BREAD DAY MINISTRIES

WILL THE CIRCLE BE UNBROKEN? An Encounter with a Homeless Man

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“People should be more attentive to the poor in their midst instead of having an attitude against the poor.”

Art by Alan Hicks, appears in the Church of God in Christ: Sunday School, Young Adult Quarterly, June 2012
Art by Alan Hicks, appears in the Church of God in Christ: Sunday School, Young Adult Quarterly, June 2012

I was approached by a homeless man in the parking lot at a local shopping center. He asked me if I had something so that he could get a hot meal. I told him that I don’t know (I didn’t know if I had anything in my wallet or not) so I checked it and saw a lonely five dollar bill. He saw the bill too and said real quick “I have two dollars.” I pitifully looked at him and said well I got three dollars and we promptly exchanged my five for his two. “I hope this helps”, I gulped. We exchanged cordial remarks then parted. Thinking about the fact that I had scripture cards in my pocket, I called him back over, he shuffled back and I handed him a scripture card that read, “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh,but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1); giving it to him, saying that it could be used as a book mark as I quoted this scripture. He responded by pulling out a Bible from his stuff and said to me “my favorite scripture is I John 3:16 not John 3:16” (which I though he meant), He went on to quote “because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers”, he when on to say that people should be more attentive to the poor in their midst instead of having an attitude against the poor, thinking it a big thing to designate their favorite charity as their only place to give and ignoring the hungry ones right in the midst of them.

Source: Designs by Reginald Boswell
Source: Designs by Reginald Boswell

Distinguishing Between Good and Evil

“People don’t like giving to the poor when the say they are hungry because they may spend it on alcohol or harmful drugs” I said. He answered, “Christians have the Spirit of Christ within, that is able to discern whether a person is putting on a sham or not, the Holy Spirit lets you know whether a person is truthful. If you are a Christian walking in the Spirit you will not be deceived. After you talk to a person who expresses need, after awhile you’ll know whether it’s right or wrong to do what you feel and give.” The profound message I heard was the age old interest in knowing whether a purpose you face is true or not. Distinguishing between good and evil has been sought by man even when we were immortals, during the age of Adam’s innocence. This is the one request of Solomon that he asked when given the chance to ask God for anything he said, ”Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (I King 3:9)

Bible opened to Proverbs Source: Christian Concepts @ Hubpages.com
Bible opened to Proverbs Source: Christian Concepts @ Hubpages.com

Strange Encounter

After a minor conversation with a major impact we again parted as I pondered the meaning of this odd meeting. He did say that God brought me there. I didn’t buy anything from the store, I just browsed. Why was I really there? Just to look, to see or to waste time, knowing that in-Christ, no time is wasted and everything is purposeful. This ideal resounded after reflecting back to the tune I heard in the store playing “will the circle be unbroken.” I heard these words before but never heart felt like the tune I heard that seemed to be a primitive version, as if playing on a phonograph (I later found out this was the original Carter Family’s 1927 version that played). It seemed that everybody was humming this tune in the store before this faithful meeting and as I passed one lady sung it out loud. This seemed like an experience from the movie Fallen (when everyone was humming a Stones tune) especially with the words reverberating over and over “will the circle be unbroken”. Then this thought abated when I bumped into the homeless guy named Kevin mentioned earlier. Right before leaving Kevin I asked him did he like yogurt (still having the three dollars I shared earlier). He said yea I love it. I was able to give him two boxes (containing 12) that the soup kitchen rejected earlier because they where over stocked and had a limited shelf life. This is the point when Kevin said “God sent you.” It was cold enough to be kept outside. Kevin told me that he lived in a tent in the woods but not tent city (a community of the homeless) like in my hometown and maybe in yours too.

COMPROMISE

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To make concessions in order to gain something

Art by Alan Hicks, Source: June-2012-COGIC-Young-Adults-Sunday School Quarterly
SOLOMAN’s Wisdom proved early as depicted in painting by Alan Hicks, Source: June-2012-COGIC-Young-Adults-Sunday School Quarterly

Scripture: I Kings 11: 1-13

1 But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites; 2 Of the nations concerning which the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods: Solomon clave unto these in love. 3 And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. 4. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the LORD his God, as was the heart of David his father.5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites.6 And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father. 7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. 8 And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. 9 And the LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, 10 and had commanded him concerning this thing that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the LORD commanded. 11 Wherefore the LORD said unto Solomon, Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept my covenant and my statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. 12 Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. 13 Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David my servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen .

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“This is a day of diplomats not prophets.  It is nicer to be an appeaser than an opposer.  It is the day of Erasmus, not Luther; of Gamaliel, not Paul.” Vance Havner (1901 – 1986)

dip·lo·mat

1.  A person appointed by a national government to conduct official negotiations and maintain political, economic, and social relations with another country or countries.

2. A person who is tactful and skillful in managing delicate situations, handling people, etc.

proph·et

a person who speaks for God or a deity, or by divine inspiration

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General Question 1: Does the Ends justify the Means?

[Answer No: “And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully” (II Tim. 2:5)].

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GENERAL CLASS DISCUSSION

General Question 2: Is it better to learn by experience or learn from observation and the wisdom of others?

       (Answer: We are considered wise when we learn for the mistakes of others.)

General Theme: The Heart

General Topic:

Healthy compromise is demonstrated when we are able to give in without sacrificing our values and beliefs.” Page 65

Sibling rivalry
Sibling rivalry

GIVE AND TAKE:

Give examples of healthy compromise:

 In relationships_____________________________________________________________

In the workplace_______________________________________________________________

At home in your family__________________________________________________________________

At church__________________________________________________________________

In society__________________________________________________________________

Conversely, unhealthy compromise is always contradictory to God’s laws and principles for living.  It diverts us from the right attitude of obedience to the dangerous ground of independence apart from God. (Paraphrased from pg 65) 

  1. 1.      Pharaoh’s daughter received riches into her dowry her marriage to Solomon this was diplomatic matrimony (I King 9:16).
  1. 2.      God had put wisdom in Solomon’s heart, if one so wise can be swayed, What about us?
  1. 3.      Solomon compromised the wisdom that God put in his heart (Deut 7:3)

a)      Empathize  Heart-Luke 8:1-15 ”The Parable of the Sower, But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth with patience.” 

b)      Good ground is maintained by deliberate acts of obedience (Pg 66) and casting down imaginations (II Cor. 10:5).

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A CLOSER LOOK

  1. Admiration– (Sin begins as a thought, Matthew 5:28) Obedience to God’s Law no longer held the place of importance in Solomon’s heart that it once had.  The magnetic allure of the “grass being greener on the other side of the fence” is an illusion grounded in man’s covetous nature.
  2. Association,Visualization, Intense focus leads to association.  “Solomon clung to these in love” (I Kings 11:2).
  3. Involvement was the natural course of association “For it was so, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned his heart after other gods” (I Kings 11:4).  An undesirable testimony that we can learn from.
  4. Possession the compromise is usually subtle at first but concludes in a total abandonment to disobedience. (I.e. common addict’s testimony- cigarette-beer-whiskey-marijuana-cocaine-crack-crime-homelessness, etc.)

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POV: Point of View

Armed with this knowledge why argue that drinking a little wine or some other seeming insignificant indulgence is not wrong, when the final stages in many cases lead to dire circumstances. (Page 68)

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Do you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?

Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God” (James 4:4).

 

Study Guide for Charles Stanley, Handbook for Christian Living: COMPROMISE
Study Guide for Charles Stanley, Handbook for Christian Living: COMPROMISE, Page 65

 

ENDURANCE

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Graduation from United Bible College Newark NJ 1995 (fr Left Evangelist Marlene Simmons, Brother R. Boswell, Evangelist Regina Gainer & Nurse Geraldine Wade of Holy Temple COGIC TomsRiver NJ.
Graduation from United Bible College Newark NJ 1995 (fr left Evangelist Marlene Simmons, Brother R. Boswell, Evangelist Regina Gainer & Nurse Geraldine Wade of Holy Temple COGIC TomsRiver NJ.

Endure: is from two Greek words Hupo-meno, Hupo (under) Meno (remain)

To remain under or bear experience within a certain time or authority.

SCRIPTURE

 

1)  2 Timothy 2:5-6, 8, 10, 12 KJV

5    And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.

6    The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

8    Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead according

    to my gospel:

10 Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes that they may also obtain the

    salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

 

Bible opened to Proverbs Source: Christian Concepts @ Hubpages.com
BIBLE OPENED TO PROVERBS
Source: Christian Concepts, Hubpages.com

POV  (Point of View)  

Something earned has a greater intrinsic value

than that which is acquired illegally.

Verse 6: Paul took pointers from Jesus by using parables (an earthly story with a heavenly meaning) in his letter to Timothy. [FYI: The Husbandman is translated into Farmer in NIV Bibles (commonly used by Gospel writers; John 15: 1 I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman.) also see the Wicked Husbandman Matthew 21: 33, Mark 12:1)]

Verse 8: Identified Christ and told how Jesus was raised from the dead (after the worse of trials, the excruciating pain upon facing Golgotha.  Yet, He endured by carrying the cross up to Golgotha (place of the skull) Mt. 27:32, Luke. 23:26, John. 19:17.  He clung to the old rugged cross bearing its weight after being stripped, tortured spit upon and ridiculed; when just a week earlier the people were singing “Hosanna, blessed be the rock”, and probably saying something like “He’s a jolly good fellow that nobody can deny” Yet Jesus endured saying, “O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as thou, wilt” (Mt 26:39).  What endurance!

Verses 10, 12 (see Heroes of Faith)

 

DEFINITION

 

Endurance (to stand, tolerate and continue)

Exemplified in the Bible can be seen by the

HEROES OF FAITH as mentioned in (2) Hebrews 11: 4 – 33

  • Abel offered a more excellence sacrifice
  • Enoch, had this testimony, that he pleased God
  • Noah moved with fear,
  • Abraham obeyed/Sarah received strength
  • Isaac blessed his sons/ Joseph blessed his son
  • Moses mother hid him/Moses chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season (v. 25).

GIVING UP IS NOT AN OPTION!

Many in the Bible didn’t endure:

  • Vashti, Esther 1:12,
  • the Rich Young Ruler (RYR), Matt. 19:16
  • Judas, John 18:5, etc.

OUR ENVIRONMENT DOESN’T DETERMINE OUR ENDURANCE (Page 313)

3) Galatians 4:9

But now, after that ye have known God or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements where ye desire again to be in bondage.”

 

Paul refers to soldiers (verse 3) while encamped in battle who must be single minded and withstands hardship, rain, cold and fear of the enemy because of the commitment to the people he’s fighting for.  As a Saints of the Most High, The People of God should endure through the fear of God/ the reverence of the Lord.

 

Paul also refers to athletics whom the author (Charles Stanley) says eating, sleeping and socializing is regimented so that on the day of the event perform will be at an optimal level. (Muscles gain stamina muscles have memory)

 

Jesus, Paul and other Gospel writers use the farmer motif often (as mention earlier).

Farmers depend on the elements to receive a good harvest with great weather conditions a good harvest can be received however when catastrophe hits a whole season of work can go unrewarded.  Nevertheless, the elements are only a resource of the grace of God and not to be observed as a source of prosperity as observed by heathens in their various blood sacrifices to terrestrial deities.

 

ENDURANCE INVOLVES ENCOURAGEMENT

FROM OTHERS

4) Hebrews 12:1

 

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us

Great Cloud of Witnesses

  • Ensamples are written in the Bible as ensigns for our spiritual development. “Obey God and leave the consequences to Him” Charles Stanley.

Every Weight & Sin (contrast)

  • Sin is specific (singular)
  • Weight is an encumbrance (plural and maybe mixed with unknown hindrances) and is more subtle and not as easy to see.  An enemy may be fought strategically if you know his tactics but a hidden enemy (encumbrances) are harder to fight.  Yet, Satan’s tactics never change and the Saints are not ignorance to his devices.  Though the phrase is not in the Bible it remains principally a reality that the best trick Satan has is to convince men, women, boys and girls that he doesn’t exist. Therefore, the Word of God is indispensable. Its illuminating qualities lights our path and exposes Satan as we endure the race set before us.
Study Guide for Charles Stanley, Handbook for Christian Living: ENDURANCE  (pg 314)
Study Guide for Charles Stanley, Handbook for Christian Living: ENDURANCE (pg 314)

Post Study for Bible Scholars:

Compare and Contrast: the Work of God (John) and the Works of the Devil (I John).