Blind Obedience 
Scripture Reference
Genesis 12:4
Exodus 3:1-22
Matthew 4:18-22
Luke 6:38
Acts 1:8

One of the most fascinating things to me is the relationship between someone who is blind and their seeing eye dog. There was a story about how dogs are selected, some s young as puppy's and the training these special dogs go through to graduate ultimately becoming the lifelong companion of someone in need. The cost of this training is approximately $50,000.00 per dog, even if they do not graduate.

The person who receives their dog will have developed a unique bond and will give their total trust to the dog. The person may want to lead their dog a certain way but the relationship and trust developed between the two will dictate that the blind person must allow the dog their obedience to arrive at the destination safely.

The scripture references for this message all feature men, Abram in Genesis believing in the God who told him to leave his comfort zone to a place God would show him. God didn't tell him where but it didn't matter to Abram. Because of his blind obedience God pronounced a seven fold Blessing into his life. This Blessing is so profound that those of us who believe are living today in that seven fold covenant that was made in Genesis.

Moses in Exodus, was called by God to a bush burning but not consumed in the desert and when he turned to see that sight God spoke to him. The blind obedience Moses showed God enabled him to lead millions of people to God's promised land of milk and honey.

In the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, ordinary men were fishing when Jesus walked by the sea of Galilee and said to Simon (called Peter) and Andrew his brother, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother saying very simply...Follow me and I will make you fishers of men. Verse 22 of Matthew chapter 4 says...And they immediately left the ship and their father and followed Him. The blind obedience of these 4 plus others who were called became the Disciples Jesus used to perform extraordinary things once they received Power from on High.

God calls you and I in unique ways as well, not to perform things on our own because we can't. But if we will give Him our Blind Obedience He can perform amazing things that will benefit those in need and win souls for His kingdom. That is really what He wants from us, the absolute obedience a blind person has for their dog is what He needs from you and I.

This message came from a conversation a Evangelist and I had recently. We had attended a going away dinner for another Evangelist who gave God her Blind Obedience for foreign missions. She is in the Dominican Republic performing amazing things for those in need. She had come back to Memphis because God Blessed her with a home but she needed items to make it inhabitable. 

She contacted people about things she needed, furniture was among them. My wife and I had recently put most of our furniture in storage because of moving from our home. I had posted a message about what happened to my wife and I earlier and God used our incident to Bless the Evangelist with enough furniture to be put on a boat and sent to the Dominican Republic for her house He Blessed her with. Yep, Romans 8:28 is definitely in this...And we know that all things work together for good to those them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose....Glory. 

The reason we have problems with God's call to us is fear. Let's be honest, reading about people in the Bible, allowing God to use them for His purpose is a great read but when it comes to many of us...fear outweighs our willingness to become obedient.  It is much easier for us to believe the lie satan throws at us than the precious promises God has for us.

We will use the fear of demands of the job on our time as a reason why we can't be obedient. The truth is all God wants is for you to do as The Holy Spirit tells you...like witnessing to someone next to you about how good God is, how good He can be in their lives. We fear having to give up too much of what we have. The truth is all we have came from God. The money is His, the home is His, the Bible says the cattle on a thousand hills is His and that includes the hills the cattle are on.

We will use the fear of failing, what if I say the wrong things...do the wrong things. What if someone challenges my faith. The truth is there is no failure in God. The Bible say's when you are challenged about defending what you believe, Jesus said ...the Holy Ghost will teach you what to say in that very hour Luke 12:12...

We will say, I don't have to give what God wants me to. My funds won't allow me to contribute even though I know I should. The truth is Luke 6:38 says what Jesus taught...Give and it shall be given to you: good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over, shall men give unto your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. Giving and receiving go together hand in hand. As we give, God gives back in various ways.      

The price paid by Jesus on the old rugged cross was for our salvation. Trying to be the top dog, the number one person at whatever it may be in this world may be your aspiration but compared to what is waiting for you in Jesus...this world can't hold a candle to it.  Believe in Him and have life eternal, that is what our job is to be...especially now because this world is in one chaotic mess. 

God so loved us, He gave us Jesus, Jesus cared so much for us He did not want us to be left comfortless when He left earth going back to be with the Father. We have the Holy Spirit abiding in us whose task is to provide us with the POWER we need to witness for Christ. That is what Acts 1:7 tells us Jesus said...But ye ahall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judaea. and in Samaria and unto the utter most part of the earth.

In this world, many things will want your obedience, some will demand it. Who will you give it too? The one who can't do anything no matter how great they claim they are or to the one who was...is...and forever will be King of Kings and Lord of Lords. To Him who sits on the throne, I will forever give Honor and Glory Forever.

Thank You Lord For Your Word
Elder Thomas W. Burgess 

 

Pentecost
God's Power, The Holy Ghost
Scripture Reference
Joel 2:28-32
John 14:16-26
Acts 2:1-41

For Christians world-wide, we have celebrated the season of Pentecost since Jesus Christ was resurrected and ascended to heaven This Sunday June 4th is Pentecost. Pentecost means 50, Jesus walked among people for 50 days after his resurrection to specifically prepare His disciples for a time to come when they would be filled with God's Holy Spirit and become the dynamic men and women He always knew would become.

The Old Testament Prophet Joel prophesied this "Holy Spirit" in his book hundreds of years before it actually happened. The name Joel means "Yahweh Is God" and was a common name to Israel. Joel's prophecy was during a time of great devastation to the entire land of Judah due to an enormous plague of locusts that was greater than anyone had ever seen. All crops were lost and the seed crops for the next planting were destroyed. People and animals were dying and Joel saw this devastation as the judgement of God. 

Readers of the Book of Joel however should not overlook the most remarkable section of his prophecy. Through the anointing of the Holy Spirit, Joel looked hundreds of years into the future to a specific time when God would pour out His Spirit upon "all flesh" meaning everyone. This event will be before the devastation and judgement of the Day of the Lord and it will be a time when all believers will experience the indwelling of the Spirit of God. It will be an event so powerful, it will form a prophetic community on Earth. It will be a time when prophecy will come from young and old alike; when both men and women will prophecy.

Salvation will not just be the unique blessing on Judah, it will be a time when whoso ever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered.

In the New Testament Gospel of John beginning with Chapter 14, Jesus is preparing the disciples for His departure from them. But just like Jesus...as only He could do...He begins His lesson to them and us as readers thousands of years later with words of comfort. Verse 1...Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. These words are spoken during funeral processions, sermons from the pulpit to congregations and to us during our times of what we feel is severe trouble.

Jesus wants the disciples and us to know the power of Peace, Place and Promise. Peace in troubled times because we as Christians should know our Peace is in Jesus. Place is the eternal home in the heaven. Promise is His not leaving us alone for He reminded the disciples the Holy Spirit, Comforter, Paraclete would be with us to lead us to all truth.

Jesus told them in verse 15, If ye love me, keep my commandments (16)...And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever. Notice the gender reference he, the Holy Spirit is a man. Verse 17...Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him, but ye know him for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you.

In John 20:19-22...Jesus appears to the disciples but Thomas was not with them. When He appeared the first thing He said to them was Peace be unto you. Remember, the disciples had run from him during His time of need prior to his death on the cross. John was the only one who stayed until His death. Now, He appears. I don't know about you but I would be freaked out at this site. Jesus dead now appears from nowhere? So He tells them "Peace be unto you". 

Verse 21...Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so I send you. Jesus reminds them why His Father sent Him to earth...to redeem men and women back to God...to save us from sin so we would have life eternal. As Christians we have the same assignment. The Holy Ghost will give you POWER to witness to someone who isn't saved. Winning that soul for the Kingdom. 
 
In verse 22, after Jesus spends time calming them, He breathes on them saying "Receive ye the Holy Ghost".  

The New Testament Book of Acts is where we find Jesus final words to the disciples and leads them and us to The day of Pentecost. Acts 1:3... Jesus appearance after His resurrection to many people is verified as being factual. The words infallible proofs in verse 3 means seeing Jesus during this 40 day period solidifies forever Christ is alive because that is the bedrock of Christianity...we serve a risen Savior. 

Verse 5...For John (John The Baptist) truly baptized with water: but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence. When you and I accepted Christ, we were baptized in water which is the baptism to show our identification with Christ. We got into a pool or creek (if you lived in the country)...that new convert (you and I) going down in the water sinful and coming up out of the water in the newness of Christ.

This baptism in the Holy Ghost for the disciples is going to be different. Verse 8...But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. The power they are going to receive and you and I receive is the power of our witness. Telling all we meet about this Jesus we love and serve...we tell everyone about Him in our homes, neighborhoods, communities, cities, states, across the fruited plain and everywhere we go.

Verse 9...Jesus ascends to heaven, Verse 10...an angel appears and tells the disciples in verse 11...stop gazing up toward heaven, this same Jesus shall come come back. Acts 1: 12-26 is a 9 day period (so far a total of 49 days) preparing themselves as they were instructed. The choose a replacement for Judas (who hung himself when he betrayed Jesus) and focus in prayer with the women leading up to the 10th day (now a total of 50 days when the miracle takes place on the 50th day...

Acts 2:1...And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. Verse 2...And suddenly there casme a sound as a rushing mighty wind, and filled all the house where they were sitting. Verse 3...And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. Verse 4...And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. Glory 

The awesome part of this experience is unity. Everyone was in one place, with focus and one goal. There was not any division among them, the only thing that mattered is following what Jesus told them to do. 

The wonderful part of this experience is it still happens today. We have had services at Jubilee Church of God In Christ where the Holy Spirit's presence was so powerful it was like the smoke filling a room that signified God's presence in the Old Testament and it was amazing. If you have never been filled, ask God to fill you. Do as the disciples did and watch what happens.

Acts chapter 2:5-13, you will find these meely mouthed, scared of their own shadow weak guys being changed into POWERFUL people speaking in a language they never spoke before that enabled men that had gathered from all over the world to hear Christ preached in their language. The disciples laughed, talked and acted as though they were drunk and were accused of being just that. 

It is amazing what one will do when the Amazing Power of The Holy Ghost leads someone and that person yields to God's Spirit. At one church service, a young lady started speaking in tongugues, our Pastor encouraged someone to allow the Spirit to use you to interpret what she was speaking. One of our Church Mothers stood and allowed God to use her to interpret and it was POWERFUL.

Acts 2:14...Peter standing with the eleven lifted up his voice and said unto them. Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem. be this know  unto you, and hearken to my words. verse 15...For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour (9am) of the day. Verse 16...But this is that whch was spoken by the prophet Joel...and proceeds to preach the greated sermon ever under the anoiting of the Holy Ghost.

When he finished, 3,000 men accepted Christ and the Church was born. Challenge yourself, be bold enough to find out what work The Holy Ghost has for you. Allow yourself you be used. 

We are in perilous times in our world and country but it can be the greatesr time for the Church if the Church is willing to stand for Christ. There are souls waiting for you to witness to them whether it is at the grocery store, doctors office, car dealership, bus stop, office or wherever you are. When the Holy Ghost tells you to do something, be bold enoughto do it and watch God work.

God Bless You,
Elder Thomas W, Burgess   



April 4, 2017
Broken, Now Useful
Scripture Reference
Matthew 26:6-13
Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, (7) There came unto him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on his head, as he sat at meat. (8) But when his disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, To what purpose is this waste? (9) For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor. (10) When Jesus understood it, he said unto them, Why trouble ye the woman? for she hath wrought a good work upon me. (11) For ye have the poor always with you; but me ye have not always. (12) For in that she hath poured this ointment on my body, she did it for my burial. (13) Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.

For Christians world wide, we are about to celebrate our most sacred time of year. The world calls it Palm Sunday and Easter. We call it Lamb Selection Day and Resurrection Sunday. Each of the Gospel's draws us to what Jesus was about to endure for us. You can find this story in Mark 14:3-9...Luke 7:36-39 and John 12:1-8. 

It is interesting that Matthew, Mark and Luke's account of service does not mention the woman by name. Verse 7 above and Mark 14:3 simply calls her a woman. Luke 7:37 goes one step further by describing her as a woman in the city which was a sinner. It is John's Gospel that finally gives us a glimpse of who this woman really is, her name is Mary.

Whether you call her a woman, sinner or Mary is not important because she is introduced to us for one specific purpose...to serve and in this case...to serve Jesus. What is important is the gift she has for Him. The gift (called spikenard or ointment) was described as very precious in Matthew and Mark, very costly in John and the description of its aroma is included. John wants us to know its fragrance was so strong it filled the home. It smelled goooood.

How befitting for a King, being served this way but the only way this ointment could do what it was designed to do was to be exposed. The only way for it to be exposed was to break the container that held it for it was then and only then the purpose for which it was designed to be used. Notice, no men had any part in the act of service, it was a woman, sinner woman...Mary. The only role men played was to try and discredit there act of service.

We know the gifts that God placed within each of us is what the world needs. Men and women have these precious gifts. Perhaps us men folk are too concerned about the "broken" part of this process to be of any good but the Bible takes great pains to let us know how special the gift was, used on a truly special individual for what turned out to be a Divine purpose. 

The woman gave their most important gift and gladly broke the container so the ointment could become useful. These women loved Jesus so much, they are described as washing His feet with their tears, drying His feet with their hair and using this precious, expensive ointment for Him to smell good. What a tremendous act of humility. 

Some of the men took issue claiming this to be too extravagant, being better served to be sold and the money from the sale being given to the poor and maybe there is some validity to their issues. But I look at the cost Jesus paid, the phony accusations from church folks because He hung with the poor, the needy, tax collectors, sinners, the sick giving them hope. 

You and I are Christians, Christ like, which means we are supposed to do the same. Soul saving is dirty work, those we need to reach have the perception we are too good for them, we can't relate to them because they are dirty and we are not. If they see the true us, the one that has been broken due to the sins we happily took part in, broken marriage, broken by debt, bad decisions, broken by life and because of that breaking process those needing to have hope can see what God does with brokenness.

The brokenness Jesus suffered is unimaginable to us, the movies like "Passion of Christ" showed just some of what He endured. The treasure in this old earthly vessel became valuable to God because of the price Jesus paid. Allow His will to be done in your life allow that sweet fragrance locked up inside of you to become exposed. You can't become useful to the Kingdom until you have been broken.   

As you can see from the passage of scripture, the selfless gift to Jesus from the woman cost them dearly but they gave willingly. Due to their unselfishness, their act of service is the legacy for all to draw from. Verse (13) Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.  

God Bless You
Elder Thomas Burgess      

 

March 2017

Going Through The Changes And Seasons of Time

Ecclesiastes 3:1...To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven...(6)...A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep and a time to cast away. KJV


1965 was the year the pop group "The Byrds" released their album Turn, Turn, Turn, To Everything There's A Season Turn Turn. It is still celebrated as an iconic song that is being played today...over 50 years later.


It has always ben interesting to me that the Byrds chose to record a song that has lyrics from the Bible. Recording artists have never been shy about songs that had strong religious tones, Norman Greenbaum "Spirit In The Sky" has the best opening ever recorded, The Edwin Hawkins Singers recorded "Oh Happy Day" in the 70's, Bill Withers "Lean On Me", Sam Cookes "A Change Is Gonna Come", England Dan And John Ford Coley "Love Is The Answer" and many many more and they were tremendous Hit Songs and Timeless. 

  

I jokingly put on FaceBook that February would be the month long celebration of my 66th birthday. Many of my friends and family played along with me, after all you will only get to be whatever number you are celebrating one time. 


Number 66 has indeed been good to me thus far but there has been a heaviness in my Spirit due to a problem that has been the elephant in the room for months and it has been difficult to handle. The reason for my lack of posts has been due to this problem, truthfully the more I tried to write my way through it, the more nothing came to my mind to write.


So it became a time of withdrawal to that place of solitude where you pour your heart out to God asking why, feeling sorry for yourself and just waiting to hear from God because in spite of the pain, I knew God would tell me why...in His time.  


My wife and I are experiencing a loss, we are giving up our home. She has been dealing with it better than I have, ladies generally do. My issue was God gave us our home, not being able to keep it to me meant I failed my wife and more importantly God. When we were Blessed with it in 2007, our prayer was...let this home be a refuge to the Saints who need a place to stay during the Church of God In Christ Convocation and of course relatives.

   

During my time of solitude, God spoke to me and said, so you feel like you failed? My answer, yes. God said is it your fault your pay plan at your job changed? My answer, No. He said, in your prayers to me, you asked for what I gave you to be a refuge for those needing shelter...right? Then God dropped a God thing on me...He said, COGIC left Memphis for St. Louis? My answer Yes. He asked me...how long have they been gone...since 2009? How many times do relatives come to Memphis to stay now that they (and you and your wife) have gotten older?...Not often.


God simply reminded me, things change. You enjoyed the gift of your home for a season but the season has changed. They always do. God then told me about His Old Testament Prophets. He started with Elijah in 1st Kings Chapter 17. God said, remember those who I called really had nothing like homes, meals or transportation but they were obedient enough to go where I told them to go. I told Elijah to go to the brook Cherith, you will have water to drink from the brook and I have commanded Ravens to feed you. Like clock work, Ravens brough him bread and meat in the morning and evening. Elijah did this until the brook dried up. He never said...Um God, you know this water is gone right?


Then God told him to go to Zaraphat, I have commanded a widow woman to sustain you and she did. Abraham called God Jehovah Jireh...The Lord Will Provide...God provided for everyone He called and continues to call to His service, that includes me and my wife. It also includes you too.


Quincy Jones has a beautiful song on one of his albums titled "Everything Must Change"...

the lyrics are...

Everything must change
Nothing stays the same
Everyone must change
No one stays the same


The young become the old
And mysteries do unfold
Cause that's the way of time
Nothing and no one goes unchanged


There are not many things in life
You can be sure of
Except rain comes from the clouds
Sun lights up the sky
And hummingbirds do fly


God has not forgotten about you, though there seems to be no way out, go to that place of solitude. The Bible will remind you that Jesus periodically went to His place of solitude to pray. To commune with His Father, sometime He took the disciples. When Jesus needed them most...in the Garden of Gethsemane...they fell asleep...Jesus dealt with his humanity the very same way we do, he became fearful of what was to come...asking that this cup be removed from me. But He had a Never The Less in His Spirit saying...not my will but thy will be done Luke 22:42 KJV  

 

The changes of life and seasons will forever be with us, so will our Heavenly Father. What you count as loss is no where near it to God, He is just getting you ready for your next assignment.


God Bless You, 

Elder Thomas Burgess

Happy New Year to every one, may 2017 be the best year ever for you. That is my prayer for you, your family, your business, your marriage, your health and most of all your finances.


The scripture reference was going to be Deuteronomy 8:18 but as I back up to the beginning of chapter 8, I realized the entire chapter is going to be applicable. What sparked this new year message was a simple word..."ability". Webster defines ability as the quality or state of being able and uses this example...ability of soil to hold water. Ability is also focused on physical ability, mental ability or legal power to perform. One may also use the word ability as a natural aptitude or acquired proficiency.


In the world, ones ability may or may not ensure that person's guaranteed success in business, marriage, health or any facet of their lives because of variables that can hinder their success. You can have the ability to achieve what you want but if someone doesn't want you to have it...that abilty will be stilfiled. If your boss doesn't want you to be successful in your job, or if your mate doesn't want the relationship to work out or if you have a doctor who is more concerned about their perks instead of getting you well... no matter how much ability you have...there will be a problem. The world is full of things to hinder you regardless of your ability.


Thank God the same is not true in the Spiritual realm. Soil has the ability to hold water because God created both soil and water. If you have the physical and mental abilities that are unique, the world will say you are gifted, the truth is God gave those abilities to you.

As for the legal power to perform?...God has no problem correcting what we thought was our ability to legally perform something when a Divine Correction takes place. God gave us the ability to accomplish whatever it is we want to achieve provided it is in His will and IF" we keep God first in every facet of our lives.


Deuteronomy means second law. The first was given to Moses from God but many prople had died during the exodus (primarily from disobedience) ...the second law was given to the generation remaining and they were told to "remember" God's goodness and faithfulness toward them. Moses is now remindng the children of Israel and us, nothing is about us and our so called abilities to do things.


Let's be honest, we achieve nothing on our own but heartache. Here is the reality, we see new days because of God's grace and mercy, we are able to realize we have the use of our faculties and limbs because of God's grace and mercy, we make money because of God's grace and mercy.


When someone says my pay is not enough, give God your job and money for Him to make you successful and increase your finances thru tithing ...both will happen because you are not relying on yourself...but on Him. He is our Heavenly Father who has All Power and wants us to enjoy His fullness.


Nothing is too great for God because He is the only Great one. No force in this world can stop you from being successful when you give your business, health marriage or whatever it is to God. There will be times God will direct you away from what you think is best for you...your obedience is what God wants...even when you are dead set on a goal.


Deuteronomy reminds you of the blessings of obedience and what will happen if we are disobedient. Read the book and allow the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to just how awesome our God is.


Genesis shows us that God honors covenants (promises) established between Him and those who honored and obeyed and Him. The wonderful things that have happened in your life that you attribute to ability is because God had established a covenant with someone in your family long ago who prayed that God would Bless their descendents...no matter how many there will be.


Deuteronomy 8:18 says...But thou shalt remember the Lord thy God: for it is He that giveth thee the power (ability) to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day. You and I are being Blessed because of the covenant God made with Abram in Genesis 12.


God wants you healthy, successful in business, having a Biblical marriage and so much more. Just remember to include Him in everything you do.


Thank You Lord For Your Word

Elder Thomas W. Burgess

Spirit 2014