My Beloved Zion Memorial Missionary Baptist Church Family,
I love you. I love you. I love you.
We have had a blessed first year together and many say that the first year of marriage is the most difficult. I am encouraged by that because we have accomplished a great deal and I pray that you will agree that the church is in a better place than it was a year ago with an eye towards getting better.
Sunday was a wonderful day of celebration for Zion Memorial - me as Pastor and us as a church family. You made me feel so special and it was not a type of special that makes one feel that one has achieved. No, it was the type of special that makes me feel encouraged and invigorated to continue to achieve more for the cause of Christ with you.
We are a growing church and Sunday was a time to celebrate the growth we have had and to celebrate the growth that we believe God is going to bring.
We are blessed. Let us strive to be a blessing.
I must tell you that I am disappointed to share that after my surgery yesterday, I need some time off my feet and will be unable to lead HOPE Wednesday this evening. I pray you will forgive my late notification as I truly wanted to press my way but my body, mind, heart, and spirit suggest it is best to rest this evening and be ready for a wonderful family reunion on Sunday and a great HOPE Wednesday next Wednesday. We will cover the 7th and 8th chapters next week. The flow of material makes sense to do so as you will see when you read it.
As we pursue the best life that we can individually and collectively, we sometimes run up on crossroads. God uses those to teach us how to better ourselves as we seek to be better for God.
In this pursuit, we will sometimes struggle, decision by decision, with whether we will choose life or death.
You may say or think, everything is not that important, life or death. Well, the Apostle Paul wrote in Romans 8:6-11 a passage that might cause you to think differently. He wrote,
"To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God's law - indeed it cannot, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him. But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life in your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you."
Beloved, if we seek to satisfy ourselves without any thought of God - Father, Son, or Holy Spirit - then we have the mind of the flesh. And, according to what Paul wrote, the outcome is death and hostility towards God.
You may say, "But, I am alive."
Yes, but how are you living?
Does your health manifest a desire to please God? I do not mean whether or not you are sick or ill. What I mean is how are you seeking to treat your body as God's temple irregardless of the current state of the temple?
Does your wealth manifest a desire to please God? I do not mean whether you consider yourself rich or not. What I mean is how are you using your money to glorify God in your spending versus heaping it solely upon yourself?
Do your relationships manifest a desire to please God? I do not mean whether you like yourself or not or have a lot of family, friends or acquaintances. What I mean is are you willing to invest yourself into the lives of others rather than simply thinking about what is best for you?
Basically, is your focus on you and what you want or is it on God and what is most pleasing to Him?
Your aim and desire to please God is going to be continuously guided by the Holy Spirit. Apart from the Spirit, you may grope for ways to do things that you think are pleasing to God. With the Spirit, you will be guided to feel, think, say and do those things that are pleasing to God.
One way is the path towards life. One path is the way towards death...even if you may appear to be alive. Some people are simply living while others intentionally living to live again.
Choose eternal life on this side of glory my brothers and sisters in Christ. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you wise in the decisions that you make so that you can find yourself doing those things that will please God in your health, wealth, and relationships.
Do not let the flesh, your carnal, temporal, worldly desires dominate your thinking and actions. Let your flesh be yielded to God in a way that you are the glory of God in what you feel, think, say and do.
That is life in the Spirit. That is the way of Christ. That is what is pleasing to God. And, if pleasing God is what pleases you, then seek life in the Spirit...not in the flesh.
Beloved, I am going to miss seeing you this evening. It hurts my heart to not be able to come; but, it would be a selfish act on my part to come and not be able to share an experience with you that would accomplish what we come together for. So, take this Wednesday off from HOPE Wednesday but not off from God.
Who knows? God may guide you to do something for Him in it that would not have been possible without the time that you have today.
Remember, God loves and I love you too.
Prayerfully, we will be together on Sunday.