Tag Archives: faithfulness

Triumph over Traps

Daniel wasn’t sabotaged because he was slothful.  It was his success in whatever position God allowed him to hold that caused him problems.  Success breeds haters as well as supporters. Daniel’s enemies used his faithfulness against him not his work ethic.  They observed him, discovered his routine,  and then set a trap for him.

Jesus said,  “Beware when all men speak well of you.” In other words, the more people praise you on your success the more consistent your prayer life should be. You watch God and let God watch your enemies.

Like God did for Daniel,  God will dispatch an angel to defend you in the time of your trouble. Stay faithful my friends and stay focused.  Hallelujah!

A Picture of Sound Stewardship

“Never measure your generosity by what you give, but rather by what you have left.”
~Bishop Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979), Roman Catholic bishop

It’s offering time.  Each family of the church has been asked to raise $1000 toward the general conference apportionment. 

The representative from each family lines up in the center isle, the recording steward pulls her list out of her folder, sits down in a chair next to the offering table and begins to call off the list of families. 

The Grimes family. The representative struts down the isle wearing her expensive, yet beautiful attire and declares, The Grimes Family gives $1500; the church erupts in praise, handclapping and joy. 

The Hampton family.   The Hamptons bring $1350; again the church erupts in shouts of praise.  Go head now the people exclaim.  This continues and each family reaches its goal. 

Then it is The Jones’ family turn.  The Jones family gives $5.  A Holy Hush fills the room as everyone turns and looks to see who said that.

She comes ever so slowly down the isle, supported by her staff.  Her back is humped over, her body frail and battle weary.  She is about 95 years of age; she has outlived her husband and her children.  She has been through so much.  There she is Sister Jones bowed but not broken, tried and tested, triumphantly she comes. 

This service had been planned at the beginning of the conference year and now after 10 months the day has arrived and she makes her report with joy.  Can you see her?

She is a 5th generation CME born and bred tried and true.  Her family had been among the 1st to join that small CME Church in Choudrant, Louisiana. 

Strong was her faith even from a child.  Her daddy used to carry her to Sunday School in his horse drawn carriage every Sunday morning, telling her the tales of how his daddy and his daddy before him used to work the fields until late in the evening, then come home and get ready for prayer meeting and mid-week service.  Her daddy told her, “Lisa, God owns everything and if you tithe and bring him your best, God will bless you.” 

Her family had been known to sell the prized cow at the county fair and bring the money back to their church for Homecoming Service so their church could continue to survive.  Theirs was a proud family, CMEs, dedicated to ensuring they did their part.

But now, she comes, leaning on her staff making her way slowly up the isle to once again represent her family at the meeting.  $5 among so many larger more profound sounding gifts.  $5 representing a year’s efforts of setting aside something for the homecoming meeting.  $5 from a widow who had no social security coming in from her husband’s work and only a small check of her own.  A widow who subsidized her meager income by selling eggs in the community. 

Yet strong was her faith for down through the years she had learned to lean and depend on God.  Was her offering significant?  Was her offering just as grand as those who came before her?  I tell you yes, and so was her example of stewardship. 

You ought to give her a hand church!  Oh you can do better than that, let’s give Sister Jones another hand!  Hallelujah!

How did Sister Jones become such a good steward?  Let me tell you.  First, her family modeled good stewardship in her presence. 

Second, her family invested in her discipleship ensuring she went to all the CME training for young people and young adults throughout her lifetime.  She could tell you stories about the annual conferences, bishops meetings where she got to hang out with all her friends.  She could tell you about the leadership schools she attended and out of which she had met James and married.  She could joke about the old ladies who used to give her the eye whenever she got a little unruly in church.  And the food, oh the food that used to be sprawled on picnic tables behind the church under that old oak tree over by where the new church parking lot sits today.

Third, she had fallen in love with the God of her fathers.  She still remembers her baptism and confirmation services, she had cried and wept as she realized the gravity of what she had done.  She was overwhelmed as she contemplated the great sacrifice her Heavenly Father had made on her behalf. 

Her favorite scripture then and now, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believed in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Posted from WordPress for Android

What do you value?

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matthew 6:21).

It has been said that if you want to see what a person values,  find out what she spends her money on.  That is a superficial indicator dependent upon the premise everyone values money.

Some people don’t place value on money and so spend it arbitrarily. Such people can’t be dependent upon to ‘treasure’ the things they spend their money on. There is a real disconnect for such people between their money and their ‘heart.’

In this text, ‘treasure’ is best translated as ‘the things you value’.  We could paraphrase by saying,  “For where the things you value are, there will your true self be also.”  A person who values benevolence will be found giving, helping, and serving in the areas he values.  A person who values family will be found investing in those things that promote family.

What do you value? Check your calendar;  it will be a better barometer than your checkbook. Where you spend your money is just one of the variables that may indicate what you really treasure.

Posted from WordPress for Android

Overcoming Challenges to Your Destiny

How to Achieve Greatness Despite Obstacles in Your Life

“Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was a mighty man of valor, but he was a leper. (2 Kings 5:1 ESV)”

The main character in this story is Naaman, Commander of the Syrian Army. His name, “Naaman,” means “Pleasantness.” Yet, his life up to this point had not been pleasant. Like many of you, he had some important and significant things going well for him, but the most important part of his life caused him great anguish and misery.

First, Naaman had accomplished something great and unique in his life. He had not allowed his handicap, his disease to keep him from becoming a mighty man of valor in his country. He had climbed the military ranks and achieved the status of Commanding General of all the Armies of the King of Syria.

Second, Naaman had gained the influence and favor of the people with whom he served. His soldiers loved him; his king loved him; his wife loved him. Naaman, though a commander in the Army had overcome many struggles to reach this point because of his unfortunate circumstances.

Naaman was a gentle soul; he was a pleasant man most of the time. However, one subject caused Naaman to transform from a pleasant man to a bitter man. Have you ever been in a situation where you could laugh, play, enjoy your friends, but when a certain subject came up, it caused you great bitterness?

Naaman would be having a pleasant day and doing well until his issue kept him from smiling. He would do well until his issue kept him from enjoying the company of friends and loved ones. Naaman, you see was a leper.

Leprosy was a skin disease that was often contagious, but always a cause for segregation and separation. A disease that kept its victims living in isolation and in places where those who were well could make fun of them and be cruel to them.

They were the victims of childhood pranks that caused utter frustration. It was akin to a child in this city with cerebral palsy, a child who is mentally retarded, or a child who has suffered a stroke that left them disfigured or paralyzed. Children and adults could be cruel to the lepers, just as children and adults can be cruel today.

Finally, Naaman decided that he would not allow his leprosy to keep him from self-accomplishment. Therefore, he learned and tested his battle skills, fine tuned his command presence, and perfected his ability to strategize and defeat the enemy. Naaman became a great soldier, despite his leprous condition. Hallelujah!

Therefore, whatever issues you are dealing with, you need to follow the example of Naaman and rise above it to achieve greatness in your lifetime. You should refuse to allow your issue to conquer you. One thing is certain, Naaman did not see himself as a leper; he saw himself as a General – Naaman knew that he was somebody. You can move forward with that same attitude if you will do what Naaman did.