(March 18) Vol. 6, No. 6

A WORD FROM THE EDITOR
Reclaiming Freedom

There are a few thoughts that come to mind…

“You’re dirty.”
“You’re the last person who should be writing on this.”
“You need to be repenting to the Lord right now.”

I am going to share something personal with you: I masturbated for a really long time—a really long time. I was five when it started an as accidental touch and then it progressed into something more. I was still masturbating even after getting saved at 19; by that time I had done it for so long I didn’t see the harm in it.

Gradually as I walked in the Lord, He began to show me that what I was doing was wrong. At 23 I decided it was time to part way with what became my friend. I remember writing a poem about how after 18 years it became a person who was there for me when I was depressed or lonely. It was the one I went to for all the rough patches in my life; now I was dumping it for Jesus. Needless to say it was quite the battle…

Unfortunately, the battle wasn’t over.

The next year I went through an extremely tumultuous time. I still had a lot of issues with low self-esteem; I was unemployed, single…I felt like a waste and that I had nothing to offer. I remember forcing myself to eat around my family when dinnertime came because I didn’t want them to start asking questions. Most of the time I didn’t eat. Once I went three days without combing my hair, showering, or brushing my teeth. Every attempt I made to try and better myself seemed to fail.

So next year, when things began to turn for the worse again, my old friend came back. Toward the end of last year, God told me I had a choice: I could either choose freedom, walk away from my sin, and live or I could choose my sin and have eternal death.

And I was doing fine for awhile, until recently this week when I fell into temptation…again.

There are times, like today, where I think it’s too strong—too powerful—but then the Lord reminds me that He gave me power, the authority to speak over problems in my life. We all have strongholds, but God has placed the power and authority inside of us to break the bonds we are in. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve wrestled with something; Satan can’t put you in a death grip unless you let him.

So don’t let him.

Reclaiming your freedom is a process. I am currently 27 going on 28 and I just now understand how much power I have. All that time I kept hearing it, but at last, I get it! When you realize how much power you truly have, the devil CANNOT stop you. You have to decide that you are tired of being tired, you’re tired of allowing the devil to bully you around. You have to make up your mind that you ARE going to fight and you are going to come at the enemy swinging with everything you’ve got.

I gave into the enemy since I didn’t know how else to fight other than with my words and my hands. I had tried every tactic I could think of and nothing worked because I was trying to attack a spiritual opponent a natural man’s way. Then one day, because I was fed up with getting pushed around, I used the Word of God. I picked up my Sword and proceeded to come at him. When I came at him with the Word he backed up. I used it with confidence knowing that God’s Word is sure, and it is powerful; the Word would not let me down because God has never failed me.

I declared war with the enemy and he’s been pretty hard on me this week. I almost forgot how much power I had today…

…but then I remember how free I am, who it is that I belong to, and I began to think, “Wait a minute…am I really about to cower down to this bozo again? Hah, I don’t think so.”

To those of you struggling with any stronghold, whether it be masturbation, alcohol, drugs, anger—whatever it may be—know that you ARE free. All you have to do is get up and fight. Don’t you dare allow the enemy to back you into a corner or make you feel trapped. God gave you freedom when His Son died on the cross and rose from the grave. I will say it again: YOU-ARE-FREE. I am standing up to the enemy and from here on out I will continue to do so. Know that you are not by yourself and I am standing with you.

I will end this with a prayer:

Lord, we thank You for strength. We thank You for helping us to be overcomers and we just ask that you will continue to show us who we are in You. Help us to see and understand just how free we truly are. God we surrender over to You right now because we know we cannot handle this by ourselves and we ask that You will cover each and every one of us. Forgive us for our trespasses, Lord, and help us to rise back up. For those who have fallen, and feel as though all hope is lost, show them the way and fill their hearts with Your love and Your Spirit. Remind them that as long as You are Lord and they are alive, there is hope for them still. Continue to mold us into the soldiers You have called us to be. In Jesus name we pray, thank God and amen.

You are a champion, a survivor and a warrior.

Now get up and fight.


NEWS
Local news in the area

FRIENDSHIP COGIC CELEBRATES 59 YEARS

By Jacqueline S. Sadberry
Editor in Chief

Friendship COGIC first began March 13, 1957 in the home of one of its members, Mack Fisher, in Port Arthur, Texas. Bishop T. D. Iglehart appointed Elder O. J. Jenkins as its pastor, and a year later, Friendship was relocated to a dwelling house that was repaired and converted into a church. Over the years, Friendship has been under different leaders; Joe Williams, Jr. currently serves as the pastor. Their edifice has survived damages from hurricane Rita and continues to serve the community.

For the ministry’s 59th church anniversary, held this past Sunday at 3:30 p.m., Friendship invited churches to come and fellowship. Dr. Michael W. Prince, pastor of the Temple of Refuge COGIC (Prairie View, Texas) was the guest speaker.

Prince’s speech was centered around the event’s theme, “Faith To Endure (Matthew 9:29; Hebrews 11:1, 27.)” He reflected on the years Friendship has been in existence, “If you’ve never endured you lack faith… Somebody had to go through to get through.” Prince went on to say that having the faith to endure means being thankful “even for your enemies” and to remember that God will not put more on us than we can bear. Satan will send people to try and block us, said Prince, but the devil still cannot do anything to us unless God allows it, “…[God’s] trying to elevate you…”

The message then focused on how Jesus has given us power and authority, and that we must have the faith to endure even when no one recognizes the work we do.

Finally Prince concluded with the story of Gideon and the 300 against 90,000, “God doesn’t count numbers; He makes numbers count… Some of us are in situations where we’re so outnumbered we feel like there’s no hope…” Encouraging the congregation, he went on to say, “Hold your ground… When you bless the Lord it confuses the enemy…” Prince concluded his sermon by telling the congregation to do as Gideon and the 300 did; they were outnumbered but they praised God, and through their praise, the Lord helped them win the battle.

Wife and missionary Gayle Williams served as Mistress of Ceremony. Pastor Williams gave the opening prayer; their eldest daughter Jessica led praise and worship service. Jessica and her sister Janai both performed solos and Janai gave the welcome. Missionary Carolyn Foster, member of Friendship, talked briefly on the church history. An offering was collected and refreshments were served afterward.


Our church is currently raising money to finish installing our restroom. The total cost is $6000. If you would like to donate, you can do so online at KTOR Radio and click on the “donate” button on the homepage.


BREAKING BREAD
Sunday sermons, Wednesday messages

Sunday, March 13, 2016, “What Is Your Purpose? (I Corinthians 13:3)”

And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. (I Cor. 13:3 KJV)

As servants of Christ we should be going out and doing good works, but we can’t get so caught up in what we do that we forget why we are doing it, “There are a lot of people that do a lot of things, but…are storing up favors…” Some of us have a tendency to remind God of all the things we’ve done “…He knows; that’s why He’ll ask you, ‘What is your purpose?'”

Be aware that when you are doing what God has called you to do, not everyone you call is your friend, “When you do things predestined by God, some of your friends become your enemies.” Let us recall that Jesus called Judas to be a disciple knowing what Judas was going to do to Him later. “People like to take advantage of other people… People have taken religion and emotionally bound people to think if they give just a little more then they’ll be blessed…if it’s not to edify God’s people, it’s to destroy them,” but no matter what, “…when God sets something into motion it can’t be stopped; there’s no stopping us.”

There are those who will talk all day about their accomplishments and what they have done. Those people have received their reward, but for those of us who focus on simply doing what’s right, we will be blessed for that. We have to stop approaching things with the attitude of, ‘What’s in it for me?’ “If you know it’s the right thing to do, why do you look for a reward…? Don’t worry about that; it’s on way…” Are you doing it just to get something out of it or are you doing it because it’s part of your purpose?

Do understand, however, that when God calls you to an assignment it is Satan’s job to come and try to stop you from completing it, “Don’t you know that when God gave you an assignment Satan heard it, too? His job is to sabotage the assignment.”

With everything we do, it must be done in love, “If we don’t do it with love, it profits us nothing.” Jesus sees the heart of man, therefore doing a ton of good deeds doesn’t sway Him one way or the other. It’s whether or not it was done with sincerity and love that is His concern. When we are doing things in His name, all we have to do is go forward and allow Jesus to come through us, “When you do what you do for Christ, you don’t have to introduce yourself…you don’t have to make your light shine…”

Once you know what your purpose is, you must then stay in your lane and work in it regardless of whatever situation or circumstance that comes your way, “It may not be your season just yet, but remain faithful… Satan can’t do anything that God will not allow…stop complaining and move forward.” Remember when you are in the midst of adversity that God is setting you up to be blessed, but He can’t bless you if you keep backing away from the doors He’s opening up.

“Can you remember God will come through when the enemy is attacking you…when the deck is stacked up against you?”

No Bible study was held this week.

To hear Sunday’s message in full, go to our church’s website KTOR Radio and click on the Sunday Morning Live link.


THE ART GALLERY
Poems, shorts and other creative pieces

Shifty
by Jacqueline Simone Sadberry

I’ve got three
Pointing back at me
I point the finger
But three point
Back at me
Holy Trinity says,
“But what’ve you done
Lately?”

I’ve got three pointing back

I look at my community
The world today
Society as a whole
We shift the blame
Like aching feet
Moving from side to side
“Not my fault,”
And then we hide.

Outcries say
They killed the Black community
They poisoned us with drugs
They brought in liquor stores
They’ve built up a negative image
But it can’t be all their fault, right?
The drugs were brought in
But did we have to buy them?
Liquor stores disguised as job opportunities
But why didn’t we fight it?
Negative images are plastered
But we seem to perpetuate them until it
—becomes
The new standard
Where are we
Where were we
When all these things were taking place?
Still waiting for Superman to finish
—rescuing Lois Lane?
We have an obligation to ourselves
But put all the responsibility on someone
—else

I’ve got three pointing back

“It’s because I’m Black, isn’t it?”
But is it?
Could it be that the real reason
Goes beyond skin color,
That some things are intentionally done
To incite a reaction desired
From intended provocations?
“I hate all those monkeys,”
“I hate all those spics,”
“I hate all those crackers,”
“I hate all those chinks,”
Hate, hate, hate
Is that really all you preach?
They hate me
So I hate them—oh
I see…
But you fail to realize
How the very thing you hate
In actuality
Is yourself
You self-perpetuate
Not just negative images
But also double standards
You embody the very demons
That you see in others
Oh say can you see it?

Perhaps if you dealt with you
You wouldn’t hate
All your sisters
And all your brothers
Who differ from you
So much

I’ve got three point back

I go back o the heart of all of this
I look out in disgust
The children who are disrespectful
Parents who failed to do their job
Their kids don’t know how to take care of
—nice things
Because they both came from nothing
They don’t know what nice is
So they move
But they trash up everything around them
It’s what they’re used to
Chaos
Is what they’re used to

I look
As we all point our fingers
Toward the problem
“It’s the government!”
“It’s infrastructure!”
“We need better mothers and fathers!”
“If we had better jobs,”
“If we had better police,”
If we had better we’d do better
That is what we say
But what happened to doing better
Anyway
Regardless of the cards you’ve been
—dealt?

We point, and we point
I point, and I point
And the whole time
We’ve been pointing at the real issue
All along

I’ve got three
Pointing back at me
Holy Trinity says,
“Tell Me, child,”
What have you done?”
I’ve got three pointing back at me

I’ve got three pointing back


“ATTENTION, ATTENTION!”
Events, announcements for the month of March

  • Mar. 4: Missions Workshop, 10 a.m. and Conference, 7 p.m., Prairie View, Texas
  • Mar. 11: First Lady Prince’s Birthday
  • Mar. 13: Friendship Church Anniversary, 3:30 p.m., Port Arthur, Texas
  • Mar. 27: “The Remedy” Talent Showcase, 5 p.m.
  • Mar. 29: Sister Watson’s Birthday

**This issue has been edited**

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