Vol. 10 Issue 2
Spring is in the Air!
Spring ushers in an air of great expectation. New hope is in the air as the promise of renewal and refreshing abound. As we look around us we set into motion plans to rake up dead remains of Fall and Winter’s fallen leaves and branches. We fertilize and plant bulbs with great expectation of enjoying the fruit of our labor. We understand that if we expect to be the recipients of a lush and bountiful array of Spring’s beauty, we must put forth some energies believing that our work is worthwhile and will get us the desired results.
The same principle works in the life of the believer. This is the “Year of Expectation” and our confidence in God’s promise assures us that we will reap His intended harvest. Does that mean that we are to sit it out idle and wait to see what He alone will do? While this may be true of spectators, it is not true of Kingdom Building workers. We are aware that clean-up of any residual dead works that have been detached from our lives by the Gospel must be completely removed to make way for the new growth that will ensue. We cease to lament over what we lost during the harsh Winter winds because we understand that new growth is weaken and malnourished by the excessive energy supply they drained us of. Pruned and prepared for maximum yield, we increase our supply of food and water to our roots as we soak up God’s Word and apply it to those necessary tender areas. With great expectation, we make ready and welcome new growth!
“No Vision or No Keepers?”
It is of great interest how the church community has come to challenge God’s leaders and shepherds by the words of wisdom cited by Solomon, “Where there is no vision the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he“ (Proverbs 29:18). Looking for programs that can be easily bought into, together with planned events that are both convenient and comfortable to support, God’s law has been handled as though it were a strategic business plan that we are free to modify based upon personal preferences before we elect to roll our sleeves up and put forth any work to implement. While much focus has been attributed on the “a” portion of the verse, church goers fail to consider the “b” portion of the scripture to understand what Solomon is actually saying. In his Living Holy free download position paper, Where There Is No Vision the People Perish, Apostle Ivan Grant, Sr. shed clarity on the vision of God.
“Rightly dividing the word of truth” and understanding the mind of God, a vision always heralds judgment, repentance, reformation, redemption, and restoration of God’s people. These indeed are not words connected with today’s vernacular of vision. …The proclamation of the unadulterated Word of God has always been, and always will be, “God’s vision” offering salvation and deliverance to a lost generation.
If as the body of Christ, we fail to consider the “b” portion of Solomon’s words, we too will believe the burden of the church rests totally on the shoulders of our leaders to excite us into action. The additional problem with this misinterpretation of vision and subsequent oversight of the context in which it was spoken is that we would fail to recognize that Solomon presents the vision to challenge believers to be doers!
There has never been a lack of provision for salvation by God, neither is there a lack of mission for the church. The reality of the situation is that there are few who are willing to both live holy, unblemished lives before God; and engage themselves unselfishly in the mission work of the church.
Signs of the Times…
Living Life Beyond Today!
Ever wonder why people live as though there is no tomorrow? They go about pleasuring themselves with every conceivable vice that brings them pleasure. They fail to consider the fact that their choices today impact their failed health and overall lack of wellbeing tomorrow. Not to mention the fact their lifestyles move them further and further away from God and His promise of eternal life.
Such living is not a common practice that man has just come to experience. In fact, Old Testament Bible accounts of how man has always handled his affairs indicate that such pleasured sinful living has always been man’s preferred choice.
In these times that afford such easy access to worldwide resources and unimaginable and unlimited experiences through technology and social media, the Christian finds himself tempted into believing he too should live today to the fullest.
As true believers in God who value the sanctity of His law, we cannot permit today’s acceptable standards of life to dictate how we live. We can never lose sight on the reality that there is life beyond today; and that a righteous God will judge us for every choice we make. We must uphold God’s law and conduct ourselves as living epistles that reflect His grace of sanctification and gift of sustaining power.
While we enjoy life, we enjoy it as God intended; living in expectation of tomorrow and our promised reward of eternal life!
Building Inward vs. Outward
But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.
Jude 20, 21
Character has always been the measure of Godliness and the silent testimony of the believer. Yet, in these last days more emphasis seemingly has been placed on one’s persona and external presentation. There is little wonder Jude addressed the sanctified believer in his only canonized epistle warning that in the last days a shift of core values would prevail. Values that promote the practice of commitment, obedience, temperance, genuine love and humility would soon be replaced by murmuring, complaining, the pursuit of lusts, great swelling words, and the dire need for admiration of others for personal advantage.
Jude’s warning provided the believer with the key to safeguarding against falling to apostasy which results in abandoning and renouncing the truth of the Gospel and warping the character of the believer. Simply put, the sanctified believer is to remain “under construction” with a self-motivated plan of action governed by a drive to “build” himself up through faith, prayer, and the love of God. Such building energies focus inward rather than outward. Inward building addresses issues emanating out of the heart. While outward building is only concerned with how things appear to the human eye. Actors have demonstrated this kind of portrayal of character for generations. Sometimes they are so effective in their character role that we identify them with the role they played for the balance of their life. Yet, in reality, their portrayal was simply play-acting.
Jude in his writing recognized that no matter how well rehearsed and disguised the ungodly are when we encounter them, if we as the elect of God remain on guard, we can identify them and will not fall into their traps and be removed from our confidence in God and practice of holy living convinced that how we live is separate from what we believe. Turning to shameless conduct, immorality, and perversions that should never be named among God’s people, becomes the natural way of life along with its erroneous justifications for those falling prey to their allure.
Jude realized that when we build ourselves up in God, there is only one outcome for our lives as he concludes his writing:
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, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
Jude 24, 25
Happening in the Nation
The New Beginning family proudly announces the official installation of Elder Ivan Grant, Jr. as Pastor. The installation will take place during NFCOG’s upcoming Day of Assembly that it will serve as host to on Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 11 a.m. He has faithfully served New Beginning as its Minister-In-Charge and then Interim Pastor since January 2010 as he heralds the church to excellence by both the preaching and daily living of the “Unadulterated Word of God.” First Lady Jaclyn Grant serves as NFCOG’s Uth4Christ Director and they are the proud parents of Jacelyn and Jadyn. All are invited to attend.
Bro. Gerard Miller, Sr. was recently promoted to Director of Shipping with Commerce Corporation serving the Baltimore DC market. His promotion came with a move from the evening shift to the day shift. He has been cited by Commerce as being “an asset in leadership to Commerce for many years.” Bro. Gerard is a faithful member of New Beginning — Baltimore Mission. Congratulations!
Bro. Charles H. Quirley, Sr. was laid to rest January 2, 2012 after a period of illness. Bro. Quirley worked diligently in New Saint Mark A.F.C.O.G. Church in Norfolk VA as the Pastor’s Adjutant until he became too ill to continue. Our prayers are for his devoted wife, son, and family.