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Sunday, July 31, 2011


What do you do when you’re tired and running at less than 100%?What do you do when you have meet the needs of others while trying to deal with your own?

You become an active participant in God’s plan for your provision.

The miraculous feeding of 5,0000+ hungry people shows that to be a participant in God’s plan of provision you must follow these 6 steps:
1. Acknowledge- Say what you need
2. Assess-See what you already have
3. Allocate- Give God what you have
4. Accept- Receive whatever God gives you
5. Accomplish-Glorify God for His provision

You’ll understand, if you listen well.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II, pastor of Hall Memorial CME Church.
541 Seibles Road, Montgomery, AL 36116.
Phone 334-288-0577
Friend Pastor Graves at  

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TEACHER NOTES ON : Relationship Study Lesson 2, Part 1:


Lesson 2: Failure & Redemption in the First Marriage

Hall Memorial CME Church
541 Seibles Road, Montgomery, AL
Rev. Anderson T. Graves II, pastor-teacher

Genesis chapters 1 & 2 present the ideal marriage.  Genesis chapter 3 gives a step-by-step narrative of how a good marriage can fall apart.  The purpose of this lesson is to understand what went wrong and how to deal with it. After all, at the end of all their problems, remember that Adam and Eve stayed married & gave birth to everybody.

Study Part 1

1.      Look at Genesis 3: 1, 4.  Note the qualifying words (indeed, surely) in the serpent’s questions and statements to Woman.  How do these qualifiers more effectively create doubt than a straightforward invitation to disobey God?
Genesis 3:  1     Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, “Has God indeed said, ‘You shall not eat of every tree of the garden’?”
2     And the woman said to the serpent, “We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; 3     but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, ‘You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ ”
4     Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. 5     For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

-          Satan didn’t technically call God a liar.  Had Satan said, “God’s lying” or “God is wrong” the woman likely would have gone off and the conversation would have been over.  Instead, he simply implied that there might be another, easier interpretation of God’s Words. 
-          “That’s not really what God was trying to say, was it?” 
-          “I know He said you’d ‘die,’ but do you really think He meant you’d ‘die-die,’ like literally ‘dead-die’?”

-          He planted seeds of doubt about something that had been absolutely certain the moment before. 
-          He made Eve think, “I know that what the Word of God said, but is that really what God meant?”
-          The doubt about the Word provided an opening for the suggestion/ temptation.  The doubt opened a window for Eve to rationalize her sin & justify it as a more liberal/enlightened interpretation of the Word of God.

-          Any interpretation of the Word that justifies sin is a mis-interpretation.    

-          Application: Doubt can be the death of a healthy marriage.  (Remember that at this point in history, Adam & Eve do in fact have a healthy marriage.) 
-          Eve falls for a trick satan continues to use today, especially (though not exclusively) on women:  Over-interpretation.
-          Generally, men communicate literally.  “I’m tired” means “I am tired.”  It doesn’t mean “I’m bored with you and want to find someone younger and more exciting.”
-          Over-interpretation can take a clear, simple, loving message and twist it 180 degrees.  God’s “Don’t eat from the tree of knowledge or you’ll die” was over-interpreted into “It would be a godly thing to eat from the tree of knowledge.”
-          In a marriage, over-interpretation can create resentment over statements that were never intended to offend.  It can cause a spouse to see signs of infidelity where there is nothing but faithfulness and genuine commitment. 

-          CAUTION: Over-interpretation can work both ways.
-          Statements and actions that are clearly wrong can be twisted to make them seem right. 
-          For example: If a man hits a woman it does not mean “He loves me so much he couldn’t control himself.”  It means “This is a man who hits you.”
-          We prevent over-interpretation by
o   1) developing godly discernment daily through Bible study & prayer
o   2) seeing the context of the relationship instead of obsessing over a single act, word, or emotion
o   3) understanding our issues (more on this with question #3) and our spouses

2.       Look at Genesis 3: 5,6.  What did Satan present as enticing about the tree of knowledge?                                Looking at Genesis 3: 6, what did Woman find appealing about the tree of knowledge?

Genesis 3:  5     For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”
6     So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate.

-          For satan, who is a power obsessed ego maniac, the most enticing thing was power. 
o   Isaiah 14: 12 “How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, You who weakened the nations! 13 For you have said in your heart: ‘I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation On the farthest sides of the north; 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’

-          *Because power was satan’s issue,  he approached Eve assuming she would be enticed by the same thing.

-          In fact, what tempted Eve wasn’t power.  Verse 6 shows that Eve was tempted byt beauty, taste/ pleasure, and wisdom---none of which are necessarily sinful.

-          This is the work of temptation at its most dangerous.  Take something/ someone with traits which are in themselves positive, but put thing/ person in conflict with God’s commands. 

-          Example: Nothing’s wrong with good conversation between friends.  It’s not a sin to enjoy the company of someone of the opposite sex other than your spouse.  He’s/She’s a good person (maybe even a Christian).   All of these are positive traits.  But, when time with that person begins to be an escape from your marriage/spouse or when thoughts arise to do the opposite of what God & your vows say you should do---that person, that time w/ them is no longer innocent.  It’s forbidden fruit.

-          *Quick note.  When someone first tempts you, they reveal their own issues. The 1st appeal will be based on what tempts them.  They’ll give you a reason for doing what they want.  When that doesn’t work, they won’t change what they want you to do, but they’ll come at you with a different reason why you should do it.

-          Once they understand better what makes you tick, they’ll tailor their temptations to your issues.

3.      Did the woman give in to the serpent’s temptation solely based on his words or was some of the temptation from within herself?    In other words, did the devil make her do it?  (Consider James 1: 13-15.)

James 1: 14 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.

-          The Woman was tempted by satan, but she was not possessed by him.  The devil enticed her to do wrong & encouraged her to do wrong; but the devil didn’t make her do wrong.  Sin was Eve’s free choice.

-          Marriages never fail for just one reason.  In all the divorce situations I’ve dealt with as a pastor, friend, educator, & family member, I have never seen a situation in which it really was totally one person’s fault.  The other person was a participant or an enabler.

-          Point?  Neither spouse can put the responsibility for the marriage’s success or failure on the other person. 

-          Factors exist against marriage.  The attack Satan began in Eden continue today.  Statistics may be against you, but marriages don’t fail because of statistics or because of satan.  Marriages fail because husbands and wives fail their marriages.

-          Each individual in a marriage brings his/ her own desires, goals, ambitions into the family.  You don’t cease to be an individual when you get married.

-          These ambitions may not be sinful in themselves, but when the desire to see them achieved blinds you to your responsibilities to God and to your spouse, then the desires have become issues.

-          Eve was led away by her own desire for the physical beauty, physical pleasure, and promise of wisdom that she saw in the Tree of Knowledge.

-          Pretty things (shopping), physical pleasure (pampering), and knowledge/ information (gossip)became Eve’s issues. 

-          To protect your marriage, husband and wife must each consider themselves, their ambitions, issues, and emotional baggage.  When you understand yourself, you can anticipate the types of temptations to which you’re susceptible.  (Galatians 6:1-4)

-          You can anticipate the devil’s approach, recognize it when it comes (2 Corinthians 2: 11), and avoid “the fall.”

4.      Where was Adam when his wife ate from the tree of knowledge (Genesis 3: 6)?

5.      Woman ate the forbidden fruit first, then Adam after her.  Whose eyes “were opened” first?

6.      Compare Genesis 3: 7 to Genesis 2: 25.  What’s changed? 

7.      Considering the discussion in lesson 1 (question #19) about what it means for a husband and wife to be naked and unashamed, what are the implications of Genesis 3:7 for modern marriages?

Monday, July 25, 2011


Sometimes the Lord will give me one sermon to write leading up to Saturday night and then on Sunday morning give me a different Word to speak. That's how it happened this week.

The message I delivered picked up after "Messing Up Your Good Thing" and walked through the rest of Jesus' sermon in Matthew chapter 13.

Listen well, and you'll hear how Jesus "broke it down."

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II, pastor of Hall Memorial CME Church.
541 Seibles Road, Montgomery, AL 36116.
Phone 334-288-0577
Friend Pastor Graves at

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


Delivered for the Lay Worship Service at the North Central Alabama Annual Conference, this sermon opens a new layer in the familiar story of the children of Israel's journey in the wilderness. If you'll receive it as I received it from the Holy Spirit, you'll find truth for yourself, for your church, for this very moment.

Listen well.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II, pastor of Hall Memorial CME Church.
541 Seibles Road, Montgomery, AL 36116.
Phone 334-288-0577
Friend Pastor Graves at

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Jesus told a parable about sabotage in Matthew chapter 13. This story connects us to the dramatic story of Jacob in the book of Genesis. Through the connection between these stories on opposites ends of the Bible the Holy Spirit opened understanding of the the root of some of our struggles and the reason why some people have it all, but aren't happy with it.

The Word shows how things get so messed up and offers hope and a plan for turning your life around.

Listen well.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II, pastor of Hall Memorial CME Church.
541 Seibles Road, Montgomery, AL 36116.
Phone 334-288-0577
Friend Pastor Graves at

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Lesson 2 of Relationship Study (Part 1): FAILURE & REDEMPTION IN THE 1ST MARRIAGE

Lesson 2: Failure & Redemption in the First Marriage
Part 1 of 5

Hall Memorial CME Church
541 Seibles Road, Montgomery, AL

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II, pastor-teacher

No Bible study at HMCME July 20th (Join us for VBS from 6-8 P.M.) or July 27th.(We’ll be at the Alabama Regional Conference in Auburn.) We’ll continue the lessons online, here on the blog and on Facebook

Read Genesis chapter 3.   Post your answers as comments. We’ll share online.

Genesis chapters 1 and 2 present the ideal marriage.  Genesis chapter 3 gives a step-by-step narrative of how a good marriage can fall apart.  The purpose of this lesson is to understand what went wrong and how to deal with it. After all, at the end of all their problems, remember that Adam and Eve stayed married & gave birth to everybody.

Part 1 of 5

1. Look at Genesis 3: 1, 4. Note the qualifying words (indeed, surely) in the serpent’s questions and statements to Woman. How do these qualifiers more effectively create doubt than a straightforward invitation to disobey God?

2. Look at Genesis 3: 5,6. What did Satan present as enticing about the tree of knowledge? Looking at Genesis 3: 6, what did Woman find appealing about the tree of knowledge?

3. Did the woman give in to the serpent’s temptation solely based on his words or was some of the temptation from within herself? In other words, did the devil make her do it? (Consider James 1: 13-15.)

4. Where was Adam when his wife ate from the tree of knowledge (Genesis 3: 6)?

5. Woman ate the forbidden fruit first, then the man after her. Whose eyes “were opened” first?

6. Compare Genesis 3: 7 to Genesis 2: 25. What’s changed?

7. Considering the discussion in lesson 1 (question #19) about what it means for a husband and wife to be naked and unashamed, what are the implications of Genesis 3:7 for modern marriages?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011



Lesson 1: The Foundations of Marriage

Hall Memorial CME Church
541 Seibles Road, Montgomery, AL

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II, pastor-teacher

Below are all of the questions and teaching notes I made for the 1st lesson of the study.  Although this is lesson #1, the actual content, with discussion covers 3-4 Wednesday nights. 
Questions are in bold type.  Answers, notes, etc. are in plain type.

Read Genesis 1: 26-31; 2: 7-9, 15-25.

Pre-study question: Define the following terms. Consider the social, legal, and spiritual aspects of each word: We started by sharing our personal definitions of marriage, husband, and wife. We realized that these concepts aren’t as simple as they appear.

a. Marriage- union between man & woman; what God has joined together; contract between 2 parties

b. Husband – head of the family; provider; man who vows to relationship with a woman according to God’s law; Genesis 2: 23, 24

c. Wife – Genesis 2:23, 24; like the man, but different

1. Genesis chapters 1 & 2 describe the creation of humanity. As is often the case, the masculine term “man” is used here. However, in Genesis 1: 27, the Bible explicitly refers to the creation of male and female. What does this indicate about God’s plan/ intentions?

- God always intended to create males & females.
- Eve was not an afterthought. Adam was not an incomplete first attempt.

2. To whom does the plural “them” refer in Genesis 1: 28? “Them” refers to male & female, man & woman/ Adam & Eve.
To whom then, do the blessings of dominion apply? God gave the promise of dominion to all of humanity, both men and women.

3. Compare Genesis 2: 7 and Genesis 1: 26. How is “man” used differently in these verses?

In Genesis 1: 26 “man” refers to humanity in general, males & females.

In Genesis 2:7, “man” refers specifically to the male/Adam.

Again this shows that the creation of the woman along with the man was always part of God’s plan. God made Adam to be a man/male. He intentionally designed and created Adam as a male human being. God made humanity to composed of males and females. He intentionally designed and created men and women to be different.

4. Compare Genesis 2:7 and Genesis 2: 21, 22. Explain the difference between how God created the first male and how God created the first female?

Genesis 2: 7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.

… 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man.

God made Adam’s physical body from the dust of the earth. The elements and compounds in African dirt were the building blocks of his physical body. Once the physical body was formed, God directly breathed life into Adam. Man was intentionally formed to be both physical and spiritual.

Eve, was essentially cloned from Adam. Because her physical body was made from Adam’s physical body, both man and woman had the exact same (and therefore compatible) physical chemical/ genetic make-up.

It came up half-jokingly last week, that if God had made both of them from the dust of the earth that we might be arguing now that Adam was made from one kind of dirt and Eve was made from another. God’s way eliminates any support for an innate superiority or inferiority in either male or female.

Adam and Eve were formed intentionally but differently.

Although genetically identical, they were made male—on purpose, and female—on purpose.

5. Why wasn’t it good for Adam to be alone? Consider Genesis 1: 28. Also look at what Adam was doing (Genesis 2: 15, 20).

Genesis 1: 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Genesis 2: 15 Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it… 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him.

- God gave the promise of dominion and the command to be fruitful & multiply to them, male and female together. Really, Chapter 2 takes place in the middle of verse 27. So, one reason that it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone is that he could not fulfill the command to multiply ---alone.

- In chapter 2, Adam is given 2 jobs. He was actively (and successfully) performing those tasks when God, not Adam, remarks that it isn’t good for him to be alone.

- What does dominion look like? It looks like someone working at exactly the callings God has given them. The other reason it was not good for Adam to be alone is that if he’d fulfilled his tasks without the woman she would have no place in the dominion that God had called them to.

6. What was Eve’s purpose? Consider what God said to/about her in chapter 2 and in chapter 1.

In chapter 1, everything that’s said about Adam also applies to Eve. His dominion was her dominion. His home was her home. The commands for him to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue the earth where all command to her as well as to him.

In chapter 2, Eve is made to help/ assist Adam in the work he has already been assigned. She does not define the man’s purpose; God has already done that. She comes in to be a “just right” help and to be an active participant in them fulfilling their purpose. The general promise/ destiny is given to male and female. The specific means of fulfilling their destiny of dominion is given to the man.

7. Genesis 2: 18 is one of the most frequently misquoted verses in the Bible. It does not say that God would make a “helpmeet” nor does it say “helpmate.” What does it say? What does that mean?

The Bible records that God designed Eve to be a “help meet” or a “help comparable” to Adam. Note that these are two separate words. God made eve to be a “help” to Adam. She was made specifically to be comparable, or suitable to him. The KJV term “meet” in this context means proper. In other words, Eve was made to be just right for Adam.

It was always God’s plan that Adam and Eve share in the responsibility and authority of dominion. Eve was formed in such a way that she fit into the organizational scheme that was already at work in Adam.

When God made Adam, He said that the creation was “good.” Adam was not missing anything. He didn’t have any baggage or sin or issues. He didn’t need Eve because he was messing up the names of the animals. He didn’t need Eve because he was pruning too much off the roses in Eden. God’s complete plan for humanity included males and females. It wasn’t good for Adam to do it all by himself because God didn’t intend for him to do it all by himself. But there is no indication or hint in the scriptures that Adam wasn’t capable of handling the business given to him –all by himself.

- The pronouns in Gen. 1 & 2 are important. In Gen. 1: 26, God refers to Himself as Us & Our. The Trinity decides to create man in Their/His image. Man and woman are made to be in a relationship that completes their destiny. They are complete together and they are complete separately. This is a reflection of the unity of God the Father, Son, & Holy Spirit. It’s not exactly the same, but it is an earthly image of the triune godhead. Also, note that we have trouble understanding the Trinity in part because we keep comparing God to earthly stuff (water, atoms, humans). God isn’t like this stuff, but we at our best are somewhat like God.

8. It was always God’s intent to have both man and woman in dominion. So why didn’t He make them simultaneously?

We can’t know for certain, but we do know that sometimes God fulfills His promises in stages. For example, David was anointed to be king of Israel but it was several years before he actually sat on the throne of all 12 tribes. There were several steps he had to go through. In the same way, we see Adam being prepared to “be a man” before Eve is brought forth. Although their union was always meant to be, Adam needed to be prepared. The promises of Genesis 1 were made to a family, but the man had to be prepared before he could take up his role in the family.

You might think of it like a man who owns and company and intends to pass it to his son. The father might make his son work in the factory and learn the business before he actually names the son to be president.

What did God give/ do with Adam before He gave Adam a wife?

God gave Adam several things.

- God gave Adam a home of his own—Eden.

- God gave Adam work to do. He had 2 jobs: gardening which required him to labor with his hands; and naming the animals which required him to apply his mind to examining and understanding the nature and purpose of every creature.

- God gave Adam rules to live by. He had freedom to eat of everything, but he had a restriction from eating of one tree.

9. What did God name the woman He had made? (Trick question!) Read Genesis 2: 23.

God didn’t name the woman. Adam named her “woman,” which means out of man. “Woman” was more than a title, it was a name.

According to Gen. 2: 9, when Adam named something, God accepted the name. The name defined the thing.

The name “wo-man” defined Eve in relation to her husband. We may have a problem with that today, but keep in mind that at this time, Adam is perfect. The world is perfect. There is no sin, no baggage. Adam doesn’t make mistakes. He doesn’t mistreat Eve or anything on the earth. Adam lives in perfect fellowship with God, regularly beholding the fullness of his glory.

Adam and Eve are the prototype of men and women. They were created in a state of absolute perfection, placed in an absolutely perfect and sinless environment, and given unrestricted direct fellowship with God. Their relationship was literally a “match made in Heaven.” Consider now what their marriage teaches about all marriages.

10. (Consider your answer to question #1.) Just as God has a plan and destiny for each individual, if God has given 2 people to be married, He has a plan and destiny for them as a couple/ unit/ family_.

11. How does the answer to question #2 affect the concept of “success” in a marriage?

A family’s success must be collective success. A family’s success is defined by dad’s & mom’s success as a unit. A family is not successful when dad is doing his thing and mom’s left out. A family is not successful when mom in taking dad for all he’s got. “They” have dominion together or they each fail.

12. Read 1 Peter 3: 7. What is necessary for a husband and wife to stand in God’s favor?

1Peter 3: 7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

For a husband (and wife) to walk in God’s favor they have to be united:

1) There must be understanding between them. (Not necessarily agreement on every topic, but understanding of each other’s perspective.)

2) They must give each other honor. This means that he has to appreciate her ,and she has to appreciate him.

The husband must take the lead in seeking and modeling these areas, especially in giving honor to his wife. In a male-dominated world, it is tempting to treat women as inferior. That is not the way to God’s favor.

The husband and wife are “heirs together” of God’s grace. Once the union is made, they stand in or fall out of God’s favor as a unit.

Specifically, to the husband, God commands us to :

- Live with our wives

- Understand our wives

- Honor our wives issues (weaknesses) and all. Looking at the entire letter/ epistle of 1 Peter, the context is spiritual not physical. We’re not talking about physical issues, but spiritual issues.

- See that ours is a joint spiritual inheritance not and simply individual one


Heir= someone for whom the Father has promised an inheritance.

Inheritance= something better that the father has coming

Referring to the entire church, Peter writes in 1 Peter 1: 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,

- Husbands are admonished to love and live w/ their wives according to God’s commands because our obedience/ disobedience to how God says we’re to treat our wives affects our spiritual power.

o The scripture says point blank, that if we don’t honor & understand then our prayers will not be as effective.

o Note: The scriptures doesn’t say that wives have to understand husbands. In fact, I can’t think of a single scripture that commands women to understand men. I think it’s a good thing when women understand men, but I can’t say that it’s a Biblical command. I must say that husbands do have a Biblical responsibility to understand their wives. (Whoever said being a man was easy?)

o The Bible does not say that men have to always please their wives. The Word reference the fact that we often do strive to please our wives even to the point of disobeying God, but this is a caution, not a command.

o The Word does say explicitly that we are to live with, understand, and honor our wives—issues and all.

13. The answer to #4 shows a progression in the order of Creation. How is this progression lived out in a marriage? (Look at Ephesians 5: 23, 24.)

Ephesians 5: 23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. 24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

God-man-God-woman-God-husband & wife together-God.

1) First, the man/ husband must understand and walk in his relationship to God. Out of that relationship the man understands & executes his responsibility to work and to provide for himself.

i. Then, man is ready to have a wife. Husband and wife must be right for one another. But the woman must see her connection to her husband in the context of her relationship to God. A woman has a divine purpose and a family role. The 2 are supposed to exist in harmony, not in competition.

2) God made the woman and she was with God(Gen. 2: 22)/ had her own personal relationship w/ God before she was brought to the man.

- The wife is to contribute to the process of taking dominion. She is to help the man succeed. Whether she works in the home or outside of the home, a wife is more than decoration, housekeeping, & sex. She is supposed to help her husband advance the family.

Note: The wife has voice & vote, but the final say in the exact work/ the exact means for the family’s progress is between the husband & God.

One of the problems with marriages in the church is that you have “godly” men who are looking for godly women, and “godly” women who are looking for godly men, but neither group is looking for God.

The Genesis model of the perfect marriage shows a man serving God and a woman with her own relationship to God. God brings them together, and together they serve God.

14. Considering the answer to #5, how is a husband supposed to achieve success? The husband is supposed to involve his wife in his success. His success should benefit his wife & their family (not just monetarily), making their life and relationship to God better and. If he prospers but she suffers, he’s outside of God’s will.

How is a wife supposed to achieve success? A wife’s success is supposed to benefit not weaken her husband. They are not competitors, she can and should improve herself, but in such a way that she has his back, not so that she can replace him in authority. A wife who prospers by stealing from her husband or who’s primary contribution to the family is to increase their debt and conflict is outside of God’s will---regardless what other women say.

For a closer look at a wife’s “work”, look at Proverbs 31: 10-31. Note that the Proverbs 31 woman may be a stay-at-home mom, but she is a hard-working, financially contributing stay-at-home mom.

15. Based on the account in Genesis, what does God expect of a man before the man becomes a husband? Consider answers #5 & #8.

God expects a man to have a relationship with Him, to be responsible (to work), to be out of his parent’s house, and to understand some things about the way the world works (This understanding was required for Adam to examine & name the animals).

A prospective husband doesn’t have to have it all together. He doesn’t have to have achieved all that he can. In fact, the model in Genesis 1, 2 shows that it’s best when a husband and wife build the greater part of their success together.

To wives: your husband’s peak should come after he marries you, not before. If he never has any more than the day before he married you, it’s at least partly your fault.

16. Looking at answer #6, what does God expect of a woman when she becomes a wife?

God expects the wife to fit her husband, to have his back. God expects a wife to listen to her husband’s vision of their future and to help him fulfill it. She is not called to dictate the vision, but she is to provide whatever information, resources, and support will help him understand God calling(s) on his life better.

A possible addition to the discussion:

R& B artist Kelly Price recently released a song with this chorus:
You're not my daddy. You're my man.
I think it's time you understand.
So just make me happy if you can (Oh)
I'm not your mama, I'm your girl.
And I am the lady in your world.
And loving each other's how we work. (Oh)

17. Why do women take their husband’s name when they get married? What does this signify in a spiritual sense?

Adam named his wife---twice. (Genesis 2: 23; 3: 20). In a spiritual sense (and this isn’t a popular view) it signifies that her identity is intricately tied to his destiny. God delivers some promises & instructions to both Adam & Eve. God delivers some promises & instructions just to Adam. God does not deliver any of the foundational rules of humankind to Eve alone.

None of this diminishes a the reality and power of a woman’s individual relationship with God. The Bible full of these (for example: Deborah the married prophetess of Judges 4; Huldah the married prophetess of 2 Kings 22; Isaiah’s wife—also a prophetess—in Isaiah 8; the widowed prophtess Anna (Luke 2); Mary the mother of Jesus)

A wife may be deeply and powerfully spiritual, but the job of chief spiritual intercessor is assigned to the husband. He may be spiritually immature but it doesn’t change God’s assignment. He may leave the spiritual work of the home undone so that his wife has to do it; but he will still be held responsible for the work whether he did it or not.

18. Read Adam’s marriage vows in Genesis 2: 23, 24. How does this apply to marriage today?

23 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.”
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

- A husband must receive his wife as a custom-made gift from God. If he receives her as his wife, he must regard her as “the one.”

- A man’s wife must be his number 1 earthly priority. She is more important than his sisters, than his friends, than his daddy, than his mama. Period.

- Whatever disagreements they have in private, in public---he takes her side, even if he has to stand against his mama.

- Note: If anyone can find a scripture (not their opinion, not their experience) that says otherwise---write it down for me to review.

19. Read Genesis 2: 25. How does this apply to marriage?

25 And they were both naked , the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.

a. Emotionally- emotionally naked and unashamed. A husband and wife should be to share feelings, fears, ambitions, and issues with one another that they are unable/ unwilling to reveal to anyone else, including siblings, parents, and friends

b. Financially – financially naked & unashamed. A married couple should know each others’ financial situation, all the details. Point blank, if you don’t trust her/ him, don’t marry her/him. Separate accounts are acceptable; secret accounts are not.

c. Sexually – sexually naked and unashamed. A husband and wife should be one another’s exclusive source of sexual gratification. No other person or means as a substitute. A husband & wife should not be ashamed of their sexual intimacy. If a couple’s desire and sexual intimacy is supposed to be fulfilled/ increased after they get married.

Note: Society has degraded and made a joke of sex between a husband and wife while romanticizing, glorifying, and recommending every other kind of sexual experience. This is backwards.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

DANGER IN THE DESCENT (A Different Lesson from the story of Noah)

In 2008, a research team from Massachusetts General Hospital performed a comprehensive investigation into specifically why so many climbers die on Mt. Everest. They found that most people who lose their lives on the highest mountain in the world do not actually die climbing up to the peak. They die coming back down.

The Biblical patriarch Noah built the ark. In one of the greatest acts of faith in history, Noah constructed a great wooden ship and saved humanity and the genetic ancestors of all land animals. All this is recorded in Genesis chapters 6-8.

In Genesis 9:21, Noah got drunk.

Sloppy drunk.

Sloppy-took-all-his-clothes-off-and-passed-out-naked drunk.

The hero of humanity shamed himself before his family. Noah’s youngest son Ham made fun of him, and in anger (and no doubt embarrassment) Noah took out his frustration on Ham’s son.  Noah cursed Canaan, providing for Canaan’s descendants to eventually form the pagan nations that rejected God and fought the Israelites (Genesis 10: 15-18).  Noah’s shame led to the generational animosity between Israelites and Canaanites that plagued the Middle East for centuries. 

All because Noah got sloppy drunk.

How could a noble, holy man like Noah let himself fall into such a situation?

He was coming down from a peak.

The high point of Noah’s life was the ark. Comparing Genesis 7: 11 and 8: 14, we realize that Noah and his family were inside the ark for over a year. That year is added to the time it took Noah to build the thing.

Think about the intense focus, planning, and constant effort all of this took. Once the Flood came and the ark was afloat, Noah literally became the head of humanity, the patriarch of the planet. Inside the ark he had to attend to the animals, see to the distribution of provisions, settle disputes, make decisions. There was constant activity.

Until the waters receded.

Then, Noah found himself again on dry land, but it was not land he recognized. The face of the world had changed. Sure, he named his landing site Mt. Ararat, but he couldn’t know relative to the pre-Flood world how far he’d actually floated. On dry land, the animals disbursed and started doing what animals do---without Noah’s direction. On dry land, his sons would have begun talking about building their own houses and going off with their wives to lead their own families. On dry land, without the constant work of the ark Noah would have had time to stop and reflect on the fact that every old friend, relative, and acquaintance he had known was dead.

During the crisis of the flood Noah had been strong. Doing the work of the ark Noah had been steadfast. But when the adrenaline ebbed the strain of the regular routine of just living was too much.

Noah couldn’t handle coming down from the peak.

For some of us, crises are easy. We’re ready to put in extraordinary effort, to rise to tough challenges, to deliver excellence under pressure. We like to push ourselves to conquer new summits of performance. Satan won’t trip us in the middle of a crisis because we are at our spiritual and personal best in tough times.

We, however, are at our weakest after the peak. When extraordinary demands give way to ordinary days we have to be extra careful of our spiritual lives.

Satan will come at us then. He’ll assault our peace and tempt us to escape into whatever is our favorite or habitual distraction. For Noah it was the wine bottle. For others it may be food or sex or conflict or whatever.

If we let Satan trip us after the peak, we may find ourselves doing things that put us to shame before our families and cause problems that linger for years.

Guard yourself after the peaks. Remind your support team to continue & even to intensify prayer for you after the big event is over.

Don’t let yourself be destroyed on the descent from the mountain.

2 Corinthians 2: 11 …for we are not ignorant of [Satan’s] devices.

---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).

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Miles Chapel CME Church
P O Box 132
Fairfield, Al 35064

Sunday, July 3, 2011


"Freedom is not free." It's a patriotic slogan, but when examined in the light of God's Word the statement points to powerful principles of spiritual deliverance. Learn why you still feel bound by & to old issues. Learn how to be free--truly free.
Listen well.

Rev. Anderson T. Graves II, pastor of Hall Memorial CME Church.
541 Seibles Road, Montgomery, AL 36116.
Phone 334-288-0577 .
Friend Pastor Graves at

Friday, July 1, 2011

“Weapons of Mass Distractions” written by Apostle Dr-Sandra Wise

This was written by a facebook friend, Apostle Dr. Sandra Wise of Dallas , TX.  The Word was a blesing to me.  With her permission, I'm sharing it with you.

“Weapons of Mass Distractions”

PLEASE READ: Nehemiah 6:1-6:19; Nehemiah 4:1-4:19

"Distraction (Webster) – [1]. Is the act of distracting; a drawing apart; separation. [2]. That which diverts attention; a diversion. [3]. A diversity of direction; detachment. [4]. State in which the attention is called in differe...nt ways; confusion; perplexity. [5]. Confusion of affairs; tumult; disorder; as, political distractions. [6]. Agitation from violent emotions; perturbation of mind; despair.

[That ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction (such as in 1 Cor. 7:35)].

Introduction: Dealing with Distractions

Do you have any unfinished projects lying around collecting dust? It’s so easy to get sidetracked isn’t it? It takes tenacity to finish what we start because there are always so many competing distractions. It is hard to remain focused isn’t it? Life for many consists of rabbit trails rather than highways. They are always on the move, but not really getting anywhere. The distractions of life dictate their decisions and control their schedules. We make a lot of plans, but get very little done. The phone rings. We need something at the store. We want to check our email. We get caught in the web of the internet following a story, looking up something, blogging, reading other people’s blogs, checking the weather, or just catching up on the news. The kids need to be dropped off, and then they need picked up. Something needs cleaned or repaired. A stack of books are begging to be read. Even making lists of things that need to be done is a distraction.

The problem is that it all seems important, or at least necessary. Our lives are filled with the urgent, and we have no time for the eternal. We have tended to a million little things and left undone the big things. We have filled the day with things that do not ultimately matter and left undone the things that do matter. We have done what seemed necessary and neglected what was essential. Days turn into months and months into years, and our lives have become trivialized by distractions.

And we shouldn't go to the world for our ideas in building the church. Many churches are using worldly marketing strategies, and trying to attract people using worldly ways. Have you been to some of these night-clubbish style churches? Our goal should not be to get the crowd rocking, but to get them established on the Rock.

Nor should our goal be just to have a big attendance. Show me Jesus talking about high attendance? The churches He commended in Revelation were congratulated on the basis of values such as love, faith, patience, endurance, etc. Never once did He commend their attendance. But in American churches today, attendance is everything! It's the measure of success! Go to any pastor's conference. Everyone is asking each other about attendance, and immediately the pecking order is established. The guy w/ the big church is asked to speak and the guy w/ a small crowd, who may be in a tough area, and may have more wisdom and holiness, is disrespected...because our values have been warped.

We love our growth, but if we have to compromise to do it than forget it. Having a big crowd is not necessarily having a church.

One thing that clearly emerges from our study in the Book of Nehemiah is that life is a battle from beginning to end. In Ephesians 6:12 the Apostle Paul warns, “Our struggle is not against flesh and blood…but against the powers of this dark world.” We meet these powers of darkness in our text today.

Here in Nehemiah 6, as in many other places in Scripture, we learn that the devil has two main ways of working. The first tactic is fear. Satan is prowling around, as Peter says in 1 Peter 5:8, “like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

But he has another battle plan as well. He not only uses fear, he also utilizes flattery. 2 Corinthians 11:14 reveals that Satan “masquerades as an angel of light.” He comes with enticing promises and flattering words, assuring us that what he proposes will cost us nothing.

Whatever method the evil one employs, whether it be fear or flattery, his aim is to distract and destroy us. We need to be on guard against each of these approaches. That is why Paul says in 2 Corinthians 2:11 that “We are not unaware of his schemes.” We need to be on guard because Satan is both a lion that devours and a serpent that deceives.

Let me give you a simple outline of chapter 6 that will help us get a better handle on how to deal with distractions.....

Part 2: "The Intrigue (1-4)

The Innuendo (5-9)

The Intimidation (10-19)

1. The Intrigue (1-4)

...Since Sanballat and his sinister buddies failed in their attempts to stop the wall builders, they decide now to concentrate their attacks on Nehemiah himself by changing their tactics and resorting to subtle persuasion. We might call this political softball. You will experience this as well when you try to correct some things in your life. Many people today are faltering in their Christian pilgrimage because they listen to the advice and temptations of those closest to them.

Let’s take a look at verses 1-4: “When word came to Sanballat, Tobiah, Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it -- though up to that time I had not set the doors in the gates -- Sanballat and Geshem sent me this message: ‘Come, let us meet together in one of the villages on the plain of Ono.’ But they were scheming to harm me; so I sent messengers to them with this reply: ‘I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?’ Four times they sent me the same message, and each time I gave them the same answer.”

These enemies suddenly become Nehemiah’s friends and invite him to a conference down on the plain of Ono. The first four verses look like a political concession speech ­ they want to meet with Nehemiah and cut their losses ­ or so it seems. Ono is located on the seacoast near the Gaza strip. It was a beautiful resort area. But Nehemiah senses danger: “they were scheming to harm me.” So Nehemiah said, “Oh, no!” to Ono.

Some commentators suggest that they were trying to trick him into leaving Jerusalem, where he had armed support, to come to a conference where they could ambush him. Nehemiah evidently senses this. He firmly declines, saying, “I am carrying on a great project, and I cannot go down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and go down to you?”

That is a great answer even though it sounds rather blunt. But Nehemiah sees through their scheme by refusing their invitation four different times. You, too, may experience continuing pressure to change your mind and go along with something that is wrong. Some of us give in to repeated pressure. We might decline the first invitation but find our defenses weakened as the enticements continue. But Nehemiah persists in his refusal because he knows what his priorities are: “I am doing a great work. I have a great calling. God has committed a tremendous project to me, and if I leave, it will be threatened.”

2. The Innuendo (5-9)

When the enemy cannot accomplish his purpose by offering peace, he switches back to his original scheme of sinister threats. He moves from political softball to political hardball. Take a look at verses 5-7: “Then, the fifth time, Sanballat sent his aide to me with the same message, and in his hand was an unsealed letter in which was written: “It is reported among the nations -- and Geshem says it is true -- that you and the Jews are plotting to revolt, and therefore you are building the wall. Moreover, according to these reports you are about to become their king and have even appointed prophets to make this proclamation about you in Jerusalem: ‘There is a king in Judah!’ Now this report will get back to the king; so come, let us confer together.”

This arm-twisting tactic is designed to pressure Nehemiah to yield to their request, and thus fall into their trap. But he resists because he sees it for what it really is, an enticement based upon lies. Note that it was an “unsealed letter.” In other words, it was designed for everyone to read, so that the lie would be spread around that Nehemiah was trying to make himself king.

Have you ever noticed that rumors regularly cite people of distinction as sources? That’s what happened here ­ “and Geshem says it’s true.” Someone has said that gossip is news you have to hurry to tell somebody else before you find out isn’t true!

Nehemiah responded three different ways ­ he denied the rumor, he prayed to God for strength, and he went back to work. Look at verse 8: “I sent him this reply: ‘Nothing like what you are saying is happening; you are just making it up out of your head.’” That’s the best way to respond to a charge like this -- just a flat denial. He doesn’t try to disprove the accusation but merely states, “That is a lie. There is no truth in it.”

And then, invariably, as was his practice, he responds with another “prayer” in verse 9: “They are all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ But I prayed, ‘Now strengthen my hands.’”

Their tactics were to get the people to think that Nehemiah had some hidden motive -- his own glory -- for rebuilding the wall, hoping that the workers would thus become discouraged and quit. Nehemiah simply prays, “Lord, do not let that happen. Strengthen me to work all the harder.” They were on the last lap of the race and the finish line was in sight. He took care of his character and trusted God to take care of his reputation.

PART 3: 3. The Intimidation (10-19)

Once again the enemy switches his game plan in verse 10: “One day I went to the house of Shemaiah son of Delaiah, the son of Mehetabel, who was shut in at his home. He said, ‘Let us meet in the house of G...od, inside the temple, and let us close the temple doors, because men are coming to kill you -- by night they are coming to kill you.’”

This false prophet claims to have hidden knowledge. That is suggested by the phrase, “he was shut in” at his home. He was secluding himself for some religious reason. This is frequently the case with those who claim to be psychics who are in touch with the invisible world. They sit behind curtains in semi-darkness, trying to create a sense of mystery, as though they know more about inscrutable things than others.

What he says sounds logical: “Some people are out to get you. They are going to kill you.” Nehemiah certainly believes that! The man suggests, “Come on up here and we will go into the temple and shut the doors. They will not dare attack you there.” That sounds good, but immediately Nehemiah detects that something is wrong. He knows that he is not permitted to go into the temple, for only priests could enter the holy place.

So he answers in verse 11: “But I said, ‘should a man like me run away? Or should one like me go into the temple to save his life? I will not go!’” He realizes that a prophet who was really from the Lord would say nothing contrary to God’s commands. In verse 3 he said, “I cannot come down.” Now he says, “I will not go in.”

Having right priorities gave Nehemiah the courage to do what was right. Courage isn’t the absence of fear but instead it’s the tenacity to do what is right no matter how much we’re afraid. You see, it’s not just a matter of saying ‘no’ to distractions. We have to first say ‘yes’ to the right things, so that our priorities match up with God’s priorities. As we keep the main thing the main thing, we’ll be able to deal with distractions the way Nehemiah did.

God gives Nehemiah some insight in verses 12-13: “I realized that God had not sent him, but that he had prophesied against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him. He had been hired to intimidate me so that I would commit a sin by doing this, and then they would give me a bad name to discredit me.” It was all part of a plan to discourage and distract the people from following Nehemiah’s lead. Fueled by jealousy and ambition, these enemies slandered him and tried to trick him into yielding to their demands.

We must be aware of this kind of attack in our lives as well. Don’t take someone’s advice or do what a friend asks you to do just because they seem like a nice person. Don’t let anyone or anything distract you from God’s priorities. The best response to such an approach is what Nehemiah uses here -- a deep sense of his true identity as a believer. “Should a man like me run and hide and try to save his life by wrong approaches and unlawful practices?” He falls back upon his clear understanding of who he is and what his priorities are. He is a believer in the Living God and as such need not resort to trickery to save his life.

Nehemiah meets this attack of the enemy by going to prayer once again in verse 14: “Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, because of what they have done; remember also that prophetess Noadiah, and the rest of the prophets who have been trying to intimidate me.”

This brings us to the end of this first phase of Nehemiah’s work in verses 15-16: “So the wall was completed on the twenty-fifth of Elul, in fifty-two days. When all our enemies heard about this and all the surrounding nations saw it, our enemies lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” Even their enemies had to admit that God was at work! This entire project was finished in just 52 days!

Brothers and sisters, here’s one of the overriding truths from this book: the devil never quits. He is never going to give up while we are still alive. God has wonderful blessings and much encouragement and joy for us along the way, but we must never cease battling against the world, the flesh and the devil until we get to heaven. The enemy of God will never quit. If he cannot distract you with fear and flattery, he will use gossip and false accusations.


Friends, the enemy will act to distract you. But while he blasts away, God is building His kingdom. Satan is subtle but God is sufficient. Remember, when God’s priorities become our priorities, God’s kingdom work will advance. When the wall was completed, verse 16 says, “…All the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.” May that be said of us!
shared with permission from Apostle Dr. Sandra Wise of Dallas , TX.