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By Brother Richard L. Dixon
I give honor to God, to the Presiding Pastor, the first lady, elders, deacons, missionaries, mothers, and finally to my beautiful wife Evangelist Constance D. Dixon who has stood by me through the challenges that have been laid before me in my life. I feel both honored and privileged to do the will of God by giving an accounting of his word to his flock that seeks to get closer to his presence. We as a body of believers stand at the crossroads of this new millennium because the level of chaos, violence, and mayhem is such that we need God more than ever. The famed author Charles Dickens coined the circumstances of events that are now unfolding before our eyes as "the best and worst of times.´ Saints you can approach this turbulent era with the mindset of serving God and living for his coming kingdom or cast your lot and cater to the false idols of the world. You cannot love one or hate the other. You cannot be a fence sitter. God has shown us time and time again that we cannot serve and live for him if we are residing in the wilderness of the world. Go with me to the first chapter of Ecclesiastes where we will examine the life of Solomon when he abandoned God and opt for the things of the world only to surrender back into the protective arms of our Father in Heaven. The words of the Preacher, the son of David, king in Jerusalem.Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun? One generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever. The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north; it whirleth about continually, and the wind returneth again according to his circuits.All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again.All things are full of labour; man cannot utter it: the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. Is there any thing whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.There is no remembrance of former things; neither shall there be any remembrance of things that are to come with those that shall come after.´(Eccl: 1:1-11). In the first chapter of the book of Ecclesiasteswe find the Jewish King Solomon has become vexed in his natural and spiritual walk with God. Solomon had it all, wisdom, wives, fortune, and rule over the nation of Israel. However, as much as he was a wise ruler, he strayed away
from his walk from God in pursuit of vanities of the world. In his relentless pursuit of fortune, wives, and other idols, they became vanities of himself. Eventually those worldly pursuits took a toll on Solomon¶s spirit man. He became both vexed and despondent. It seems that the selfless pursuit of the materialistic riches of the world did not make him any happier. In Solomon¶s eyes, the pursuit of worldly gain by mankind was the same process over and over again. His ³lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life´ (1 John 2:16) separated him from the love, guidance, and direction of God Almighty. Solomon did not desire God anymore. However, he came to the realization that no matter how many riches he possessed or wisdom he bestowed, the absence of God in his life was a void. In other words when it came to Solomon¶s situation, the question is asked ³For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?´ (Mark 8:36-37) To Solomon, empires come and go, riches may abound, and one may achieve the highest level of education, however they are just temporary attributes of a sinful fleshy world that eventually withers away like rotten fruit on a vine. Sin is sin no matter how you name, package, or sell it. In pursuing vanities of the flesh, it is always the same no matter who the person or what era they live in. In essence, there is nothing new under the sun. Yet through it all, the only constant stabilizing presence in Solomon¶s wretched life, was the love, presence, and existence of a merciful God. Indeed God is who he says he is no matter the century, year, decade or time. In today¶s world just as it was in Solomon¶s era, we too have become vain, shallow, a former shell of whom we are in Christ Jesus because we have failed to live by the divine word of God. Many of us in some way or another have decided to settle beneath our potential because we feel that there is no more. We have decided to live for ourselves and not for God. We committed ourselves to the vanities of life in this world and not the path of Christ Jesus. ³No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.´ (Matt: 6:24). What then are the vanities of life? We traded in our walk with God for a path dedicated to one of personal indulgence of self. We have developed an edifice onto ourselves. What is even worst and more disturbing is that there those of us even in the very house of worship that hold fast to the things of the world while at the same professing and saying that we know Christ Jesus. Thus church has become for them a place to be seen and heard as the center of attraction. ³But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.´(Matthews 6:7-8). We are pre-occupied in obtaining the latest electronic and computer gadget; we have defined our personal relationships through social mediums such as Facebook, twitter, my space, and Friendster. There are those of us who have become obsessed with these mediums and said and
posted ungodly things about our neighbors, friends, family members, and even brothers and sisters in the house of worship for all the word to see. ³But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.´ (Joshua 22:5) We have put ourselves in spiritual bondage by casting our lot with the wilderness of the world. One will find that being in the world is a dark, scary, spooky, chaotic, and dangerous place that is full of pitfalls. In pursuit of the vanities of materialism, we have become vain, arrogant, shallow, and prideful. We would do anything and everything to get the materialistic desires of our heart even if it meant stepping on and over our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus to get there. In the latter days, one will find that ³And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.´ (Matthews 24:12). Then there are those of us who seek the approval of the world so that they can worship, uplift, and praise us as if we are demigods. The world holds Hollywood moguls, high powered athletes, corrupt businessman, and political officials in adoration. Such adoration is short-lived because the age old saying ³all good things must come to an end readily applies.´ What happens when the lights are turned off, the press walks away, and legions of groupies are no more|? Just ask those who have fallen from grace because of sex scandals, drugs, alcohol, bankruptcy, or even spousal abuse. At this point everyone abandons you like a sinking ship. In the time honored classic novelMoby Dick, we find that Captain Ahab is obsessed with killing the while at all cost. In the end, his obsession cost both he and his crew their lives as they go down with the ship. In the real world, one¶s obsession with trivia pursuit of self can cause your natural and spirit man to go down to such a point that it could be your very life. There comes a point in your life that your continued pursue of selfish greed, vanities, and materialism puts you at the crossroad of salvation which is either serving the interest of the God of this word who is Satan the Lord of perdition or the Lord God JEHOVAH²YAHWEH Lord of Lord and King of Kings You see Satan wants us to hit rock bottom and destroy ourselves because he knows that we already have victory over his dominion and his imps because we are bathed in the glory of Christ because he took on our sins so that we could have everlasting life. ³Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.´ (Romans 4:7). Brethren our vainness and appetite for sin separate us from the love and presence of God. In effect, we have created a spiritual stronghold which imprisons us to the point that we cannot receive his blessings. Then the is the realization that living a life apart from God in pursuing worldly lusty desires is like a scorched-earth policy because it has the potential of destroying anything and everything around you. Your sin affects your family to the point that it can be shame, condemnation, and scorn on your household. A life without God is a lonely journey. When you are the will of God he directs our life because we are living for him and not ourselves. We go to him in prayer, fasting, and supplication to get a breakthrough or decisions for circumstances concerning our life. For example when God directs us not to go down a certain path we don¶t. However, when you are
not in the will of God, you go down that street by making bad choices and we suffer the consequences. God is no respecter of persons. He doesn¶t care about your riches or materialistic wealth. He just wants you. That means submitting and humbling ourselves to his will which means being obedient by not clinging unto materialistic things which requires living a life separate from the world as Christ did who was God manifested in the flesh during his earthly ministry. ³But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.´(Romans 16:26-27). There are those though who acknowledge that they want to continue to live the world while at the same professing that they believe in something but the divine word of God so that they can just slide on by on their own terms. They seek out so-called prophets new-age gurus who cater and justify their vainness lifestyles. Then there are those who have forsaken the sweetness of the Word of God for unsound doctrine that is deceitful, conniving, and blasphemous to the Kingdom of God. ³Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.´ (2Timothy 2:14-16). If that is not enough confusion in their already pitiful life, they try to conjure up the illusions that if they desire God then he will approve of their troubled lifestyle. God doesn¶t want us to desire him; he wants us to sell out to him by giving our heart, mind, and soul. Desire is a human emotion that can be easily flawed. In the end though, those trying to slide under the radar of life are eventually caught up in the chaotic world due to their unstable lifestyle which will eventually consume their soul unless they can change their ways. You cannot run from or stay the hand of God. When the world has failed us then we want blame our creator for the mess that we made out of our lives. We constantly bump our head in the journey of life by making the wrong decisions, circumstances, and acquaintances. Instead of learning from our sinful and destructive ways, we instead opt out to cloak ourselves in a spiritual depression that deflects the spiritual gifts which is the presence of the Holy Spirit which is the manta of life that draws us to do our heavenly father¶s will. We cannot hear from God and continue to be out there in the worldly wilderness susceptible to attacks from the enemy both naturally and spiritually. Yet when you are in the will of god he provides protection from the toxic arrows of the enemy. He always has you battle ready. ³Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.´ (Ephesians 6:11). He will get you to the point that attacks by the enemy will be like water running off a duck¶s back. In other words, he will strengthen you to take blows and keep serving him. Hence my follow brethren, serving God
means trusting him and turning from our wicked ways. That means not keeping company or being in the presence of those who do things contrary to his will. ³I have not sat with vain persons, neither will I go in with dissemblers. I have hated the congregation of evil doers; and will not sit with the wicked.´ (Psalm 26:4). How much are you willing to be sold out for Christ? How much do you desire the loving guidance of a loving Creator Jehovah Gyro? What will it take for you to say yes Lord here is I? I want you to be my all in all, Lord of Lord, and personal savior. Jesus paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we could live and not suffer the full wrath of God for our sinful and filthy nature. ³Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.´ (Isaiah 53:4-5). God wants total submission that means mind, body, and soul. It is not I did these things but rather ³I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.´ (Phillipans 4:13) When we humble ourselves through Christ Jesus we actually find strength and comfort. ³Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.´ (2 Cor 12:10) Solomon realized that it was the will of God that got him to what he became and what he had achieved. The same holds true to us this very day. Serving God puts you in a situation that you will receive blessings and an anointing that overshadow what you tried to do in the wilderness of the world by yourself with painful results. The difference is that you will receive your blessings from God to enhance and glorify his Kingdom. Instead of walking on the backs of your fellow brethren, co-workers or even family members to get a new promotion, raise, or even a position in the house of God, you will help, nurture, and motivate them, which my brothers and sisters is evidence of a Godly character. It is by his grace that is sufficient for you. Paul said it best in 1 Cor 15:10 ³But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.´ It is serving God that gives us the victorious spiritual mindset to hold firm in our relationship and walk with him. God is able and in him we achieve a supernatural lifestyle that centers on the holiness of the creator and living a life for his kingdom. It means being Godly cool. What is meant by Godly cool you ask? Godly cool means being confident who you are in Christ Jesus. That means being bold in your walk with God and having the courage to live a holiness lifestyle without conforming to the fleshly demands of the world. Being sold out for Christ means thought, deed, and action. For example, when we face adversity in the church, we want to run. But it let it happen in the clubs we use to frequent while in the world, we want to take off earrings, shoes, and gets a jar of Vaseline getting ready to fight because someone looked at us the wrong way or say something that was offensive. When we turn our lives over to Christ, God wants us to use our spiritual sword for his will and not for our own selfish interest. Let God fight your battles both naturally and spiritually because as a child of Christ we have victory over our enemies. ³And they shall be as mighty men, which tread down their enemies in the mire of
the streets in the battle: and they shall fight, because the LORD is with them, and the riders on horses shall be confounded.´ (Zechariah 10:5). We are so concerned about what our friends, neighbors, and co-workers think about us that we miss the essence of Christ. When you live a life for Christ you should already expect the world to hate the light of Christ within you. ³If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.´ (John 15:18). Therefore stop living for the world and all it vanities and selfish vainness and be the person in Christ Jesus that you were meant to become. Tell both the world and Satan and his imps, that you are the child of the most high God and to take their hands off you, your family, health, finances, and houses by storming his kingdom and taking no prisoners. ³And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force.´ (Matthews 11:15). Tell the enemy that you live for Christ and will take back everything that he took for you. You are a warrior for Christ and your battle cry is righteous living, keeping the faith, and salvation. You don¶t need the world; In fact the world needs the Christ that is within you than more than ever. As a soldier for Christ, let God use you to bring in the lost sheep of the fold. Be the man or woman of God to convict the hearts and minds of the lost through exemplary living and high moral character. Live for God for the sake of his glory, your wife, husband, children, aunt, uncle, and co-workers. Don¶t end up like Solomon who stepped outside the fold of God¶s protection in order to pursue foolish follies, vanities, and becoming vain before realizing that he needed the presence of God in order to have peace, a stable mind, and a sense of purpose. When Solomon finally realized that he could not be the man he was meant to be in the wilderness of the world, he humbled himself into the merciful arms of God. It was only then that he did great things for the Kingdom of God. How long will you stay out in the world pursue foolish vanities and fantasies before you sell out to God? How long will you continue to abide in filthy corruption, riotous living, and lust before you fall on your knees and submit to God? Now is the time to get it right to ask God to come into your life so that he can clean you up your unclean spirit and soul. The end is near and the time is short, we know not when our Lord and Savior will return and willhold us all accountable for our actions by separating the wheat and the tares. Don¶t wait
before it is too late. Now is the time to submit your life to Christ. ³But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.´ (Romans 10:8-11) A life with Christ is not the end but a new beginning. All the vainness, adoration, self-centered, and pride that was your fleshly desire is gone and by the wayside because you become a new man or woman in Christ Jesus because he washes away your sins when you surrender to him. ³And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.´ (John 8:32) It doesn¶t matter if at one time if you were an adulterous, murderer, strung out on drugs, thief, or fornicator, God forgives us all once we surrender to his will because he is no respecter of persons. There is no thin line between new and old Christians in the eyes of our father who art in heaven. ³For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.´ (1 Cor 12:13) We are joint heirs¶ part of a royal priesthood. There is nothing in the wilderness of the world or universe that can compare once you are in the perfect will of God Almighty.
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