Archives for the ‘PastorsDesk’ Category
God Has Great Things in Store for Me
Thursday, June 6th, 2013
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. (I Corinthians 2:9)
My wife and I just returned from what she described as her dream vacation. We celebrated our silver wedding anniversary with a trip to Europe, visiting London, Paris and Rome. We had a glorious time as we saw attractions and sites that were breath taking.
During a site-seeing trip in London, I noticed an elderly lady who was travelling with her adult children. The mother was not in the best of health and you could easily see that her children, while concerned about her, were determined to see that she had a good time. As I watched this family interact, I thought about my relationship with my not long ago, dear, departed mother.
I have said before, my mother was an incredible woman. As I grew into adulthood as a young man, I became more aware of the tremendous impact she had on my life and I wanted to do all I could to show her my appreciation. I remember taking her on site-seeing trips through downtown Chicago. We went to several high end restaurants like, Eli’s, Carson’s and the Pheasant Run. I really enjoyed spoiling my mother because of the tremendous sacrifices she had made for me. As I stood in front of Westminster Abbey in London, I felt a little sad because I desperately wanted my mother to experience something so grand. As I watched those young adults fussing over their mother, I longed for an opportunity to share this experience with my mother.
Before I became too carried away with sorrow and grief, the Spirit quickened within me. The Lord reminded me where my mother was. And what He had planned for her far exceeded anything I would ever plan or do for her. The Lord explained to me no matter how much I loved my mother, no matter how great I wanted to bless and take care of my mother, I could never duplicate or compete with His goodness and blessings.
No doubt all of us feel indebted to someone. Perhaps a husband remembers how his wife stood by him in the early days of his career. I remember the days when my wife stood with me in ministry, my career and really anything I set my mind to. Perhaps there are some parents who want to do something for their children. You’ve seen your child excel in school or perhaps you haven’t had the resources to do for them as you really desire. I remember seeing a mother brought to tears because she could not afford to get something for her children for Christmas.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we will never be able to do enough for those who have sacrificed and help make the way for us. We can never repay someone for teaching us the Word of God. We can never reimburse someone for praying for us, or laying hands on us and casting evil spirits out and off of us. What is the value of someone witnessing to us? We cannot repay them, but God can and will!
Stop and think about what God has in store or us. Have you ever read what the apostle Paul wrote, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that will be revealed in us” (Romans 8:18) or the words penned by the prophet Jeremiah, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:11)? The Lord has great plans for us. He is going to take great pleasure and delight in blessing and rewarding His people for our labor. The more I think about God’s greatness and His ability and intent to bless us, I get both excited and encouraged. When I think about what God has planned for my mother, I am sure she would rather have what He has planned than anything I could ever come up with.
Friends of mine – be encouraged. The Lord is soon to return and He has some great things planned for all of us. Our presiding bishop has coined the phrase, “…I see you in the future, and you look much better than you look right now.” And with God’s blessings manifested in our lives, this sentiment is sure to come to pass for us!
I bless you in the name of the Lord!
Wednesday, May 1st, 2013
Committed: to be bound to or obligated toward
Greetings to the most special and extraordinary people in the world–the people of God! As you are aware, our theme this year is “Continuing and Upholding the Legacy of True Holiness.” The other week the Lord placed this thought on my heart: people today struggle with commitment.
My parents were married for more than 60 years. I never witnessed my father lifting his hand against my mother. When times were tough financially, he did not walk away; he got another job. I saw my mother labor alongside of my father in the home, at church and anything else he decided to do. As her health declined, I saw my father become her primary care provider – he cooked for her, cleaned the house and he even limited his travel and ministry outside of the home because my mother required 24-hour care. They were truly committed to one another. Unfortunately, today’s generation has left this legacy.
Are you aware that fewer than 50 percent of our African American males will graduate from high school? And an even smaller percentage will finish college or obtain an advanced degree. Have you noticed people are now more likely to declare bankruptcy than live within their means? There was a time when people worked at the same job for 30 to 40 years and retired with a pension. Today we find employees are less likely to stay with the same company for more than five years. Employers, as well, are more concerned with increasing the profit margin (often eliminating experienced workers who demand higher wages) and prefer a younger workforce.
It is so sad to see the divorce rate in the church equal that of the world. At one time, couples took their marriage vows seriously: “…for richer or for poorer, for better and for worse, in sickness and in health…” But now we divorce and remarry as if we are playing a dating game.
There was a time when people committed to a church and ministry. Today we have become so undisciplined and weak-minded, we bounce and hop from church to church, but declare we are filled with His Holy Spirit. Every week I see people come to church and fill up the pews. As the power of God is poured out, I see tears rolling and I see them rejoicing. Yet when I open the doors of the church and make an invitation for membership, they stay glued to their seats. It is as if they want the benefits of membership, without committing to the church.
There are several examples in the Bible of people who did not want to commit to God: Lot’s wife looked back (Gen. 19:26); Peter denied Jesus (Matt 26:69-74); and many disciples left Him (John 6:66 and Matt 8:18). We even read about the great falling away (II Thes 2:1-3).
If you’ll note in the scripture text (Luke 9:57-62), Jesus makes the call for discipleship. Immediately He began to receive excuses:
Why is it that God can commit to us, but we are hesitant to commit to Him? Why is it that God will be faithful to us, but we are not faithful to Him?
My brothers and sisters in Christ, I implore you today to rebuke the spirit of giving up and quitting on God. Let me encourage you to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Let me encourage you to forsake all and commit to Him. His rewards are immeasurable. Eyes have not seen, ears have not heard, neither has it entered into the hearts of man the good things He has in store for us. If we stay committed!
I leave you with a song my mother used to sing: Put your time in, payday is coming after while!
I bless you in the name of the Lord!
I Think I Forgot Something
Monday, April 1st, 2013
Hello my dear brothers and sisters in Christ. I shared this thought with the saints at Reconciliation and Holiness Tabernacle the other day, and I thought you might enjoy it as well.
As you may or may not be aware, our theme this year is, “Continuing and Upholding the Legacy of True Holiness.” I was reminiscing recently about how my mother used to pray and minister in church – she was awesome! As I thought about her, my mind led me to remember other saints that have made an impression on my life: Mother Emma Lee Green, Deacon Richard Lowrey, Pastor Geno Thomas, Pastor Frank Smith and many more.
As I thought fondly about these great trailblazers, the Spirit prompted that I needed to pick up where these saints left off. It wasn’t enough for me to recall how the Lord used them mightily, but God expected you and me to continue this great legacy. I fear that too often, we fall into one of two categories of spiritual amnesia.
The first category is forgetting these mighty people of God and the great works the Lord performed through them. Just think about it: when we are faced with a dilemma, such as getting furloughed or losing our jobs, what is our first reaction? Do we look to God for a way out? Do we thank God for the way He is going to work, before He even makes the way? Or do we panic and fall into depression? Many of us even let our circumstance affect our praise and church attendance. Not the saints of old! They would believe God for everything. When it seemed as though they were going down for the last time, they would just get that more determined. That’s why Bishop C. H. Mason could build the largest black owned building in the world (during that time) with steel that was donated during WWII – even though there was a ration on steel for the war effort!
Did you ever read how Bishop L.H. Ford prayed and asked God to send him a sign that he was to remain in Chicago, Illinois after migrating from Mississippi? The story says after a long period of suffering financially, he was ready to give up. He asked God for a sign if he should stay and a lady he did not know walked up to him and said, “…young man, the Lord told me to give this to you…” It was fifty cent. From there he went on to start Saint Paul Church Of God In Christ and eventually became not only a bishop, but the presiding bishop in the Church Of God In Christ! The saints of old seemed to have a “not giving up” spirit that we have forgotten!
Still others of us suffer from a second form of spiritual amnesia – we forget who we are in God. We fail to remember the same God that empowered our spiritual ancestors has not changed! The same God that healed people through Peter’s shadow is alive and accessible to us today. We forget that the same Holy Spirit that anointed Rahab, Esther and Ruth is yet in the anointing business today. I believe we get in a predicament and sometime forget the power and authority God has bequeathed unto us.
The Holy Scriptures remind us we should pay attention lest we let things we have heard and been taught slip. The psalmist encouraged us to bless the Lord at all times and forget not all of His benefits. That’s why I echo the Word and encourage you to testify to yourself as often as possible – this reminds you of the great feats God has performed for us! That’s why praising God is so important, because it puts us in a mindset to remember God’s greatness and not focus on our problems. But do not take this lightly, it is easy to forget.
The account in Luke tells us Mary and Joseph were travelling with their family and friends to Jerusalem and when they left, they assumed Jesus was in the crowd with their other things. They travelled two days before they realized He was not with them. Thank God they had the wisdom to go back and look for Jesus. And where did they find him? They found Him in the church! My friend, I want to encourage you – don’t forget who you are in God. Don’t forget God’s awesome delivering power. Don’t forget where God has brought you from. Don’t forget what God spoke in your life. Don’t forget the promises of God. Don’t forget the authority God has given us. Don’t assume Jesus is in your plans – make sure. And, if you discover He is not, if you discover you have not been walking in the power and authority God has destined, go back and get Jesus – you’ll find Him in the Church!
I bless you in the name of the Lord!
We’re Better Together
Friday, March 1st, 2013
Ecc 4:9-12 “Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone? And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”
Psalms 133:1 “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity”
Hebrews 10:25 “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”
I would dare say these are scriptures we are very familiar with. However, the greater question is do we practice them?
This year the Lord has impressed upon our fellowship to “Continue and Uphold the Legacy of True Holiness.” One of the many valuable assets our fore parents left us was going to church. As a child it seemed as though I was always in church. Tuesday night service, Wednesday night service, Friday noon day prayer and night service, Saturday Sunshine Band meeting and all day Sunday! My former pastor had a saying, “…church, church and more church.” Having served as a pastor for 15 years, I can identify with the saints of old – they were right.
Here at Holiness Tabernacle, we have a reputation of not only having an active church (in the community and other ecclesiastical duties), but we have worship service often. It is not uncommon to have services and activities here at the church for consecutive days over a two or three week period. In fact, we’ve learned we are one of few churches in the area that have two services during the week and a Sunday evening worship opportunity.
I recall sometime last year we had a few people who would worship with us on Sunday evenings from a neighboring church (with their pastor’s permission). They told me their church stopped having Sunday evening services because of a lack of attendance! Some of you may not remember, but back in the early days of the Church Of God In Christ, the “Sunday Night Evangelistic Service” was often better attended than the Sunday morning because visitors from different reformations came just to observe us having church. Many of them ended up being converted as the power of the Holy Ghost drew them in!
Why are we so easily deceived? The Scriptures so readily tell us, “…we are laborers together…; “…if any two of you shall touch and agree…; “…one shall put a thousand to a flight, two, ten thousand….” Did not Jesus send the disciples out in groups of two? Aren’t we told out of the mouths of two witnesses let every word be established? It is clear that we are better together. But the enemy has done a masterful job in dividing us.
Adam and Eve enjoyed bliss in the Garden until they sinned, allowing the devil to plant seeds of discord between them. When the Lord questioned them, they turned on one another. What is it about us that we are so quick to isolate ourselves when we have issues? What makes us think that we can solve our problems on our own? The saints of old understood when they fellowshipped together more frequently, they had a tighter bond, they trusted one another, they could depend on one another, they prayed for one another, they looked out for one another and they protected one another. Unfortunately, today we only see one another once or twice a week at best. Other than that, we are really isolated and more dependent on ungodly resources (it’s amazing how many church people who have best friends who are not saved).
By now we should be acquainted with the ways and devices of the enemy. He is the one who sponsors cliques in the churc;, he is the one who turns one against another; he is the one who prompts us to sow seeds of discord amongst the brethren; he is the one who tells us no one understands our problems and we have to handle them on our own; he is the one who tells us we attend church too much and we need to spend more time with our families; he is the one who tells us that we should not force our children to go to church, but rather we should let them choose on their own. He is a liar and the father of all lies.
Whenever I see the Lord working, He unites people. In fact, I believe the Lord has made us so that we are dependent on one another and Him. Moses needed someone to uphold his arms; the man stricken with palsy needed his friends to bring him to Jesus; even Jesus had someone assigned to help Him carry His cross. Did not the Lord declare it was not good for man to be alone?
Today some have made billions of dollars in the social network industry by merely connecting people. That’s what the church should do – unite people! However, because we have become accustomed to only attending church once a week for a couple of hours, the rest of our time we are connected to something or someone else and we are suffering from it.
My friends, I want to encourage you – let’s work on destroying those hindrances and obstacles that separate us. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit brought the people together. Ask yourself, what am I doing to unite my church? What am I doing to strengthen the body of Christ? What can I do to advance the cause of Christ? Why not ask your pastor if you can host a prayer meeting at the church? Why not ask your pastor if you can start bible study on a week night – at the church. I am sure he won’t object.
At the end of the day, if we’re honest we’ll admit, two is better than one. We’ll admit, there is power in numbers. We’ll admit, we’re better together!
I bless you in the name of the Lord!
Our 2013 Theme
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
Continuing & Upholding The Legacy of True Holiness
To my dearest brothers and sisters in Christ:
Allow me to extend a belated, but sincere Happy New Year to you all. I know this comes quite late, but nonetheless it is heart-felt.
By now many of you are aware that my dear mother went home to be with the Lord earlier this year. I have received numerous cards, letters, resolutions, telephone calls, emails and words of condolence. For this I am eternally thankful.
My mother was an awesome woman of God. She and my father taught me to fear and love God. They brought me up in a holiness home and lived godly lives in front of me. I can never repay my mother and father enough for what they gave me – a good name. They also introduced me to a great God!
On the night before my mother’s home going celebration, I had a difficult time sleeping – she had tasked me with preaching her eulogy more than three years prior. At first, I did not think I had the strength to do it. But as I reflected on the life she lived, the service she gave and the strength she demonstrated, I was somewhat encouraged. As I thanked and praised God for her life, and the blessing of being birthed and raised by so great a lady, He began to deal with me on what our local church should focus on this year.
I Am Better Than This
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012
I recently returned from the Church Of God In Christ’s 105th Annual Holy Convocation – it was awesome! There were so many memorable highlights: my pastor was elected to the Presidium of our denomination – the General Board; the General Assembly re-elected Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr. as our Presiding Bishop of our denomination; I heard several awesome, soul stirring messages; and most importantly the Lord revived my soul.
Wednesday Morning, during the Morning Manna service, I was moved and inspired by Bishop Jackie Cortez Vaughan of Kansas City, Ks. He preached about Daniel’s intercession for Israel during their captivity in Babylon. During the service, I was struggling within myself to really open myself and receive of the Lord. Quite frankly I was carrying a lot of pastoral baggage. I was concerned about this project at the church; I was concerned about this member; I was concerned about my mother; I was concerned about a myriad of things and I wasn’t tuned in to the Spirit of God at all! When the Lord brought it to my attention, I began to sink deeper. I felt guilty and distant from God. I just couldn’t seem to shake whatever was hindering me. Suddenly, I heard the Lord say to me, “Come on, you’re better than this”!
Immediately my mind went back to the text in Numbers 13. You remember this one well. Moses had sent the spies to collect information on their Promised Land – Canaan. Of those that went, Joshua and Caleb reported with confidence, that the land was great. They told Moses the land was everything God said it would be, and they (the people of Israel) were well able to take it. However, ten of the spies had a different perspective. Notice I used the word “perspective”. They agreed that the land was great and flowing with milk and honey. But they focused on the size of the inhabitants and believed the Children of Israel were as grasshoppers in the eyes of the Canaanites because they (Israel) saw themselves as grasshoppers.
What is it about us that too often when challenges arise; we let other people define who we are? I have discovered that I am most often very critical of myself. Are you the same way? We don’t like how we look, sound, sing, and the list goes on. I have also learned that people treat you for the most part how you feel about yourself. I have also learned for some, this is an ongoing battle. Why else would God continually encourage us?
Think about verses like, “I can do all things…”, or “We are more than conquerors…”, or “Greater is he that is within us…” or “We are joint heirs with Christ”. Have you forgotten, “We are a royal priesthood, a chosen generation…?” Yes saints of God, He thinks pretty highly of us. But what do we think of ourselves? How often do you get down on yourself? How many times have you been experiencing a great day and someone comes along and says something that throws you for a loop and you struggle shaking it off?
There is an account in II Kings where the city of Samaria is surrounded by the Syrians. The people of Samaria are starving. There were some lepers who were citizens of Samaria, but they had been kicked out of their city because of their illness. While they were sitting outside of the city, after they finished feeling sorry for themselves, they decided to do something about their situation. They reasoned, “If we stay here we will die; if the Syrians find us they will kill us; we might as well go back to our homes”. You know what happens – they start off walking toward Samaria and stumbled upon the remains of the Syrian army. The Lord had sent an angel and destroyed the enemy and it took those lepers three days to collect the spoil and there was still some left. Had those lepers continued to beat themselves up, they would have died hungry, lonely, and poor and separated from their families. They would not have fulfilled their destiny and the plans the Lord had for them. Even worse, their city would have starved to death!
My friend, I don’t care how bad it feels; it doesn’t matter what you’ve done; regardless of what they say about you; you’re better than that!! I want to encourage you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and get back in the race! Your family needs you, your neighbors need you; your co-workers, your church family, your pastor, your country need you. God has invested too much in you.
When King David felt in despair at Ziklag because of a bitter defeat, at first the soldiers wanted to stone him. But the Bible says, “And David encouraged himself in the Lord”. (I Samuel 30:6) Let me encourage you as well, you’re better than this!
I bless you in the name of the Lord.
Unarmed – But Dangerous
Wednesday, October 10th, 2012
Last week during prayer, while I was thanking the Lord for smiling upon and blessing the membership, the Holy Spirit called my attention to something. As some of you may know our theme this year is, “Preparing for the Overflow”. The Spirit began to recall to my mind some of the many blessings He has bestowed upon the members of this local assembly. We have witnessed miraculous healings, (brain tumors, dementia, sight regained, lupus symptoms) to name a few. We have seen marriages restored, homes purchased, promotions on jobs, marriages, healthy births, souls saved and sanctified. Why just this past weekend the Lord blessed the saints with four brand new vehicles (that’s right – over the weekend!)! Without question the services have been highly anointed and sprit filled. It has been a banner year of growth. While I was thanking God for His blessings and keeping His promises, He brought this thought to my mind.
The saints are really unstoppable. Have you not read and quoted, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13); “No weapon formed against me shall prosper” (Isaiah 54:17); “…upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18); or “Greater is He that is within thee, than he that is in the world” (I John 4:4). The list goes on. But the Lord spoke to me from a different perspective. He told me to continue to encourage the saints, because the enemy will not sit idly by and see the saints being blessed without attempting to cause disruption. If we are unstoppable, how and why is the enemy successful? He convinces us to fight without our most effective weapon – praise!
Think about it, Paul warned us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God (II Corinthians 10:4). If the war is not carnal (physical) but spiritual, then we must fight with spiritual weapons. When the enemy comes at us, he uses deceptive tactics. He’ll work through an individual (spouse, child, parent, co-worker, church member, friend, or supervisor) to get you angry. Instead of responding in a loving, godly way, we take matters into our own hands and strike back. We’ll get angry, speak in the heat of the moment, develop bitterness, envy, call on a friend and spread the venom. Soon we are so out of character it affects our relationship with God! It doesn’t happen immediately, but it develops over a period of time. Remember, as long as we use our weapons, the enemy cannot win – but if we lay those weapons down; he’s got the upper hand!
King Jehoshaphat is a great example of what happens when you use your greatest weapon. In the Old Testament, King Jehoshaphat and Judah were in quite a fix. Three nations had combined their efforts to destroy the Lord’s people (have you ever noticed when people do not like you they find one another and even though they may have had their differences, they unite against you?). The king appealed to the Lord and instructed the people to fast and pray. The Lord’s response was strange indeed. He told them to set the armed soldiers behind the worship and praise leaders. Can you imagine trusting the Lord in a battle plan like that? To us that makes no sense. However, the Lord explains why: He tells the king that the battle is not ours, it’s the Lord’s: that my friend is the answer.
When we take matters into our own hands, we are guaranteed to be defeated because we exclude the Lord! If we win with our weapons, what does God have to do? How will He get the glory? How can we declare that God is awesome and He never fails on the one hand, but when a battle or challenge comes, He lets us fight for Him? That does not make sense. What father or parent lets his or her children fight for them? Only those who are weak and cowardly. Of course we know God does not fit that description. Have you ever read what God said how we should treat our enemies? He said to love them (Proverbs 25:20-22).
Jehoshaphat and Judah listened to God and of course we know the results. The enemy was so confused by the sounds of praise that they turned on one another and destroyed themselves. It took the people of God three days to collect the spoil! What would happen if we blessed and magnified God when we felt under attack? What would happen if we would worship the Lord fervently when someone mistreats us? What would happen if we praised God with all of our might the next time we felt depression coming on? I tell you what would happen; the Lord would come in and give us the complete victory!!
My friend, don’t allow the enemy to disarm you anymore. I still hear the prophecy from my pastor, Bishop Thomas, “Brother Pruitte, and the Lord showed me He is going to give you this entire block. Stay faithful and He will bring it to pass. No one can stop you, but you”. Remember my brothers and sisters; we are unstoppable, as long as we use the correct weapons! Remember this song?
If I praise Him, He will fight my battles;
Let’s Make Some Noise!!
Saturday, September 1st, 2012
If you are like me, you have probably quoted this scripture so many times it’s difficult to count. Usually we’ll read these verses at the beginning of a service, just before testimonial service (which practically no one has any more), or if we are presiding over a service and we want to get the congregation stirred. For those of you who follow any of my writings you may recall that the Lord has challenged me to stop quoting verses that I am not taking to heart. Thus I submit this article.
A couple of weeks ago l was in a service with the Greater Maryland Jurisdiction in their 85th Annual Holy Convocation – my pastor and leader, Bishop Ted Thomas was the guest speaker. Before he preached a mighty word, the host bishop, Bishop Joel H. Lyles, addressed the audience. He informed us that the management of the hotel we were worshipping complained about the amount of noise the saints made the previous year. He then encouraged us to really send a message and show the hotel what real noise was. With that, the saints begin to mightily praise God with a loud voice. That is, almost everyone.
I literally found myself looking around the room, admiring everyone else and the beautiful setting I found myself in. Then as only He can do, the Holy Ghost prompted me: “What’s wrong with your lips, tongue, hands and feet?” I then began to worship my Savior and I felt the presence of God move in, on and all over me. Then God told me I needed to talk about this.
There are so many accounts in the Bible where the Lord instructs His people to make noise: and not just any noise, but they were to make it loud and joyful! Yet as you attend services, whether they be at the local, district, jurisdictional or national level, we are asked, encouraged, begged and eventually fussed at to raise our voices and bless God. “High five your neighbor, tell 18 people, grab your neighbor by the hand, leap for joy…” and on and on it goes. Ask yourself why people who have so much to be thankful for, have to be continuously prodded to do what the Lord commands? I believe it’s because we don’t really understand how praise or making noise benefits us.
You are well aware that noise is expected at a sporting event, musical performance and political gathering. They even go to great lengths to tell you to make noise – with cheerleaders, pom-pom teams, mega-phones, bands and colorful score boards all encouraging us to make noise. And for the most part we do. As a matter of fact, if you don’t make any noise, you look strange. We even hear athletes and performers say they feed off the energy of the audience. Something else happens when we make noise together – the participants in the stands form a type of bond, regardless of their gender, race, religion or socio-economic status. All because the fan put their individuality aside and joined in with everyone else.
Well it works almost the same way when we worship and praise God. Please know this – God does not need our praise to do anything!! I have Bible to support what I said. We were not around to praise God when He created the world; we were not in attendance to cheer the Father as He raised the Son from the dead; I don’t recall anyone singing songs of praise when the widow of Zarephath fed Elijah. I believe that praise is a direct reflection of our faith in God and our faith is what moves Him!
People are challenging – we always want to be in control. That’s why when the expeditor asks us all to stand during offering time, someone in the audience will not stand and some refuse to march to the table. You see them turn their bodies sideways as others are forced to squeeze past them. We’re asked to lift our hands – and we won’t. This is our way of keeping our walls up; this is our way of staying in control of ourselves. Be honest, you know you have said within yourself, “I don’t care what they say, I am not going to stand – they don’t know how I feel!”
However, when we let go of ourselves, when we trust God enough to lose our identity and join in with everyone else, we are demonstrating our faith in what we believe God can do! Remember Joshua and the battle of Jericho (Joshua 6:1-27), or Gideon’s battle with the Midianites (Judges 7) or Jehoshaphat’s victory against the Ammonites, Moabites and all the other “ites” (II Chronicles 20)? The Lord specifically told the people to make loud noise! He did not tell them to close their eyes and act deep; He did not tell them to cross their legs and tell jokes; He did not tell them to look around the room and see what everyone else was doing; He did not tell them to get an attitude with the leader or the person who was in charge. He told them all to make noise! No, their deliverance was not in the noise itself. Their deliverance was in their faith that caused them to hear the Word and become doers of the Word.
My brother and my sister, do not be deceived. Let go of your individuality, let go of your pride, turn loose your warped sense of self-importance, and drop your desire to hold on to your hurt and mistrust. Join the society of the saints and come on – let’s make a joyful noise. Let’s join the author of Psalms 47. “Clap your hands all ye people, shout unto God with a voice of triumph!”
I bless you in the name of the Lord!
Making The Right Choice
Wednesday, August 1st, 2012
Not too long ago I was having one of those moments when I was feeling sorry for myself. Thank God for His Spirit who got my attention. The Lord began to deal with me for allowing junk get next to me when I really should know better. Let me be direct – I had made the choice to allow hindrances to control my walk with Christ, and it was no one’s fault but my own.
Every day we make choices. Some on the surface may appear to be mundane, (i.e. which route will I take to work, what will I wear, what will I eat) and some have more impact on our lives, (i.e. where will I live, where will I work, who will I marry). Some choices we make sub conscientiously, while others we spend hours, days, or even longer, agonizing over what we will do.
It is quite obvious that the Lord is concerned about choices and decisions we make in our lives – and He goes so far as to offer His assistance and warn us should we choose not to follow His guidance. By now scriptures such as, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths,” (Prov. 3:6) or, “…there is a way that seemeth right to man, but the end thereof are the ways of death,” (Prov. 16:25) should be very familiar to us. Yet how many of us fall into the trap of not checking in with God before we make choices? How many of us fall victim of running our options by someone who has no experience (or proven failure) in what we are experiencing. You know how that goes – you complain about your spouse to your single (or divorced) friend; or you take career advice from your unemployed, under-employed, or employed but “hates their job” friend.
Now we get frustrated when our children take advice from their friends. We’ll go on and on about how their 15 year old friend doesn’t have a job, or house, and still they take their advice over yours. Yet, we do this to God. Raise your hand if you have taken the advice of your friend over your pastor (now put it down before someone sees you). Well my friend, just know when things begin to crumble – we have no one to blame but ourselves. We made that choice.
Joshua led Israel across the Jordan River into the Promised Land. He served Moses and saw the Lord deliver Israel out of Egypt. He saw God lead them with a cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. He saw God send manna, quail and water from a rock. He saw God give them victory after victory. Yet he also knew how fragile and fickle people could be. He warned Israel that they had a choice of who to serve: they could choose Jehovah God, who had performed all of those feats (and more), or they could choose to serve the god their fathers served on the other side of the flood. These were the false gods that had them in bondage. These were the false gods who beat them and destroyed their children. These were the false gods who wanted to steal their destiny. Joshua then went a little further. He wanted the record to show, whatever the children of Israel decided, he and his family would serve the Lord.
How many of you have heard the saying, “…the devil made me do it,” or, “…I just could not help myself.f” Well to that I say, read I Corinthians 10:13. Or I’ll say read James 1:12-15. In a sense, James tells us that we cannot blame God for our sin. James tells us we have a choice to sin or not – and if we give in to sin, it is because we chose to yield to our flesh.
My friends – how many times have we read or quoted segments of the promises of blessings in Deuteronomy 28? There have been songs written about that passage of scripture. However, the blessings are only recorded in the first 14 or 15 verses. The curses, however, take up nearly the next 50 or so verses. The Bible is clear – if we choose to obey God, the blessings in the first 14 verses apply to our lives; they will overtake us. If we choose not to obey God – make way for the curses. Now you may ask yourself, why would anyone choose to be cursed? My response to that is: (1) we do not believe the Bible; (2) we do not believe what is recorded in the Word applies to us; and (3) we do not realize the choices we are making are detrimental.
Have you ever noticed how the enemy helps you make bad choices? Yet when the bill is due – he is nowhere to be found. Just ask Eve, Adam, Esau, King Saul, the foolish prophet in II Kings, or Ananias and Sapphira. The friend who encourages you to leave your spouse isn’t there when the children cry out for their parent. The friend who told you to leave your job isn’t there when you need money for your rent. The friend who tells you to ignore your pastor isn’t around when you need to be prayed out of a horrible pit. And we have no one to blame because we made the choice.
I am so glad God put it in my hands to make a choice whether or not I want to live holy, be victorious, have a strong marriage, lead my children in holiness, be a successful pastor, and worship the God of my salvation. And no one can stop me but me. My friend, it does not matter who dislikes you; it does not matter who has decided you are not smart enough, wise enough or born into the right family. It does not matter how many people turn their back on God and forsake Him – I have decided to be an over comer in Christ!
Recently my pastor, Bishop Thomas, was sharing something with me. He told me that the Lord showed him a glimpse of my future. He told me that the Lord showed us acquiring several properties around our current location. “Brother Pruitte, because of your faithfulness and obedience, no one can stop you but you.” Every now and then, those words are brought back to my remembrance by the Holy Spirit. Therefore when a spirit of depression, impatience or any other hindrance comes at me – I recall to my mind what the Holy Scriptures tell me. If I can do all things; if the Greater One is within me; if I am more than a conqueror; if God is with me, He is more than the world against me… If all of these things, then I have some say so in my destiny and place in God. No one can stop me, no one can hold me back and no one can tell me that it’s not my time. I can make a choice to serve God and be victorious in Him!
I bless you in the name of the Lord!
Thank God for My Dad – and Thank God I’m a Dad
Sunday, July 1st, 2012
Happy Father’s Day to all of the fathers reading this article! I hope and pray yours was as good as mine. The day began with me having a word of prayer with my Savior, and then I called my dad, Elder Eddie B Pruitte, Sr. We talk nearly every day – not only is he a great guy, he’s one of my heroes. I called to wish him Happy Father’s Day and to make sure I got him the gift he most wanted. As we made conversation about our families, politics, sports and other issues, I found myself still in awe of my dad. I can remember like yesterday, watching him work seemingly untiringly to support our family.
During one stretch in my life he worked three jobs and I would only see him on the weekends (he left around 2:30 A.M and did not return until nearly 10:00 P.M.). But rest assured every Saturday morning he’d wake me up at 7:00 A.M. and we’d go to breakfast, then on to the barbershop where I’d shine shoes while he cut hair. Then every Sunday morning he’d wake me up again at 7:00 A.M. and we’d get ready for Sunday School. He was always teaching me about manhood and to love God. Not so much with words, but by the things that he did. I never heard him curse my mother, or run down our pastor. He always seemed to know what to do: how to fix the car, how to treat a woman and how to find a job. My dad could do anything. It wasn’t until much later in life I realized the source of his strength and wisdom – God!
Even today at seventy-eight years old, he is still the primary care giver for my mother (after fifty nine years of marriage) whose health has declined. He still serves as my brother’s Assistant Pastor, and always finds words to make me feel important and accomplished. Every day I find myself becoming more and more like my father, and for that I am grateful.
Today, I celebrated Father’s Day with many of you and all I can say is I am a blessed man. God gave me the perfect wife, four beautiful daughters, an intelligent and handsome son and two loving grandchildren. As the years pass and I see my family grow, numerically, spiritually and naturally, I am godly proud that God used me to be an instrument to procreate, provide and protect life. No one can do that but a father.
A few weeks ago I was undoubtedly the proudest and most blessed father on the face of the earth as I saw two of my daughters graduate from college on the same day!! I sat in the auditorium and beamed with pride knowing the Lord used me to shape and mold their lives.
Even today in worship service I was blessed to see my entire family involved in praising the Lord: from playing the organ, to singing in the choir, to serving as a deacon, to working the sound room, to working in the finance room, to sitting on the front row, praying, supporting, looking as holy and as pretty as the first time I laid eyes on her. I am godly proud of the lives God has allowed me to impact as a father.
Unfortunately, too many men have forsaken their God given right to be a blessing to other people. Perhaps some of them did not have a father such as I. Perhaps some of them were deceived by the enemy. Whatever the reason, all I can say is I am forever in debt to God and my dad. So much so, that I intend to spend the rest of my days being a blessing to my dad as well as the family I have been blessed with.
As I end this word article, I want to encourage every father. I want us to recapture that special gift and ability God reserved for us and us only – fatherhood. I would love for you to experience the joy of seeing your legacy continue. I would love for you to experience the joy of someone benefitting from your sacrifice and hard work. Doesn’t that sound like our Father who art in heaven? Well He wants us to continue what He started. My dad did it for me and I am striving to do this every day for my family. Now it’s your turn!
Happy Father’s Day – I bless you in the name of the Lord!