Sunday, February 26, 2012

Being There:The Ichabod Part Two

Praise the Lord! I pray everyone is enjoying God's blessing. I am a little disappointed today as I write this because I was not able to attend church today because of transportation issues. After a wonderful return to church last week this week I am unable to be with my church family. If you read my last post "The Ichabod" you might say to your self "why are you so eager to return to a church that is lacking the shekinah glory of God?"

The answer to this question is many fold, but number one is I want to be obedient to God and his word.
Hebrews 10:24+25 states
24And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 
25Not 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.

This scripture really covers it all. We as believers are commanded to come together in groups, which we have done down through the years. But more and more it seems we have forgotten why we should come together. Number one, church is not a social club! We don't go to show off or to observe the latest fashions. We don't go to hear or pass on the latest gossip. We are not there to showcase or show off the gifts that God gave us.
The word says we should come together to "exhort" one another. To exhort means to encourage, to spur on or to urge or persuade. That is why I try and press my way to church when I can because I have this urge or desire to encourage others to keep going in Christ, to hold onto His unchanging hand. I also want to be encouraged, encouraged to keep walking, keep striving and to stay under the burden that Jesus has given me because His burden is light.

We have the obligation as a church to be there for each other and for those that are lost, our gifts are not for record contracts or mega churches or mega money but for each other from the greatest to the least of us. When a crack head wonders into your church they are not interested in how good we sing, but the good we sing about. They are not interested in how good we preach but in the good we preach about. It's not the garment we wear on the outside that attracts but the Garment we wear on the inside that draws the people in and to Christ.

So Shekinah Glory or no Shekinah Glory, Ichabod or not, my responsibility is to gather together with my Brothers and sisters in Christ so that we can be there for each other. Sometimes I needed them and sometimes they needed me but most importantly we need each other and together we all need Jesus.

                                                        God bless you all, Brother Darrell, A Watchman

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Ichabod

Praise the Lord! I pray you all are enjoying the blessing of the Lord. Yesterday I went to church, the reason that this fact is blog worthy is because for the last couple of months it seems that the enemy was pulling out all stops in an effort to keep me at home on Sunday's. Broken elevators, transportation problems and bodily infirmities also contributed to a long string of Sunday morning no shows. The last few weeks the elevator again was the culprit. Ah but yesterday after much prayer the Lord opened the door for me to leave my apartment / prison and venture out to be with my church family.

The process of getting there was not without incident, but when I finally arrived the feeling of accomplishment and joy was overwhelming, but the pain of the press was well worth it. As I stepped off the van I was greeted by one of the church trustees who was surprised to see me. I had not told anyone I was coming because every time I had said I was coming in the past something would always come up and prevent me from attending. As I walked in they were praying for the sick and shut in and my name was one of the names being mentioned. Only a few noticed as I made my way in and as they looked up after prayer there I was. Home.

Our church is not a big mega ministry housed in some grand edifice. It is a modest building with an historical look to it with its old wooden pews lined up on either side of it's one narrow isle that splits the sanctuary in half from the pulpit to the door. The sanctuary definitely has a since of history about it, I had often imagined how it was "back in the day" with people dancing and falling out slain in the spirit during one of of those Holy Ghost ho-downs churches in Harlem were famous for. When I look at it now I see the  faded glory of a ministry that had fallen on hard times at one time and is now being resurrected by God through the hard work and dedication of it's core group and a  Pastor who God placed there over three years ago for this very purpose.

As I sat there I looked out at the sparse crowd and noted that only the core group was in attendance that Sunday, the faithful few who have been attending regularly for over thirty years in some cases. I am a new comer having come after the new pastor was installed by God. 1st Samuel 4:21 states
21 She named the boy Ichabod,[a] saying, “The Glory has departed from Israel”—because of the capture of the ark of God and the deaths of her father-in-law and her husband. 22 She said, “The Glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God has been captured.”
The word "Ichabod" means no glory or the glory has departed and as I sat there I was painfully aware that whatever glory this place had had back in the day was no longer present. The man of God whom God had put in place was obviously giving his all spiritually and physically yet the glow of Gods glory was absent from the faces of the people as they appeared to be entering in to the praise and worship  but were without the anointing. It is a common occurrence in churches throughout the body of Christ.

The time has come for us to reach for a higher level in Christ, We are the Church, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit and we are the reason for the absence of Gods glory in our temples. Haggai 1:2-8
2Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the LORD's house should be built.
3Then came the word of the LORD by Haggai the prophet, saying,
4Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses, and this house lie waste?
5Now therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
6Ye have sown much, and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes.
7Thus saith the LORD of hosts; Consider your ways.
8Go up to the mountain, and bring wood, and build the house; and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the LORD.

We have restored the physical Church, with new tiles and carpets, lights and ceiling fans but in order to restore the glory we must rebuild our temples. We must consider our ways, are we living all we know for God? And if we are do we know enough? Are we studying to show ourselves approved? Are we concerned about others or are we just looking out for ourselves? Are we in the valley? or are we on the mountain top? We must consider our ways, we must get before the Lord and bring the wood of prayer and supplication and build His house. Let us build our temples and return the glory of God to the Church.  God bless you all,
                                     Brother Darrell, A Watchman

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cracked Pot or Vessel Of Honour

Praise the Lord! I pray everyone is enjoying God's many blessings. I myself am definitely having a valley experience. I have been held hostage in my apartment for the last eleven days due to disrupted elevator service. I need a hair cut and I have been ready to start back going to church for weeks and now I can't get there. I trust God and I know He knows what He is doing so I accept what God allows.

I was just talking to a good friend of mine in the Lord, Brother Richie, and as we talked I began reflect on my life. When I could work I worked as an R.N. I was a good nurse, not bragging, and I loved what I did. I was on the fast track to being a Director of Nursing and I threw it all away for the life of a crack head. All the time I invested in studying and preparation was wasted. The pain of unfulfilled potential is still with me.
 Then I began to look at myself and my record as a man of God. I began to notice some similarities. God had invested a lot of time in me. He blessed me with many gifts. I had an insatiable desire to study God's word right from the beginning. Within  one year of giving my life to Christ I was in full time ministry and preaching with such authority my pastor asked me if I was a "ringer"he couldn't believe that I had never preached before. Don't get me wrong It was God who was doing all this not me. Even after I ran back to drugs because I was not comfortable with how fast I was being elevated, God was with me molding me and making me until I was finally delivered from drugs for good.

This time around God has brought me along slowly and has used my new affliction as a thorn in my side, just as He did with Apostle Paul in the New Testament. My concern now is that I do not waste this opportunity to be used by God as I did with my nursing career. The stakes are higher now. Lives and souls are on the line. My time is growing shorter, all the trials and tribulations have fulfilled their purpose and God has given me a wife to help me during this part of my journey, She is truly my help mate.

I look at my age and realize this may be the last chance for me to fulfill the promise that God has put in me. I've been to the potters house, I've gone through the crucible and now He is putting me in position.
Don't get me wrong I will always be evolving in Christ, ever learning, ever growing as we all should be doing. 2nd Timothy 2:19-21 states
19Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
20But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour.
21If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.

I dare say I am a vessel of honour, sanctified, ready and prepared for whatever good works the Lord would have for me. This blog is a part of that. God has taken me from cracked pot to vessel of honour. It is not always an easy walk but we all as children of God have our paths to follow but they all end in the same place if we stay on them. If you are going through  something right now just remember it's all part of the process of becoming a vessel of honour.
                                                                  God bless you,
                                                                                Brother Darrell, A Watchman

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Don't look Now but Your Sheep are showing

Praise the Lord! I pray that everyone has been enjoying the many blessings of God. I and my wife Ruth are standing on God's word and counting our blessings as we  weather storm after storm in our lives, but we are not worried because Jesus is on the boat with us and we know that any minute now He's going to stand up and say "peace be still" to our storms.

Despite what I said in my last post about giving my all to God I find myself still struggling with the sideshows of life. When the main attraction should be God and his word I still find myself at times unable to turn from the T.V. shows and the nether lands of surfing the net. I at times would ask God when the storms came "why me? I've done all you have asked of me." I stopped asking Him that question after some close self-examination. A Lot of Christians including myself have a tendency to only remember the things we have been obedient about while rationalizing and suppressing the things we were not obedient about. An example of this is in 1st. Samuel 15: 13+14
13And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.
14And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
If you read the whole chapter you will find out that God, through His prophet Samuel had told Saul
3Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
But Saul did not do that, he decided to spare Agag the King along with the best sheep and oxen. To make matters worst Saul was approached by Samuel and the first thing he did was start to brag about how he had carried out God's will and when Saul questioned him he made the  excuse that he had spared the best in order to make a sacrifice to God.

I'm sure on the surface it sounds reasonable to most of us, why not? you might ask, I did the main thing I destroyed the Amalekites and wiped them from the face of the earth. I can remember a time when the Lord spoke to me and made it clear that there was a certain ministry and minister that He wanted me to confront and condemn because they were corrupt. I did not want to do it. I said, "Lord who am I that I should speak out against this ministry?" Finally, after much prayer and fasting, I did what I was told or at least it appeared that I did to myself and the few people I had confided in. The minister in charge of this ministry was powerful and had the ability to have me expelled but I put my trust in God and I confronted him as I was instructed and God was with me and the outcome was positive in my eyes and I was even offered a position working under him as an assistant because of my "boldness" and "honesty" he explained.

After that I went around telling everyone about how I had done what God had asked me to do, I was feeling good about myself but He was not feeling good about me. Why? Because I was not obedient. God had told me that after I confronted the ministry I was to leave and not accept any gifts from them and I did. No, I did not take the position as his assistant event though I did consider it but I did accept two new suits from them. I told myself that it was alright because I did not have a suit to wear to church and now I could honor God in how I dressed as well as how I lived. So I accepted the suits and after that, my life began to spiral out of control, all because I was not obedient. There is no such thing as being partially obedient. You either are obedient or you're not as Saul found out in verses 20-23
20And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
22And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.

I left that ministry in disgrace after a drug relapse and even though the person who I had spoken out against also had left in disgrace before I did I had varied from God's plan and therefore did not receive my blessing. The one God had planned for me. How many times have we called ourselves being obedient, carrying out God's will but in retrospect we only were partially obedient. We carried out the parts we agreed with while not executing the parts we didn't agree with or didn't understand. Yet we go around with our chest puffed out testifying to our own goodness and obedience and at the same time things in our lives are out of control and it seems like God is not listening, maybe just maybe we are not as obedient as we think we are. I am learning there is no acceptable level of obedience accept 100% obedience. Even our very thoughts are called to be obedient, see 2nd Corinthians 10:4+5 
4(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

From now on before I start testifying about what I did for the Lord I'm going to shut my mouth and make sure there are no sheep bleating in my background. How about you?
                                    God bless you all, Brother Darrell, A Watchman

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

We All Give Some, but One Gave All

Praise The Lord! I pray everyone is doing well and is enjoying the blessing of God. I am encouraged today. In my last post I declared that sin made me sick and that the devil may be angry with me but I was even more angry with him, I said it then and I'll say it again " I am tired of him stealing from me" For years he used drugs to take everything away from me accept my life and most of my family. He stole my sister and my baby brother from me and the rest of my family. Both were in their 30's when drugs led to their deaths. "Why has God spared me?" I often ask myself, "Why are they dead while I am yet alive?" The answer is God's amazing grace.

It is God's amazing grace that allows us to stand up and say "enough!!" When the devil rears his ugly head in our lives. I have re - embraced this attitude I am marching back to my first love and what I mean by "first love" is I'm striving for that relationship I had when I first met Him, that total devotion, that desire to spend all my time with him and to live in His presence. I remember how broken I was when I first got saved. I cried for weeks at the drop of a hat. For years I didn't own a T.V. and I never missed it because His word kept me and satisfied me, I studied it day and night even while I ate my meals.
Now when I eat I've got to have the T.V on so I can watch one of my favorite shows. Television and other electronic media are God's greatest competition for our attention. Even with all the tel-evangelist and gospel music shows on cable and T.V. none take the place of personal devotion time with God. A lot of the gospel shows on television have entertainment value but few have the anointing that destroys the yoke of bondage. One scripture in Mark 12:29-31 
29And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

How many of us actually follow that command? There should be nothing between us and our love for God, nobody, no TV program, no hobby or career should over shadow our relationship with God. As much as I would like to say I have reached that point in my walk I can not. I am still striving to reach that level. The level I was a lot closer to when I first got saved. Why? I ask myself, is it so hard to maintain the intensity we had in the beginning of our relationship!
You have to work at it. It is like a marriage, you have to work at it to make it work. The bible says in Galatians 5:17 
17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. 
 And in Mark 14:37 +38
37And he cometh, and findeth them sleeping, and saith unto Peter, Simon, sleepest thou? couldest not thou watch one hour?
38Watch ye and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. The spirit truly is ready, but the flesh is weak.
  We have been sleeping on God, at least I know I have, I have not been living everything I know how. Yes I have been afflicted but that is not an excuse and at times I believe I have used it as an excuse to "slack off" a bit and not press my way through the pain and discomfort when I could have. There were times when I could not make it, very painful times and I let those times effect me and my desire to press on when I had the ability to do so. My spirit was willing but my flesh did not want to hurt anymore and the enemy used that to try and hinder me but I'm tired of him stealing from me and hindering my progress in Christ. When I think of the power the body of Christ could have if we all returned to our first love of Christ and even beyond that. We have to die in order to live, we have to cry sometime in order to laugh and we have to suffer before we can be delivered. I love the Lord, He gave his all for me why can't I give my all for Him?
                                           God Bless You All, Brother Darrell, A Watchman