March 3, 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.

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 Greenbaums "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 Gethesemane...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

The Light Of Truth
Scripture Reference
Matthew 5:14-16
Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set upon a hill cannot be hid. (15)...Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. (16)...Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven...

If you spent any time in Church as a child (or even if you didn't) you will undoubtedly remember the song, "This Little Light Of Mine". It is one of those songs we learned as babies and sang it generally at Easter or when the children's choir sang during 11am service. Most parents took their children to church (even if they didn't stay for service) so that child could learn a basic foundational truth about The Bible, God, His Son Jesus and The Holy Spirit.

This is a foundational truth. The Bible, God's Word states in Genesis 1:1...In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. (2)...And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. (3)...And God said "Let there be light; and there was light" KJV.

This is a foundational truth. 27 times in Genesis 1-2, God spoke "Let There Be". 27 times in Genesis 1-2 what God spoke became what He said. Nothing argued with Him, stated an opposing view or asked for equal time. To prove my statement, verse 4 says... And God saw the light, that it was "good". Then he did something with this "good light"...God divided the light from the darkness. In verse 5...God called the light Day and darkness Night.

Here is another foundational truth. By dividing light from darkness, the two cannot exist at the same time. By that I mean, turn off the lights in the room you are now in. Unless it is night and no light is present, you will be in complete darkness. That is what the earth was before Genesis 1. When light shined, darkness disappeared.

God also created the Sun, Moon and Stars so in reality, complete and total darkness does not exist unless you are in a cave or building in which light does not penetrate because once one sliver of light is seen, darkness left. Hallelujah...
In our world today, a person has to intentionally find places that will deny any light from shinning. You have to want to be in darkness. Jesus said in the Gospel of John 8:12...I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life...John 9:5...Jesus said...as long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world...John 12:35-36...Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth. (36)...While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light...12:46...Jesus said...I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

Once you have accepted Jesus as your Lord and Saviour, that same light He had, we now have. We have the light of Love, the light of compassion, the light of mercy. That is what Jesus had while He was with us. Because we are Blood Bought, it is also what we must have.

This light is sooo powerful because when we walk into a dark place whether it is our job, store, gym, school, or just walking through a neighborhood, this light is shining and darkness disappears. How do I know that? because of the change that has taken place within you.

That is why that child's song is so powerful. Remember... This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine...Why?...Jesus gave it to me, and I'm going to let it shine. And...Everywhere I go, I'm going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine let it shine.

We are currently in a toxic environment and time because of this pending election but if you are called a Christian...our light needs to shine brighter now than ever before. Not the light of political or party affiliation...but the light of truth. Not a form of truth that people want to hear...God's Truth from His Holy Spirit that is more powerful than the double edged sword. The truth that cuts us to our core and convicts us.

We were saved from the hell we deserve because God knew He could trust us to complete the work He has assigned our hands (Christians) to do. Carry the Light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to your neighborhood (Jerusalem), city (Judaea), the places you don't want to go because the folks are different from us (Samaria) and the utter most part of the earth (the world). Acts 8 KJV.

Thank You Lord For Your Word
Elder Thomas W. Burgess