Tag Archive | "Bishop"

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Thank you, Pastor!

Posted on 24 October 2019 by LeslieM

In a recent session of the 116th Congress, Congressman Ted Deutch offered a public commendation in honor of the ministers, pastors and priests in his district. It was done in acknowledgement of Clergy Appreciation Day (also known as National Pastor Day) which annually falls on the second Sunday of each October. October is also nationally recognized as Clergy Appreciation Month, and congregations hold special services, events or activities to honor their ministers for the spiritual guidance and leadership that they give. Many of them provide valuable influence and service to the larger communities in which they minister as well. We are blessed to live in a nation that recognizes the significance of the faith community to the overall well-being of society. The work and influence of ministers, in general, should not be discounted because of the negative reports of some that occasionally make news headlines.

The Bible provides numerous descriptions of the qualifications and work of ministers. One of my favorites is Jeremiah 3:15,And I will give you pastors according to My heart, who will feed you with knowledge and understanding.” In Jeremiah’s day, God was unhappy with His people’s rejection of the covenant relationship He had established with them, in favor of worship and allegiances with foreign deities. Much of their unfaithfulness was caused by leaders who led the people astray (see 2:8). After calling them to account, God promised to provide shepherds (leaders and pastors) who would give proper guidance to the people. In a recent pastor’s installation service, I shared three considerations from God’s description of pastors in Jeremiah 3:15. True pastors will fit and model this description.

Pastors are assigned by God. The clear revelation of Scripture is that pastors are called and assigned by God to proclaim His word, minister to His people, and lead His church. As Moses and Joshua were called by God to lead Israel in the Old Testament, and the disciples and Paul were chosen by Jesus in the New Testament, so, too, God still calls men and women to serve today. No one can call and confirm himself to any function or ministry of the pastorate. Evidence of God’s call must be recognized by others and confirmed by the church. God says, “I will give you.” Though the function of pastors may appear to be a job, and some may make it a career, the truth is that the pastor is fulfilling a divinely ordained assignment. He functions in response to an undeniable calling upon his life. He goes where he goes and does what he does because he is assigned by God.

Pastors have God’s heart. They serve according to God’s will and function in a manner to His liking. Since they are called by God, they are duty bound to serve according to His word and His way. Though they may serve the people, they serve in the interests of God. They must, therefore, be God-pleasers not men-pleasers. Pastors after the people’s heart will tickle their ears but pastor’s after God’s heart will touch their souls. Pastors after the people’s heart will give them what they want, but pastors after God’s heart will give them what they need. Pastors after the people’s heart will change their messages to fit the times, but pastors after God’s heart will proclaim the timeless truths of an unchanging God. Pastors will one day give account to God for their service. They must, therefore, faithfully proclaim God’s word, promote God’s interests and represent God’s heart.

Pastors feed God’s people. Like a shepherd who provides green pastures for the nourishment of his flock, so the pastor feeds God’s people with the milk, bread and meat of God’s word – the Scriptures. His sensitivity to the heart of God will enable him to communicate spiritual truth to the human condition. Faithfully preaching and teaching God’s word will turn converts into disciples and believers into mature saints. Jeremiah 3:15 notes that pastors will feed God’s people with knowledge and understanding. This enables them to become like the sons of Issachar (1 Chron. 12:32) who understood the times and knew what to do. Don’t underestimate the value of your pastor to your life. Appreciate his spiritual guidance. Take time to give honor and thanks for his service.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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Are you ready?

Posted on 26 September 2019 by LeslieM

When it comes to being on the alert and ready at any moment to do the job, it’s hard to beat the Pony Express. This historically famous mail service between St. Joseph, MO, and California depended on constant movement and readiness. Relay stations were established every 10 to 15 miles. A rider would shout aloud as he approached a station, giving the station master very short notice that he needed to be outside waiting with a fresh mount. We have this service’s intriguing example of what it means to be ever watchful. (Today in the Word, Dec. 1997, pg. 17).

Matthew 25:1-13 details a parable of the kingdom of heaven that Jesus gave to His disciples to teach their need to be watchful and ready for His return. Two groups of virgins were distinguished by their preparedness: those having extra oil were considered wise, while those who only had what was in their lamps were considered foolish. All of them were waiting expectantly for the Bridegroom to come. Verse 5 relates: while the Bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept. When he finally came, only those who were ready (who could light their lamps because they had reserve oil), were able to go with him to the wedding.

The need for preparation extends to any area of our lives and Christian walk where we anticipate opportunities for advancement and advantage or have an expectation of God to manifest His blessings upon us. Will you be ready when an opportunity knocks at your door? Are you prepared for God’s blessing? It’s not enough just to expect His favor and the fulfillment of His promises. We must be prepared for them. An opportunity loses its value if you are unable to seize it.

According to Merriam-Webster, preparation is the “activity or process of making something ready or becoming ready for something.” This may involve education such as needed for a career or information regarding an appealing opportunity. It will require discipline to remain focused on the goal while avoiding distractions or discouragement. Patience and perseverance will be a necessity to endure the length of time the process may take. In the end, however, we will find ourselves ready and positioned to maximize the opportunity when it comes.

The danger in not being prepared is that, like the foolish virgins, when the time arrives for God to move, we may miss out on His blessing, favor, or power. Harrison Ford was a struggling actor in Hollywood getting small parts and supporting his family by working side-jobs as a carpenter. He was building cabinets at the home of George Lucas when he was given a supporting role in the film American Grafitti. That led to an opportunity to audition for Star Wars where Lucas was so impressed by Ford’s ability that he offered him the role of Hans Solo, and the rest is history. The carpenter became a successful leading actor because he was prepared.

Will you be ready for your next opportunity? Are you prepared for a demonstration of God’s favor in your life and circumstance? Are you ready to meet the Bridegroom? What steps do you need to take to position yourself for what you desire or intend for your future? You must remember that expectation coupled with preparation, will bring about manifestation. We must be ready!

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: Take another look

Posted on 23 May 2019 by LeslieM

The American painter, John Sargent, once painted a panel of roses that was highly praised by critics. It was a small picture, but it approached perfection. Although offered a high price for it on many occasions, Sargent refused to sell it. He considered it his best work and was very proud of it. Whenever he was deeply discouraged and doubtful of his abilities as an artist, he would look at it and remind himself, “I painted that.” Then his confidence and ability would come back to him.

All of us will experience times when we may feel doubtful and discouraged by the adversities we face. James 1:2-4 ought to serve us like the painting of John Sargent. Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way (MSG). As believers, we can find hope, encouragement, and motivation to go on, knowing that God has a plan in every state and stage of our lives. Troubles and trials are part and parcel of living in this fallen world. James’ advice provides an advantage in the knowledge that trials can be used to help us instead of hindering us. He causes us to consider the perspective, process and product of trials.

Our perspective influences our attitude towards our experiences. By viewing struggles not as mere annoyances but as potential advantages, we can be better positioned to endure and overcome them. James urges us to consider trials as gifts and to embrace them joyfully. Then, there is a process at work in that times of testing enable us to develop and progress. What may be stressful may also be awakening our creativity and stirring our productivity. Without the struggle, we may not know what we’re capable of doing or becoming. As muscles are strengthened under pressure, we too can benefit from the process of pain and difficulty. The product or result of testing, according to James, is maturity and a well-balanced person. In the NKJV of the passage, it relates that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing. Just as the passage of time makes adults out of children, so we are designed to develop and become complete as a result of seasons of struggle.

Oyster pearls are produced as a result of grains of sand becoming trapped in the flesh of the oyster. Like dust irritates us when trapped between our eyelids and eyeball, the oyster become stressed by the experience. It secretes a substance through this distress that eventually hardens and becomes the precious pearl that we use for jewelry. Without the discomfort and struggle, the oyster would never produce the pearl and women would not have such beautiful necklaces. Perhaps we should take another look at our struggles and challenges. Seeing them differently may cause us to experience a different outcome than what initially appears to be inevitable.

God in His wisdom has given us the ability to progress despite the troubles of life. He turns our obstacles into opportunities and our stumbling blocks into stepping-stones. What may even be intended for evil, God can turn around for our good! The thing meant to break us down can actually enable us to break through. In the face of trials, sigh if you will, cry if you must, but then hold your head up, square your shoulders and keep on going. Things may not go the way you expect but be patient, hold on, hang in there! God is doing something inside of you. He’s building you, perfecting you, establishing you. You’re probably stronger today than you were on yesterday, and tomorrow you’ll be stronger than you are today. Take another look.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: Watch your mouth!

Posted on 28 March 2019 by LeslieM

President Calvin Coolidge was known to be a man of very few words. He was nicknamed “Silent Cal” because of this propensity. His wife, Grace, once related the story of a young woman who happened to be seated next to her husband at a dinner party. The young woman told the president that she had made a bet with a friend that she could get at least three words of conversation from him. President Coolidge quietly responded, “You lose.” He had learned and mastered the art of carefully selecting words that kept his responses brief and to the point. It is a skill that we would do well to develop for use in our conversations and communications with each other. Mature people have learned not to utter everything that comes to their minds, especially in heated and emotional conversations. They have realized that there is a responsibility that comes with speech and thereby they choose their words carefully.

In a world where passions are easily inflamed by the words that we use, James 3:5 reminds us just how dangerous loose lips and an unrestrained tongue can be. It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that (MSG).

In recent months, we’ve seen images of the awesome devastation caused by fires in California. Thousands of acres burned up, numerous homes and neighborhoods devastated, and the heartbreak of families that have lost everything. It is reported that the 2018 wildfire season was the deadliest and has caused the greatest destruction on record in California. When you consider that a tiny spark can produce a raging inferno in nature you can begin to understand the destructive power of the tongue.

How many friendships have been ruined, lives irreparably damaged, marriages broken, fights erupted and wars declared because of the negative potential of the tongue? It may be small in comparison to other parts of the human body, but the tongue can be lethal. It is our chief means of communication and expression and is the first skill that we master after birth. Consider that, even before forming words and coherent speech, babies announce their presence, demand attention and have their needs tended to by crying out loudly, and making noises with their mouths. Mastery of speech and language enables us to communicate clearly as we grow. Consequently, we’re conditioned in our relationships to respond to what people say in our conversations. Maturity is revealed in using the right words at the appropriate times.

But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison (James 3:8 NKJV). Ouch! With a direct and blunt comment James further reminds us of the attention we need to pay to our words. Thoughtless or emotionally charged speech can get out of control very quickly and change the mood of a conversation. Some people pride themselves on speaking their minds and have no qualms about making their points in a direct manner, but caution is required to avoid escalating the dialogue into an argument.

Washington Irving, who wrote Rip Van Winkle, once said, “A sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows keener with constant use.” James suggests putting a bridle on our tongues (James 1:26)to keep our words and conversations in check. In other words, exercise some restraint when you speak.

William Norris, an American journalist, once wrote great advice for tongue control: “If your lips would keep from slips, five things observe with care: To whom you speak; of whom you speak; and how, and when, and where.”

Perhaps if we simply listened to what our parents, teachers and elders told us growing up, we would have better control over our unruly tongues — “Think before you speak, choose your words carefully, and watch your mouth!”

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: Diversity and Unity

Posted on 28 February 2019 by LeslieM

Rainbows are beautiful displays of nature that always seem to attract attention whenever and wherever they show up in the sky. Wikipedia defines a rainbow as “a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky.” They most often appear in the form of a multi-colored arc and are usually displayed in an area to the opposite of the position of the sun. Their color is attributed to the fact that water droplets break white sunlight into the seven colors of the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.

In Genesis 9:13 God tells Noah, “I set My rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth.” Rainbows serve as beautiful reminders of the presence, power, and promise of God.

Like the rainbow, we are God’s handiwork in nature, creating beauty in our unity and reflecting His purpose and glory. From the beginning, God’s intention was for His diverse creation to exist in harmony and collaboration. Each aspect of the created world had a purpose and function that was to complement the others. Though different and distinct, the earth, sky, sun, stars, moon, animals, fish, vegetation and mankind were expected to coexist in peace.

Sin, birthed through Adam’s disobedience, ruined God’s original intent for man’s relationships with Himself and others, but does not exempt us from the need to fulfill His purpose. The Bible consistently urges us to brotherhood and oneness.

In the Genesis 9 account which details events after the Flood, verse 19 relates that from Noah’s three sons “the whole earth was populated.” In Acts 17:26, Paul proclaims that God “Has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.” Psalm 133:1 exclaims, “Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” In John 17:21, Jesus prayed for those who would believe in Him “that they may be one.” All these statements indicate that despite our undeniable differences we can and should live in unity and accord. We are related in our common humanity and connected by our need for the same things. We are family!

Too often we spotlight our differences and become exclusive because of our distinctions. History has revealed that this can lead to tensions, disagreements, injustice, brutality, racism and war. Instead, we should appreciate our uniqueness, collaborate on our common interests, and celebrate our collective achievements. Our differing perspectives, abilities and contributions can be synergized to accomplish collectively what none of us could do on our own. The reality of our undeniable diversity should never be allowed to prevent the results of our indisputable unity. As Dr. King famously remarked, in his “I Have A Dream” speech, “With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood.”

Musical notes are each distinct and unique for the sound that they make. On their own that uniqueness, though unequaled and spectacular, can become monotonous and uninspiring. The significance of the diversity of each note is not fully appreciated until they are combined in a melody that is sweet to the ear, sensible to the mind and soothing to the soul. The keys on any piano or organ are designed and intended to function in an intentionally harmonious collaboration of music and song. No one key can create a satisfying melody. So too our diversity is best appropriated when we recognize our connectedness and learn to live in purposeful unity.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: Pursuing Peace

Posted on 23 January 2019 by LeslieM

The subject of peace is a recurring headline in the news of our day. Every modern president, including the current one, has tried to be the arbiter of harmony in the Middle East among antagonistic nations. And because nearly every peace accord that has ever been established has eventually been broken, peace, peacemaking and peacekeeping will always be in our news broadcasts, in the newspapers, and in our conversations. Interestingly, some of the instruments of our attempts at peace have been symbols usually associated with violence. Civil War army pistols were referred to as peacemakers and the military even named a missile ‘peacemaker.’

The role of United Nations Peacekeeping forces, as noted on their website, is to help countries torn by conflict to create the conditions for lasting peace. Comprised of civilian, police, and military personnel, peacekeepers are additionally charged with assisting in political processes, reforming judicial systems, training law enforcement and police forces, disarming and reintegrating former combatants, and supporting the return of internally displaced persons and refugees. In recent years, however, reports from around the world have implicated peacekeepers themselves with criminal behavior, abuse and oppression in strife-torn countries.

Recent public clashes between groups representing opposing racial, political and ideological views have put a spotlight on the divides that still plague American society. Some of them have had deadly consequences evidencing an increase in the propensity towards violence. One of the regrettable consequences of social media is that words and images can quickly stir up strife. This proves that harmony, if it is achieved, should never be taken for granted but must always be watchfully maintained.

In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus raised the issue of peacemaking, and probably shocked His audience that was accustomed to social and religious sectarian conflict. Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t get along very well. Publicans were a hated group and considered traitors for collecting taxes on behalf of the Roman government. The Law of Moses demanded an eye for an eye, blood for blood and life for a life. But Jesus offered a radical new perspective on conflict: “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God(Matthew 5:9).

This week, we observed the celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who was a proponent of peace. Whether questioning the nation’s involvement in the Vietnam war and the quest for nuclear supremacy or pricking the public conscience to address injustice, there could be no doubt about what he believed. His preferred tactic for confronting the evils of racism was non-violent protest. Recognizing the greater power of words over weapons, he masterfully challenged America to consider her ways. Concerning peace, some of his powerful statements are enshrined in public memorials that inspire emerging generations to brotherhood and harmony: “Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.” “Sooner or later all the people of the world will have to discover a way to live together in peace.” “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.”

For his efforts, Dr. King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He is regarded as the champion of the civil rights movement and is celebrated as one of America’s greatest citizens. His actions also fulfilled the qualifications Jesus identified in order to be considered a son of God. In a world where there is more that we have in common than in difference, it’s time for us to unite in brotherhood and harmony and make the pursuit of peace a clear objective. Only then can we expect to be called the sons of God.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: The greatest gift

Posted on 26 December 2018 by LeslieM

The custom of exchanging gifts during Christmas has long been a part of the season’s charm, and many retailers aggressively promote their products as the best and greatest gifts for friends and loved ones. Everything from the latest electronic devices to gift certificates, cars, jewelry and clothing are often touted as must-have items for those on your list. The reality is that in the days immediately after Christmas, many of those gifts are going to be returned in exchange for something else. What may seem like a great gift from the perspective of the giver may not be valued as such in the eyes of the receiver.

Over 2000 years ago, the world received a gift unlike any other. In the insignificant and humble confines of a manger, God unveiled the depths of His love in the person of Jesus. More than an act in time, it was a statement in eternity. Better than a solution to a problem, it was the answer to man’s condition. Much more than a mere present, it was heaven’s gift for earth’s need. In John 3:16, Jesus explained it this way, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”

In this, we see the greatest love. History and literature are comprised of many supposed great love stories: Antony and Cleopatra, Romeo and Juliet, Sampson and Delilah, Brad and Angelina. But none of them could ever be the greatest love, for they were all conditional and temporary. The Bible represents God’s love as unconditional and eternal. What about the greatest gift? Would that be money, diamonds, status or influence? Many would readily accept such gifts, but would they bring lasting satisfaction? Jesus is God’s only Son who made the ultimate sacrifice, His life, for mankind. There’s no greater gift.

Years ago, during her talk show, Oprah Winfrey was preparing to give away brand new cars to her studio audience. Her staff carefully selected the most deserving from the thousands of letters that were submitted. The audience on that day was there by special invitation only. The greatest invitation, however, is seen in God’s offer to “whoever.” His gift is available to all. Those who were chosen to receive new cars from Oprah had to meet certain criteria. The stipulation was that they had to be without a car, or badly in need of a new one and financially unable to purchase it on their own. The greatest stipulation though, comes from God. He only requires us to believe in His Son.

Our society is hooked on the idea of exemptions. IRS exemptions, diplomatic immunity, special privileges and duty-free status are advantages that we treasure. God offers the greatest exemption in sparing those who believe in His Son from spiritual death or eternal separation from Himself. The Bible teaches that eternal punishment awaits the wicked and those who reject God’s gift. Believers are promised the greatest benefit, however. We all know the advantage of a good insurance policy, paid vacations, performance bonuses and stock options when considering employment offers. We seek to get the most benefit out of our decisions and actions in life. God promises everlasting life to those who accept His gift. Eternity will be experienced and enjoyed with Him.

Whatever gifts you have been given this Christmas, embrace them and appreciate the expressions of love from those who gave to you. Consider God’s great gift as well and embrace all that it provides. Keep in mind that our gifts to each other will only bring satisfaction for this life, and only for a time. God’s great gift, however, will affect both this life and the next. His alone is the greatest gift, revealing the greatest love, providing the greatest invitation and greatest stipulation, and offering the greatest exemption and greatest benefit. Who wouldn’t want that? Peace!

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: To whom are you thankful?

Posted on 21 November 2018 by LeslieM

In this season, we are often reminded and encouraged to be grateful for what we have and enjoy, but there is seldom any direction as to whom we should be thankful. I recently read a story of a blind boy stationed on a sidewalk with a sign identifying his infirmity. Strangers would pass by and place coins in his hat. A gentleman stopped to observe him for a while, then took the sign, wrote something else on the back of it and put it in its place. People began to contribute even more money when they read the sign: “it’s a beautiful day but I can’t see it.” The point of the story was that we should be thankful for the abilities we possess but often take for granted. There was no mention as to whom we should direct our gratitude, however.

As a believer, I am convinced by Scripture and experience that God is the source of our blessings. There was a time when most would readily agree with that sentiment. I was intrigued to learn that all 50 states acknowledge God in the preamble to their constitutions. The Alabama Constitution states, “We the people of the State of Alabama…invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution…” California’s Preamble: “We, the people of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom…” Connecticut states, “The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy…” Florida’s Preamble: “We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty…establish this Constitution.” Vermont’s Preamble: “Whereas all government ought to…enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man…”

Earlier generations willingly noted the goodness of God and rightfully appreciated His Providence. Technological and scientific advancements have certified our potential and made us more confident in our pursuits, but experience reveals that we do not have mastery over every circumstance. We owe our gratitude to someone greater than ourselves for the ability to breathe, think, act and achieve. Biblical admonitions abound concerning our need to be thankful to God. Psalm 106:1, “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good; for his mercy endures forever.” Colossians 4:2, “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving.Isaiah 12:4-5, “And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth.”

It is not enough to be merely grateful or thankful for something, one must necessarily be grateful to the person who made the thing possible. As a boy I learned the popular doxology which begins with, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow.” It established the fact that any good, beneficial and pleasant thing or experience had its origin in the favor of the Almighty God. As I look back over a lifetime of experiences, I am more and more appreciative to God for His undeniable goodness. Thanksgiving has become more than a seasonal acknowledgement of blessings. It is a daily practice that begins with the realization that I’ve awakened to a new day.

Hailey Bartholomew from Australia discovered how to overcome the sense of being stuck on the treadmill of life: find something daily for which to be thankful. It revolutionized her life as she began to see things she had never noticed before. She learned to live with gratitude and celebrate life. Why not follow her lead and cultivate a lifestyle of appreciation to God for His daily expressions of mercy and grace? In this season and always, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: The value of patience

Posted on 25 October 2018 by LeslieM

One of the challenges that many of us face in 21st Century living is the ability to be patient. The advancements and conveniences of our modern day have conditioned us to expect immediate gratification rather than eventual fulfillment. ATM machines give us instant cash, drive-thru windows enable us to get our meals in mere minutes and self-checkout areas help us to avoid the lines at the grocery store. As a result, we attempt to get more done since we expect speedy execution, but we often face frustration when we are delayed in accomplishing our objectives.

Nature’s way to fulfillment always involves conception, then process and eventual manifestation. We are not born fully mature, for example, but must go through stages of development which lead to our becoming fully grown. In agriculture, farmers know that the seed they plant today will need time to develop into the crop that they desire. Wheat, the most widely harvested crop in the world, takes about 120 days between the actions of planting and reaping. Lottery tickets and casinos tease us with the promise of quick riches, but any financial planner worth his fee will advise you that real wealth is amassed over time. A quote attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson advises, “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.”

The Bible has much to say about patience and our need to possess it. In Ecclesiastes 7:8 (KJV), King Solomon observed, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.” The apostle Paul proclaims, in Romans 5:3 (MKJV) that believers should “Glory in afflictions…knowing that afflictions work out patience.” A similar sentiment is expressed in James 1:3 (NKJV), “The testing of your faith produces patience.” Galatians 6:9 (NKJV) draws upon the agricultural principles related to securing a harvest: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”

The value of patience is in its ability to keep us steady and grounded in the process between desire and fulfillment. It is cultivated in the delays and disappointments of life as we attempt to achieve our goals for work, family, education and the like. As Billy Graham once remarked, “Each life is made up of mistakes and learning, waiting and growing, practicing patience and being persistent.” To resist the natural ebb and flow of life is to live with daily stress, anxiety and frustration. We cannot control everything that happens to us, but we can control how we respond. Better to relax and trust that if you wait, the good that you desire and work for will indeed come.

Pearle Wait, the inventor of Jell-O, wasn’t satisfied with the meager results he saw after a just few months of peddling his product door to door in 1897. He sold all the rights to it for $450 to a man who apparently had a better understanding of marketing and patience. In less than eight years, the $450 investment became a $1 million business. To this day, millions of boxes of Jell-O are sold in supermarkets and stores. If Mr. Wait had only waited…

In our fast-paced world we would do well to curb the penchant for immediacy. Not everything will lend itself to instant gratification. Things of value tend to develop over time. Diamonds, pearls, success, true love and strong relationships all require patience with the process necessary to make them a reality. Pray for patience and practice patience with yourself and others. If, as Saint Augustine is noted to have said, “Patience is the companion of wisdom,” we should passionately pursue and possess it.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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CLERGY CORNER: Follow the instructions

Posted on 27 September 2018 by LeslieM

Most adults have likely felt the frustration of attempting to assemble something without following the instructions. A child’s toy, a bicycle or even a small appliance may seem easy to put together, but if there are extra pieces laying around afterwards or it doesn’t function properly, we must usually pull out the manual or instruction sheet to determine where we went wrong. In some cases, we may have to start all over again. Life is full of scenarios where we need the wisdom of guidance and directions. The doctor’s prescription outlines what medicine we should take, when we should take it, and in what amount. Traffic laws exist to help us navigate the roads and highways safely. Career-specific training enables us to effectively fulfill the expectations of the job and our employer.

Many people have wished that life came with an instruction manual. Couldn’t we all use a set of directions that guided our decision-making, helped us to avoid disaster, and positioned us for getting the best out of our relationships? There are all sorts of guides and manuals that offer tips for attaining success, making more money, solving relationship issues and so on. I would question if any of them could truly be considered a life-manual, however. That designation would have to be reserved for a set of instructions that speak to every area of life, not just one, two or a few. Thankfully, one does exist in the form of what we call the bible or God’s word.

Believers understand that the Scriptures reveal the principles and practices that govern our relationship with our Creator. He has communicated to us how He purposed that we should live, and what we can expect from Him. Often referred to as a covenant relationship, our interaction with God is outlined in the instructions, commands, practices and promises of the bible.

The blessings and benefits that He offers are given to us in return for our worship and obedience. That may sound archaic and bizarre to those who believe they can live according to their own way and get everything they want out of life. Reality has proven, however, that we need guidelines, directions and instructions on this journey. Too many people have come to ruin by attempting to do it their way, ignoring the guidance of God or others.

King Solomon long ago warned, “there is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death(Proverbs 14:12 NASB).

The New Testament (covenant) offers guidance through the teachings of Jesus and His disciples. They show us how to honor God, live harmoniously with each other, and find fulfillment in life. Do you want to get along better with others? Try forgiveness (Matthew 6:14) and love (Matthew 5:44). Do you desire less stress in life? Trust God and stop worrying (Matthew 6:25). Does your marriage need help? Try mutual love and respect as God prescribes (Ephesians 5:33). Do you need to do a better job at managing the difficulties of life? Try viewing them as beneficial tests (James 1:2-3). Do you want to be a better leader? Live an exemplary life before those who follow you (1 Peter 5:3).

God’s word teaches us how to live humbly, compassionately, and faithfully. It speaks to us about proper ordering of our priorities and shows how we can govern our selfish desires. Its relevance is not just for preparation for the next life but in practical guidance for existing in this world. All of us will struggle to find peace, comfort and balance in life. We will all occasionally make mistakes and face obstacles. God’s word is there to assist us through all of life’s nuances guiding us to true fulfillment. We must learn to read it, trust it, practice it and apply it. We must simply choose to follow its instructions.

Bishop Patrick L. Kelly is the pastor of Cathedral Church of God, 365 S. Dixie Hwy., Deerfield Beach, FL 33441. 954-427-0302.

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