Vol. 11 Issue 3
Our Greatest Challenge
Bishop H. D. Hedgepeth sharing a Selah Moment…
It is probably an understatement to say that the Christian church is facing many challenges. At first or even second glance it may appear that we are so far removed from where we used to be that it is impossible to make the church influential and successful.
O Lord, my God, I put my trust in Thee… Psalm 7:1
Although it seems like we have improved our strategies to get people inside the church, there has not been overwhelming success to change the carnal condition. Most Gallup polls will show that Christian behavior is closely parallel to the dysfunctions of society. Domestic violence, alcoholism, sexual immorality and plain old selfishness seem to be dominant among church leaders as well as followers.
While it is definitely clear that these challenges do indeed affect the way the things look on the outside, the Church cannot and will not change. She was built firmly on a rock by her founder, Jesus Christ. Let us be careful to note that all of these issues are not obstacles at all. From generation to generation there remains only one true challenge for every believer. It is summed up in the words of an old song that we used to sing in prayer meeting — “If you put your trust in Jesus, everything will be alright.”
As the world keeps getting smaller and smaller with the advent of global communications and information access, dissemination of the Gospel seems to no longer be the focus of the believer. Former desires to widely spread the Gospel, enabling humankind to willingly conform to God’s Word and Godly example, have overwhelming shifted to a desire to simply assimilate.
The age old problem with becoming like others who surround us, so as to not stand out as peculiar but rather seamlessly blend in, is that it requires adapting to their standards and traits rather than holding fast to God. The influence of pagan groups and worshippers of false gods can be traced throughout the history of the Bible. As God’s chosen people struggled with God’s law, requiring them to keep themselves unspotted and separate from surrounding nations, their obedience became an uphill battle. Failing to obey this simple law, given to preserve believers from the unavoidable foul corruption that separates one from God, drove them into captivity where they experienced hardships and ultimate death.
How foolish for the modern day Christian to believe himself exempt from the same consequences if drawn away from the standard of holiness established by God. While times are constantly changing and we believe we share a greater understanding of the complexity of the world around us, let us constantly focus on what makes us unique as a royal priesthood and not be so willing to trade it in for the world’s pseudo-identity.
Minister Valerie Harmon writes…
The Whole Duty of Man
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon, the wise king of Israel gives a valuable incentive for us to live holy and pure lives even in the times of the moral impurities. Yes, we live in a world that calls wrong right and declares right to be wrong. But the Bible yet proclaims in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil…”. Solomon gives a clear and precise word for the body of Christ. We are told in Ecclesiastes 12:13, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man, for God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing whether it is good or whether it is evil.”
The enemy of our souls has all types of enticements and attractions that can lure God’s people from living godly. But we must follow the example of Moses. The scriptures declare that he chose to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season. When we consider a season, we know that the seasons don’t last forever. Summer must yield to fall, which changes to winter, winter to spring and spring changes to summer, there is a continual cycle. Therefore we understand that the pleasures of sin, which seems to be so desirable, will not last forever. Let us listen to the admonition from James 1:15, “Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, it bringeth forth death.”
We must always remember that we are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that we should show forth the praises of God, who have called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. This also is a powerful incentive to living a life that is pleasing to God. Once we realize that we are no longer our own, that we have been bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ, our duty will not be a burden but a pleasure.
Solomon answers the aged old question, Why am I here?
Some are taught that we are to accumulate as much wealth as we can. Others are led to believe that our focus should be on fame and power. But Solomon tells us that the whole duty of man is to fear God and to keep his commandments. As we study the books of the old testament of the Bible, we witness the decline of the fear of the Lord among the children of Israel. Once the people lost their fear for the Lord, they began to indulge in some of the same wickedness as the pagan nations around them. If we are not careful, we too could be caught up in the ungodly customs and fads of this world. If we are not sober we could drift farther and farther away from God’s standards and commandments and then one day, look up and realize that we have lost the fear of the Lord.
The word of God lists many benefits for those that fear the Lord, Proverb 10:27 lets us know that it will add length to our life, Proverb 22:4 tells us that it brings wealth and honor and life and Psalms 34:9 lets us know that there is no lacking in those that fear God. The latter part of the verse in Ecclesiastes 12:13 warns us that God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil. What a sobering thought to know that everything is coming up again. This is another incentive to live a life of holiness unto the Lord. Knowing that one day, there will be no excuses and no one to blame. This will be the day when both the great and the small will stand before His awesome presence. This will be the time that nothing else matters except the question: Did we fear God and keep his commandments?
Happening in the Nation
Sister Linda Rena Scarborough
December 13, 1961 — April 13, 2013
As the family and St. Joseph Holiness Church, Atlantic VA remember our sister in Christ Rena, the Nation of NFCOG wishes to express their deepest condolences. She was a loving daughter, reliable and responsible caregiver within her family, and loyal member at the St. Joseph under the watchful leadership of Pastor Marlene Brown until her recent home going. May the grace of God continue to under gird those who will remember and cherish her memory.
Ivan Grant, III
Born May 14, 2013
Congratulations are in order as the Grant Jr. household welcomes the arrival of its most recent bundle of joy. Ivan III arrived fashionably late, weighing in at 7 lbs. 7 oz. and 21 inches in length on May 14th. Elder and First-Lady Grant, Jr., along with big sisters, Jacelyn and Jadyn are overjoyed; as well as are the proud grandparents (our Presiding Prelate and National Mother). The New Beginning church family joins them in blessing God for his arrival.
Andreau and mom Dereka Davenport
Dedicated to God
Andreau, born October 17, 2012, was dedicated to God on Sunday, May 26th by our Presiding Prelate at St. John Gospel Center, Blackshear GA. During this service at St. John’s new location, having served Pastor Ella Gainous faithfully as adjutant, Dereka was Appointed Deacon. As the St. John church family continues to settle into their new location in Blackshear, our prayers are for their continued strength and growth.