Saturday, January 13, 2024

Follow the Godly path, get on board

 God invites all of us to follow the divine path and not our own. In his way, there is safety and protection.

In Genesis 7:7, Noah finished building the Ark, and a remarkable event occurred. God guided every kind of animal to the Ark, just as birds instinctively fly south for winter or lost pets find their way home. These animals, including seven pairs of clean animals and one pair of each unclean species, gathered peacefully on the Ark, an extraordinary sight.

As the last of the animals settled in, Noah prepared for the coming flood. The Ark was ready, stocked with enough food and equipped with systems to maintain the thousands of animals. It had arrangements for waste removal, ventilation, repairs, and lighting across its three dark, caged decks.

God then instructed Noah and his family to enter the Ark. Once they were inside, God sealed the Ark's only door, and soon after, the floodwaters began to rise.

The Ark represents God's offer of salvation to everyone. Like the safety the Ark provided during the flood, the sacrifice of Christ offers protection from judgment to all who accept Him.

In the African-American experience, the church has been likened to the Ark, a sanctuary amid social storms. Historically, slaves referred to the church as the "Ship of Zion," a safe haven from the harsh realities of life.

Songs like "Tis the old ship of Zion, get on board, get on board" were not just melodies but echoed a deep yearning for freedom and safety.

These songs and the church itself were vital in nurturing hope and resilience, guiding them through the turbulent waters of slavery and segregation.

Friday, January 12, 2024

When God invites you, accept

 God opens doors of opportunity and salvation for us, but too many of us won't accept.

 In Genesis 7:1, God  selected animals of every kind to be saved from a great flood by bringing them onto Noah's Ark. These animals followed God's command without question. However, when it came to people, God extended an invitation instead of a command. Surprisingly, all of the people chose not to listen and refused to join Noah on the Ark.

Often, people react the same way today. God offers us help and protection, but like the people in Noah's time, we sometimes ignore or reject His generosity. This refusal can lead to unnecessary hardships and missed opportunities for safety and blessings.

If God makes a way for us, we should accept it.

Throughout history, African-Americans have been presented with critical opportunities for advancement and justice, much like an invitation to board the Ark. Leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Frederick Douglass, or A. Phillip Randolph offered us chances to join the movement; many did, but most did not out of fear and apprehension. They offered us paths to equality and respect, but many refused. Some found freedom only when they faced Harriet Tubman's shotgun.

It takes faith to act on God's invitation. When we ignore chances for betterment, whether through divine guidance or social progress, we risk missing out on crucial moments of change and healing.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Do what God tells you; don't lose hope

 Do what God tells you to do, and don't lose hope.

Noah was a man who had a big job to do. He was told to build an ark and save animals from a great flood. For a whole year, Noah worked on this ark, even when it was hard. He didn’t know when the flood would begin or end. He did as he was instructed and never lost hope. 

He showed us what it means to really believe in and stick to a task.

Sometimes, we feel like we have messed up too much and can't fix things. We lose hope. Noah didn't lose hope, even when things got really tough. He believed in something bigger than himself.

Noah's hope wasn't in people or things that can change or let us down. His hope was in God, who never changes. That's why he could finish his big task.

This story has special meaning for African Americans. We have faced a lot of tough times, but like Noah, we keep going with hope and faith. The song "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness" is about this kind of strong hope and faith. It means that when we trust in God and not just in people or things, we can stand strong as Noah did.

Noah's story is like our story. Like him, we should keep the faith, work to improve our families and communities, and never lose hope that God will take care of the rest.

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

One way in, one way out; it's a lock

 When you put something in God's hands trust him; it's a lock. There's no going back. Trust him completely.

The ark was the size of a luxury liner yet remarkably had only one door and a single 25-inch window. This architectural design has intrigued scholars for ages. The Ark, grand in its scale, was limited in its points of access – one door, which once sealed by God, offered no exit, and a solitary small window. 

The notion of just one door and a window in such a massive structure is a testament to the extraordinary faith of Noah. He believed unwaveringly in God's guidance, enough to enclose himself and the ark's inhabitants in a space with no escape once God sealed it.

His faith was such that he trusted in divine provision for light, air, and ultimate deliverance, despite the seemingly impossible circumstances.

Like Noah, African Americans live in very constrained circumstances. We began by trusting God and stepping into our situation with a steadfast faith in a brighter future, an unyielding belief in eventual deliverance from societal confines.

The sealed door represents not just confinement, but also a faith-filled waiting for divine intervention and justice, echoing our hope and determination to make it despite the tight dark spots that confine us.

We began our journey trusting God. We can't turn back. There's one way in and one way out. Trust God and him only.

It's a lock!

Tuesday, January 09, 2024

God provides a window of opportunity, act on it!

 When opportunity opens a window—a chance to move up or climb to another level—, don't play around; act quickly!

Noah was on a boat the size of a battleship, but it only had one window. He used it to orient himself and renew his faith.

Sometimes, we find ourselves in dark places, facing battleship-size problems and depressions, and then unexpectedly, a window of opportunity opens that gives us a chance to change things.

These moments are called 'windows of opportunity' because these precise instants, when chances emerge, often never reappear. The rarity of opportunities like job promotions or pivotal business ventures is what makes them precious. These brief windows of time are golden opportunities for us to elevate ourselves. 

For Noah, the lone window in the ark was a portal to envision potential and hope. Similarly, God grants each of us access to our unique windows, beckoning us to view and seize our possibilities.

As African Americans, we have faced battleship-sized social challenges marked by struggles for equality, justice, and recognition. Each window of opportunity, be it civil rights advancements, educational progress, or economic breakthroughs, has been hard-won.  Each time we get a chance to make the vision of a better life real we should take it.

God provides the window of opportunity, but we have to act in the moment. Tomorrow the opportunity may be gone.

Monday, January 08, 2024

A boat without a rudder? Don't drift this year

 Who builds a boat without a rudder? The same person who begins a year determined to be guided by God's spirit.

In Genesis 6:15, God commanded Noah to build an ark of specific dimensions, yet notably, this ark lacked a rudder. A rudder is essential for steering a vessel; without it, the vessel drifts unless controlled by something else.

God told Noah to build the ark without a rudder because he would guide us over the next year that it floated on the waters. Like Noah, who trusted in God's guidance over the ark's direction, we are called to surrender our direction to God's will. This act of faith in which we say, "Thy will, O Lord, not mine."

As the ark drifted for a whole year, it was God's hand that steered it to safety. As God guides us, we continue to sing,  "Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah," echoing the thoughts of the songwriter who said, "Lead me, guide me, along the way... Lord, if you lead me, I will not stray."

 Our journey as African Americans is marked by a history of enslavement, segregation, and ongoing struggles for equality and justice; we had no master plan; we followed God's direction as he moved on the hearts of our leaders.

Much like Noah's ark, the African-American community has often found itself navigating turbulent waters without a conventional means of control. Generally, we trusted in divine guidance and relinquished personal control. 

In the year ahead, we won't drift aimlessly if we continue to let our God's higher power guide us through the unknown waters ahead.

Sunday, January 07, 2024

When God says build, we do it!

When we do what God says, it might seem silly to others, but we act in faith.

In Genesis 6:14, God told Noah to construct an ark, a vessel of salvation, amidst impending destruction. Obeying the directive required faith and obedience.

Noah, amidst a world of skeptics, embraces this divine command, undertaking an arduous task that defies conventional understanding. His commitment to building the ark, a monumental and seemingly irrational project, becomes an emblem of unwavering faith in God's promise. Noah's story is not merely about survival; it's about the triumph of faith over doubt and obedience over skepticism. The ark, thus, stands not just as a structure of wood and nails but as a testament to the power of faith and the fulfillment of divine promise.

Noah's construction of the ark has parallels to the African-American experience.

Much like Noah, African-Americans have long embarked on a journey of building resilience against the floods of social and racial injustices. This journey has been marked by a steadfast faith in the possibility of a just and equitable future, despite the overwhelming tide of challenges.

The ark represents the collective efforts to construct a foundation of community, culture, and identity that withstands the storms of discrimination and inequality. 

God says build it, we act; no matter what others think.