We are called by God to share the gift that has shaped all humanity. That gift is love. Our purpose is to express this love with one another. Take a moment to reflect on Ephesians chapter Four today. After reading the chapter, read a major newspaper, or watch a cable news program. See if you can locate the awesome gift of God in our national discourse. Do we see humility, gentleness, patience, allowances being made for others...??? Do you feel the Love of God in our nation?
As we make our way to the voting booth for the midterm elections (hopefully early!), please pray much for America. Also, make a decision to be more active in our public witness beyond the church building's walls. We're needed. Let's see... Human dignity is being denigrated. Billion dollar military contracts are valued more than human rights. Evil speech is expansively proliferating throughout the American political lexicon. The president proclaims that he is a "nationalist." Bombs are being mailed. Thousands of migrants are marching towards the southern U.S. border. Megyn Kelly -- host NBC's Megyn Kelly Today, who once said on Fox News air that both Santa Claus and Jesus Christ were White -- defends Black face costumes on her top rated morning show. Children across America are strangely developing debilitating illnesses in the wake of Affordable Care Act restrictions being loosened, and comprehensive health care diminishing. This is just this week's news.
People of Faith, our nation needs you front and center. Do not become marginalized. Lift up your voices. Bring your praise and your protest to the center and make sanctuary on the the intersection where Church meets society. Godliness is missing from our nation's discourse, and it's our calling to bring God's message to the forefront.
llTimothy 1:7 says: For God did not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind. So who spreads the spirit of fear? The enemy of God... the devil. The devil is the author of fear and the devil is a LIAR. We are witnessing the proclamation of fear through this nation's political discourse being stoked and giving rise to the spirit of hatred that has always meandered as a fog throughout America. Words are life. Eventually they bring about a tangible manifestation. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love its use will eat its fruit." (Proverbs 18:21) That means that faith and fear are in the power of the tongue. What consumes the heart is what is spoken. "A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. What you say flows from what is in your heart." (Luke 6:45 NLT).
Fear is being consumed and fear is being proliferated. It matters not if it's political-based fear, theological-based fear, or socially-based fear, it's not of God and it must be stopped. Eleven Jewish sisters and brothers are dead today not just because of their faith, they were killed by a evil gunman because of the actions of their faith. Last week the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) sponsored a National Refugee Shabbat. The shooter, Robert Bowers' social media account had the following comment on his (gab.com account): "HIAS likes to bring in invaders that kill our people. I can't sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics. I'm going in." You may remember that political-speak concerning U.S. immigration has gone from immigrants to illegals to invaders. President Donald Trump, a self-proclaimed "nationalist" has been addressing this notion of foreign "invaders" in his rallies and press briefings. He discussed sending more troops to the U.S. Southern border to stop thousands of migrants from approaching America to request asylum. Hatred is infested with fear and it is spreading throughout America.
There is a racist-based fear of a browning of America. What is being spoken is being released into the spirit of America and we are seeing the tangible results of that evil speak giving progressively greater license to the immoral acts of bigotted-based murder. On Wednesday of this week, a white Kentucky man, Gregory A. Bush shot and killed two blacks -- Maurice Stallard and Vickie Jones -- at a Kroger gocery store. Bush had allegedly attempted to enter a black church whose doors were locked. There were approximately 70 members in the chuch one hour prior to Bush arriving to bang on the doors. When he couldn't gain entry, he went to the Kroger in search of blacks to kill. People of Faith, we must rise in this moment. A spirit of fear is being proclaimed. We must stand in the power and love and the soundnest of the mind of the prophetic tradition and take down fear by our faith. We must pray with our mouths, our feet, and our hands. We have to combat the proliferation of evil with a kinetic ethic of love. We have the faith to conquer evil. Let's do it! For such is the Kingdom of Good.
Faith does not make sense and sense does not make Faith.
Faith is a language.
Faith is the language of the Kingdom of God.
I speak it.
I live it
I believe because of it.
I receive by it.
I'm always victorious in it.
Faith is God's key to unlock the rich BLESSING of Heaven.
Faith is God's gift to me.
Therefore, we speak, live, believe, and receive the victorious gift of God's rich BLESSING by faith.
My friend, 2 Corinthians 5:7 reminds us that even though we are in the body, we continue to live a faithful life that is pleasing to God. Hebrews 11:6 tells us: "And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him." (Hebrews 11:6 NLT). There is so much going on to get you off, or keep you off track. Stay focused. Keep believing God through Christ Jesus. Know that there is light for dark times. That light is Christ and Christ is available to you right now. If you don't know him, you can receive Christ by faith. Just stop now and take this moment to change your life and family bloodline forever. Ask Christ to come into your life, repent of sin, receive his grace and make Christ Jesus the Lord of your life. Now, believe that you have received salvation and it's yours forever. Share Christ through word and deed by faith with everyone.
Jesus said, "Thomas, do you have faith because you have seen me? The people who have faith in me without seeing me are the ones who are really blessed!" (John 20:29 CEV)
I Love You,
Pastor Shanan E. Jones
One of my favorite childhood memories was watching Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. begin and conclude his sermons with the phrase: "Keep Hope Alive." That phrase came to life during the 1988 Democratic National Convention when Rev. Jackson caused the tissue boxes to be passed around Atlanta's Omni Coliseum like beach balls at a Beach Boys' concert. Jackson shared a personal story abouthis youth that conjured up every emotion. Rev. Jackson's story would make one ask where was the hope in this sad and moving story? From the pain of his past and the discouragement that he faced at seemingly every turn, Rev. Jackson learned to embrace the faint colored thread of hope that ran the course of his life. In John 16:33 Jesus says, "I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world." You know what Jesus is saying? KEEP HOPE ALIVE. Whatever you are going through, keep your hope in the only one who can pull you through. Two of the most notable persons in scripture, David and Paul, both share meaningful messages of hope between covenants both old and new. David prays: " 5 For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. 6 He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be shaken. 7 On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God. 8 Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us. Selah" (Psalm 62:5-8). David reminds us that the hope that we possess is hope that derives from God. The hope that we should place in God is God's own hope that he places in us. That hope provides us refuge in both encouraging and discouraging times. Colossians 1:27 tells us: "God wanted to make known to them the glorious riches of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." Today, in the spirit of our focus Psalm 42:11, I conclude by praying for you this prayer of the Apostle Paul found in Romans 15:13: "I pray that God, who gives hope, will bless you with complete happiness and peace because of your faith. And may the power of the Holy Spirit fill you with hope." #KeepHopeAlive
Placing The Lord first in our lives puts everything in divine order. When we give God the first place, by reading scripture, prayer and meditation, it grants us a governor of guidance. Many of the things that we receive in the outcome are directly connected to where we began with the input. Begin the day asking for divine direction. That's what the elders were singing as they moved about their morning. They sang:
"Order my steps in your word dear Lord
Lead me guide me everyday
Send your anointing father I pray
Order my steps in your word
Please, order my steps in your word...
Humbly I ask thee teach me your will
While you are working help me be still
Satan is busy God is real
Order my steps in your word
Please, order my steps in your word..."
When the Lord who gives us the day is invited by us into our day, great benefits are gained. Benefits like: wisdom, peace and encouragement... patience, positivity and greater discernment. Living a life that places Christ first leads to a humble character, prosperity in vast ways, honor amongst others and a full life. Placing Christ first gives our lives greater purpose, because we take on the things that are important to Christ. We live our lives serving to make life better for the least, the lost, the left out, and the left behind. Christ didn't care to only amass the 99 sheep, He cared about the single wayward sheep that was lost. We were (are) that lost sheep that Christ refused (refuses) to leave. You are that lost sheep that Christ refused to live without. Christ didn't send an under-shepherd to save us. Christ, the Chief Shepherd came to find and save us personally. Why wouldn't we give honor to the one who honored us by the great gift of salvation? Give all glory to the Lord. Give your time to the Lord. Better yet, give your life to Him. He'll make it so much richer.
"But more than anything else, put God's work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well." (Matthew 6:33, CEV).
Who are you yoked with? Who is with you? Who are you with? Worth and width are closely determined by the WITH of your company. Please receive this revelation knowledge. Whether a corporation or a personal relationship, with whom you are yoked will determine how much terrain you will cover. It will also offer a valuation of your worth.
There is a reason why companies that invest in culture also invest in the people who help shape that vocational culture. Human Resources Departments are very guarded about who they allow into their corporate culture. Does the candidate share the same values? Is he, or she coachable? How will they add, or what would they offer our company? Will they help us move the ball down the field? Are we headed in the same direction? Do we have a shared destiny?
Who are the people in your circle? Your "WORTH" and "WIDTH" are closely connected to who you are "WITH" and who is with you. Who is speaking into your life? Who are you honest with... I mean really, really, bad breath, make-up off, wig on the rack, hole in the underwear, belly hanging over the belt honest with? Jesus had many disciples. We read about 12, but he had other followers who were deeply devoted to him. However, when it was time for him to ascend Mount Transfiguration, he took only three: Peter, James and John.
Here is Matthew's account: '"And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James, and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light. 3 And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 And Peter said to Jesus, 'Lord, it is good that we are here. If you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah.' 5 He was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, 'This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces and were terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them, saying, 'Rise, and have no fear.' 8 And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. 9 And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, 'Tell no one the vision, until the Son of Man is raised from the dead.”'(Matthew 17:1-9)
Jesus was not transfigured before the masses of his followers. He chose who should be with him at this moment. He chose who to take up on a high point in his life. Everybody couldn't take hearing a Heavenly voice affirming him. Jesus chose who should ascend the mountain with him. Everybody wouldn't/couldn't handle seeing the majestic Messiah. Many wouldn't, or couldn't hold Jesus's secrets. "Homeboy, (Girl) you ain't gon believe this...."
Who can you transfigure before? Who in your circle will celebrate the glorious cloud overshawdowing, the big-shots bowing, and the praise and affirmation falling upon you? Who will hold your secrets? Who you walk with can make you better and wiser, or make you a fool, and lead you to harm. Are the people in your circle wise? Are they helping you to become wise? Are they destiny thinking, talking and driven? Or are they fools? Self-check [I am pastor]: Are they wise and heading towards their destiny and you refuse to get right, so you are pulling them down? Are you the fool in the circle/relationship? Are you the one who needs to wake up to the things that you are doing and change... I mean immediately CHANGE? Do you celebrate others? Do you hold their secrets? Are you destiny thinking, talking, and driven? Are you developing good culture with the people in your circle? Who is walking with you? Who are you walking with? Worth × Width= WITH.
I enjoy watching the antics of insurance commercials. The companies go out of their way to show you just how comprehensive their coverage is for the insured. They say: "Don't worry! You are covered... even for that" These commercials remind me that God's provision is also comprehensive. No matter where you find yourself, God is with you. God promises to never leave us, or forsake us. Now, that's a powerful promise coming from the MAKER OF HEAVEN AND EARTH. You are covered.
When I watch those insurance commercials, they all have the same intention in their marketing. They want us to contact them and request their coverage. Wow! It's that easy to receive comprehensive coverage? All I have to do is contact the company and request coverage. Oh! There is one catch. It costs a pretty penny. God covers you far beyond any insurance company. God's binder is God's Word. It's packaged together in various versions. It's called: The Holy Bible. Oh! There is one catch. It's totally free. The summation of your Comprehensively Covered By God Plan is found in the policy section marked: John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." All you have do is believe in Jesus Christ who is the broker of your salvation.
Now, isn't that easy. Contact God in prayer. Admit that sin has separated you from God. Ask God for Grace. Request God to come into your life. Thank God for sending Jesus to die for your sins. Make Jesus the Lord of your life and seal the prayer in Jesus Name. Amen! Then your life is new. You are reborn through Christ. If you haven't prayed a similar prayer, stop what you are doing and pray this prayer today. Just Do It! God is your help. God is your provider. God is your protector. My friend, God is your all in all. #MakeHimLordofYourLife
The BLESSING surrounds you. One who buys a field and discovers that a treasure of oil, gold, or diamonds were underneath it, would be shocked to learn that the surrounding treasure was always there. God didn't put the BLESSING treasure in the ground when the field was purchased. God gave the purchasing power and led the buyer to the BLESSING field to possess the BLESSING. It's harvest time! Draw down into the surrounding field of your life, and even though it's muddied with vines, and worms, and sediment, keep digging. DON'T GIVE UP! The BLESSING of your life is in the Treasure Field. When you find it, there will be no end. #THEGATHERINGATL is digging up the Treasure Field. Join us!!! #GODDIDITYOUHARVESTIT Matthew 13: 44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
On January 21, 2000, Reverend Shanan E. Jones was licensed to preach the Gospel at the historic Eliot Congregational Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts before moving back to Atlanta. In August of 2000, Reverend Jones was not only hired as the Pastor for Public Relations/Political Liaison to the New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and its Bishop, but also re-licensed as a Baptist Minister by this house of worship on January 23, 2001. Reverend Jones also served faithfully as the Executive Pastor of the Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church from April of 2006 until December 31, 2017. He was instrumental in building important political, as well as national and international business, relationships for thousands of members and national acclaimed pastors for several years. Reverend Jones coordinated official trips of countless heads of state, international governmental representatives, senators, congresspersons, governors, and mayors who traveled to this Church as guests.