Monthly Archives: February 2010

Model Behavior

When I grow up,  I want to be just like my mom, dad,  my teacher, the coolest celebrity, and the list goes on and on.

In life, we search for that one person we perceive to have the qualities that we hope to gain. We spend a lifetime watching and studying their every move. We shadow these men and women as they go about their daily lives not realizing that our lives are just passing us by. We are amazed by our role models that we have looked past their imperfections and human flaws. In our eyes, they’re not like us, they’re perfect. Food for thought: Could that mean that person is our idol? If that were true, then we have broken the first commandment. Exodus 20:3 says, “thou shalt have no other gods before me. [God’s Ten Commandments can be found in Exodus 20:3-7]

It is so easy for us to fall into this trap because we can easily follow those who we can visibly interact with on a regular basis. Sadly, we forget that we can interact with God regularly without having to see Him. Christ walked the same earth that we do and he was found without sin. Our role models are quite the opposite.

The Bible is a compilation of God’s instructions and the stories of interesting characters throughout history. These men and women lived their lives and made plenty of mistakes. 1 Corinthians 10:1-13 says:

1Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 2And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 3And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 4And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ. 5But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness. 6Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 7Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 8Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 9Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer. 11Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come. 12Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall. 13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

The Bible is a useful resource for us to find examples of a proper Christian lifestyle. However, the one character that has model behavior was and always will be the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

1 Peter 2: 21 says, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps. ”

As Christians, we carry the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Therefore we must do as He did. We must care for one another. No one is Master or servant. We can be both. We must go out and teach the nations as He did. We must give to the poor and heal the sick. 1 Timothy 4:12, says “Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” We are His publicists. What are you doing to get His word out?

When I grow up, I don’t want to be like my mom, dad,  my teacher, the coolest celebrity.  I want to be like God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, better known as the Holy Trinity.

Thanks for reading and remember God loves you. Be blessed!

Kristia Beaubrun

http://www.kristiabeaubrun.wordpress.com

If My People Pray

Speaker: Pastor Roberne Saint-Louis, Hebron French SDA Church

Scripture Reading: 2 Chronicles 7:14

“14If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

Prayer has always been a key component in having a relationship with God. Prayer is the primary way to communicate with the Creator of heaven and earth. It is the one time when you have a chance to be alone with Him and truly talk.

Solomon, the son of Bathsheba and David, was commissioned to build a temple in Jerusalem [2 Chronicles 6]. This temple would be the dwelling place of the Most High God. As the people of Jerusalem gathered around, Solomon prepard to dedicate the temple. He said a special prayer and a sacrifice was offered before the Lord.  

2 Chronicles 7:5 which says, “And king Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty and two thousand oxen, and an hundred and twenty thousand sheep: so the king and all the people dedicated the house of God.”

God heard Solomon’s prayer and he accepted it. [2 Chronicles 7:1-3] 

1Now when Solomon had made an end of praying, the fire came down from heaven, and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices; and the glory of the LORD filled the house. 2And the priests could not enter into the house of the LORD, because the glory of the LORD had filled the LORD’s house.  3And when all the children of Israel saw how the fire came down, and the glory of the LORD upon the house, they bowed themselves with their faces to the ground upon the pavement, and worshipped, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever.” 

God always hears when you pray and He finds it pleasing to respond. We have to trust in Him to respond in His time, not ours. Learn to be patient.

You don’t only hear God’s voice during the service. You may also hear Him as you kneel in prayer. Be still and be silent.

When you carry God’s name, there is a great reputation that comes with it. Not everyone can be called God’s people. Are you? There are only two people who can really answer that question, yourself and God. No one else knows your heart.

Humble yourselves and pray, searching for His face. Confess your transgressions and put everything that separates you from Christ aside. Many of us only pray when we are facing problems. We ought to pray without ceasing.

Prayer is the respiration of Christians, like a heartbeat linking communications with Christ. Christians pray any and everytime with or without difficult trials.

Remember to continually pray even when your prayers have been answered. Don’t thank God only for what He’s done for you, thank Him for the things He has done for your family and those around you.

Chameleon Christians

All through my childhood years, I have always heard that we ought to be set apart and not conformed to this world. I was watching a sermon one night and the speaker used the same verse but put a twist to it that I have never heard before.

Memory Text:
Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will. – Romans 12:2

What he translate this verse to mean was that there are many Christians who have become expert chameleons. They have learned how to conform in every environment. In the club they drop it like it’s hot, then in the church they praise Him like they’re crazy. They spend the week cursing up a storm, then at church they teach that Bible school class like they’ve been at the feet of Jesus all week. It is true that we ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. However, this is no excuse to live a chameleon lifestyle.

God has called us to be TRANSFORMED and not conformed. When you are transformed, you change the atmosphere wherever you go. When you are conformed, the atmosphere changes you. GET IT? As Christians, we are the salt and light of the world. We are the ones who ought to be changing the atmosphere. We ought to be the ones bringing change to the world and NOT the other way around. Whenever you get in an environment where you are being conformed by the atmosphere that is your cue to LEAVE!

The Bible calls us “[But you are a] chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” -1 Peter 2:9. Therefore, we are to act and live like we are a special people. By special I in no way mean EXCLUSIVE. Although we are called to be a separate people bringing change to the world, we are also called to be an inclusive people who share the Gospel message with all who would hear.

Today, think about your environments, your friends, job, family, etc. Are you living a transformed life or have you become a professional chameleon Christian? If so, isn’t it time you decide to change your lifestyle and live a life that glorifies God. I have always been one who tries to please everyone. One day, I woke up and realized that I was tired of trying to conform to everyone’s expectations. I realized that being ME is who God created me to be and if someone doesn’t accept me as God created me, then I am still going to love them and continue to be ME.

Resolve to be an authentic Christian WHEREVER you go. If you can’t be one where you are going, then don’t go. If you can’t be one around that person, stop hanging around them. Whatever will keep you from being true to God and inheriting the Kingdom, CUT IT (THEM) OFF. Be transformed as of today!

Prayer Prompt:
Dear Lord,

I am tired of trying to be everything to everybody. I am tired of trying to conform to all of my environments. Lord, transform me and teach me how to bring change to all of my environments. Give me the courage to walk away from the atmospheres that jeopardize my walk with you.

Thanks for reading and remember God loves you. Be blessed!

Author: Rachel Ineus

http://blog.annointedbeauty.com

Happy Valentine’s Day…NOT

With just a few minutes left in the most celebrated holiday on any calendar, we wanted to wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day…NOT!

Millions of people across the globe have expressed their feelings towards one another on a day that many have accepted as the international day for love. After all of that you’re left with a tummy ache, a garbage full of red Valentine’s Day paraphernalia, and an empty wallet.

So what happens after February 14th? What is the next item on the agenda? It seems as if they world pauses to observe this day and then once the clock strikes midnight on February 15th, we resume our normal daily activities. Does that even make sense? Why is love the center of attention on any one particular day versus the entire year? Why do we need to spend hundreds of dollars on jewelry, fancy dinners, and boxes of chocolates to express our love? Why do the single people have to feel so single on this day, because people have chosen to go above and beyond?

Now that you’ve spent those 24 hours with your loved one, it’s time for a cup of truth. What’s the real story behind Valentine’s Day? After we share just a glimpse of this holiday’s history, this year may very well be the last year you ever celebrate it.

Jeremiah 10:2-3 says,”Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. For the customs of the people are vain…”

Let’s start the history lesson by answering some questions. Do you believe in the Greek gods? Have you ever heard of the gods, Juno and Pan? Cupid? Nimrod? Do you agree that a mother and son should wed? Do you worship gods other than the one true God? Have you ever heard of the festival of Lupercalia which was celebrated in ancient Rome? Do you believe in honoring the dead?

For every year that you have celebrated Valentine’s Day, you agreed to honor the dead. You agreed to worship the Greek gods. You commemorated the festival of Lupercalia.

According to several sources which include the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the History Channel, the following is a brief history of Valentine’s Day:

Rome was in a time of war and the emperor Claudius II Gothicus needed young, single men to join the draft. These men decided to get married in order to avoid the war so a priest named Valentine secretly married these couples despite the emperor’s ban against marriage. The priest signed a letter to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and with whom he had fallen in love, “from your Valentine.”  According to legend, the priest was jailed and later martyred about ad 270 by the emperor.

Daniel 11:36-37 says, “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.”

The holiday also had its origins in the pagan Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery.

To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa in Latin. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. As a fertility rite, the festival is also associated with the god Faunus.

The boys then sliced the goat’s hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goathide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage.

At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. It came to be celebrated as a day of romance from about the 14th century. The Roman ‘lottery’ system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed.

Formal messages, or valentines, appeared in the 1500s, and by the late 1700s commercially printed cards were being used. The first commercial valentines in the United States were printed in the mid-1800s. Valentines commonly depict Cupid, the Roman god of love, along with hearts, traditionally the seat of emotion. Because it was thought that their mating season began in mid-February, birds also became a symbol of the day. Traditional gifts include candy and flowers, particularly red roses, a symbol of beauty and love. The day is popular in the United States as well as in Britain, Canada, and Australia, and it also is celebrated in other countries, including France and Mexico. It has expanded to expressions of affection among relatives and friends. Many schoolchildren exchange valentines with one another on this day.

John 3:16 says,”For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Valentine’s Day had its roots in paganism and then the Christian church, specifically the Catholic church, made February 14th a day to honor the life of Saint Valentine. In the end, Valentine’s Day is about sin, pre-marital sex, animal sacrifice, bloodshed, death, human sacrifice. It is not based in Christ and has no basis for us as His followers. We cannot be grounded in anything that isn’t deeply rooted in Christ Himself.

Matthew 15:9 says, “But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” How can we as Christians say  we follow Christ and yet we celebrate Valentine’s Day with the world? Should we not be the trendsetters and not the followers? Have we gone astray? Nothing in this world happens by coincidence.

As you begin your own research on the origins of Valentine’s Day, we leave you with this scripture of meditation. Seek the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide you as you begin to uncover the truth behind these worldly holidays.

Deuteronomy 12:28-32 says,”Observe and hear all these words which I command thee, that it may go well with thee, and with thy children after thee for ever, when thou doest that which is good and right in the sight of the LORD thy God.29When the LORD thy God shall cut off the nations from before thee, whither thou goest to possess them, and thou succeedest them, and dwellest in their land; 30Take heed to thyself that thou be not snared by following them, after that they be destroyed from before thee; and that thou enquire not after their gods, saying, How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise. 31Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God: for every abomination to the LORD, which he hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters they have burnt in the fire to their gods. 32What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”

Thanks for reading and remember God loves you. Be blessed!

Brokenness and Fulfillment

What does it mean to be broken and how can we trust God to fill the void?

Brokenness is defined something or someone that has been reduced to fragments, ruptured, torn, violated and weakened in strength, spirit, etc.

Brokenness causes broken souls to feel empty and on what seems like a never-ending and damaging search to fill a void within their souls.

They fall into situations that bring dire pain that could have been prevented if they were whole. They are often more likely to become drug addicts, promiscuous, chain-smokers, and engage in other destructive behaviors.

They have temporary fulfillment but never find the everlasting fulfillment that they are so desperate for. Many of these broken souls are not only unbelievers, but they are amongst our church families. It may be you or me.

Instead of seeking help and guidance in THE ONLY ONE who can fulfill them, our egos, pride, and fear of shame keep us in denial and unwilling to address our brokenness. THE ONLY ONE, HOLY ONE wants to fulfill the needs of His children. He is waiting at the door for His children to knock and come in. The word has so much evidence of His willingness and capability to remove our brokenness and fulfill us.

In Isaiah 65:1-24, the Lord talks about loving and being open to a rebellious people. His elite and chosen were amongst these people and He desired to bless them abundantly. God sees these people just as he sees us that are broken, but He will separate His chosen from the rest to fulfill their needs and bless them accordingly. God’s elect are not perfect, they have their issues, but through it all they seek God and won’t let go as Jacob did (Genesis 32:36) until He blesses them. In the beginning of Genesis 32, Jacob cries out to God with humility.  He acknowledges that he’s not worthy of God’s mercy, but in faith and with a willing spirit he comes at the foot of God in spite of “his stuff” or “his brokenness.”

Going back to Isaiah 65:24, God declares that before we call on Him, He will answer and even in the midst of our speaking (our tears, our shame, our pain, our brokenness) HE WILL HEAR US! Isn’t it amazing to know that we serve a God who knows everything about us, our inner thoughts, fears, and our brokenness? In Jeremiah 18: 1-10, God instructs Jeremiah to go to the potter’s house and God will cause him to hear His words. God showed Jeremiah that He will mold His people just as the potter molded the clay. He will make His people fulfill the purpose that He has for them and bless them! God can bless all of us too if we trust him, love him wholeheartedly accept Jesus as our Savior and be obedient to His commandments. God will renew our minds and spirit, break that evil spirit of brokenness and fill the void that no other person or thing could ever fill.

Thanks for reading and remember God loves you. Be blessed!

Author: Jenifer Vilfranc-Wilcher

While You Were Sleeping

Speaker: Edsel Cadet from Beraca SDA Church Queens, NY

Scripture Reading: Matthew 11:28-30

28Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

As we go about our daily lives, we pray for directions, for signs that will allow us to navigate the path meant for us. Sadly, the signs are there, but we walk right past them. Most of us are sleepwalking.

We learned that Samson was such an individual.  He was born to Zorah and Manoah. (Read Judges 13) God gave them specific instructions. He was not to let a razor touch his head. He was not to eat anything unclean, nor consume wine or any strong drink. Samson was a Nazarite unto God. Samson was a man of extraordinary strength. No one knew that the source of his strength came from his hair. He was charged with the responsibility of delivering Israel out of the hands of the Philistines.  In Judges 16, we discover his story, a recollection of his demise.

Remember the special instructions God had given Manoah. Samsonn had put those guidelines aside to pursue a Philistine woman. His parents had warned him time and time again, but their counsel fell on deaf ears.  He had willingly chosen to ignore their warnings and live his life. He had set aside his divine calling for the love of a woman. He was originally going to marry one woman whose hand was given to another, because she had revealed the answer to a riddle he posted to the Philistines and he had walked out as a result.

In Judges 16: 14, we see that Samson fell in love with another woman, his former fiance’s sister. She could not be trusted. Shw wasn’t in love with him. She was bought by the Philistines who wanted to kill Samson.

14And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.   5And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him; and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.

We learned that true love doesn’t ask you to compromise your godliness. Samson did. You must always be a witness unto others. You shouldn’t be with someone you don’t trust. Samson was. Delilah was determined to learn the source of his strength. He gave her instructions that would temporarily appease her. She literally told him what she wanted to do and yet he didn’t listen. Judges 16:6 says, “And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.”

Time and time again, he “slept” in her bed and never realized she and the Philistines were plotting against him. Then it was too late.

God will not put more on you than you can bear. It is true that God will free you, but many of us take on these challenges. Don’t take upon yourself more than you can bear. Don’t test your ability to withstand temptation. You may be strong now, but it may not last over time, leaving you to fall victim.

There ought to be no intimacy without commitment.  Marriage is commitment, nothing less than that. We pray for something or someone and we accept what may look like our answer, but isn’t. God didn’t choose this or him/her for you.  You did.

Adam slept as well.  He trusted God who had him rest as he created Eve from his rib bone. (Read Genesis 2)    21And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; Adam had no doubts at all. He slept and out of it came good. We need to fall asleep in order to see what’s been right in front of us all along, to keep us out of trouble, focused on God alone.

God gave Adam a home, a job, and a ministry. (Genesis 2:15) Many of us are running after the opposite sex when we need to work on ourselves, preparing for that future.

The act of resting in God is a form of trust that God will do what He wants for us and it’ll be good. Learn from Samson’s mistake. Rest in Him. Let Him guide you on the path that has already been paved for you.

If we don’t have faith in God to order our relationships, we can safely say that we don’t have faith in God as our Savior. If you see that you have not been trusting God to order your relationships, do you really trust Him to save your soul?  Many of us stay in sin because we don’t truly believe in God and we are living by routine. It was by faith that Adam and Eve were able to live after they sinned. We should submit these smaller things to Him so that we can submit greater things to Him. Let Him be your guide.

Thanks for reading and remember God loves you. Be blessed!

God is love

February is known nationwide as the month of love.  With Valentine’s Day just nine days away, God’s love was the best topic to discuss for this month’s Bible Study.

One of the most memorized verse in the Bible is John 3:16 which says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If we continue onto the next verse, it says,”For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.”

As we began to explore God and the love He has for us, we realized that as sinners many of us are unaware of what love truly is. This Fright night’s lesson gave us a deeper look at the depth of His love. God is love and His word does a great job of characterizing this love that many of us may never understand.

There are many of us who don’t know God, let alone know His love for us. We were asked, How great is God’s love for this world? The answer was, Christ humbled Himself enough to ask His Father’s task of leaving Heaven to walk on Earth and take on our sins. He was pure and sinless, became impure and full of sin.  He who had a Heavenly crown now wore a crown of thorns, for He was crucified for us.

Love is compassionate and full of mercy. If God was one of us, many of us would have never had a second chance at eternal life. We don’t forgive as easily. We wouldn’t die for one another. None of us would qualify for the job that Jesus so humbly accepted. Think about it.

God gave freely to us, all He asks is that we be obedient to His word. He who is omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent, knows what’s best for us. After all, it is He who created us so He’d know us best.

Our scriptures for this lesson were: 1 John 4:16, John 3:16, John 15:13, Philippians 2:8, 1 John 4:9, Micah 7:18-19, Lamentations 3:22, and Romans 8:32.

Thanks for reading and remember God loves you. Be blessed!