Willow Street Church of God, Our Nation needs our prayers! Political division, fighting a virus, layoffs, racial inequalities, greed, job loss and mental exhaustion have caused immense suffering. We are called to be salt and light on the earth. May we, Willow Street Church of God, pray daily and vigorously for healing from our Heavenly Father. May we 'NEVER' leave our first love, Jesus. It is imperative to remain committed to His holy Word and always faithful to the kingdom agenda. Pastor Lloyd
2020 has been challenging yet filled with many opportunities to witness God's faithfulness. Beloved, your faithfulness is sincerely appreciated, and your steadfastness to serve our surrounding communities is God-honoring. In this season and always, may we encourage each other in remembering that HE is faithful to complete the good work in each of us. My hope and prayer is that you will be renewed in a fresh way, never doubting that God is walking alongside you. Let us rejoice! A child was born unto us to provide hope and joy! Again, thank you for all that you do; its a total honor to serve with you! Merry Christmas and God bless you always! Pastor Lloyd P. Harrison, Jr and the WSCOG Leadership team
"For we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.” And all who sat in the council, looking steadfastly at him, saw his face as the face of an angel". Acts 6:14-15 (NKJV) Throughout his career, Kobe established himself as a clutch NBA shooter. There is a short list of popular NBA players that wouldn't hesitate to take the big shot when time was running out. Kobe was known to be a laser focused shooter and yet, an excellent defender. On January 22nd, 2006, in a comeback victory at home, Kobe finished with 81 points and beat the Toronto Raptors. He was most certianly laser focused. What a game! According to Acts 6:14-15; Stephen's focus was on Jesus. Matter of fact, Stephen was laser focused! Though people with twisted words, inappropriate behaviors, and false accusations tried to get in his way, Stephen remained 'FIRM' in the faith. He refused to let worldly distractions obscure his heavenly focus. Spiritually, I can imagine heaven cheering with a glorious celebration of joy. YES! From his vantage point, he saw Jesus. The One Who had captured his heart. That uninterrupted view gave him strength to face his foes with courage. Questions: Where is your focus? Are you laser focused in the promises of God, or the things of this world only? Pondering thought: Kobe was admired for his skillset, however don't forget that he spent countless hours practicing. Stephen spent valuable time developing his faith. YES! Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me to remain laser focused on and in my faith. AMEN! 2020 'INTENTIONAL' "Jesus is My Focus"
During my research, I came across a paragraph that captured my attention. A.W. Tozer a biblical scholar wrote; "It is 'NOT' the ability to persuade ourselves that black is white or that something we desire will come to pass if we only wish hard enough. Faith is simply the bringing of our minds into accord with the truth. It is adjusting our expectations to the promises of God in complete assurance that the God of all creation cannot lie". May I encourage you to remember examples when Jesus was either challenged or tempted? John 6:38 (KJV) states; "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me". Jesus always adjusted to the will of God. Questions: How are we using this time of social distancing? Are we building or working ourselves toward our glow-up / grow-up? Are we developing our skills and abilities? Or digging deeper into the Word, to continue the process of GROWING and GLOWING? Last question. Or are you spending most of your time trying to get God to adjust to your desires, expectations, or requests? Let's punch this point out just a bit more. A fifth-grade boy who had heard a sermon on persistence in prayer was praying by himself in his room one night. As his dad passed his door, he heard the boy praying over and over again, "Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo." The next day, the dad asked his son what he was doing. The boy replied that he had given the wrong answer on a test for the capital of Mexico, and he was praying that God would make Tokyo the capital of Mexico. I think the boy was a little unclear on the concept, don’t you? But sometimes, we do the same. We want God to adjust to us rather than our seeking what God wants from and for us while adjusting to Him. Beloved, remember you’re in the process of GLOWING UP! Your light is glowing brighter. It's the enemy's job to discourage you from seeing yourselves as the glowing light unto the world. 2020 'INTENTIONAL' #glowingup #ThisLittleLightOf Mine #GrowingDaliy
"While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept". Matthew 25:5 (KJV) Martin Luther once dreamed that the devil was listening to reports from his agents on the progress they were making against the Kingdom of God. One reported, "A company of Christians were crossing the desert, and I loosen the lions on them, and all were lost." The devil replied, "What good was that? Their bodies were lost, but their souls were saved. I want their souls." Another little devil reported that a company of Christians were crossing the sea by a ship. I sent strong winds and caused the ship to go on the rocks and all were lost. Satan again said, that was nothing. Because their bodies were lost, but he wanted their souls. A third agent gave his report saying, “after years of trying, I finally managed to put the church to sleep.” And hearing this, hell and Satan rejoiced. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Commentary states; "The first verb implies the nodding and napping of persons sitting up at night; the second means "they began to sleep," actually. All, wise and foolish, did this; so in itself, it was not sinful, it was only natural. This circumstance is not to be pressed to prove that all Christians will be asleep, or cold and careless when the Lord Jesus will come". Yet, many may be so, but many also will be looking for his coming. This devotion was drafted to remind ourselves as Min. Dawn would say; Stay ready so you don't have to get ready'. We have the opportunity, the duty, and JOY of being READY! GLORY! Beloved, STAY READY! 2020 'INTENTIONAL' "JUST WIN the DAY"
Four people—a pilot, a professor, a pastor, and a hiker—were flying in a small plane when the engines died. The pilot said, “There are only three parachutes. Since this is my plane, I’m taking one of them.” He put it on and jumped out. The professor said, “I’m brilliant and the world needs me, so I’m taking a parachute,” and he jumped out. Then the pastor told the hiker, “I don’t want to be selfish, so you take the last parachute.” The hiker replied, “There are still two left, so we can each have one. The professor jumped out with my backpack instead of the parachute!” Though the professor thought he would land safely, his assurance was based on faulty thinking. Some people have an assurance of salvation based on faulty thinking. They believe that church attendance, baptism, volunteering for a good cause, or just being good will gain them approval from God.
Meditate on: 13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. 16If you see any brother or sister commit a sin that does not lead to death, you should pray and God will give them life. I refer to those whose sin does not lead to death. There is a sin that leads to death. I am not saying that you should pray about that.
17 All wrongdoing is sin, and there is sin that does not lead to death. 18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them. 19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one. 20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
2020 'INTENTIONAL' "May Your Confidence 'REST' in the Jesus"
When I was in the first grade, we learned to draw and stay in the lines. My parents gave me a box of ten crayons. My ten crayons were big and fat and hard to keep in the lines. My friend Ricky that sat right in front of me had a big box of 64 Crayola Crayons. He had 8 times the selection I had for colors. His crayons were skinny and if they dulled he could sharpen them. As we drew there was a weekly prize for the best, he always beat me! Being a competitor and week in and week out, I LOST! One day, I asked him to borrow his flesh color for people, he said; "NO"! I knew there was a sharpener right in his box. I learned to rotate mine as I drew to keep the point sharp. I thought, "This is not fair, he can beat me, I don’t have a chance". One day, I decided I was going to get good enough that I would win. I started learning how to get different shades out of one color. I practice hard to keep my coloring in the lines. WOW....I got better and better. I learned how to softly mix two colors and make a different color. I started winning some of the weekly contests, not all but at least some of them. Ricky could still beat me on some, but I made a choice: not to complain and focus on the ten fat Crayons I had or the 64 skinny crayons he had. Take note, I learned at an early age that life is not fair or things may not line up the way I want them to. My parents taught me to do the best with what you have and God will help you. Now Ricky, from a young age was driven, competitive and doubled whatever was given to him. It wasn't that he was rich, he achieved more by making do with what he had. The point here, you have enough crayons to add colorful meaning to your life. To splash on the pages of your life with joy. To bring brightness of God's Word to discouraging moments. Do the best with what you have, learn to reduce the noise of negative thinking and God will help you with more crayons as you progress along. Matthew 25:14-18 (NASB) says; “For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them. To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey. Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents. In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more. But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money". 2020 'INTENTIONAL' "Think Different, Before Complaining"
"The Lord has opened His armory And has brought forth the weapons of His indignation, For it is a work of the Lord God of hosts In the land of the Chaldeans". Jeremiah 50:25 (NASB) As a youth I loved comic books that told stories about super heroes that used super powers to fight off evil. However in this earthly realm, we fight spiritual stuff daily and the enemy is a relentless foe. He and his friends never let up. Praise the Lord, because He has equipped us with an arsenal that is full of weaponry. Weapons for our use. To name a few praise, worship, the Sword (Word of God), and prayer are weapons of warfare. Take joy in that our Heavenly Father has equipped us, empowered and commissioned us. Yet, many that have not discovered the weapons the Lord has equipped are not approaching this spiritual warfare in full confidence. There is a reason why it is called warfare. It’s ongoing! The enemy's focus is to kill, steal and destroy the life God has purposed for us. Let's keep going here. I read once; "The key in warfare is seeking the Holy Spirit to learn which weapon to appropriate". Questions: So how are you going to approach this week? Are you weapons up? Have you sought the Lord to guide you in how and when to use your weapons? Encouragement: remember 2 Corinthians 10:4-6 that states; "For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled". Seal in your hearts: Ephesians 6: 10-17 "10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God". Well beloved, may we all experience a wonderful week and approach the days ahead of us with confidence in using our weapons. Glory! 2020 'INTENTIONAL' You're More Than a Conqueror"
“Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy”. Psalms 33:18 (NKJV) One night a house caught fire and a young boy was forced to flee to the roof. The father stood on the ground below with outstretched arms, calling to his son, "Jump! I'll catch you." He knew the boy had to jump to save his life. All the boy could see, however, was flame, smoke, and blackness. As can be imagined, he was afraid to leave the roof. His father kept yelling: "Jump! I will catch you." But the boy protested, "Daddy, I can't see you." The father replied, "But I can see you and that's all that matters." Beloved, it's difficult to see through the maze of unsettling conversations, social media posts, conflicts, and the effects of this current pandemic. For businesses, entrepreneurs, teachers, law enforcement, medical professional, and certainly church leaders, but there is one thing we 'MUST' remember and hold onto, God can ‘SEE’ and that's all that matters! GLORY to His Holy Name! Loved ones, this moment I am aiming to encouraging you to remember God sees beyond the cloud of evilness that this world produces and cherishes. The ways of the wicked are not hidden from the Lord. According to Psalms 10:12-14; the bible states; “Arise, O Lord! Punish the wicked, O God! Do not ignore the helpless! 13 Why do the wicked get away with despising God? They think, “God will never call us to account. 14 But you see the trouble and grief they cause. You take note of it and punish them. The helpless put their trust in you. You defend the orphans”. So as life continues to shift and turn around uncertain corners, that surely can be difficult to maintain a positive attitude about the future, hold onto the Word! YES! When you're experiencing doubt or worry, whether it's about a difficult family situation, a health problem, or other obstacle, consider turning to the Bible to find verses about hope, then to prayer and meditation. Glory! I’m loving this, because now I understand a verse that rings loud in my heart and mind that I did not fully understand at the age of 30. Psalm 37:25 states; “I have been young and now I am old, Yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken Or his descendants begging bread. Now that I have been through some stuff and witnessed God’s deliverance for other and for me, He has carried me through some horrifying events. He has never forsaken me. Glory! 2020 ‘INTENTIONAL’ “Trusting God Through it ALL”
Proverbs 17:22 "A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones". Glory to God! The Word transforms surrendered minds and hearts that are devoted to the Lord. The Word is the power bar for our daily walk. It is the energy drink that provides the nutrients a body needs. The Word has the power to heal those who have been 'ABUSED' physically, mentally or emotionally. Listen, the Word is powerful beyond human intelligence, interventions and natural applications, if applied. For instance, emotional abuse ranges from consistent indifference to continual belittling of character. Proverbs 18:14 states: "A crushed spirit who can bear"? WOW! Our aim, identify and to assist in the healing process. YES! Today and going forward, may we all be encouraged to becoming an Agent of Change. An influencer that produces 'JOY' in someone's life. Not a shallow joy, but the JOY that comes from carrying out this verse; "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls". Matthew 11:28 -29. Those words are weighted and once truly received and applied, the heaviness will lessen as the burden of abuse is released. Please understand that abuse is a heavy subject and can leave lasting scars. I believe with the assistance of a mental health professional, one can discover healing from the years of scaring. Yet in the same voice, I have witnessed the eternal healing that many received by releasing their burdens to Jesus. Praise His Name! So today, be a Change Agent for the suffering and burden individual. Be an influencer of change to assist someone to remove themselves from the emotional abuse wheel into the process of healing. Amen! Action: I am an Intentional Change Agent that offers the 'JOY' of the Word. Prayer: Heavenly Father create in me a sensitive heart that discerns the world needs of Your JOY and Your everlasting LOVE. 2020 'INTENTIONAL' "The JOY of the Lord is MY Strength"
Leading Under Pressure - Strategies For Keeping Calm During a Crisis
So many times, I’ve heard comments a statement that leaders seem to just sit around and talk all day. Well that is an assumption that could be true. However, the statement is typically framed from a place of negativity. In this narrative, I would like to shed a little light on some of the attributes that is required to be a leader and some of the challenges they face. In order for organizations to be productive and thrive leaders must be able to set the course for the organization. In this case, I am focusing on the church, however these traits apply to leaders regardless of the type of organization developing strategy, visioneering making key, decisions and solving problems. One thing I’ve found that problem solving can create a level of stress depending on the issue. Think about the process that leaders had to consider when the decision was made to put the world on timeout because of an invisible killer. Churches are closed and now pastors and leadership teams have to determine the method in which they physically reunite their congregations. Many of us have opinions regarding what and how things should be down, even though we have limited external incomplete information. Here are some points to think about before publishing your conclusion. The capability of a leader to influence and inspire others are especially critical during times of stress and crisis People remember the leader’s behavior during times of stress. It impacts the ability of the team to perform at their highest level if they act badly or have a breakdown Research shows that 53% of leaders become closed-minded and controlling, 43% become angry and heated. It is prudent that leaders control their emotions and maintain a level head in these situations. Here are a few points to consider from Harvard Business School when you find yourself in a position where you must make the hard and sometimes unpopular decisions Before you jump in headfirst, pause, wait to act, breathe, collect your thoughts, assess the situation with a clear mind and develop a plan. The smallest pause can help you calm down and gather your thoughts before you act or speak. This is the time to pray for guidance and listen to the voice of God Leaders cannot take on the giant issues alone. Build a strong support team. Great leaders have people around them who understand how to maintain a grounded, calm presence. It is crucial to understand the reality of the situation. No matter how difficult the decision, acknowledge your limitations during a crisis. It is important to act with integrity during these times. When the situation seems overwhelming, the best approach is to break it down step-by-step. This will help you get a clearer picture of the issue so you can prioritize the next steps and develop an action plan with your team. Be sure to delegate effectively. The attitude of leader and his/her ability to maintain a positive attitude with messages of hope is paramount. Constantly communicate with your team and encourage the doubters who may distract other from the mission at hand. Keep your focus on the goal, realizing that your strategy may have to change based on multiple moving targets if your goal is to keep your people alive and safe Dr. Jeannie Johnson
When I Think of the Book of Ephesians, I Think of...
(Unknown Author) I read this morning, "When I think of the book of Ephesians, I think of the story of the woman who woke up one morning and as she saw her husband getting ready to leave for work she said, with a big smile on her face, “Honey, I’ll bet you don’t know what day this is. ” Her husband had a hard time remembering birthdays and anniversaries, but since he was about to leave for work he excused himself from the embarrassing situation by walking out of the door while saying, “Honey, how could I ever forget. This is the best day of our lives.” All during the day, he kept trying to remember what month and what day his wife’s birthday was, and when their anniversary was, but he could not remember. The day wore on and it was getting close to time to get off from work and he knew he was going to have to go home and face his wife not knowing what made this day so special. He finally thought of a plan to save his hide. He rushed into the house and said, “Honey, get your best dress on. We are going to paint the town red to celebrate this outstanding day in our lives!” While she was getting ready he rushed down to the florist and bought her a lovely bouquet of flowers. He took her to the most expensive restaurant in town. He had spent $150.00 to celebrate this day and he didn’t even know what he was celebrating. It was on the way home that he finally discovered what day it was. His wife snuggled real close to him, placed her arm around his shoulder, planted a soft kiss on his cheek, and said, “Honey, this is the best groundhog day that we have ever enjoyed together". HA! Poor husband. For two months, we have been examining the 1st chapter of Ephesians unpacking the truth In HIM, I am _____. YES! So when I think about this 1st chapter of Ephesians may I not forget that 'In HIM, I a SAINT' (Eph. 1:2)! When I am feeling down, confused, challenged, brokenhearted, and a bit lost, I know 'In HIM, I am Blessed' (Eph. 1:3)! Glory! The days that I feel unattached, separated, abandoned, I speak the words, In HIM, I am Chosen (Eph. 1:4)! Praise His holy Name! When I think about the book of Ephesians what whales up in my soul when I think back on its truth, In HIM, I am Accepted (Eph. 1:6)! I do not have to go through any special process and/or carry out a required action, Jesus accepts ME! Praise God for His promises and provision, because before the foundations of the world was established, He God Predestinated (pre-determined) us to Adopt us to be sons and daughters that have a full inheritance (Eph. 1:6). When you THINK, THINK in the and through the WORD! 2020 'INTENTIONAL' "YOU were BUILT for This"