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Moment in the Word

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION:

"Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road
that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate
and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Matthew
7"13-14 (NIV)


DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:

Have you ever been bent out of shape? "

Bent" is an African-American colloquialism that usually refers to persons
who are completely messed up. Sometimes it is alcoholism, drug addiction or
a plethora of other possible maladies. Those who are "bent" are usually
lulled into a denial of their situation and do not accept their position at
all. They are "bent" so bad that straightening up seems out of the question.


There are many today who asleep. They are messed up, tangled up and tied up
into the world so tightly that they cannot get loose. Yet, deep inside they
want to do what is right.


Straightening up is difficult for many people. Straightening up requires
us to wake up and change our direction in life. The late Nat King Cole had a
hit tune that was sung around America.

Nat King Cole's humorous little song had America saying words that
carried very serious implications, we all need to wake up, straighten up and
fly right.
When it comes to our relationship with God, we need to wake up
straighten up and fly right!
When it comes to our relationships with the church, we need to wake up,
straighten up and fly right.
When it comes to our relationship with each other, we need to wake up,
straighten up and fly right.
As Christians, we know that it is essential for us to repent and turn away
from sin, if we intend to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Nat King Cole said it
one way, but Jesus said it in no uncertain terms: if you want to enter the
kingdom, we must be born again.


ACTION POINT:

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to
death." Proverbs 14:21

The bottom line of all of this is that without Jesus, there is no hope of
heaven.
Putting your trust in the human thinking = hell. Don't be fooled. It's the
truth.
On the other hand, putting your trust in Jesus = heaven.


So here's the question: where is your hope? What road and what gate are you
trying to use to get to heaven?
If it's not Jesus, then you're on the wrong road, plain and simple.


In His Love & Service,

Pastor Larry E. Campbell
St. Paul A.M.E. Church, San Bernardino, CA

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION:

"Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes and clever in their own sight."
Isaiah 5:21

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:

Self-Righteousness Leads to Disillusionment

There's a nice poem circulating on the Internet about a woman who bought
some cookies and a book at an airport and sat down to read and nibble while
waiting for her plane. She soon noticed a man sitting next to her, who
casually took a cookie from the bag.

Although shocked and furious, the woman remained silent as the man, without
the slightest sign of shame or gratitude, quietly helped himself, matching
her cookie for cookie.

When there was one cookie left, she watched in amazement as he picked it up,
smiled at her as if he were being gracious, and broke it in half. He ate one
half and gave her the other. Congratulating herself for maintaining her
cool, she said nothing to this rude cookie thief, astonished at the nerve of
some people.

Later, when she was settling into her seat on the plane, she rummaged
through her purse and discovered the bag of cookies she'd purchased, still
unopened. The moral message is contained in the poem's closing stanza:

"If mine are here," she moaned with despair,
"Then the others were his, and he tried to share."
Too late to apologize, she realized with grief,
That she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief.

Being sure is not the same as being right. Certainty without humility can
lead to self-righteousness that distorts our view and understanding of the
world and of people.

Humility does not require us to be equivocal or doubtful about our deepest
convictions about religion and right and wrong. What it asks is that we hold
and advocate our beliefs without dismissing the possibility that others may
be right, too. Or, as in the cookie case, we might not be right at all.



In His Love & Service,

Pastor Larry E. Campbell
St. Paul A.M.E. Church, San Bernardino, CA

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION:

"For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if
they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands
of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come
near. 'Why have we fasted,' they say, 'and you have not seen it? Why have
we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed? "Yet on the day of your
fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers." Isaiah 59:2-3
(NIV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:

There is a novel by Muriel Spark called Memento Mori. It tells about a group
of friends, all over sixty-five, who one by one receive anonymous phone
calls telling them, "Remember, you must die!" The novel, partly serious,
partly humorous, tells how different individuals come to terms with the
telephone message. Though reactions vary, a common reaction is fright.

Still, the anonymous caller often causes characters to think back over their
lives and assess how they have lived-about the good they have done as well
as the not-so-good. In a way, the message they receive about death forces
them to come to terms with the meaning of the life they have lived. Somehow
death leads them back into life. 1

For us Christians, the season of Lent helps us to realize and live this
great truth that death leads us back into life. The sign of the cross on our
foreheads with the imposition of ashes remind us of our mortality. It also
reminds us of our willingness to participate in the long journey of death on
the way of the cross, which leads us back to life.

Isaiah 53:1-12 reminds both Jews and Christians that the way of God; the way
of true fasting and prayer is the way of repentance. According to the
prophet, this way of repentance involves our whole way of life and living.
Our relationship with God shall motivate and guide us to be workers for
justice; to free those who are oppressed; to involve ourselves in acts of
loving-kindness; to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, provide shelter for
the homeless and the refugees. The prophet tells us that these deeds of
repentance shall be rewarded by God. The Lord will listen and answer our
prayer requests; the Lord will also provide for all of his people's needs
and give them a hope-filled future.

According to this long-standing Israelite tradition, which Jesus also taught
and lived, our faith has a profound influence on how we treat other people.

ACTION POINT:

During this Lenten season, we are given the opportunity and the privilege to
participate in God's Way; the way of true fasting and prayer; the way of
repentance; the way of the cross. This way of the cross involves our whole
life and way of living-including our ways of thinking, speaking and acting.

* Are we prepared to participate in this long journey of death, which
leads us and all people back to life?
* Are we willing to die each day to sin and the powers of death and
evil?
* Are we willing to truthfully assess how we are living our lives-and,
if necessary, to make the changes in order to follow God's Way, the way of
the cross?
* Are we willing to live in a new, reconciled, restored, loving,
hope-filled relationship with our God and with one another?

These are some of the questions the Lord is asking us TODAY as we begin this
Lenten season. What shall our answer be but "Yes, it shall be so,"-which in
the language of faith means Amen!



In His Love & Service,

Pastor Larry E. Campbell
St. Paul A.M.E. Church, San Bernardino, CA

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION:

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.
(Proverbs 12:25 *NIV)

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:

It is important for a Child of God to be very careful of the words we speak!
For our Savior Jesus Christ said;
"Listen to me, everyone, and understand this. Nothing outside a man can
make him 'unclean' by going into him. Rather, it is what comes out of a man
that makes him 'unclean.'" (Mark 7:14-15)

It is also written; "With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and
with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same
mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be."

(James 3:9-10)

So, we need to choose our words carefully and remember that positive
words bring positive results, while negative words always bring negative
results! After all, Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and
healing to the bones. (Proverbs 16:24)

These verses bring to mind a sign posted on the wall of a Professor of
mine, many years ago. I will never forget it. It read as follows:

Be careful of the words you speak,
And keep them soft and sweet!
For you never know from day to day,
Which words you'll have to eat!

In His Love & Service,

Pastor Larry E. Campbell
St. Paul A.M.E. Church, San Bernardino, CA

Moment in the Word

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BIBLE MEDITATION:
"O God, Thou hast taught me from my youth: and hitherto have I declared Thy
wondrous works." Psalm 71:17

DEVOTIONAL THOUGHT:
Bringing Up Godly Children in an Ungodly World
Satan is on a killing spree - he wants to kill our memory and set us awash
in the sea of forgetfulness without any recollection of our Christian
heritage as a nation. Tragically, he's aiming his artillery at our children
and particularly in the place where they used to grow in the knowledge of
good things - the public school. Prayer is out. Police are in. Bibles are
out. Values clarification is in. The Ten Commandments are out. Social
engineering is in. Creation is out. Evolution is in. History is out.
Revisionism is in. God says we need to remember the generation to come.


ACTION POINT:

You have an important job - to influence the lives of those who will come
after you. Teach them to walk in the ways of the Lord and against the tide
of the world.

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