Don’t Just Sit There!

Don’t Just Sit There!
2 Kings 7:3-10

Have you ever experienced a period in life when you didn’t know what to do? The easy way to respond to those periods is to do absolutely nothing and wait for time to unfold. However, doing nothing could possibly cause you to miss out on opportunities that await you if you were to press ahead. There are times when God places us in situations to develop our faith character. If you have ever been in a position where you didn’t know what to do then you will be able to identify with the four men in this bible story.

God uses adversity to stretch our faith. Israel was at war with the King of Syria. The King of Syria decided the best tactic of war was to starve Israel. The water was cut off to the Israeli camp and no food or commerce was allowed in the city. Eventually, a famine arose with catastrophic results. At the gate of the city lay four lepers that were forced out of the city because of their illness. Lepers could not have contact with those in society and when they encountered people they were required to announce themselves, “Unclean.” They were lying641 at the entrance of the gate sick, starving, separated and surrounded by the enemy when they decided to enter into a discussion with one another: “Why are we sitting here just waiting to die?” They began to weigh their options and discovered there were three options available.

Option #1: If they continued to sit at the gate they would surely die of hunger.

Option #2: If they went back into the city they would be rejected and still die of hunger.

Option #3: If they went to the enemies’ camp, they might receive pity and receive food. Even if the Syrians killed them, it was better to die quickly than to die slow from hunger.

What did they do? They decided not to sit and do nothing but they took a stance! They weighed their options. Death was the prospect for all three places; where they were at; where they came from; and where they thought about going. They became proactive, analytical and adventurous in their situation.

  • They were proactive: “Why sit we here until we die?” They thought to themselves; “What sense does this make sitting here waiting to die? If we are going to die at least lets die trying to live. Let’s not wait until death overtakes us.”
  • They were analytical: They began to analyze the situation. “If we say, we will enter into the city, then the famine is in the city, and we shall die there: and if we sit still here, we die also.” ‘Let’s try to figure this thing out!”
  • They were adventurous: “Now therefore come, and let us fall unto the host of the Syrians: if they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.”

Here is the outcome! They waited until sundown and headed to the enemies camp. As they approached the camp God gave them assistance and made the host of the Syrians to hear a noise of a great army coming their way. The Syrians fled the camp and left all of their goods and food. The four men came into the empty city and were able to eat sumptuously then they said, “We just can’t keep it to ourselves!” They ran back into the city and shared the good news with the starving city of Samaria.

Here is the question. What do you do when life’s situations hems you in?

  1. Be Proactive to the Promises: For the Christian we understand that God promised us that all things are working for our good (Romans 8:28). God never gave promises for us to never activate. God gives us the opportunity to partner with Him for our good. However, many are not standing on the promises; we are just sitting on the premises. We sometimes wait on God to move first when God is waiting on us. When the men initialized moving towards the enemies camp God gave them assistance.
  2. Be Analytical In Your Adversity: These four lepers were in a situation but they gave some thought to what they were going to do next. Having faith does not mean to jump out without thinking but your thinking allows God to get involved in the process and inject His will and supply His wisdom. James 1:5 instructs the believer to ask for wisdom and God will liberally respond.
  3. Be Adventurous in Your Attitude: Just know that while you are in your situation God is assessing your attitude. These four men had an attitude of being adventurous. They came to a conclusion that if they did nothing; nothing would come their way. The Christian must embrace the attitude of the Apostle Paul when he said, “I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)
  4. Be Triumphant in Your Testimony: The story is a fixed facsimile of 4 men whom the masses had concluded a write-off. Yet, these men discovered there is life even after others have counted you out. They could have kept the good news of discovering the food in the empty enemies camp to themselves but instead they decided to share the good news to those who counted them out. The lesson is clear to rise above small mindedness. When God brings you out of a bad situation your response to others should be the same response that he has had toward you. GRACE! 1 Peter 4:10 – “As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

Bust A Move!

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

dont just sit there

 

Hope For Hard Times

HOPE FOR HARD TIMES
Living With Certainty in an Uncertain World
Philippians 4:4-7

Talk about uncertainty… The Apostle Paul did not know what to expect from day to day… but he was at peace. While in prison and scheduled for execution Paul wrote this letter. Yet, he wrote it as though he did not have a worry in the world. What was his secret? How did he remain certain and peaceful when things seemed to unravel at the seems? In the following verses Paul gave us his secret for obtaining peace and being certain in times of uncertainty.

Verse 4
Make A Choice To Rejoice

Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say rejoice.” Life can be challenging and make us unhappy but the Word of God does not command us to be happy. There are several commands to rejoice. The apostle is so adamant about it that he says it twice. The believer is not to rejoice at “distant intervals” or during church worship but at every moment of our lives. What do we rejoice over? We must rejoice over the fact that God is in control of our lives no matter how out of control life may appear. The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10). Therefore, our joy is enveloped in the exaltation that God is certain in an uncertain world and we can have joy in life’s painful and uncertain situations. What Paul has discovered is that your attitude will determine your altitude. Attitude is the eye of your soul. Your attitude determines how you view life. If your attitude is negative, you will see life negatively. If your attitude is positive, you will see life positively. If you have a thankful attitude, you will find something to be thankful for.

Verse 5
Show Some Will Power

          “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” There should be visible signs of joy in your life that others can see even in times of uncertainty. The word moderation means restraint on passions. It means that which is fit or suitable or to govern your appetite or refrain from excessive eating or drinking, it meant to restrain ones temper and to live a life that can be an example of what a Christian should look and live like. It takes will power to let others see that you are at peace and not pulling out your hair at the first sign of trouble. “For the Lord is at hand,” suggests that we should live as though God is coming back today. This phrase gives the idea that we should be on our best behavior because we don’t want the Lord Jesus to come and we are not prepared to stand before Him.

Verse 6
Pray About Everything With Thanksgiving

          “Be careful for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.” The word “careful” means to be anxious. Some translations read, “Be anxious about nothing.” It does not mean that we should not be concerned about worldly matters or the things that are important to us, i.e., family, finances or health. It means don’t worry. The apostle says, “by prayer and supplication.” The word supplication is a stronger word than prayer. It is a mode of prayer that derives from a sense of need or want. It is when we say; “Lord I need you to do this for me!” The apostle said we should do it with thanksgiving. One can always find something to be thankful for when one prays. In other words, show some gratitude when you pray. Let your request be made known unto God. Tell Him what your wants and concerns are not as though you are telling Him something that He does not know. He requires that we come and express them to Him.

Verse 7
The Results

Here it is! Paul tells us the results of doing these three things in verse 7: “And the peace of God which passeth all understanding shall keep your hearts and minds through Jesus Christ.” The peace Paul talks about is felt when we are not worrying. It is a peace that passeth all understanding. That is, man can’t conceive how you have obtained it. It is the peace of the highest possible kind. God has a peace which is nowhere else known. It’s crazy peace! It’s the kind of peace where people think you must be crazy. The kind of peace where people will look at you and know it’s nothing but God. It’s the kind of peace that makes you smile in the midst of the storm. It’s the kind of peace that keeps you smiling when other folk are crying. It’s the kind of peace that allows you to go home and sleep at night. IT shall keep your hearts and minds. The word “keep” is a military term, and means that the mind would be guarded as a camp or castle is. The text is saying that God’s peace will keep your hearts from heaviness and your minds from a meltdown!

Here is the clause in the contract: It is only found in Christ Jesus. This is why Jesus said in John 14:27: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”

Final Thought: “Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you plenty to do but it doesn’t take you any where.”

Peace,

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

,black-woman-looking-out-HOPE

Something Has Gone Wrong In The Field!!!

“Something Has Gone Wrong In The Field”

 Matthew 13:24-30

      Something has gone wrong in the field. Sixty years after launching the civil rights movement African Americans seem to have forgotten the struggles that were launched on the fields of social justice and equality. How did this happen? Low voter turnout for political change in economically deprived, educationally disregarded and high crime neighborhoods speak volumes to how far we have disengaged from the struggle. There was a time when the issues of social equality and social justice were the field in which African Americans toiled for fairness. However, something has gone wrong in the field. We were once conscientiously clear and had a sense of pride and a plan that spread throughout our communities and Black college campuses. Our struggle creatively, strategically and intentionally targeted oligarchs and plutocrats that fought to maintain the status quo. In the 1950’s and 60’s we engaged a righteous unified response to racism, poverty and inequities among our people because we understood how essential it was to our future. Something has gone wrong in the field. We have gone from raised fist of protest and African American pride to sagging pants of cultural shame. We have lost the yearning to fight for a seat at the front of the bus to fighting to take backseat anywhere.

       In 2015, we have joined ranks with many within the dominant culture where right has become wrong and wrong has become right. Something has gone wrong in the filed. It is difficult to place a finger on when or how this change occurred but it has become apparent. Something has occurred in the world that has slowly and sinfully turned many African Americans against the mindset, mores, precepts and principles of God that fought for our rights in the past. We have embraced a “Cultural Jesus” that is acceptable and accomodating to what is popular and reject the “Historical Jesus” that has been reliable throughout the ages. Something has gone wrong in the field. The struggle has dwindled and police are kiling young black men like target practice without a collective cry from our communities. The government has built twice as many prisons as schools. The economy has collapsed within many African American communities because of political disinvestments and education has not been a priority. Yet, there is not the same struggle or passion to protests social injustices as there once was among African Americans. Something has gone wrong in the field. What happen?

     Jesus told a story about a farmer that planted good seed in his field. At night an enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and slipped away before dawn. Over some time the farmhands noticed tares growing among the wheat so they went to the farmer and asked him, “Did you plant good seed? Where did these tares come from?” The farmer said, “Some enemy did this.” The farmhands asked, “Should we weed out the tares?” The farmer said, “No, if you weed the tares, you’ll pull up the wheat, too. Let them grow together until harvest time. Then I’ll instruct the harvesters to pull up the tares and tie them in bundles for the fire, then gather the wheat and put it in the barn.”

      The farmer is Jesus. He plants good seeds because that’s all He has. The field is the world and the workers are true Christians. This parable teaches us that those who are at work for the Lord of the Harvest should be able to look at the world and come to the conclusion that something has gone wrong in the field. The enemy has planted seeds of corruption within the struggle that has compromised the integrity of the good seeds. However, as the farmer indicated in the parable, “harvest time is coming.” God will do the separating. What do we do until then?

 Watch and Pray

      Jesus never said or gave the impression that we do nothing but He always encouraged believers to watch and pray. Why? Early detection is always the best policy and prayer opens up our eyes. My late grandfather used to say, “Watch everybody and watch yourself!” Look for early warning signs of enemy invasion in your own life as well as the people you are around. In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus instructed His disciples to watch and pray. They fell asleep. Jesus was attempting to teach the disciples that prayer enhances your performance when the enemy shows up. That’s why Peter performed foolishly when the guards came in the garden and cut the soldiers ear off. Had he been praying when Jesus asked him to pray he would have known how to perform when the enemy showed up.

Rely on the Word

     The Word of God is crucial to staying spiritually awake and detecting enemy invasion. When society lines up against God’s Word it is a clear indicator that seeds of corruption have been sown.

Hope in the Harvest

      Harvest time is coming! The enemies who plant seeds of corruption will have their day. Father Henry Fehren was quoted in Christianity Today saying, “The fact that evil people prosper is a problem that goes back into the Old Testament. But Jesus said that our Father causes the sun to shine on the bad as well as the good, and his rain to fall on the honest and dishonest alike. The passing ‘rewards’ of evil should not tempt us to abandon good. The evil person is like the man who jumped from the 50th floor without a parachute. When he passed the 30th, someone shouted, ‘How’s it going?’ And the jumper answered, ‘So far so good.’” When evil happens and evil people prosper it is like the jumper who is only at the 30th floor. Their end is inevitable . . . even if it is delayed. As Christians we know what’s going to happen in the end.

Improving My Serve!

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

Something Gone Wrong In The Field

Black Lives Matter – “Keep The Faith Baby!”

 Lives Matter – Part 2
Keep The Faith Baby!
Matthew 15:21-28

There is a pattern and practice of discrimination against Black people in this country that sends a clear message that Black Lives do not matter. All too often pleas of Black people are ignored, our pains are individualized as personal problems and we are often insulted as a people. However, our progress in this country is connected to our faith. We cannot give up praying, protesting or making our plea for justice even when we have been ignored, individualized or ignored. The Black response to social injustices must be cultivated by our faith in Jesus Christ. We must keep the faith.

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

CONTEXT

     In this conversation that Jesus had with a Black woman we learn a very valuable lesson. Society ignores, individualizes and insults certain groups of people. Yet, it is essential how those groups of people should respond.

The Pursuit of Possibility

     A woman came to Jesus with a matter concerning her daughter that was vexed with a devil. Word quickly spread of the miraculous healings that had taken place throughout the region at the hands of Jesus. Matthew 4:24 confirms that the report spread throughout all of Syria, and many brought those who were sick, afflicted, diseased and under the power of demons to Jesus, and He healed them. This mother thought it was possible that if Jesus healed others He would grant her request even though she was not a Jew. Canaanites and Israelites had a sorted past together. They did not mingle or interact with one another. Yet, this Canaanite woman set out on the pursuit of the possibility that this young Jewish healer would heal her Canaanite daughter. She saw Him and imagination suggests that she took off running towards Him and cried saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou Son of David”. She used His Messianic title, Son of David. “My daughter is grievously vexed with a devil.”

The Silence of the Savior

     She was met with silence. Jesus did not say a word. He ignored her. This is not the normal response of Jesus; especially, when one has sought Him and asked for mercy. The disciples said, “Send her away; for she cries after us.” Some scholars suggests that the disciples were not saying for Jesus to ignore her but to heal her so she could be on her way and leave them alone. This thought better fits Jesus’ following statement, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

The Forging of Faith

     This saying of Jesus does not detour or faze this woman. She is persistent. Then she worshipped him, saying, “Lord, help me.” Jesus said, “It is not right for me to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs.” Her reply was, “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters ‘table.” Then Jesus answered and said unto her, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour.” Immediately.

Scholars say that the land of Canaan extended from Northern Africa along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea into the Arabian Peninsula. She was a black woman. By Jewish standards she was all-wrong; she was of a people that Joshua had overthrown 1,400 years earlier and had made into servants. She was from the Gentile world. Her religion had failed her, and her life was falling apart. She came to Jesus and he did 4 things:

  1. He ignored her pleas: He responded as though she was not there. She even used His Messianic name, “Son of David” and she asked for mercy. Yet the savior ignored her.
  2. He individualized her problem: When the woman expressed her problem Jesus’ response was, “I didn’t come for your people.” Jesus literally said, “I came for the lost sheep of the House of Israel.” The text suggests that Jesus individualized her problem as “her problem” or “their problem” and not His. Jesus made this statement because she was not of Jewish ancestry. Canaanites worshipped Baal. She did not have the same code of beliefs, morals or ethics as the Jewish people.
  3. He insulted her people: He called her people dogs. There are some scholars that say this saying referred to her as a “puppy” and would have been accepted as a cultural title for Canaanites. “It is not right for me to give the children’s bread to the dogs.” This statement of Jesus is symbolic; children refer to the Children of Israel, God’s people. When Jesus mentioned bread He is making reference to Himself. Bread was viewed in that day as a symbol of life’s necessities being met. When the Children of Israel were in the wilderness God gave them bread. David rescued Mephibosheth and his promise was, “You shall eat bread continuously at the Kings table.” When Jesus taught the disciples to pray His instructions were to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Bread represents the “necessities of life.” Jesus was saying. “This bread is not for you!” He called her people dogs because the Jews considered Canaanites unclean. Leviticus 11 says that dogs are unclean animals and she agreed with the Lord.
  4. He identifies her power: Jesus identifies this woman’s determination, her tenacity and persistence. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, “O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.” And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Her faith was the needed ingredient.

It is the faith of Black people that have made us so valuable and resilient. We have been ignored, individualized and insulted but our power has been identified in our faith. This is an unusual story because it makes Jesus look insensitive and insulting but these traits do not fall in line with the character of our Savior. The prima facie evidence looks baffling. However, if one were to look deeper one would discover that Jesus was really being instructive. He used this woman as an example to teach the disciples as well as others that our faith can overcome our frustrations. This lesson becomes a clinical case study for those in society who have been ignored, individualized and insulted that your value cannot be determined by what others think about you but it is determined by your faith in God. It is a teachable lesson that we must be persistent as this woman was for Jesus’ intervention. Jesus was no doubt, testing her faith. Our faith will be tested against a culture that continues to ignore our pleas, individualize our pain and insult our people but we must continue to fight for equal rights because of our faith. When we give up too soon we don’t learn what we need to learn… we don’t experience what we should experience… and we miss the blessing we could have had.

Let’s look at….

  1. Reality: We must face the reality that some people want nothing to do with us. However, a person’s perception of who they think we are should never become our reality. What’s real is that there are people that see no value in Black life. That’s real. There are people that will ignore Black people simply because of the color of their skin. Society will ignore your pleas but keep the faith: Frederick Douglass said keep on pleading because Power never conceded anything without a demand. It never has and it never will.
  2. Humility: The intention of Jesus’ statement was to penetrate and expose her humility. This woman was flat out ignored and appeared as though she had been insulted but she didn’t fly off the handle. She didn’t just walk away but she continued the conversation. There are times when life causes one to be humble and focus on the end results. Society will individualize our pain or problems but keep the faith. Former Mayor Rudi Giuliani recently made the statement that recent police killings in the black community are our fault. Professor Michael Eric Dyson said, “That is a defense mechanism statement of the privileged in our country to remove them from any responsibility of unjust killings in our community.”
  3. Ability: Our ability to hold on to the faith cannot be compromised even through recent Black sitcoms, i.e., Empire, Scandal or Mary Jane. There are some things we should never allow to become sacrilegious and devalue US as a people. There are tenets of whom we are as Christians that should always rise to the top. Society will insult our people but keep the faith: Politicians can be insulting to our people. They can buy preachers with money, buy votes with a beer and a ham sandwiches, but we must keep the faith. Rev. Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. rose to fame by leading a boycott of shops along 125th Street that would sell to African-American shoppers but would not hire them to work at the stores. He started a movement called, “Don’t Shop Where You Can’t Work”! He became New York’s first black city council member in 1941. In 1944, he was elected to the House of Representatives—the first African-American from New York—and served until 1970. In congress, Powell was integral to the Civil Rights movement and as chairman of the Committee on Education and Labor saw to it that legislation on school lunches, student loans, and the minimum wage got passed. At the end of his life society had insulted him and ignored him but he never let them see it. The phrase “Keep the faith baby”, was used to encourage our people to keep their heads held high, and to stay in the struggle.

How do you keep the faith?

  1. Reality – This woman did not ignore the fact that her people were looked down upon in society. One must face reality that there will be some people that will never accept our race, our beliefs or our concerns. One must also accept the reality that Jesus is the only answer for our frustrations.
  2. Humility – As Christians we are taught to humble ourselves under the hand of God and He will exalt us in due season. Humility does not mean to sit back and accept what Society brings our way. It simply means to allow God to order and direct our steps as His servants.
  3. Ability – God has given every believer the ability to do something to glorify Him. Use what you have been given by God to make a difference in the world. Your ability will be cultivated by your faith.

Jesus saw this woman had a grasp on reality. She knew He was able to address her frustration. Jesus recognized her humility to be under His command. Jesus saw her ability in that her faith was so strong that she persisted in her plea for His intervention. Jesus said to this woman, “Woman you have great faith. Be it done for you as you will.” He did not say, “as you want” because want means you have a desire but He said, “as you will” because will means you have made a decision. She had decided to make Jesus her choice and when you make a decision for Jesus he can make some decisions for you. Keep the faith baby.

The text says that her daughter was healed in the same hour. Her daughter was immediately cured. Jesus healed her immediately but sometimes His healings are eventually. Don’t ever lose the faith because Jesus does not do it immediately. Sometimes He moves in the eventually. God heard Martin Luther King Jr. and his cry for our people to be recognized but he did it not answer immediately. It was eventually we elected the first black president of the United States in Barak Obama.

Is it not strange that the Lord changed the topic from healing to eating? She requested that her daughter be healed and Jesus’ response was related to eating; “It is not right for m to give bread to dogs.” To the Lord eating is more important than healing. Jesus is the Bread of Life. Jesus appears to be saying that we can deal with earthly sorrows when we have an eternal solution. Jesus is talking about salvation! And here in this text the mission of Jesus changed directions. When Jesus sees that a woman that was not Jewish had faith it became a pivotal shift for the ministry of Jesus to indicate He was available to all men. This opened up salvation to the world not just the Jews. All lives matter! This is true, yet when one group of people has been significantly devalued it becomes incumbent upon that group to protest injustice lest they become participants in their own demise.

KEEP THE FAITH BABY!

Dr. Oscar T. Moses

Black Life 2