Posts Tagged ‘institutions’

confusion

 

Today, reply is on why congregations among Christian churches might consider making changes to their policies on same-sex marriage. The understanding that the church must address the concerns and needs of the community of faith as their servant, rather than the people be a servant to the church is taken to be a major principle taught by Jesus Christ. The church is to listen and respond, where legislators and the courts are deaf and inactive. It is written: Matthew 20: 25-28, King James Version (KJV): 25 But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. 26 But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; 27 And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: 28 Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Also, John 15: 12-13, KJV: 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. To lay down ones life for a friend is not so much to die as to be a living sacrifice who yields ones own desire, opinion and self-will to provide benefit, and unselfishly carry out the will of another. In a word, we say, “to love” where love is displayed through accountability, balance, commitment, gratitude, respect and truth. One of the fighters in the “Yahoo! Answers” public forum on Religion and Spirituality who uses the ID “Anonymous” (no profile information shown) posted the following:

 

Why are Methodists debating same-sex marriage? That should be a no brainier?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW: For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints. (1st Corinthians 14: 33, King James Version (KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER: Reasoning Together With GOD?(03/11/2019); The Church Of Jesus (06/18/2018); That GOD Is Immutable (05/04/2017); Thoughts on Sexual Relationships (03/07/2017); The Cross Condemns Fornication (05/20/2016); Answered by The Cross? (03/14/2016); Bad GOD, Good GOD? (01/03/2016); The Male, the Female, and GOD (02/09/2014); Destroying the Resurrected Body? (02/10/2014)

 

Anonymous”, among those who now account themselves to be followers of Jesus Christ there are many differences in levels of commitment, knowledge, maturity, respect, and zeal. There is confusion of human appetite, desire, emotion, and sensation as the origin for ones actions and choices, rather than divine prerogative, eternal purpose, and the sovereign will of GOD. Seeking to address the full person and their various needs, the church often operates as an institution having multiple goals and practices that go beyond promoting rebirth, salvation, and spiritual growth, and that expresses greater concern for things having a character and nature that is carnal, material, political, psychological, and social. Efforts to suppress superstition, and demystify practice and worship have led to eliminating many ceremonies and formal standards (e.g., dress codes; speaking within the sanctuary; weekend grocery shopping); and many congregations no longer promote the truth that GOD is a spirit. The process and purpose wherein the male and female should populate the entire earth through the flesh in obedience to the spirit is no longer thought the only response men and women should pursue (e.g., there are donating sperm; surrogate services; the freezing, storage and thawing of ones own eggs for later in vitro fertilization (IVF) ). The makeup and substance of mankind once imparted to Adam from GOD is neither clearly displayed, nor correctly discerned to be the same indwelling endowment of life essence (we say, breath; spirit; word). Through the ministry of Jesus Christ, sinners who return to GOD in repentance are to receive fresh deposits of the inseparable aspects of divine fullness that include faith, holiness, longsuffering, lovingkindness, oneness without sameness, personhood, wisdom, and wrath against sin.

The human process we acknowledge as natural, normal, and ordinary tends to install as values within the church elements such as ceremony, habit, human rights, and tradition in place of strict discipline, sacred doctrine, and godliness. As a result, errors may be found such as (1) GOD no longer pursues the purposes declared through Creation; (2) there can be no direct communication, exchange and interaction between GOD and human beings; (3) mankind will use education and science to escape the condition that resulted from the fall of Adam and Eve; (4) the Bible and ancient holy writings are no longer valid, because divine truth is ever-changing, expanding, and progressing; (5) GOD wants mankind to have freedom and to enjoy whatsoever they may desire; and (6) GOD wants the children of men to control and possess the earth, not merely manage and supervise the earth. Consider again the following that uses language from the Bible:

1. Numbers 23: 19, King James Version (KJV): 19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

2. Isaiah 55: 10-11, KJV: 10 For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

3. Isaiah 45: 17-19, KJV: 17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end. 18 For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. 19 I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth: I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain: I the LORD speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended. (For example, 4. Hebrews 13: 8, KJV: 8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.) Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful. Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

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Today, reply is made describing the church created and headed by Jesus Christ.  The church of Jesus is the full assortment of created beings and living creatures who embody spirit substance as divinely-appointed priests, kings, and servants as well as children and heirs of GOD.  Jesus himself spoke of the church using analogies and parables, for he was speaking to those who had become anchored in ceremonial law, secular knowledge, and human tradition.  Properly understood, the church is an appearance of spirit substance imparted from the makeup of GOD to permanently indwell mankind.  Therefore, the church displays the character, nature, and inseparable aspects of divine fullness that include faith, forbearance, forgiveness, longsuffering, lovingkindness, mercy, personhood, oneness without sameness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.  One of the fighters in the “Yahoo! Answers” Religion and Spirituality forum using the ID “Gomakawitnessofjesus” (Level 7 with 251,152 points, a member since March 1, 2007) posted the following:

 

What and whom are, is, the church of Jesus “Christ”?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.  Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering:  or he that teacheth, on teaching;  Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation:  he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.  Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.  (Romans 12:  4-9, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Diversity Within The Body (04/13/2018); Christianity Is A Relationship (04/05/2018); I Am The Vine (03/20/2018); Attend Chapel or Church? (02/04/2018); Flesh As Divine Vessels? (01/14/2018); As An Anointed Body (10/04/2017); Fellowship With the Father (06/13/2017); Become Like Jesus Christ? (10/27/2016)

 

“Gomakawitnessofjesus”, because multiple streams of sacred truth come together and are revealed through Jesus Christ, when describing the church where he is the head, more than a human institution or social organization must come into view.  Therefore, I am willing to say, the church is a living process provided to mankind from Jesus Christ.  In addition to aspects of accord, covenant, and continuing relationship between the Creator and the created, there must be continuous acknowledgment of divine prerogative, grace, sacred law, eternal purpose, the active presence of GOD in Spirit, and the sovereignty of GOD. 

Christian believers use many different expressions to celebrate and proclaim this new creation.  The church is to serve as an embodiment and incarnation of the fullness of divinity (we say, Deity; the Godhead; the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit).  In the same way the Bible is a collection of holy writings, the church is a collection of spirit persons who are vessels of holiness.  Thus, the church is called “a spiritual body” having spiritual limbs, members, organs and parts.  The following may be helpful that uses the language of Scripture:

(1.)  Christians are those baptized into the death of Jesus.  Romans 6:  3-6, King James Version (KJV):  3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death:  that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

(2.)  Christians are those who love him because he first loved us.  1st John 4:  7-11, KJV:  7 Beloved, let us love one another:  for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.  8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.  9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.  10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

(3.)  Christians are those alive through faith.  Galatians 2:  20, KJV:  20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me:  and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

There is far more that should be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, (4.)  Those who keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  Ephesians 4:  4-7, KJV:  4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

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Not Forsaking

 

Today, reply is on differences between attending church and the gathering of believers in the setting of hospital, military, or private chapels.  Some think of the church as being the HQ (headquarters) while the chapel is a small outpost where you seek emergency assistance, field medicine, and crisis support only when there is a crisis back home.  The church is taken to be “family”, and the chapel is dealt with as “institution”; yet, GOD has not commanded it be so.  A prayer offered on the battlefield can be heard of GOD and answered the same as a prayer offered from the sanctuary of a local congregation.  However, the one setting has been cleansed, consecrated, and set apart for the specific purpose of prayer, not for combat, conflict, or dying.  GOD does not change from setting to setting.  Even so, the content of prayer in different settings are likely to be different; and the context, pressure, and urgency for truth are not the same.  Also, participation often is passive, rather than active from setting to setting.  The sheep who appear with one shepherd are being led to nourishment, pasture, and water, rather than like those having a second pastor, being put to work as mules, oxen and other livestock in ministry and service.  The offerings from multiple diverse settings can become confused, defiled, profaned, and made worldly.  The primary benefits one receives by regular, intimate assembly with other believers include the physical appearance of spiritual substance, that things promised and prophesied are made actual and present, and that otherwise secret portions for those in close relationship are shared from the divine abundance and plenty.  A writer in the “Yahoo! Answers” forum who uses, the ID “David” (Level 1 with 205 points, a member since December 15, 2012) posted the following:


What’s the difference between a “church” and a “church service”?

I’m in the Navy, I’m from Ohio. I am a nominal Catholic. My roommate is from Georgia and he’s a Southern Baptist.

He’s really religious. But he doesn’t go to chapel on Sunday mornings. He has found a civilian church off base that he attends.

I asked him why he doesn’t attend chapel on base and he said “Because it’s not a church, it’s just a church service.”

I’m like…. what’s the difference?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.  Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.  (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?  He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.)  And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;  For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;  But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  (Ephesians 4:  4-15, King James Version, KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  Standards For Godly Behavior (02/01/2018); Attending Church a “Chore”? (01/23/2018); Free Speech in Church? (12/18/2017); Bereavement, Death and Suffering (11/10/2017); As An Anointed Body (10/04/2017); …Gathered In My Name (05/29/2017); The Quality of Life? (03/29/2017); Become Like Jesus Christ? (10/27/2016); Good Christians and Church? (10/19/2016)

 

“David”, consider the following:

1.  Differences between attending chapel and attending church with a local congregation go beyond simple considerations such as the size of the crowd, the inclusion of women and children, the time involved from start to finish, or the specific messages that are preached.  On surface, it’s like the distinction between celebrating a birthday at home with family and friends as opposed to having a party with a group of guys and gals at a local bar.  You could have some fun, yet, its overall meaning and value would feel different.

2.  No one can speak in place of your roommate to explain his feelings and thoughts, however, many Christian believers would be willing to share the doctrines and teachings that are the framework for their faith, or express their understandings to discharge their duty as a believer to share personal ministry.  To avoid bias, human error, and the misinformation that comes through pride, many would share selected verses or passages from the Bible.  

3.  The church as a collective, and every individual who exists as a “born again” believer are to be understood as the new creation put forth by Jesus Christ.  All who make up the church are vessels of divine substance (we say, breath, life essence, spirit, Word) imparted from the makeup of GOD.  Believers are to display divine content (sacred DNA, so to speak) as sons and daughters of GOD.  Included are faith, forbearance, holiness, longsuffering, lovingkindness, meekness, oneness without sameness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.

4.  The world fosters and provides things that are carnal, material, secular, and social.  Influenced by the world, church services do not meet many spiritual needs, and, therefore, may be experienced as disjointed, separate episodes.  By contrast, a stable congregation offers elements of balance, commitment, continuity, insight, maturity, and restraint as well as the broad range of opportunities for regularly giving, sacrifice, and service that further immerse believers within, and join believers to the active presence who is GOD.

Acknowledging that the chapel is no less part of the full body of Christ, there is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example,

(1.)  Romans 12:  1-5, King James Version (KJV):  1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.  2 And be not conformed to this world:  but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.  3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.  4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

(2.)  1st Corinthians 12:  12-13, KJV:  12 For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.  13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

(3.)  Romans 8:  5-9, KJV:  5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.  6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

 

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The Church A Temple

 
Today, the church is in view as an organization whose members also must complete “chores”, menial tasks, “grunt work,” and suffering.  The church is a temple that serves as a dwelling place and a place of worship.  One of its mottoes is: “No Cross; No Crown.”  While many aspire to battlefield glory, the triumph of heaven over Satan, and eternal victory over Death, Poverty, and Suffering, the continuing work of the church must be acknowledged as discovery, growth, and the “doing of simple things well.”  A fighter in the “Yahoo! Answers” forum who uses the ID “Norfolk&Chance” (Level 4 with 4,149 points, a member since September 03, 2017) posted the following:

 

Does going to church feel like a chore to you?

 

THE GOLDEN ARROW:  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.  Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)  And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:  Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another:  and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.  For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,  (Hebrews 10:  22-26, King James Version,  KJV)

 

THE DOUBLE DAGGER:  The Pattern To Follow? (01/19/2018); Standing On The ABCs? (11/09/2017); …Gathered In My Name (05/29/2017); Working to Pay GOD? (02/23/2017); Salvation By Faith Alone? (01/19/2017); Good Christians and Church? (10/19/2016); Church Attendance and Inheritance (09/11/2016); Skipping Church A Sin? (11/17/2015); Saul of Tarsus (03/26/2014); The Nature of Scripture (03/27/2014)

 

“Norfolk&Chance”, the process and eternal purpose of the church are to transform hearts and minds.  Here are some ideas I would like to share as a follower of Jesus Christ:

The church is both a membership organization, and a gathering of those having spirit content imparted from the makeup and substance of GOD.  As a sacred body bearing the image of GOD and Christ, the church is an authentic representative and spokesperson for divinity.  Even so, while still on the earth, the church must use forms and practices that are recognized as institutional, material, secular, and social.  Multiple cycles, recurring patterns, and regularities appear that are to establish and promote features for continuing exchange and interaction such as balance, completeness, focus, godliness, divine order, sobriety, and stability.

Tasks in the church that may seem menial and small are to be met with the same attitude shown by the Apostle Paul, a tent maker, who understood that a single stitch to hem a cloth is a very small thread, yet, every stitch must be carefully put into place.  The place where a stitch is dropped becomes the point of weakness where the hole opens that allows dust, light, sand or the wind to enter and destroy all of a person’s belongings.  Works of personal ministry offered exclusively to the membership should not be thought of as more important than the duties for recruiting new members, and shared as outreach to those not yet believers.  The soul-winning work of the church uses many simple things to convey things that are profound.  Thus, the work of setting up or taking down folding chairs, preparing and distributing boxes of envelopes to be used for regular offerings, and cleaning the pews following a service all contribute to displaying inseparable aspects of the Spirit imparted from GOD.  Included are divine faith, gratitude, holiness, hospitability, humility, longsuffering, wisdom, and wrath against sin.

Those who are “born again” must also “grow up again,” and become mature/ripe for harvest by the Lord at his Advent (also called, his appearing; the Rapture; the Second Coming).  All must endure “growing pains,” life challenges, hardships, and suffering on the earth as part of their transformation to exist as immortal, incorruptible companions of GOD.  The Spirit imparted by GOD operates to correct and disentangle developing believers from the many errors, false hopes, and relationships in ones life that are vain (lacking sacred substance).  Consider again the following that uses language from the Bible:

(1.)  Proverbs 11:  29-31, King James Version (KJV):  29 He that troubleth his own house shall inherit the wind:  and the fool shall be servant to the wise of heart.  30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.  31 Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth:  much more the wicked and the sinner.

(2.)  James 5:  19-20, KJV:  19 Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;  20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

(3.)  2nd Corinthians 6:  14-18, KJV:  14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?  15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?  16 And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.  18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

There is far more to be said, correctly examined, and spiritually apprehended.  (For example, Jude 1:  21-25, KJV:  21 Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.  22 And of some have compassion, making a difference:  23 And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire; hating even the garment spotted by the flesh.  24 Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,  25 To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.)  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith.

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More is shared on the error that Christianity and all religious belief historically has been a human device to dominate and manipulate the ignorant.  Christianity is a manifestation of divine grace, and a peculiar tool of divinity to make permanent changes to existence throughout the universe.  Christianity is spoken of as primitive and simple, yet, must be acknowledged as profound (i.e., deep; having multiple layers of meaning; having broad application; requiring careful thought and study).  Awareness and self-will in believers are reconfigured so there may be a continuous and uninterrupted response to spirit matter emanated from GOD.  Christianity provides a comprehensive system of sacred knowledge that describes the origins of all created beings and living creatures along with the conditions for their continued existence and duration as well as that for the spheres of their activity and interaction.  Divine order is to be understood as the platform that legitimates and upholds all authority and attributions of value.  Divinity is identified as the origin for such human institutions as animal husbandry, family, ethnicity, herding, horticulture, inheritance, marriage, monarchy, civil law, oral history, and vision for social development.  Additionally, sacred institutions were instituted including covenant relationship, expiatory sacrifice, offerings, praise, prayer, divine proclamation, prophecy, resurrection from the dead, Sabbath, and collective worship.  Christian belief is dynamic and organic addressing every aspect of ones emotional, psychological, and spiritual life as an individual, and as one within a collective or group.  Rightly understood, a Christian is a Spirit vessel.  Christianity is not a product of human intellect, politics, or the many conflicts among mankind to determine the distribution of resources for survival.  Ones identity as a Christian Spirit vessel only appears through ones behavior expressing commitment and conviction generated by spiritual substance imparted from the makeup of Deity.  Inseparable aspects of divinity are displayed and revealed  such as faith, holiness, joy, longsuffering, love, truthfulness, wisdom, and wrath against sin.

 

THE BATTLE AXE:  Faith not Politics? (12/02/2014)

2nd Peter 1:  2-11, KJV—Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,  3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:  4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises:  that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.  5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;  6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;  7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.  8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.  10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure:  for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:  11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Deuteronomy 8:  1-6, KJV—All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers.  2 And thou shalt remember all the way which the LORD thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thine heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments, or no.  3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the LORD doth man live.  4 Thy raiment waxed not old upon thee, neither did thy foot swell, these forty years.  5 Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.  6 Therefore thou shalt keep the commandments of the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to fear him.

Matthew 4:  1-4, KJV—Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.  2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.  3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.  4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Matthew 16:  21-27, KJV—From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.  22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord:  this shall not be unto thee.  23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan:  thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.  24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.  25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it:  and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.  26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?  27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

John 1:  11-18, KJV—He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:  13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.  14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.  15 John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me:  for he was before me.  16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.  17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.  18 No man hath seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.

Ephesians 4:  17-27, KJV—This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind,  18 Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart:  19 Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.  20 But ye have not so learned Christ;  21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:  22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;  23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;  24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.  25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour:  for we are members one of another.  26 Be ye angry, and sin not:  let not the sun go down upon your wrath:  27 Neither give place to the devil.

Romans 9:  21-23, KJV—Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?  22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:  23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

Isaiah 43:  19, KJV—Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Jeremiah 31:  27-34, KJV—Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will sow the house of Israel and the house of Judah with the seed of man, and with the seed of beast.  28 And it shall come to pass, that like as I have watched over them, to pluck up, and to break down, and to throw down, and to destroy, and to afflict; so will I watch over them, to build, and to plant, saith the LORD.  29 In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.  30 But every one shall die for his own iniquity:  every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.  31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:  32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:  33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.  34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD:  for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD:  for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Luke 5:  36-38, KJV—And he spake also a parable unto them; No man putteth a piece of a new garment upon an old; if otherwise, then both the new maketh a rent, and the piece that was taken out of the new agreeth not with the old.  37 And no man putteth new wine into old bottles; else the new wine will burst the bottles, and be spilled, and the bottles shall perish.  38 But new wine must be put into new bottles; and both are preserved.

Joel 2:  23-32, KJV—Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the LORD your God:  for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month.  24 And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil.  25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.  26 And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the LORD your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you:  and my people shall never be ashamed.  27 And ye shall know that I am in the midst of Israel, and that I am the LORD your God, and none else:  and my people shall never be ashamed.  28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:  29 And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit.  30 And I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke.  31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the LORD come.  32 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the LORD shall be delivered:  for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the LORD hath said, and in the remnant whom the LORD shall call.

Matthew 12:  35-37, KJV—A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things:  and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.  36 But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.  37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

Romans 8:  13-17, KJV—For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die:  but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.  14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.  15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:  17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

2nd Corinthians 4:  6-11, KJV—For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.  7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.  8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;  10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.  11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.

2nd Corinthians 4:  15-18, KJV—For all things are for your sakes, that the abundant grace might through the thanksgiving of many redound to the glory of God.  16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.  17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;  18 While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen:  for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

John 3:  17-19, KJV—For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  18 He that believeth on him is not condemned:  but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.  19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.

2nd Corinthians 5:  17-21, KJV—Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature:  old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.  18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;  19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.  20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us:  we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Romans 6:  3-13, KJV—Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?  4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.  5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:  6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.  7 For he that is dead is freed from sin.  8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him:  9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.  10 For in that he died, he died unto sin once:  but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God.  11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.  12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.  13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin:  but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.

2nd Corinthians 5:  10, KJV—For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Ephesians 4:  4-7, KJVThere is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;  5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,  6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  7 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.

Colossians 3:  5-10, KJV—Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:  6 For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience:  7 In the which ye also walked some time, when ye lived in them.  8 But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth.  9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;  10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him:

Romans 8:  1-9, KJVThere is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.  3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:  4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.  5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. 6 For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.  7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God:  for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.  8 So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.  9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

1st Peter 5:  6-11, KJV—Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:  7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.  8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:  9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.  10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.  11 To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

 

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC

Today, I share an acknowledgement of the contribution and works of the much loved African American scholar, teacher and writer, Dr. Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Annie Johnson).  As I was going through the checkout at a local grocery market, the cashier remarked on the news that the poetess had died, and asked whether I had ever met her.  Without also admitting I have no friends or family who share my interest in poetry, I confessed I had not, yet, had already finished a work in tribute.  We agreed, her passing should be received as a peculiar alarm, and call for re-commitment throughout the Nation.  The institutions that anchored and flavored our earlier survival are disappearing faster than the 25-cent rent party.  An even greater onslaught is on the way.  The most fitting and lasting memorial we may make is to carefully preserve the culture that has been the setting for her jewels of thought.

 

ON THE PASSING OF A POET
[Maya Angelou, 1928-2014]

Because it meant the passing of our greatness
As a people it was right the neighborhoods
Should mourn and wail
“The Drum” was more than a bookstore
And a “hangout” for the ones who felt
Their standard and their scale could be
Anchored in their Negritude
A vision of Pan African possibilities
The rebirth of all tribal truth and love
An oasis became a desert, where the voice of life was stilled
Soft sands became the foundation, the campfires were smothered
And the palms and waters salted into silence

We quietly accepted when the “Negro Digest” closed
Its open doors, and publishers of our magazines and newspapers
Like the little corner stores where mom and pop had challenged us
By hanging foreign cheeses that made the place to reek
One by one began to disappear, we could no longer speak
As if a culture, a collective, an ancient mind today
The self began to be released
And computer generations began to forge a new age
Of communication, of social media, of tweet and hash tag
Of see is worth a thousand say
A blitzkrieg of selfies, candids, still life, and portraits by Instagram

We must alert our children and our grandchildren
the race war we expected, and worked so hard to shun
By replacing “burn baby burn” with “learn baby learn”
Was waged in stealth, with quietness
the embers of the midnight sun the signs of soot
In the turnings of the wind
As if still ruled by plantations that separate all kin
The assault on home and family by divorce
Thug life, same sex protest, single-parent pain
Surely we should not lose this pillar of our people
With only tears to go against the grain
Without charging our children to start to live with purpose

Person to person, toe to toe, some things ought to never go
Our theaters darkened by idol Internet, reality TV
The falling of our stars, an “out of business” sign placed on display
We are losing the great ones, the institutions that nourished them gave them to us, and that they bequeathed to us to be our own
The Apollo, the Howard, the Lyric, the Regal
Radio stations and DJ personalities
Our world will become a ghost town
Filled with shadows that are known by going viral
On a global stage
Our casualties and losses are more than we can ignore
fatherhood, heritage, blues, and legacy
The anchors had when everyone was poor
our barbershops, our churches, the funeral parlors
a city of nomad tents against the storms

We mustn’t let the loss of one more scholar
Be the loss of our eternal wisdom too
For this is not a time for weeping, this is not a time to cry
The mall is not a refuge, nor the “burbs” a hiding place
There has to be a warning
Even more than a pledge to save what’s left
The caged bird now must sing her notes of jazz and song
to hold above the ruin while we rise
Challenged to create ourselves anew
We must hear with new ears and see with new eyes
Beyond all ivory towers, projects, ghetto dungeon walls
In Harlem renaissance from house to house

May this passing strike our daughters like a Muse to shower them
In history, with poetry and dance
May they now give birth to the architects of forever

 

Signature Mark

 

©Michael Andrew Williams, 2014.  All rights reserved.

 

 

There is a lot more to be said, carefully contemplated, and spiritually reflected on than simply what I’ve shared here in a poem.  Even so, I trust this fragment will be useful.  Be it unto you according to your faith and willingness to love.

But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:  for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,  And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:  (Philippians 3:  7-9, KJV)

THE BLACK PHOENIX
Washington, DC