Entering God's Rest for 2007's Best
|written by Pastor Joe Jackson |
In Hebrews 4:1, the author states, "Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it." In verses 9 and 10, it states, " (9)There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God, (10) for those who enter God's rest also rest from their own work, just as God did from his" (NIV). For those who are English experts or English majors, you know that, "therefore" connects the thought of the previous passage with the above instruction. So, what was the passage above talking about? I am glad you asked. The author warned the Hebrew Christians not to turn away from the living God by having a sinful, unbelieving heart, like the people of God that Moses led out of Egypt. You remember the story of how God raised up Moses to deliver His people from the bondage of Egypt to a land flowing with "milk and honey?" God's will for them was to take them into a land that was developed with vineyards, houses, flourishing cities, wells, and everything else that satisfies, (see Deuteronomy 6:10-12), none of which they built, planted or developed. Please get this important point. God allowed others to build these flourishing cities and vineyards. They would enter this "place of rest" through a covenant God made with Abraham based upon what God did. The correct response from the children of Israel was to accept it and to walk in what God did. Instead, they walked in unbelief, which produced murmuring and wandering. As a result, they did not experience the blessing of "entering His Rest."
When the scripture talks about God's Rest, it is not suggesting that God gets tired or is tired, therefore, He needs to rest. No, our God neither slumbers nor sleeps. He needs no sleep, this is why He is God. Consequently, when the scripture instructs us to ?enter God's rest', it is telling us to stop, cease from, desist from our work of trying to get God's love and attention through our human efforts. In Genesis, God finished His creation on the sixth day; thus, on the seventh day He rested. Why did He rest? He rested because He was FINISHED with creation. It is time for some of us to enter the FINISHED work of God. Jesus paid it all for us to partake of the Tree of Life, to live in that place with our Creator, and Father, the place He always wanted for us.
In 2007, we must stop striving for people to like us, accept us, and help us. We must know that God has already designed a course for our lives. He has already declared, IT IS FINISHED! In other words, you are going to see and experience the blessing in the land of the living. You are going to fulfill the purpose for your life. God chose to Love us and accept us in Jesus Christ. I know it is difficult sometimes to take our attention off of the people around who are screaming aloud so much negative stuff and so many untruths. They want us to believe that we need to look to them for our next blessing or our next level. In their very subtle way, they suggest to us that they are our source, therefore, we are supposed to jump though their self- centered hoops - even at the expense of not following God.
This is the year that we enter into what God has already FINISHED. Therefore, God is saying Yes and Amen to the purpose for your life. So stop the drama. Stop allowing others to manipulate you! Stop relying on yourself, but put your trust in HIM. When our ways please HIM, He will cause even our enemies to stop the drama. God has already declared great blessings (spiritual blessings) for us in 2007. Accept them and walk in His direction.
God's Leading Lady: Latoya Knight
by Taquana Bell
Every saint should walk in their purpose and that's just what Latoya Knight, one of the leading worship leaders and psalmist in Jackson, Mississippi is doing. CrossRoads Ministries recently interviewed Latoya Knight and was able to get a more in-depth insight into her ministry.
TB: Latoya, let's start with the development of your interest and gift for music. Could you give me a little background in that?
Latoya: I actually grew up in the church and as far back as I can remember I've been singing. My grandfather played an influential part in music for me. I've been singing and loving it every since.
2. TB: Where did you grow up?
Latoya: I grew up in a small town called Soso, MS. It's a very small town between Taylorsville, MS and Laurel, MS.
3. TB: What church did you grow up in?
Latoya: I grew up in Mt. Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church of Soso, MS. I still sing with the choir on its annual Choir Day. So I'm still an active member when I go home and on occasions I travel with them.
4. TB: Church is such an important and vibrant ingredient to the flavor and character of Psalmists. How did these two variables - church and Gospel music - influence your love and desire for Gospel music?
Latoya: It's what church and Gospel music proclaim that influence my love for Gospel music and that's the goodness of God. Once I start singing about the goodness of God, I guess you could say that I'm unstoppable because I can't thank Him enough for all that He has done. This ministry, and yes I call it a ministry because I want to lead people to Christ through song. If my singing touches just one person and they are delivered then that influences me to keep going and my desire to sing God's praises becomes even stronger.
5. TB: Do you write as well?
Latoya: Not actively. I've written a couple of songs.
6. TB: What do you hope and pray your music does to the hearts of men and women?
Latoya: I hope that what I sing about encourages the broken hearted, the distressed and leads the unsaved to be delivered and know that God is a revelator. I want men and women to see Jesus through me as I sing.
7. TB: Who are some artists that have inspired you?
Latoya: Yolanda Adams, CC Winans, the infamous Shirley Ceasar
8. TB: What were the valuable lessons you learned from each of these remarkable artists that you now apply to your maturing ministry?
Latoya: Perseverance. Each one of these women have outstanding talents as well as true faith. Their dedication to Christ is apparent through their singing and ministry. No matter what has come their way, they've kept the faith.
9. TB: In closing, could you please share with our readers what God has done and is doing in your life that has allowed you to come to this point as both a Woman of God and a Psalmist for such a time as this?
Latoya: I thank God for praying grandparents who believed in me. For that I'm truly grateful. I have wonderful people who encourage me in the Lord, my sister Kittie, mother and my family. God is constantly blessing me with new opportunities to magnify and glorify His name. Things get hard sometimes, but I know on whom to cast my cares. I've been blessed to be apart of a great church family in the city of Jackson, Greater Mt. Calvary MB Church where Dr. John E. Cameron is the pastor. I have wonderful people in my life that encourage me in the Lord. I've been blessed to be apart of many different ministries, Sandra Howard and Company, Greater Mt. Calvary Gospel Choir, Mississippi Mass Choir, Jerry Smith and the Children of Israel and others. I believe this is just the beginning. As Donald Lawrence says, "The Best Is Yet To Come".
"DROP YOUR NET"
|written by: Cassandra S. Moore |
One morning during my devotional time, the author of the book I was reading posed a question - "Are you ready to "follow Christ?" As I began to ponder that question in my mind, almost immediately the enemy started showing me many reasons (all from my past, of course) why I could not "follow Christ". (1) Remember when you were elementary school age and you and the "neighborhood gang" would go and steal off other peoples plum tree? (2) Or the time when that same gang would go and throw eggs at your neighbor's front doors? (3) Or the times as a young adult that you would practice fornication? And on and on and on.
But thanks be to God! That while the enemy was trying to flood me with my past, the Holy Spirit started shining the Light on the Word of God more intently. When Jesus said "Follow Me" to Peter, Andrew, James and John, He did not ask for a resume' of what they had done in the past! He knew what He was going to do with them in the future! They stopped what they were doing, dropped their nets and followed Jesus. By dropping their nets, it symbolized that whatever they may have been involved in, they immediately dropped it. They dropped their past, they dropped the things they use to do, the people they use to hang out with, they dropped it all - immediately!
So now I have a question; Why do many Christian people today try to follow Jesus while still holding on to their nets? Even the Apostle Paul was confronted with this same problem with Church people, because he wrote, "let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us." Drop the net. Let the past go. The enemy can only remind you of your past, but God holds your future. The enemy cannot stop the plan of God in your life - when you drop your net!
|Poetry by: Joanne Jackson |
By faith keep your eyes on Me,
Through prayer petition My glory.
In doing My will, there is no defeat.
I have set you above not beneath.
My Son has given you the victory.
Purpose in your heart to serve Me.
Before I told time to begin, I prepared your way.
Before you welcomed Me in, I saved you for these days.
In you, I placed My spirit.
Freely to My will, you are to submit.
The earth and the fullness thereof belong to Me.
I created all there is and all that will ever be.
In Me, there is all that you need,
More than enough for you to succeed.
No works by your hand can produce the harvest that
I desire to give.
Your faithfulness to Me is in how you live.
Trust Me in all that you do.
Come and receive all that I offer you.
Enter in to this season of peace.
My promise of rest brings increase.
Even in the midst of troubles and storms,
Declare My word, sit back, and watch it perform.
J.A.M.ming Into the Year of Rest
|written by Bria Martin |
Nine-to-five dresses, sequins, tuxedos, ties and - karaoke! Crossroads Ministries' New Year's J.A.M. Celebrating 2007: The Year of Rest was nothing short of a grand celebration made for the stars, minus the red carpet. Although there was no elaborate run-way, over 200 people showed up on the last Friday of December 2006 to enjoy much food, clean fun, and Christian fellowship. Having declared 2007 as The Year of Rest (Hebrews 4:9), Pastor Joe Jackson envisioned a celebration unparalleled to any other New Year's event that was being offered in the city of Jackson. From the entertaining M.C. to the skillful D.J. to the talented live six piece band, Crossroads' first annual New Year's J.A.M. delivered.
The evening started at 8 p.m. and lasted until 12 midnight with participants being able to enjoy a full course meal, desserts, and appropriate drinks. After all hearts and stomachs were satisfied, the night progressed with karaoke singing and some "drama" from a few brave souls that were in attendance. Then, it was on to the dancing and of course, what would a celebration be without a Soul Train line and the Electric Slide to get a crowd out of their seats.
Valencia Dear, one of the thirteen committee members responsible for the support and planning of the New Year's J.A.M. said of the event, "I had a very good time and really enjoyed the J.A.M. It was well organized and it was different." Under the leadership of Taquana Bell, the J.A.M. committee was able to materialize Pastor Jackson's vision of providing Christians a place to come and have fun in the Lord as an alternative to traditional New Year's events into reality. The successful night truly ended with the celebration goers "Celebrating Good Times".