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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

FOR THE SISTER WHOSE HUSBAND WORKS TOO MUCH


For the sister whose husband works too much:    Listen to a man praise his wife as the most important thing in the world.

And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.  She shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man.”   (Genesis 2: 24)

See how Adam praised his wife.  He affirmed their relationship as unique.  He declared that from now on her name would include his name because no one and no thing in their whole perfect world means as much to him as she does.

Neither Adam nor Eve had biological parents, so verse 24 isn't commentary.  It's prophesy.  Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined  his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2: 24)

God intended for husbands to give uniquely focused attention to their wives, attention that deliberately excludes everybody else, even your daddy and your mama.

So what's up with your godly man?   How do you get him to fulfill his prophetic role of paying attention to you?   You want some of that Genesis 2 love, don't you?

Let me help you, girl.

For women, attention is a sign of affection, and indication of genuine
love.  For men, attention is a result of shared purpose and camaraderie.

Your man, his clients, and colleagues work on the same projects, fighting the same  obstacles, and impacting each others' ambitions. That why he gives them his attention.

Good men are conditioned to respond negatively to people who try to distract them from their purpose. That's why he sometimes gets angry when you ask for more of his time.  His inner Adam tells him that he's supposed to tend the garden and name the animals, or whatever God has called him to do; and he interprets your need for attention as an attempt to move him off-task.

You and he share a unique relationship, a special love. Like no one and no thing else in the whole world, you have his heart.  But to get his attention, you have to share his purpose.

Which is how God intended it.  He designed the husband-wife relationship not primarily around romance but around shared purpose.

…In the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion… (Genesis 1: 27, 28)

Our human purpose is to be productive and to multiply until the image of God has dominion over all the earth. 

For a while in Genesis 2, Adam pursued that purpose all by himself.  Adam had a set of Divine rules and two jobs well before he knew what a wife was.  He was a good man, a man who embraced his purpose and its work.

Still, the Lord said, “It is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2: 18).  Not good because God didn't just want a man who pursues his purpose.  God wanted a family that pursues their purpose, and so God declared, "I will make him a helper comparable to him.”

God didn't create Eve to ease Adam's loneliness.  God created Eve to share Adam's purpose.  No.  God created Eve to share in purpose with Adam.  The man of the family should lead the in fulfilling the family's purpose, but that purpose  doesn't originate from the man.  Purpose comes from God. 

Sisters, if you want your man's attention, be the one he can share his passion with.  Be the sounding board for his ideas.  Working together, articulate your mission as a family.  Be his partner in that
purpose.

As his partner you can remind him that regular rest is also part of God's ordained purpose.  As his co-laborer in Divine purpose you can say, "WE need some time away from the work.  Let's (Let us) get away for a few hours or a few days."  As his partner in purpose, you can even help him schedule a romance Sabbath, when you decompress together.  You know:  date night. 

Adam recognized that he and Eve had had both been blessed with the same purpose.  She "got him." This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. 

Therefore:  because she is one with me in my work,  I prophetically declare that I will give her my full and unique attention.

Therefore, because she is my partner in purpose I know that she knows what I'm going through.  I can share anything with her. "And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed." (Genesis 2: 25)

As it was in the beginning, so it is now.

Share his purpose, and you'll have his attention.

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Miles Chapel CME Church in Fairfield, Alabama;  executive director of the Substance Abuse Youth Networking Organization (SAYNO);  and director of rural leadership development for the National Institute for Human Development (NIHD).

Subscribe to my personal blog  www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com .

Email atgravestwo2@aol.com
Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 
#Awordtothewise

You can help support this ministry with a donation to Miles Chapel CME Church.

You can help support Rev. Graves’ work by visiting his personal blog and clicking the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar.

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064

Friday, November 16, 2018

GOD HAS A PLAN AND YOU’RE PART OF IT (audio)

The title of this message is:  GOD HAS A PLAN AND YOU’RE PART OF IT.

Listen well and leave a comment.


If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/   

 --Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
P.O. Box 3145 
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35403



Thursday, November 15, 2018

CHANGING TIME: The 10th Plague

Blogging Exodus 12 

Times change.  

The increments by which we measure hours, days, weeks, months, and years are invented things which we alter according to need and import.  In the world before fast-moving trains, international shipping lanes, and global communication forced standardization with Western time-keeping, a major cultural change, like a new king, a new religion, or a natural disaster was frequently commemorated by changing the calendar. God participated in that tradition,  marking the emancipation of the Old Testament Hebrews by changing the count of time.
 


Freedom is revolutionary, so God cleverly ordained that the Jews should equate their national liberation as a new year, a new “revolution” around the sun.   

 

This month shall be your beginning of months; it shall be the first month of the year to you (Exodus 12:2).   

But, at the beginning of Exodus chapter 12, freedom for Israel did not feel imminent. Pharaoh had resisted Moses, Moses’ God, and their radical progressive agenda of liberation and ethnic self-determination.   Through 10 rounds of negotiation, Pharaoh had  refused to let God’s people go.  When last Moses had approached Pharaoh, the king ended talks by threatening to have the prophet executed.  

Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!” (Exodus 10:28)

Yet, God promised that within 2 weeks of the beginning of their new, new year Pharaoh Pharaoh will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether (Exodus 11:1).

Pharaoh had grown more and more hard-hearted with each cataclysm God sent upon Egypt.  Why would he change his mind now?  How could the times change THAT quickly?    

Why did the United States of America abolish slavery after a century of protecting the wicked institution? It wasn’t because the leaders of the United States suddenly felt morally convicted by the abolitionist sermons they’d ignored all their lives.   


America freed its slaves because the Civil War killed or wounded more than 5% of the population  (1.5 million reported casualties, not counting civilians, of an 1860 population of 31 million people).  The Civil War was the great plague necessary to force the liberation of God’s Black people in America.

Some times only change because the times are made so brutally hard that the powers at the time are forced to change. 

At  midnight on the 14th day of the first month of their changed time, God would send a final plague upon the Egyptian slaveholders.  A deliberate, intelligent spirit, an angel from God, would kill every man, woman, child, and domesticated animal in Egypt that was the firstborn of its family.   The casualties would be so high that Egypt, like 1860’s America, would let God’s people go.

Some times only change because the times are made so brutally hard that the powers at the time are forced to change. 

Without the great plague that was the Civil War, American abolition would have been delayed indefinitely.  Without the horrors of the first Passover, Pharaoh would not have let God’s people go.

PASSOVER is the celebration, the sanctification of blood shed in the revolution of liberation.    On the 10th of their new, new year’s month, the descendants of Israel held  in Goshen were to gather as families and eat their LAST SUPPER as slaves. 

Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying: ‘On the tenth of this month every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household. . .  Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats (Exodus 12: 3 - 5).

PASSOVER was offered to every member of God’s community.  No one, no matter their socioeconomic condition was to be excluded from the table.

And if the household is too small for the lamb, let him and his neighbor next to his house take it according to the number of the persons; according to each man’s need you shall make your count for the lamb (Exodus 12:4). 

The enslaved community came together, pooling their resources around the Lord’s table as a united community.  A community union.  A COMMUNION.

PASSOVER, COMMUNION, THE LAST SUPPER of a people in bondage took place under THE BLOOD.

And they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it (Exodus 12:7).

People who prefer their steaks and chops rare claim that the meat is “juicy.”  That’s not juice, though.  That’s blood.  In our “civilized” era, most people are far removed from the bloody process of taking an animal and turning it into meat.  Ancient people couldn’t delude themselves about the ugliness required to provide for their families.  Israel’s new ritual required them to take a sheep (representing innocence) or a goat (representing mean guilt) slit its throat, drain the blood into a basin, take that blood, and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses where they eat it (Exodus 12: 8). 

Up-and-down and then across, every Hebrew home was marked with THE BLOOD.  The blood of the innocent who took upon Him the guilt of a people.  Up-and-down and then across, the people of God marked the change in the revolutionary change in their times by coming under THE BLOOD of the Innocent who was killed like the guilty are killed; who gave body and blood to His people to set the people free.    On a night of wrath, and death, and revolution, the blood of the lamb purchased mercy for those in a believing household.  


Redemption is freedom from sin and the condemnation of eternal death.  All freedom is revolutionary, and every revolution is an ugly, brutal thing.  The Civil War, the death of the firstborn in Egypt, the Cross. 

Jesus, as God manifest, transcends time.  He is “I am.” He is present, future, and past; so His death as the innocent lamb of God was the revolutionary sacrifice that liberates believers across time from the slave wages of sin.  The judgment of God passes over us who are under the blood of Christ.  It is a new birth.  A new life.  A new beginning that extends into all time.


Times change, but more importantly, Christ changes ---- everything.


---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
1117 23rd Avenue
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401





Saturday, November 10, 2018

FROM RENOVATION TO REVIVAL (audio)

Delivered for the fall revival at Emory Chapel CME Church, the title of this message is:  FROM RENOVATION TO REVIVAL.


Listen well and leave a comment.


If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/   

 --Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
P.O. Box 3145 
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35403



Monday, October 29, 2018

UN-CURSABLE (audio)

The conclusion of the HEALING WOUNDED FAMILIES sermon series.  The title of this message is:  UN-CURSABLE.


Listen well and leave a comment.

If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/   

 --Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
P.O. Box 3145 
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35403

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

INTO & OUT OF DARKNESS: Lessons from the 9th Plague




Blogging Exodus 10:20 – 11:8
21 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, darkness which may even be felt.”
22 So Moses stretched out his hand toward heaven, and there was thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days.
23 They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days. But all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.
. . . 27 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and he would not let them go.

There are 3 morals to this story, but we begin in darkness.  Terrible darkness.

Maybe it was the Khamsin, the "wind of the desert," a massive seasonal dust storm that blocks out light for days. 
GIANT DUST CLOUD FROM KHAMSIN STORM DESCENDS ON CITY
 Maybe it was a cloud of volcanic ash from a far eruption, possibly in the Sinai mountain range.
VOLCANIC CLOUD MOVING ACROSS ICELAND PLUNGES COUNTRYSIDE INTO DARKNESS
Maybe both, combined with an eclipse.  Maybe God just said, “Let there not be light.”   Probably all of the above and more. 

The ancient Egyptians didn’t understand the mechanisms either.  But when they woke at what should have been dawn, there was darkness, terrible darkness; and  it didn’t dissipate with the hours of the day.  The darkness was so absolute that it seemed tangible, weighty, an absence of light that pressed down on the senses and the soul so completely that the mind told the body to shrink, to slump under the pressure of shadow. 

Inside the darkness, swirling particles extinguished fires or resisted the flames’ attempts to cast illumination against the shadow.  Even those with burning lamps had to feel their way, to  grope for the wall like the blind,  to grope as if we had no eyes; to stumble at noonday as at twilight; to be as dead men in desolate places (Isaiah 59:10). 

They couldn’t see their hands in front of their faces.  They couldn’t see their husbands, wives, or children squatting on the dirt floor of the same hut or slumping on the sofa across the fine room of the great house.  They did not see one another; nor did anyone rise from his place for three days . . . (Exodus 10: 23).

They had no food, their crops and stores consumed by locusts and the preceding plagues.  Even if they’d had light there would have been no bread in the markets nor even grass to tend in a field.  All day, and the next day, and the next, they sat and did nothing.  For 3 silent, hungry days every person in Egypt could do nothing but sit, in the dark, and think. 

They thought about Moses, and Aaron, and the Hebrews, and their God.  Yahweh had done this.  There was no other explanation.  Someone had heard Moses proclaim it after leaving Pharaoh’s palace in anger.  The Hebrew God had done what Apophis (Apep), their religion’s world serpent could not.  Yahweh had defeated Ra and killed the sun, and now they were all going to die.


Darkness is terrible when you’re on the wrong side of God’s judgment.  In the midnight hours when the power’s out and the screens are off,  and it’s just you inside your own head, all the myths you told yourself die, and you’re left unable to ignore the realness of that still, small voice. 

But if you’re on the right side of God’s judgment, darkness isn’t scary.
 
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. . . You shall not be afraid of the terror by night, nor of the arrow that flies by day,       nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. . . Only with your eyes shall you look, and see the reward of the wicked. . . No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling  (Psalm 91:1 – 10).

When you’re in a spiritual place where God’s presence is welcome, the darkness isn’t frightful.  It’s just another place where you can meet and hear from your Father. 

When I remember You on my bed,  I meditate on You in the night watches.
Because You have been my help, Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
My soul follows close behind You;  Your right hand upholds me (Psalm 63:6 – 8).

If you're a child of God abiding in His mercy and grace of God,  dark hours are an opportunity to fully focus on that still, small voice. For the people of God, darkness is illuminating.

My eyes are awake through the night watches, that I may meditate on Your word (Psalm 119:148.)

Somewhere in those days of darkness, somebody checked Goshen.  Pharaoh sent dispatched one of the precious few remaining horses imported for the military stables, and the scout forced his thin, frightened mount through the darkness, finding its footing by instinct, until they emerged from the clouds into light, into Goshen.  Somebody reported that the shadow skirted the boundaries of the slave quarters. 

But all the children of Israel had light in their dwelling s(Exodus 10: 23).


The powerful were in darkness, but the oppressed saw the light. 

Then Pharaoh called to Moses and said, “Go, serve the Lord; only let your flocks and your herds be kept back. Let your little ones also go with you.” (Exodus 10: 24).

It was Pharaoh’s greatest concession, but it wasn’t enough. 

But Moses said, “You must also give us sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice to the Lord our God. Our livestock also shall go with us; not a hoof shall be left behind. For we must take some of them to serve the Lord our God, and even we do not know with what we must serve the Lord until we arrive there.” (Exodus 10: 25 – 26).

Sometime around this exchange the weighted darkness lifted off the geography of Egypt, but it remained heavy on the heart of her king. In desperate anger, he ended negotiations and pronounced a death sentence on the prophet if he tried to restart talks.

Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me! Take heed to yourself and see my face no more! For in the day you see my face you shall die!” (Exodus 10: 28)

But Pharaoh had missed his opportunity to intimidate Moses.  Moses had seen the light, and the former fugitive with the speech impediment who’d been too afraid to speak defied the monarch of the most powerful empire in their world and gave an unauthorized closing speech.

Then Moses said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘About midnight I will go out into the midst of Egypt; and all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, from the firstborn of Pharaoh who sits on his throne, even to the firstborn of the female servant who is behind the handmill, and all the firstborn of the animals. Then there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as was not like it before, nor shall be like it again.
But against none of the children of Israel shall a dog move its tongue, against man or beast, that you may know that the Lord does make a difference between the Egyptians and Israel.’
And all these your servants shall come down to me and bow down to me, saying, ‘Get out, and all the people who follow you!’ After that I will go out.”  Then he went out from Pharaoh in great anger (Exodus 11:4 – 8).

An up-jumped slave threatened the life of Pharaoh’s heir and then just dropped the mic and walked out, and nobody did a doggone thing to stop him.


That’s FAVOR. And favor isn’t a simple thing.  Consider that to place Moses in a situation where he was powerful enough to say what he said and keep his head, God had decimated A NATION.  When Moses prophesied the death of the first-born, the Egyptians were reeling from the psychological effects of 72 hours of absolute darkness (which, by the way, the Egyptians hadn’t know would last 3 days and not forever) and still trying to process the complete destruction of everything of value that except stone, sand, and metal. All they knew was that every time they opposed Moses, they suffered.  Thus, God made Moses mightier than Pharaoh. 

And the Lord gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people (Exodus 11:3).

And so we come to the morals of the story: 
1.  Sometimes favor seems to come out of nowhere because sometimes favor comes out of darkness you weren’t a part of.   
2.  When you find yourself sitting in darkness, don’t despair; seek the light by seeking the still, small voice of God.
3.  When God tells you what He wants from you, do it because you’re going to do it, even if God has to direct you into His will by taking you into a dark place.

---Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
1117 23rd Avenue
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35401


Sunday, October 21, 2018

A CHILD'S PLACE (audio)

The 5th message in the sermon series:  HEALING WOUNDED FAMILIES.  The title of this message is:  A CHILD’S PLACE.


Listen well and leave a comment.

If you can’t get the audio on your device, visit the main podcast page at http://revandersongraves.podomatic.com/   

 --Anderson T. Graves II   is a writer, community organizer and consultant for education, ministry, and rural leadership development.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II is pastor of Bailey Tabernacle CME Church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He writes the popular blog: A Word to the Wise at www.andersontgraves.blogspot.com

Follow me on twitter @AndersonTGraves 

Click here to support this ministry with a donation.  Or go to andersontgraves.blogspot.com and click on the DONATE button on the right-hand sidebar. 
Visit the ministry’s website at baileytabernaclecme.org

Support by check or money order may be mailed to 
Bailey Tabernacle CME Church
P.O. Box 3145 
Tuscaloosa, Alabama 35403