayDay Six: Write a ‘Thank You Love Note’.
their favorite date night. Have your spouse plan a date night for you that reminds them of a past date night that was amazing. Tip: It should be outside of the home.
Write each other a thank you card that expresses the sentiments and new favorite moments from the dates on days four and five and secretly deliver it to them. Stash it in their underwear drawer, place it on their car seat, or place it in their lunch bag. Make sure the card says, “I Love You” at the end!
DAY SEVEN: TEXT A COMPLIMENT. Start the day by sending a text of a compliment to each other. End with “I Love You.”
DAY EIGHT: FLIRT Go out of your way to flirt with one another. Leave technology out of it. Tip: Drop your best lines, blow kisses at each other, smack a tail feather, or hold on to each other for one minute. Be sure to end with “I Love You!” DAY NINE: TAKE A SECOND LOOK DOWN MEMORY LANE. Pull out the photo album, look through your wedding photos and recall your day. Share what made it so special and let the good feelings overtake you both. After you are done, hug and kiss and remember to say, “I Love You!” DAY TEN: READ A NEW BOOK OR ARTICLE TOGETHER. Share your thoughts about what you have read. DAY ELEVEN: SHARE A NEW EXPERIENCE TOGETHER. Go to an art exhibit or a landmark. Try a jazz café or an open mic/ karaoke night. DAY TWELVE: IN-HOME COUPLES MASSAGE Here’s where things get a little steamy! Create ambiance. Put the kiddos to bed EARLY! Break out the smooth jazz and the warming oil. Then take turns massaging each other’s day away. Now, remember, this is just a means to connect through touch! Ask questions about each other’s day during the massage and lovingly attend to your mate. DAY THIRTEEN: SPEND THE DAY SAYING THANK YOU! Say thank you to one another throughout the day. Get creative. If the dishes are cleaned after dinner without you asking, say Thank you! Work in a ‘Thank You’ into each conversation or text message throughout the day. End the day with “I Love You!” DAY FOURTEEN: START THIS DAY OFF DIFFERENTLY. Start your day off with prayer. Place your hands on one another and pray with thanksgiving for the journey God blessed you both to be on. Praise God for the gift of one another’s love and patience and abilities. Pray for God to strengthen your bond and breathe new life into your love! End the prayer with saying “I Love You” to one another and “We Love You” to God! Then spend the rest of the day celebrating! HAPPY 14 DAYS TO SAY I LOVE YOU!
Elder RD Anderson-Bailey, MFT
Leslie Elia Life Leadership
The Happiness Factor Principles like tithing, budgeting, living within our means, having an emergency savings account, investing in ourselves, and remembering that it is not what we make but what we keep, should really be starting to sink in. Shall we move on? Let’s talk about the Happiness Factor. Naturally, I am happiest when I have money and am not stressed about yet another car repair, loan payment or child needing some random thing for school. But even when I don’t have extra cash, I can be happy using my talents or gifts. I hinted at that last month when I said that at the start of my marriage, I was not able to tithe the suggested ten percent. You see, my husband was questioning if he had faith or if he considered himself to be an atheist. He claimed that we were just too broke to give any money to some church. It was an ugly time in our marriage, to be sure. I was a new Christian and had no idea that the Bible warned its readers about being “unequally yoked.” The Bible commands to obey your husband and also commands to tithe. I remember being very concerned with where my priority should be. Should I tithe and make my husband mad or should I make my husband happy and trust God? Thankfully, I had a fantastic pastor who gave me such good counsel. He said that it was more important to be a good example of a Christian woman and respect my husband’s desire not to tithe at that time. Being a good example of respecting him would be a better way to eventually win him to Christ. Still, I wanted so much to give back. Ironically, it was my husband who suggested I give of my time. You see, he had just scared some church volunteers off of our front porch who were asking for my yearly pledge committment. He yelled, “Why don’t you give your time?. Go teach a Sunday school class or something!” I was not sure what to do with that because of the anger in his tone of voice. Was he serious? Did he want me to spend more time at church where he refused to go or was he saying that just to test my faith? Whatever the reason, I may never know. In the long run, I did get more involved in church while respecting his wishes. I enjoyed my years of being a Pioneer Club Leader and was proud of the Mary, Joseph, and angel costumes that I sewed for the Christmas play. Now, years later, I can tell you that my husband has been a regular at our church and does not even need to be asked. Sunday morning he is ready to go and has been attending for about 13 years. He even knows I tithe and has written a few of his own checks as well on occasion. So, Principle Number 7 of Financial Fitness is to use your time, money and talents to genuinely
Financial Article February 2018
The Magic Green Box help others. Fulfilling your stewardship is a sure way to increase your happiness. Is there a family on your block who needs a meal? Is there a child in your neighborhood who needs a ride to soccer practice? Is there an elderly woman who needs a ride to church? Is there a Sunday school class that needs a helper? Ephisians 2:10 : “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” As Sharina George and I have access to the Magic Green Box, we hope you are working along with us and are excited to purchase the kit which includes a hardback book with 47 principles, a paperback workbook and eight audio tapes. I would like to share my time, once again, to help your church group, book club, career center or youth group start a Master Class for Financial Fitness. Please contact Leslie at ironleslie@ sbcglobal.net or if you would just like to purchase the materials. You may also contact Sharina George email@example.com
To purchase the entire program (book, workbook and audios) or to start a 6 week finance class at your church, club or organization please contact Leslie Elia at firstname.lastname@example.org
Single & H
Saved He’s called you to do. Walking in servitude and learning how to serve helps us to focus on pleasing the Lord and walking in His will rather than focusing solely on ourselves. Paul states in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” Contentment is a heart responsibility. It’s not based on circumstances alone, but rather on the attitude of our heart in those circumstances. The reality is our circumstances reveal our true level of contentment. True contentment comes with depending wholeheartedly on God and resting in the truth that He is your source and He alone is enough. Choosing to be content comes with being okay with where God has you and believing and trusting in His timing. The truth of the matter is, at this moment, in your singleness, you are where God wants you to be. If God wanted you to be married right now, you would be. Yes, we may
ave you ever found yourself discontent in your time of singleness? I’ve been there, too, and honestly, it can be frustrating. I’m sure we’ve all had times in our single walk where we’ve questioned God, asking, “When will it by my time?” Valentine’s day is soon approaching and what better time to write an article on contentment. Society has this stigma and perspective that states if you’re single, it must mean that something must be wrong with you. They choose to feel sorry for you as if contentment is based on marriage or being in a relationship. This is far from the truth. One of my favorite scriptures concerning singleness is 1 Corinthians 7:32-33. Paul states, “But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. But he who is married cares about the things of the world— how he may please his wife.” You see, singleness and marriage both have their own pleasures and struggles. One of the greatest responsibilities of singleness is learning how to please the Lord and build your relationship with Him. Who you are in your singleness is who you will be in marriage. Better yet, it requires more responsibility and exposure. If you fail to live a committed and devoted life to Christ as a single person, it will only get harder in marriage. If you fail at making God your foundation, it will be harder in keeping Him as your foundation when you’re married. Singleness is a great opportunity to learn more about your purpose and being willing to fulfill the work of the Lord and what
not be able to change where we are; however, we can change our attitude and perspective in how we view our present circumstance or season. Circumstances may change, but God is forever constant. It can be easy to spend this time of singleness complaining about where we are and what we don’t have instead of utilizing this time wisely and appreciating what we do have. Discontentment is only a reflection of the pride in our hearts and the pride we have in believing that we are entitled to what we want and must obtain it when we want it. Let not another day go by, or even holiday, living in self-pity of being single. A life of singleness calls for a life of wholeness. I encourage you to use this time of singleness to grow in your identity, wholeness, purpose, and contentment. The reality is another season will come and will have its troubles of its own, so rejoice in this one. Be encouraged that God knows what you need and when you need it. My prayer is that this year, you will be intentional in being content in Christ. Don’t allow society or what you see to pressure you from moving out of the will of God prematurely. A fulfilled life comes from living in Christ and walking in His Will. He will give you the strength for every season.
KEYS TO CONTENTMENT
CONFESS AND CONFRONT
CHOOSE TO LIVE LIFE
- Be willing to be honest with God about your discontentment. You can’t change what you’re unwilling to confront. Confess what’s keeping you from truly being content in Christ.
-Grow in commitment to God and your
relationship with Him. Your contentment is found in a relationship with Him. Living in a committed relationship with Christ will help you walk in a committed relationship with others. Learn how to commit to your ministry and grow in faithfulness wherever God has you. One of the best things you can do is grow in your identity and in who God created you to be. Take the time to know your strengths and weaknesses. Don’t believe the lie that we must wait to be in a relationship to live. Live now! Have fun. Do things that you’ve been waiting to do. Try new things, such as a cooking class, joining a fitness club, traveling to concerts, building friendships. Learn to serve! Serving prepares you for marriage and takes your focus off yourself.
I don’t want to workout
Why is it good for me? By Minister Angela Mosley
To answer the first part of this question, let’s first get the definition of the word. Exercise is an activity requiring physical effort carried out specially to sustain or improve health and fitness. Now let’s look at the word sustain. It means to strengthen or support physically or mentally. The second word I want you to notice is improve. To improve means to make or become better. So, if your reading this article and you don’t like to exercise, just ask yourself, “In 2018, do I need to sustain or improve my health? If you are honest with yourself, you will answer this question truthfully with a YES! Everyone who is human can benefit from exercise. What we fail to realize is that there are many forms and ways to exercise. What makes it hard is that you have not found an exercise you like to do. When you find an exercise you like, you will be happy to do it. So, I challenge you today to find out and do your own research on what you like to do. When you find out what you like to do, then try it, but start very slow. An example would be three times a week do some Cardio exercises every other day. Then on your off days, incorporate building your muscles with strength-training exercises. To answer the second part of the question, “Why is it good for me?” Have you heard the expression “If you don’t use it, you lose it”? Well, that has some truth to it. Our bodies are designed to move and keep moving. As a natural fact, with age we get weaker unless we
Do not be ignorant of what’s in your bloodline regarding your family genes that are passed down through generations. I must say and have witnessed it personally that God, Jehovah Rapha, is a Healer.
get the appropriate type and form of exercise we can sustain to improve our health. I desire for you to feel better and have more energy and live longer. The secret is physical exercise. #5 - Exercise promotes better sleep. There is nothing like a good night sleep that is uninterrupted. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and deepen your sleep. Please #1 - Exercise controls weight. When you engage in physical activity, you burn use caution and don’t exercise too close to bedtime or it may be hard to fall asleep. calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn. This will prevent excess #6 - Exercise can be fun. Exercise and physical activity can be a fun way to spend some of your weight gain. time. It gives you a chance to unwind, enjoy #2 - Exercise decreases health conditions and diseases. Are you looking to prevent heart the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. It also helps you stay disease, high blood pressure, et cetera? Being connected to friends or family in a fun social active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL), setting. So, take a dance class, go bowling, or “good” cholesterol and decreases unhealthy skating, et cetera. Find the activity you enjoy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your and just start a little bit at a time. If you get blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your bored, try something new. risk of cardiovascular diseases, strokes, Type In closing, the bottom line is we need to 2 diabetes, depression, certain types of cancer, exercise to achieve better health. But remember arthritis and falls. to check with your doctor before starting a #3 - Exercise improves your mood. Need an new exercise program, especially if you have emotional lift after a stressful day? A workout any health concerns. If, after reading this or a brisk 30-minute walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that article, you still feel the same about exercise, may leave you feeling happier and more relaxed. then please remember to Ask, Seek and Knock, which is listed in Matthew 7:7. “Ask, and it shall #4 - Exercise boosts energy. Do you find be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, yourself winded by grocery shopping or and it shall be opened unto you.” Allow God household chores? Regular physical activity to awaken his wisdom in your life concerning can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance. When you exercise, your body exercise and your physical activities. 3 John 1:2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and help your cardiovascular system work more mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” efficiently. You’ll have more energy when your heart and lungs work more efficiently.
Here are SIX benefits of why it is good for you:
feet to your faith
are you in
THE NUMBER? O
ur story begins with an eleven-year-old boy who dropped out of school in the fifth grade. Possessing a love for music, he sang for money with other boys in the streets and hung around grownups at cabarets, dancehalls and brothels. On December 31st, one regretful day, he decided to discharge a firearm into the air. His actions prompted his immediate arrest and invoked the consequences of him getting sentenced to incarceration at a juvenile correctional facility in New Orleans. Read a newspaper or look at the evening news and this would seem common with our youth today as they are called thugs, criminals, and incorrigibles.
Johnnie Dent In 1938, jazz great Louis Armstrong and his Orchestra recorded a version of the song entitled, “The Saints, also known as When the Saints go Marching in,” which originated as a Christian hymnal. With its New Orleans zest and spin, we hear the song in its current version mostly performed at sporting events especially baseball games. By consensus, a favorite part of this gospel song says, “O Lord I want to be in that number.” Reflect, if you will, on the fact that there is nothing comparable to God counting you in. Somewhere you’ve seen a picture with Louis Armstrong holding his trumpet with his eyes stretched wide open. Black History month usually highlights the beloved man who was known as Satchmo, and tends to focus more on who he is universally; meanwhile, recognizing his musical contributions rather than how he morphed into musical greatness. Upon further review, Satchmo was originally that gun-toting juvenile delinquent who one day traded a gun for a trumpet, honed his skills during incarceration, thereby prompting someone to take a chance on him and his amazing gift at 13 years of age. How marvelous is it that God specializes in developing immaturity? Moses in a desert. Samson
after the loss of his hair. Peter after the resurrection of Jesus. The Church of Corinth is often referred to as the troubled church. Although the saints of this church were a lock for salvation, they held flaws; big on gifts, small on humility, quick to find fault with their brothers and sisters signaling lawsuits, and wide on judgment. But have faith, the investment into a gift sponsored by a believer who has overcome can have remarkable returns. Enters our hero Paul, chief Apostle and faith mentor. Seemingly disappointed in their actions against one another in affairs, he persuades them to understand what their purpose was. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye
unworthy to judge the smallest matters?” (1 Cor 6:2.) Furthermore, Paul begins to list the wrongful actions that they set as the bar for keeping people out of the number. “I speak to your shame.” (1 Cor 6:5a.) “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Cor 6:9-10.) Seemingly, like the then immature Louis Armstrong, with their eyes stretched wide open and no trumpet to play, the chief Apostle reminds them, “And such were some of you.” (1 Cor 6:11a).
People who make New Year’s resolutions fall within in two categories; 20% are actively pursuing their goals and making the resolution a part of their reality, and 80% have decided to give up by the second week of February. That’s right, according to statistics, approximately eight out ten people quit their personal declarations to do better for themselves within the first five weeks of the new year! Simply put, there are some people walking past you who are actively working on themselves, and another group of people who have simply given up. And if you are quick to give up on yourself, how much easier is it to give up on the youth around you? They lie, steal, cheat, they are disrespectful, they are disorderly, and in some cases, are even dangerous. Such were some of you. Our youth need mentors and people who believe in their abilities, warriors of the faith who are willing to engage the harsh battle of the streets, which is set to destroy them. Until then, they are considered statistically lost. They will fall into a category but never march in that number. Society logs them in the census of high school dropout rates, street corners, prisons, and, yes, inevitably graves.
Pay it Forward Minister Bronsen Landrum
“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So, we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has The original language of our New enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no Testament Bible did a much better compassion--how can God’s love be in that person?” job of describing “love.” There is a (1 John 3:16-17 NLT)
#1 What is LOVE?
I don’t know what definition you prefer, but one of my favorites is the Reverend Al Green! Yes, Al Green! Let me explain. He said, “Love and happiness, it’ll make you want to do right when you want to do wrong.” Yes! It’ll MAKE you want to do right! Correctly displayed, love becomes a force that governs how you treat the ones you say you care for. It makes you do right by them even when you have the option to do something selfish. It makes you do right by them even when it’s at your expense. It makes you do right by them even when doing right is inconvenient at the time. I like the way Rev. Al puts it, but the love in John’s first epistle is our best example. “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us.” Even John’s Gospel says that God loved the world so much, that HE GAVE (3:16). God’s love has ALWAYS been shown by giving. Love sees a need and then meets that need. When we were hungry, He gave us food. But when we were dying in sin, He gave us a Savior. According
to our main scripture, God’s love becomes apparent in us when we live a life of giving and meeting needs. To get a better look at love, let’s review love in the Greek language.
The original language of our New Testament Bible did a much better job of describing “love.” There is a different word for the types of love we offer in different relationships. The word AGAPE, that we know as “unconditional love,” is the picture of a feast. I LOVE food, but that’s not the point. The wealthy and privileged would pay for and prepare an exquisite, full-course meal for the poor and underprivileged. The needy couldn’t pay for the meal in the first place so the rich gave to people without expecting repayment. This unconditional love says regardless of whether you offer to repay, I got you! Agape love offers the best to people that can’t provide it for themselves or don’t deserve it.
REAL love gives first and asks questions later.
“We love him, because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19 KJV) God is the beginning and initiator of all that is good! He acts... and then we re-act. If Jesus’s love wasn’t displayed and proven first, we wouldn’t have the main reason to love Him nor have an example of how we should love others. We are moved to make sacrifices for others because He made the GREATEST sacrifice for us. “We know what real love is [only] because Jesus gave up his life for us…”
#2 What did He give up?
“I’ll never know how much it cost to see my sins upon the cross.” -Tim Hughes
We will never know the exact, immeasurable cost, but let’s try to tally up everything Jesus gave up showing us love. Philippians 2:6-8 said Jesus gave up His divine power, privileges and riches to become a man. He didn’t just become a regular man though. He didn’t get to grow up, grow old and have a regular family - a wife, two-and-a-half kids and a dog - but He became a lowly slave. Not just a slave, though. He couldn’t work hard or long enough to pay off a debt to set Himself free from His mission. That mission was to die. He became like a criminal sentenced to death. Unfortunately, that death was the most gruesome death ever imagined by corrupted man. He was whipped until His flesh and muscles hung from His bones. He was made to wear a crown of thorns that dug into His head and to top it off, He was nailed to a cross to be crucified. Hold your arms out, like a T, and see how many deep breaths you
can take. I’ll wait. Was it two, three, three-and-a-half? He was led like a sheep to an excruciating slaughter and for the first time in eternity, He was separated from His Father, all to show us Agape love. Jesus gave up His will, His power, His deity, His riches, and even His life. This is our model of living a life of love and giving. This is the picture of real love. And if Jesus can give ALL that for us, the very least we can do is show some compassion to our brothers and sisters in need.
#3 LOVE: Pay It Forward
“Love isn’t love till you’ve given it away.” -Commissioned “Pay it forward” is a concept where a stranger does a person a favor and instead of accepting repayment, the giver expects the receiver to extend a favor to an unexpecting stranger. You thank me by helping someone else. It starts a cycle of random acts of kindness and people begin to see the goodness that exists in mankind. But as usual, God outdoes us. “For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me. Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you? And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, YOU WERE DOING IT TO ME!” (Matthew 25:35-40 NLT) God puts us in a win-win situation. He loved us first, then He tells us to love our brothers and sisters in need, and then He tells us by loving our brothers and sisters in need, we’re loving Him back! Our love (compassion in action) should always be visible. By giving love to others, we’re really returning the love back to the Originator. It’s the circle of love, in my “Lion King” voice. So, what do we do from here? WE GIVE! John 10 says Jesus came to give us an abundant life. Abundant means available in large quantities, more than enough, superior, extraordinary, uncommon, more than necessary. So whatever abundance you have shouldn’t be wasted. The abundance was given to you to show the world that your new life in Christ is extraordinary and uncommon. Give money, give food, give clothing,
and if you ONLY have extra time, joyfully offer those extra minutes to a local ministry, needy family, prison, detention center, nursing home or any other helpful organization. There is a world full of broke and broken people that are in desperate need of hope and/or help. “If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need, but shows no compassion, how can God’s love be in that person?” We reach a dying world by offering them tangible love. What an indictment on the people of God that have full access to heavenly resources but refuse to share. Help us, Lord! God is quoted in Jeremiah 31:3, “...I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love, I have drawn you to myself.” It was everlasting love that drew us. Not the guarantee of punishment, not condemnation, not judgment, not empty promises, but the unceasing desire to meet the needs of His people; the ones He held an intense feeling of deep affection for. God proved His love, drew you with love and expects you to share that love. How else will we know if the love of God is in that person? So, if you know that you have received mercy, grace, miracles, provision or any other acts of “compassion in action,” it’s only right to offer love to your brothers and sisters. Right now, ask God to lead you into worthwhile causes where your gifts can be used, your time will be well spent, and needs can be met. The harvest is ripe, but few are doing the work. His goodness and love can be spread across the world, through your heart and through your hands. You thank Him by helping someone else. LOVE: Pay it forward!
gospel recording artist
Minister Bronsen Landrum For booking call
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Carmella HILL Evangelist
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor with supervising credentials (P.C.C.-S). & Founder of Empower to H.O.P.E. Services, LLC.
Holistically Loving God’s Way Ahh, the month of February, historically referred to as the “month of love.” Some embrace this month while others despise it. There may be many factors that contribute to this disparity in perspective. Mental and emotional trauma that is experienced could impact one’s idea of love. These negative experiences could taint and distort the view of love, the demonstration, and the receptivity of it. In addition, the idea of love seems so commercialized to the point that it has become trivial. However, I admonish
you to reevaluate the idea of love the way God intended it to be. What does this mean? Let’s explore how to holistically love God’s way.
love is not viewed through the
ARE YOU LOOKING FOR LOVE IN ALL THE WRONG PLACES?
that definitive declaration. In
When we try to love in ways
His demonstration of love may
that are in contradiction
come through chastisement.
to the way God intended,
In Hebrews 12:6, it says, “For
the end result is chaos. How
whom the Lord loves he
so? Well, individuals may be
chastens.” Let’s examine
abusive towards themselves
how we should view love and
or be subject to being
demonstrate it according to
abused by others when
eyes of God. The scriptures are clear, “God IS Love!” Who or what can say that? No one and nothing can make essence, everything about God is love! Yes, it’s true even when
God desires love to be demonstrated in three ways. In Mark 12:29-31, it references the commandment to love the Lord with all the heart, soul, mind, and strength. Secondly, the scripture informs us to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is powerful yet may be a challenging thing to do when the factors indicated above influence the view of love.
Mental Health CORNER February 2018
God’s love is unconditional! Although it is effortless for God to love us but loving Him in that same way is challenging. Did you know that the way we treat God is influenced by how we treat ourselves and others? We are often influenced by our environments and as a result, the good, bad, ugly, or the indifferent becomes a standard of how to interact with God. Many times, this is unintentional and subconsciously done. For example, if we have trust issues with others in our environments, we may not trust God with everything. We may attempt to hide some things or withhold some things from Him, as if this is possible. But without being fully aware, we may do this. Sounds strange but the reality is, the typologies of things in our environments influence how we come to know God. Therefore, it is important to have our minds and hearts renewed, regenerated, and transformed, as Romans 12 indicates, so that loving God will not be a challenge but a joy, yielding great results. What a great joy to experience the love of Christ...an AMAZING LOVE!
LOVING SELF & OTHERS
The idea of loving self can sometimes be misconstrued as being selfish or self-centered. One would argue that people can be quite self-centered and even arrogant about themselves in relationship to others. In the mental health profession, this personality style is referred to as being narcissistic or self-absorbed. This is indeed problematic as it is the direct
opposite of what God intended when He commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. People who can love themselves in a healthy way will likely be able to love others in a healthy way. On the contrary, people who love themselves in an unhealthy way: i.e., narcissism, will likely not love others in healthy ways. These individuals may become abusive, threatening, and violent towards others. This is in no way reflective of God, His character, or His attributes. This would be a red flag that something is not right with that relationship. Take caution: Negative and unhealthy ways of demonstrating love breeds unhealthy relationships!
MENTAL HEALTH TIPS:
• Recommit to loving God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength. • Self Care is the best care - love yourself enough to want better! Dedicate time to love yourself and be determined to see yourself as God sees you, a masterpiece in process. • Love others through God’s eyes as if it were you in their place. This will allow us to have more compassion for others because of God’s compassion towards us. Thank God for those holy twins called grace & mercy!
THE CONCLUSION OF THE MATTER
We are commanded to love God with all that we have and then love our neighbors as ourselves. If only we could do this without much work, but unfortunately, it is a work in process as it requires being transformed, renewed, and regenerated. The old way of thinking about and demonstrating love must go! We cannot be ready to love or be loved if we don’t know how to - Love God’s way! SELAH
Men to Men
Bishop Clarence Pope
manhood perpetuated Grace and peace, brothers. A blessed and prosperous New Year to you all.
We are about to embark on a critical endeavor in our church and community: Helping to build men. There are many men’s outreach ministries.
s we understand that it is customary for the older men to teach/mentor the younger men and, of course, boys, there are some principles that are constants that we must understand to properly do to our assignment, to be effective and/or successful. I really like to use King David’s life for reference because he had some very familiar events take place in his life, but still managed to prevail against a pretty “stacked” deck. My research took me to his childhood, where he was ostracized and despised, or looked down upon, by family, even parents. This placed separation between him and his immediate family, but it also was instrumental in causing David to establish and develop his relationship with his God and to also learn to care for sheep, something that would be very significant for his future. David was chosen AND anointed by God to be Israel’s’ king by God as a child but would not physically sit on the throne for many years. There were many events that took place in his life that could have derailed him from his destiny. He encountered many people in his life that didn’t
FEEL him. David found out early in his life that if you have GOD’S amen, things have a way of working themselves out!! Many of us would like to be able to change some of our “childhood testimonies” because they were not too savor. In fact, some were down right shameful, painful and embarrassing. God WILL allow such circumstances for an ultimate GOOD reason, even though these harsh truths exist.
Knowing David’s story, it is to be noted that he had a heart for mistreated, broken and downtrodden people. I say to our sons, don’t despise a rough beginning or not being adequately covered for whatever reason or even being abused or mistreated during that season of your life, such were some of us. God stayed with David and brought to pass His prophecy! While David was on the run from King Saul, many men that had similar issues found and joined him and
found THEIR destinies through this relationship, as he later came to reign. From these ranks came men of renown. One of them singlehandedly killed 800 men. Another, Shaman, fought a BAND of Philistines and defeated them, and still another killed two of Moab’s mightiest warriors, went into a pit and killed a lion and killed a seven-and-a-half foot tall Egyptian. There were other exploits by these supposedly broken men! Brothers, you are fearfully and wonderfully made - Gods’ workmanship, a MASTERPIECE! Your life isn’t to be a testimony of survival, you’re supposed to PREVAIL! Fellowship with men of POWER, men of FAITH, men of VISION! Read books of conquerors and winners. Learn about your heritage in God. Take God at His Word and watch how profoundly your perspective and your life changes! Avoid sad, pitiful dialogue and conversation; that will only perpetuate the same. Even while on the run and not knowing what was next, David maintained his integrity and respect for whom he considered to be Gods’ man, WOW! David made SURE that plunder was shared EQUALLY among his men! He did not ALLOW his brothers to mistreat one another. He was an example and held his men to a like standard. Truly, a man after Gods’ own heart. After the same manner, Christ is our example. No one else has been designated to be OUR example, but the similarities are STARK! Isn’t it interesting how God yet continues his kingdom and the agenda is pretty much the same: love, worship God, and be examples for the brethren. There is hope for our generation and it lies within the bosom of every blood bought Son of God! All reference material is available upon request.
Bishop Clarence Pope Higher Hope Ministries 9114 Miles Park Ave. Cleveland, OH 44105
God’s Love Language Brianna Triplett
rying to lay the foundation down for a courtship I had recently entered into, my partner and I decided to find out what our love languages were based on a book titled, “The Five Love Languages” written by Gary Chapman. After completing a short quiz, I discovered my primary love language was Quality Time, and his was Acts of Service. Thinking of ways that I could improve in showing my partner that I loved him made me think of the love that God has for me, how fulfilling, unconditional, satisfying, transforming, refreshing, healing, everlasting God’s love is, and how I have failed to show God and people in the past that I love them, or how others have failed me, but how God’s “..love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:8.) Yes, God is gracious. Yes, God is merciful. But, searching the scriptures, I discovered that, God’s love language is obedience, and John 14:15 makes it clear so we never have to wonder. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commands.” He goes on to say, in John 14:21, “Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me…” And further down in verses 23-24, Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching…Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching.” We have such high expectations about the way others treat us, and are quick to accuse people in our lives of mistreatment because they gossiped
about us, lied to us, stole from us and the list goes on, yet we go to Church Sunday morning and lift our hands in praise and profess our undying love to a God many of us betray Monday through Saturday and we justify our betrayal by telling ourselves, “Well, I might drink, or use drugs, or be filled with pride, or fornicate, live a life of gluttony, tell a lie every now and then,[Insert a struggle here] BUT, God knows my heart.” God makes it clear, “If you love me you will keep my commands.” This is not to say that you will be perfect, but you will seek God daily for the strength you need to fight the temptation to sin. We will not want to live a life of intentional, habitual sin because we would know that it doesn’t please God. God wants us to be so content with his love that we will not want to turn to any sin to get the satisfaction he knows he created us to receive only from him. Thank God that he does not love like man and he will never leave us nor forsake us (Hebrews 13:5); that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us (Romans 5:8); that he is just to forgive us for our sins (1 John 1:9); that he blots out our transgressions and remembers our sins no more (Isaiah 43:25); that his anger lasts only a moment but his favor lasts a lifetime, (Psalm 30:5). In James 1:22, it says, “Do not merely
listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says…” If we are having difficulty with obedience, we can ask ourselves these questions and follow these directions: 1. Who is God to me? 2. Is God enough for me? 3. In what ways have I acted as if God is not enough for me? 4. In what areas do I need to show God that he has my heart? 5. Surrender your heart and mind to God daily through, prayer, worship and the reading of his Holy Word so that your desire to please him will increase and the desires of your flesh will decrease.
As I sit and reflect on my with “love” in the past, I incident that happened ago. I could barely feel direct contact with my I could think to
experiences remember an some years his hand make face because all myself was, “I can’t believe he just hit me!” After being pulled down a flight of stairs by my hair while trying to run away and being pushed into walls and doors, hair and clothes disheveled, tears running down my face, the storm subsided, and he spoke these six syllables: “I’m sorry, I love you.” I asked myself, “How could he treat me like this and love
am not sure what your experiences have been with love throughout your life. Maybe you have never witnessed a true healthy display of it before. Maybe you are like me and people who told you that they loved you, used and abused you. Maybe you grew up believing it was alright to say you loved someone one moment and not express it in action the next moment. All of that can change right now. The pure healing river of God’s love can wash away the dirt left over from every foul experience in your past and can leave you refreshed and transformed and ready to love God and others, the two greatest commandments, in word and in deed.
PRECIOUS OIL About Brianna Brianna Triplett currently resides in Lockport NY. Brianna has a Master’s degree in Psychology and works as a Children’s Care Manager at Salvation Army. Brianna is a spoken word artist who is a part of Crossover Ministries and is a writer for Kingdom Christian Magazine and an active member of the Chapel at Crosspoint, a nondenominational church in Getzville, NY.
PoetryCORNER A ROSE rose is a flower of many colors. Itâ€™s known throughout the land for its grace and beauty. A small flower with so much poise can bring joy to many. I have a friend named Rose. Her wisdom should be envied. When you want the truth and love, go to her. A true friend is more than gold, one you should try to hold. Friends come and go. My luck, I have one so dear named ROSE.
RUTH C. DEPT
CORNER HOLDING ON, WHEN WANTING TO LET GO
Have you ever had a dream that you wanted to pursue to its capacity? A plan in mind to succeed? But as soon as you stepped out to act, something went wrong? Now, here you are still wishing you had passed that test or joined that club or sport. So, what do you do after you’ve done all you think you can do? Simple: Keep trying. Don’t give up anything you started. Nothing happens without the idea and brilliance of a person. Don’t be dismayed or discouraged by what may appear to be intimidating or fearful. We all know the acronym F.E.A.R., which stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Will you let false evidence convince you to not go after the things you desire in life? It may appear real, but you must be bold enough to withstand trials or hardships to still do what you need to do.
I know you may be one of those people who always do things to make sure other people are happy. But when it comes to your future, dreams and aspirations, you must be selfish and claim what’s yours and what you want to be yours. Don’t back down to people who aren’t pleased with what you’re doing. People are going to talk and that is that. Honestly, if people aren’t talking about you or your motives, then you’re doing something wrong in the first place. God has favored us and because we’re favored, we are supposed to be disliked for his name’s sake. One of my favorite scriptures is, “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity, for they should be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb,” Psalms 37:1-2. This tells us not to worry nor take hard feelings to what the world has to say about us. God will handle them while he’s taking care of us.
When times get to the point where you feel you can no longer bare, hang on. You’ve got to learn how to stick certain situations out. The famous saying, “No pain, no gain” is very prevalent in life. Without the pain of having to endure something, you wouldn’t be motivated to keep going. Wanting to quit is natural, but what would the outcome be if you choose to? As a teen, we tend to focus more on the actions of other people and absentmindedly find ourselves doing the same thing they did. You’ve got to keep your eye on the goal at the end of the road. Having something to look forward to assures you that you will fulfill whatever it is you have planned simply because you want the reward. Why go through the tedious process of planning, working countless hours, and trying to perfect the vision just to opt out and quit? Y ou know if you want to continue to do something as soon as you get started on it. Once you get a feel of the circumstance, you know within yourself if it’s something you want to part take in. No more starting and not finishing. You start, you endure, you finish. You must learn to hang in there. When times feel like you can’t hang on, gather yourself a support system of trustworthy people who will hang in there with you and have your back. My favorite music group, The Clark Sisters, affectionately known as my aunts, have a song called “Nothing to Lose.” The lyric that is best appropriate is, “He gave me nothing to lose, but all to gain.” Knowing that we have all to gain, why not continue to do what we’re doing since we have nothing to lose? My very own quote, “Always keep a prayer and a plan in mind.” This quote helped me, as well as those close to me, stick to what we’re doing and not give up despite what troubles may come. Never look back. Keep your eyes ahead and on the prize. Because, trust me, you never want to regret something in the long run that you can start today. Be tenacious and always strive for greatness!
TEEN POWER! Love is a verb, which means it’s an action word. Love is something you show. Love to most teens currently is all mushy feelings and butterflies, holding hands just to take a picture and post it on Instagram and Snapchat #relationship goals, right? Then comes those three little words that are bigger than they seem, “I love you.” What happens now? You’ve only been dating for a couple of weeks. Is that long enough? You have to say something but what? As a Christian teenager, I would tell you to look at 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV:
Love is a Verb “Love suffers long and is kind. Love does not envy. Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up, does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil, does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth, bears all thing believes all things, endures all things.” Love is a sacrifice, which reminds me of a story almost all of us have heard. The story of a man named Jesus who sacrificed his life because he loved us. He sacrificed his life so that we would no longer live in sin. Valentine’s Day is slowly creeping up on us, which means a lot of people are going to want to declare their love for their significant others. That’s a big step! Be sure to pray and ask God to help you make that decision. Check to see if your love matches the definition in 1 Corinthians 13. If you’re single on Valentine’s day, I want to give you hope if you’re feeling lonely. Just know that whether you have a valentine or not, God loves you more than anybody else can or will. The Lord is your Valentine this year and every year. He gave us what no one else can, his life. Now, that’s real love.