Sunday, February 28, 2016

Discussing Abraham: The Covenant

Genesis 17
1 And when Abram was ninety years old and nine, the LORD appeared to Abram, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.
2 And I will make my covenant between me and thee, and will multiply thee exceedingly.
3 And Abram fell on his face: and God talked with him, saying,
4 As for me, behold, my covenant is with thee, and thou shalt be a father of many nations.
5 Neither shall thy name any more be called Abram, but thy name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made thee.
6 And I will make thee exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of thee, and kings shall come out of thee.
7 And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.
8 And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.
9 And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations.
10 This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; Every man child among you shall be circumcised.
11 And ye shall circumcise the flesh of your foreskin; and it shall be a token of the covenant betwixt me and you.
12 And he that is eight days old shall be circumcised among you, every man child in your generations, he that is born in the house, or bought with money of any stranger, which is not of thy seed.
13 He that is born in thy house, and he that is bought with thy money, must needs be circumcised: and my covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
14 And the uncircumcised man child whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people; he hath broken my covenant.
15 And God said unto Abraham, As for Sarai thy wife, thou shalt not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be.
16 And I will bless her, and give thee a son also of her: yea, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her.
17 Then Abraham fell upon his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born unto him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?
18 And Abraham said unto God, O that Ishmael might live before thee!
19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.
20 And as for Ishmael, I have heard thee: Behold, I have blessed him, and will make him fruitful, and will multiply him exceedingly; twelve princes shall he beget, and I will make him a great nation.
21 But my covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear unto thee at this set time in the next year.
22 And he left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.
23 And Abraham took Ishmael his son, and all that were born in his house, and all that were bought with his money, every male among the men of Abraham's house; and circumcised the flesh of their foreskin in the selfsame day, as God had said unto him.
24 And Abraham was ninety years old and nine, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
25 And Ishmael his son was thirteen years old, when he was circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin.
26 In the selfsame day was Abraham circumcised, and Ishmael his son.
27 And all the men of his house, born in the house, and bought with money of the stranger, were circumcised with him.

A covenant is much stronger than a promise. A covenant is when both parties give up something in order to insure that a promise is kept. For instance, if you made a promise to your best friend, and your best friend made a promise to you, it would be well and good that you and they keep your promise to each other. But, to INSURE that that promise is kept, you take something from them (such as their deepest darkest secret, which, as best friends, you more than likely know). You agree that if that promise is not kept, then the thing that you took would be destroyed. (If your friend does not keep his/her promise, then you agree that you have permission to tell their shameful secret to everyone). That, then, would be a covenant.

God promised Abraham that his descendants would have the Land of Canaan. God promised Eve that, one day, her descendents would bruise the head of the serpent that deceived her. Each child born after that was subject to scrutiny by God. "Is this child worthy of bearing My Name?" This is the question God asked as He looked at each generation and made His choices. Seth was chosen. Then there was Noah. God chose Abram. Only those in the line of His descendants who were faithful, righteous and just were worthy; and, even they were never perfect. God never left them. His Spirit covered them. His love for them endured.

God made a promise to Abram, and now He wanted to make it official.

God told Abram to walk before Him and be perfect. Abram was human. How could he be perfect?

Genesis 15:6
“And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness.”

Abram believed, and that was enough. Abram could do no wrong worthy of damnation because of his faith in God. As long as he believed, he trusted. As long as he trusted, God would count him as righteous, perfect, and without flaw. You've heard people say of other people, "In his eyes, she can do no wrong." That person doesn't have to be perfect. She only has to love. This is how God viewed Abram, who became Abraham. It was as if He were saying to Abram, "If you walk with me, then you are good enough for me to walk with you."

The covenant is a contract between God and the family of Abram. Instead of signing a piece of paper, God requires the trading of blood. God requires obedience before He gives up anything. In order to see this obedience, God commanded that Abram circumcise his household. This was to be a token of the covenant. Anyone who was circumcised from that day forward was worthy of receiving the promise.

What did God give up?

John 1
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

John 18
30 They answered and said unto him, If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered him up unto thee.

John 19
30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

God changed Abram's name to Abraham, meaning "Father of many nations". God changes each of our names when we are adopted into the covenant with him. My name was "Shonda, the destructive", and "Shonda the weak" I am now called, "Shonda, the strong", and "Shonda the stubborn", and "Shonda the faithful". God does that, and no one but God CAN do that.

God promised Abraham that kings would be descended from him.

The old covenant required circumcision. The new covenant requires belief and acceptance of Jesus as Christ, the Risen Saviour, the Lamb of God.

In the Old Testament, we look forward to the cross. After the New Testament, we look back at the cross.

Sarai was renamed "Sarah", meaning "Princess". She would be the vehicle chosen to bear God's chosen seed, Isaac.

Abram laughed at the thought of fathering a child at such an old age -- but he did not doubt that God could do it.

God doesn't expect perfection, just purity of heart. He expects you to try your best in all you do to be perfect -- this includes your relationships with others as well as with Him. Perfection is judged by how well you follow His rules, with pure intentions of the heart.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Event: Winter Jam 2016

Winter Jam will be Monday, March 6 in Bossier City. The cost is $10/person. For information, Click HERE

If you would like to go with a group, Contact Grace Church. Click HERE for more info!

Event: Easter at Circle J Cowboy Church March 27

Visit the Facebook Events Page by clicking here for more information!

Event: 40th Annual Prayer Breakfast for Greater St. Louis!

Event Type: Prayer Breakfast
Wednesday, March 9, 2016 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM
Paula Gates - 314.394.0001
The America's Center
701 Convention Plaza
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
Judge Ken Starr - President and Chancellor, Baylor University

Register at the Christian Businessman's Connection web site today!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Event: Broken Vessels visits 1st Bikers Church Texarkana

Broken Vessels visits 1st Bikers Church on March 6. We'd love for all of you to join us for a wonderful day of Praise and Worship!

Service starts at 11:00 AM. 1st Bikers Church is located on the corner of 12th and Walnut Street!

Look forward to seeing you there!


Monday, February 22, 2016

Too Blessed to be Ungrateful

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

I woke up this morning counting my blessings. I hate automated calls...but no matter how many complaints you have throughout your day, you should always be aware of the blessings surrounding them! I have learned that the Blessings always out-weigh the curses! For instance:

Blessing: I woke up this morning
Complaint: to a ringing phone
Blessing: I have a phone
Blessing: I have a bed to sleep in
Complaint: before the alarm went off
Blessing: I have an alarm clock

There are twice as many blessings as there are complaints. Remember that as you start your day!

I learned early on not to depend on others because of the fringe benefits they get for helping me. My family accused me of being ungrateful for all the things they did for me...but usually it was during a time they wanted something in return. My response was always the same: I didn't ASK for your help.

But, over time, I realized that a simple "Thank you" WAS in order, and I had failed to even give THAT. It wasn't until I started saying, "Thank you", that I realized that I had so much to be thankful for, and I was encouraged to do for others in return.

When I began to pass the blessings on, people stopped asking so much from me. No one can accuse me of being "ungrateful" today. I am BLESSED, and I try to show it by being a blessing whenever I can!

Part of being grateful is taking responsibility for your own actions in life. Until you realize that you have much to be thankful for, and that you have failed to acknowledge that, you will always have complaints about what you are given, and you will never see the reasons that God has allowed those things in your life.

I have learned that many of the things I have complained about in my past were great blessings in disguise. But, only after I learned to Thank God for what I was going through.

A death of a loved one? I met some people I had previously not known who, had they not have existed, my own life would not have been as blessed. Furthermore, they became integral parts of my life. I don't thank God for the death of my loved one, I thank Him for the opportunity to be able to see them again someday!

My car wouldn't start? What if there was a bad wreck up the road that my car not starting had prevented me from?

No money? I was able to find resources that I didn't have. It, in turn, enabled my independence even more, and my confidence and trust in God. PLUS, it taught me what I needed to help others in a similiar situation who did not know.

There are so many blessings to be grateful for. The best way to make a blessing into a curse is to be ungrateful. And, the best way to turn a curse into a blessing is to be grateful!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Prayers for SCOTUS

Due to the death of Justice Scalia, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up many critical pro-life cases over the next two months without one of its most ardent defenders of babies.

Cases involving the Texas law that has shut down many abortion facilities as well as six challenges to Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate are to have oral arguments soon.

The American Life League is asking everyone to begin a campaign of prayers for SCOTUS.

Now is the time for us all to storm heaven with prayers for the Supreme Court justices and for our beloved country. The cases that are about to be heard are critical in the fight for the lives of the preborn and we must understand that it is only through fervent prayer that we have a chance of winning the fight.

Whatever your religious denomination, now is the time for prayer.

Please ask God to have mercy on our land and to send the Holy Spirit to enlighten the minds of the justices and bring about Godly decisions in all the cases now pending.

It is expected that most of the decisions will be announced in June, so please keep your prayers storming heaven for the next four months.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

NIV Bible owned by the Church of Satan

A lot of people use Bibles that are easier to understand than the King James Version, and that is not a bad thing. It's okay to use such Bibles, but be wary of the translations that you adhere to.

An example is this: There is one translation of the NIV Bible that is owned by the Church of Satan. While it says what the KJV Bible says for the most part, it leaves out some pretty important verses, and twists them so as to downplay the importance of Christ in our lives.

If your Bible does not make Jesus the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE, and does not teach that He is the ONLY way into the Kingdom of God, then your translation is faulty and should be thrown in the trash.

Monday, February 15, 2016

When Your Cup Overfloweth

When God has blessed you abundantly, when "your cup overfloweth" and you have more than you need, the next step is to look for someone that God wants to bless with what you have to give.

For instance, recently, I was blessed with a new mattress and box springs. I have a mattress and box springs already, but I have been unable to sleep on it due to the normal wear of my body from hard working. However, the bed is still in good condition and would be perfect for someone who doesn't have one at all.

I have asked God to bless me with someone who needs what I have to give. He did. A lady moved into my apartment complex recently who had nothing at all. No furniture. Only a change of clothes. But, God has blessed me with more than I need in plates, silverware, and furniture. I could not wait to offer God's blessing to her.

When you are blessed, it is not for you to keep what you have, but for you to use what you have to bless others. God provides what you need to survive. When He blesses you with more than you need, it is for the explicit purpose of being His hands and feet to bless others.

I tell you my stories so that you will learn from me what I have learned from Him. There is no greater blessing than to bless others with what you have to bless them with!

So, go right now and sift through your closets and cupboards and storehouses. See all that God has blessed you with that you are not using. Find someone who obviously needs it more than you do and BLESS THEM IN THE NAME OF JESUS!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Lord, Help me to not procrastinate!

I have started a new kind of list to go along with the one titled, "Things I'm asking God for". He has helped me so much with my first list. I KNOW He can help me with my second list!

The new list is titled, "Things I'm asking God to help me do."

You see, I am a procrastinator by nature. I think we all are. Normally, it is first priority for me to get business taken care of, but lately, I have been in a blah state of mind and it is becoming a chore to get started on anything.

I know God doesn't approve of me putting things off, so I am asking for His help in helping me get things done.


300x250 Eat That Frog!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Being Singly Whole

When I took my life back from an abusive relationship two years ago, the first thing I did was pack up everything in my apartment that belonged to him and got it out of my house. I did some major spring cleaning. If I couldn't use it, wear it, or make it work for me, it didn't belong in my home.

The next thing I did was get on my knees and ask God to forgive me for being so imperfect and untrusting of Him. I determined to put God in the place of the man that was no longer there. I promised Him that I would never put another man before Him again.

I have not regretted that. God has provided for me in ways that cannot be explained otherwise. He has always been ON TIME. He has always provided companionship. He has lead me into doing RIGHT things RIGHT ways. He has allowed me to stand beside Him and FOR Him. He has allowed me to view my relationship with Him intimately and respectfully. There is NOTHING the Lord has not done for me that a man could provide.

A lot of single women out there love to say things like, "There is nothing a man can do for me that I can't do for myself." I have found that that is just simply not true. By myself, I have already proven what a failure I am. It wasn't until I let GOD do it for me, until I started depending completely on HIM, that I was able to see the provision I needed as a woman.

I would give anything to be able to go back and start my womanhood over knowing what I know now. I can't. And, I have to believe there is a reason for that. God meant for me to go through all I have gone through so I can look at someone else who is where I was and be able to say, "I know. I understand. But, there IS a better way!"

Thursday, February 4, 2016


I got paid today.

It's a good feeling knowing that all of my bills are fixing to get paid. I never get over that feeling.

What's even better is that I know that whatever is left is my gift from God to do with as HE wishes. Trust me, it feels a whole better doing what HE wants than doing what I want -- even when there is not much to do it with.

I have learned that when I do what HE wants, He blesses me with what I want.

I pray that you all learn the same lessons.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

God's Promise


Genesis 21
1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did unto Sarah as he had spoken.
2 For Sarah conceived, and bare Abraham a son in his old age, at the set time of which God had spoken to him.
3 And Abraham called the name of his son that was born unto him, whom Sarah bare to him, Isaac.
4 And Abraham circumcised his son Isaac being eight days old, as God had commanded him.
5 And Abraham was an hundred years old, when his son Isaac was born unto him.
6 And Sarah said, God hath made me to laugh, so that all that hear will laugh with me.
7 And she said, Who would have said unto Abraham, that Sarah should have given children suck? for I have born him a son in his old age.

Abraham was 100 years old when Isaac was born. Sarah named him Isaac, which means "Laughter", as the angels of the Lord had instructed, because she laughed at the thought of having a child at her age. Abraham, too, did as God commanded, bringing Isaac into the covenant when he was eight days old by circumcision.

8 And the child grew, and was weaned: and Abraham made a great feast the same day that Isaac was weaned.

On the day that Isaac was weaned, Abraham celebrated with a great feast. Every facet of Isaac's life was worthy of celebration in Abraham's eyes; because each day when he looked upon his son, Isaac, he was reminded of God's power, and His grace, and His promises. The sight of his son, Isaac, gave him even more faith and love for God because Isaac was the product of God's blessing on him.

Ishmael, being fourteen years old, I am sure was jealous. After all, HE was the first born. To see all of the attention placed upon Isaac would lead up to no good end. Cain's sin would inevitably catch up to Ishmael if something wasn't done to stop it. For now, though, Ishmael mocked the whole fiasco.

9 And Sarah saw the son of Hagar the Egyptian, which she had born unto Abraham, mocking.
10 Wherefore she said unto Abraham, Cast out this bondwoman and her son: for the son of this bondwoman shall not be heir with my son, even with Isaac.
11 And the thing was very grievous in Abraham's sight because of his son.

Sarah, being the good mother that she was, sought to protect her son, Isaac, and his future. When she became afraid that Ishmael would come between Isaac and the future that Abraham had to offer him, she demanded that Abraham get rid of Ishmael.

Abraham was a good father. He loved both of his sons. He wanted to do right by both of them -- but he knew that God had plans for Ishmael, too. And God had already proved His ability to keep His promises through Isaac.

12 And God said unto Abraham, Let it not be grievous in thy sight because of the lad, and because of thy bondwoman; in all that Sarah hath said unto thee, hearken unto her voice; for in Isaac shall thy seed be called.
13 And also of the son of the bondwoman will I make a nation, because he is thy seed.

God assured Abraham that Ishmael would be blessed; but, Isaac was who the promises belonged to.

14 And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and took bread, and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away: and she departed, and wandered in the wilderness of Beersheba.

So, Abraham provided food and water for Hagar and Ishmael, and sent them away.

Can you imagine how Ishmael must have felt? I'm sure, as the child he still was, just growing into manhood, he felt that his father had somehow rejected him. I'm sure, looking at the world today, that his resentment was vengeful and grievous. But, he said nothing.

Hagar traveled in the wilderness of Beersheba.

15 And the water was spent in the bottle, and she cast the child under one of the shrubs.
16 And she went, and sat her down over against him a good way off, as it were a bowshot: for she said, Let me not see the death of the child. And she sat over against him, and lift up her voice, and wept.
17 And God heard the voice of the lad; and the angel of God called to Hagar out of heaven, and said unto her, What aileth thee, Hagar? fear not; for God hath heard the voice of the lad where he is.
18 Arise, lift up the lad, and hold him in thine hand; for I will make him a great nation.

After days of travelling, they ran out of food and water. Ishmael was weak from travelling, thirst and hunger. She helped him lie down under a shrub in the shade, to protect him from the heat, and walked away from him a little ways, but not out of sight.

She, being tired, thirsty, hungry and alone, sat down and cried to the only one left to cry to, pleading, "Please, don't let me, his mother, see him die."

I can only assume that Ishmael heard his mother, and he, too, began to cry. Abraham had been a good father. He taught his son to pray; and, God heard them.

"Hagar, why are you crying? I hear your son praying, and I am going to make him a great nation. If you had faith in me, you would understand that I can't do that if he dies. Now, get up, and go get your son."

19 And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water; and she went, and filled the bottle with water, and gave the lad drink.
20 And God was with the lad; and he grew, and dwelt in the wilderness, and became an archer.
21 And he dwelt in the wilderness of Paran: and his mother took him a wife out of the land of Egypt.

She lifted her eyes and saw a well of water off in the distance -- so desperately needed at that moment.

God is the great provider. What He promises, He will make come to pass. We must trust Him, and trust that no matter where we are, or what we are going through at any given moment, God is in control.

I need to remind you that the Muslims today are descended from Ishmael. The fighting in the Middle East is a direct result of Ishmael's departure from Abraham. The education about God and His grace and mercy was stopped when Ishmael was sent away.

Ishmael learned about God from what he already knew: that God was a God of vengence (as Abraham told him about how God helped him rescue Lot in the war); and, God was a God of war, and destruction of all who oppose his laws (as Abraham told him about Soddom and Gomorrah).

This is how Ishmael grew to view the God of Abraham, and he taught his children accordingly.

Today, Ishmael is still fighting for his birthright. It is up to us to teach him that God still loves him, and that his birthright is much greater than a piece of land. Jesus died for his children, too.

Ishmael became an archer, and he married an Egyptian woman. He lived in the wilderness of Paran, between Egypt and Israel.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

A Testimony...

I worked the graveyard shift at Waffle House when I was staying at the Randy Sams homeless shelter back in 2007. I had been there for nearly three months and was on the 4th day of my 7 day fast: I had given up cigarettes for a week. (As you may have noticed, I still have warts).

Yes, I prayed a lot that week.

That night, a Lutheran church came in to bring us the message of hope and salvation. They fed us dinner and sang for us. I sat listening in the back with my Bible opened.

I had so much on my shoulders, but I had goals. And, I had made a promise to Jesus that I would still stand on His promises in spite of my situation. I would not deny or forsake Him no matter how forsaken and alone I felt. I would keep looking toward the light, and open my heart to any opportunity to serve Him. This was a personal fast to put my signature on that promise.

A lady from the church walked toward me, looking at me earnestly. She held out her hands and said, "Young lady, I don't know who you are or what your situation is, but I have been given a word to give to you. I believe I have been given a word to give to you and I would like to share it."

I smiled and nodded not knowing what to expect. The next things she told me HAD to be a word from ABBA, my Father in Heaven.

She said, "He told me to tell you that you are not alone. He has been watching you. He has not kicked you out to the wolves to stay. He knows your heart. And, He is watching you. You are the lily of His eye, and He's fixing to bless you."

All I could do was smile through my tears and say, "I know."

Three days later, I went to pay my car payment. It was the only thing I had to my name. If I hadn't had the shelter to stay in, I would have been living in my car. I was trying to pay off my car because it was my way to work. It was my ministry to others who needed a ride when I wasn't. My car was important to me.

I payed my payment and noted to the car lot owner, "I only owe $100, WooHOO!" He smiled.

Then he reached in his filing cabinet before writing out my receipt. He signed the title, then wrote on the receipt, "Paid in Full"!

He said, "You've made your payments faithfully. You've even brought us business. I owe YOU."

I was happy. I went back to the shelter and, with a big smile on my face, I showed off that title. "God is SOOO GOOD! Look waht HE did for me today!"

Jo Jo was a girl I had helped to get a job at my place of employment. She had since used it as a stepping stone to find better employment and I was happy for her. She asked me, "What is your next goal now?" as we were eating our lunch.

I said, "I guess I can start saving for the deposit and first months rent at an apartment..." no sooner had the words come out of my mouth, the social worker who worked at Randy Sams came to me, hearing about my good news, and said, "Shonda, if you find an apartment, bring us the lease, and we will pay your deposit and first month's rent for you!"

My face hurt from smiling so much. I ran across the street and talked to the landlord at the apartment nearby and brought back the lease, which along with the title I was happily showing off.

At supper, Jo Jo laughed and said, "OKAY. NOW that you have your car paid off, and now that you have an apartment, what are you going to do?"

I got a sudden sense of dread. "Jo Jo, I'll be alright for a month, but I could barely pay my car payment on what I am making. How in the world can I afford the rent? I'll need a better job!"

God snapped his finger at that moment. No sooner had I said that, my cheap cell phone rang. I answered it. It was the local bus station calling me in for an interview.

I was SOOOO blessed that day. All of that happened on the 7th day of my fast. God had sent me a message 3 days before. All that was required of me was that I believe, and wait.

Praise God, He is still working miracles in my life every day. I owe Him all that I am.

Now, when life gets me down today, when I feel depressed and tired, burdened and heartbroken, I remember that day It always gives me courage, determination and hope.

There is a song my pastor sings about being blessed: "If I never receive another blessing my way, I can still say I that I am blessed."

Hebrews 6
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.

Featured Ministry: Habitat for Humanity

Seeking to put God’s love into action, Habitat for Humanity brings people together to build homes, communities and hope.

Click HERE to learn how YOU can help!

That's MY King!