Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Marriage Talks With The Murphys...Thirty-Six Years and Counting

-How Many Years have you been Married?

36 years and it will be thirty-seven years (May 16th at 3pm)

-What is the one thing that has kept you together this long?

Always keep the LORD in the center of everything you do. In any marriage it’s not about you. It’s no more YOU it’s US. We are one. When you’re saying something or doing something say sorry. It doesn’t take anything from you. It makes it better. The enemy is always there to kill steal and destroy. Give life to the marriage. HAVE FUN!

-What do you think is different now about marriage nowadays vs back then?

You can write a book about that. From a generational stand point people in previous generations were more open to meeting people earlier in life. The commitment level was different; there was a more of a biblical view of marriage historical than it is now. The lifetime commitment is more prevalent back then than it is now. More people today are more interested in their PERSONAL happiness than in GODS’ happiness. That’s why I believe people do two things now, they wait longer to get married because they are interested in getting a career and being established and then the time they have left they are willing to devote to marriage. We that don’t understand is that time is your life is meant to be experienced with whomever you decide to spend the rest of your life with. There doesn’t seem to be an overwhelming commitment to marriage because they have established that they were doing well without the partner vs a covenant/a life. There’s more internally focused individual’s verses a focus on pleasing God in the context of your marriage.

-What would you say to persons who are in engaged to be married?

Pastor-The first advice is talk with your pastor, for the purpose of seeking Godly counsel, concerning marriage so that they understand or have an opportunity to clearly understand marriage and the biblical requirements (Ephesians 5:31) of being married. Parents should have influence but never authority. You always honor your parents but they don’t run your marriage YOU DO. (Ephesians 5:21).
1st Lady-It’s very beneficial to be a member of a church and also to have counseling w/your pastor. You don’t want any hidden agendas. That way as your pastor is speaking with you, he's coming from the word to let you know why the different things are essential for your marriage.

-What does Love look like?

1st Lady- God is love, it’s not about you.
Nobody has ever seen him; it’s doing the right things and always being considerate of the other person.
Pastor- God is Love. Nobody has ever seen God. So nobody really knows. If I had to give an answer then love looks like total and complete unselfishness. Always considering the other person before considering yourself. Love is an action word. Love is grace and truth.

-If you could tell yourself anything when you first got married what would it be?

All the things we’ve said in the interview. We didn’t know any of this stuff! Get counseling because we didn’t have it. Consider your spouse above yourself. Don’t be selfish. Learn to love!

-How has God impacted your marriage thus far?

Pastor- My testimony is that God has literally revolutionized my approach to marriage. Before truly inviting God into my marriage I tried to conduct our marital relationship based on my view and not the biblical portrait of marriage. When I developed an understanding of the biblical view of marriage my marriage literally transformed.
1st Lady- Reading the Bible and knowing/learning what it is supposed to do. Being unselfish and being devoted and committed to God. Knowing who you are causes the transformation. Now you just are following the Bible according to marriage. When you do that you can always keep God First and you can’t go wrong with that.

-How do you exemplify Proverbs 4:23 in a marriage?

1st Lady-You know what you’re true feelings are, a lot of time the enemy comes in and plants doubt! Knowing who your spouse is; TRUST is important! If you’re always doubting or spectating where is the trueness of the person you are married too? Just be truthful about things especially about things that you feel.
Pastor- Guarding your heart is important. Your heart provides the foundation for everything that you do. It encourages us to always apply the word to our thoughts Philippians 4:7-8. To be mindful about the things that you dwell on. If you think negative things it will destroy; if you think positive things then you will thrive. Keep your heart. You don’t allow the enemy access to your heart. 2 Corinthians 10:5 whenever there are images in your mind that does not align with the word of God cast them out! That’s guarding your heart. Taking the thoughts that the enemy throws at you and casting them out. When the enemy does this they are thoughts that do not edify God or your marriage. You only want to allow the things you think to be those that align with the word of God. The battle for marriage or a successful marriage is won in the mind and in our thought life.

-Advice to singles.

Pastor-Look for a person who is Godly, saved and active in ministry who’s life reflects a submission and adherence to the principles of God.  First thing a young person should look for is a place in Ministry to be faithful to and serve whole heartedly. Submit yourselves whole heartedly to the kingdom of God. Ruth was found while working. While you are laboring to advance and to build the kingdom observe other persons like yourselves of the opposite sex that is visibly and demonstratively likeminded.
1st Lady- Look for someone that really going after God and being faithful
Pastor - The biblical rules of engagement where relationships are concerned is that a man finds a wife; but for her to be able to respond to potential suitors. She has to give assessment to the individual that’s inquiring of their interest.
1st Lady- Good character.

Dinner With The Blevins

-How Many years have you been Married

Twenty-two and a half, twenty-three years on June 30!

-What is the one thing that has kept you together this long?

Miss'y- Our desire for one another and relationship with God.
Elder- Both are number one and being committed to the institution of marriage that God ordained.

-What do you think is different now about marriages or people getting married nowadays verses when people got married back then?

Elder- Not a difference but more so people not staying together.
Miss'y- Marriage used to be sacred, people don't stick it out. It was taught that you stay because that's marriage. There’s also a lack of commitment to the institution of marriage, they approach it with a selfish mindset, if they don't get what they want then it's over verses my job is to serve you as a spouse as unto God.

-What would you say to persons who are in engaged to be married?

Elder- Understand that marriage is a lifetime commitment not a sentence, YOU CHOOSE out of your own will to enter into marriage.
Miss’y- There are no back doors, you can't go in looking for a way out.

-If you could tell your self anything when you first got married, what would it be?

Elder- You don't always get out the deal what YOU want. It’s not about you; don't engage in this thing selfish. The way you get what you want is giving the other person what they want. Luke 6:38 "Give unto others as you would have them give unto you."  1 Corinthians 7:3 "The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and like wise the wife to her husband.". Marriage is a covenant not a contract. You engage as if it is a commitment not a contract. And that you remain committed to the covenant in spite of the experience.

-How has God impacted your marriage thus far?

Miss’y- He makes ways out of no way
Elder- "The husband of the article declares this: that as a result of his wife's faithfulness and commitment to God his level of trust and faith in God has increased." SO REMEMBER GOD FIRST!

A Conversation with The James'

-How long have you all been married?   

  39 years!

-What do you think is different now about marriages or people getting married now a days verses when people got married back then?

The culture is different, everything is rushed! This generation has a different idea of what marriage is. The morals are different. People valued marriage more 40 years ago. Men aren't in the home as much as they used to be, because men haven't grown up with their father's. The father taught the morals necessary for men today. We don't have a lot of that today. My son actual thanked me for being there as a father because my son worked with children who didn't have fathers and they had a lot of dysfunction in their lives. Also because of the lack of  father's being in the home young men can't learn from them and in return don't know how to treat the young ladies. They respect the house of God. People act or react real quick. They don't want to wait. They didn't have marriage counseling back then either. 

-What do you think is one thing that made your marriage last this long?

Keeping God First and Great communication with one another. Faith in Jesus Christ. If I want to please God then I have to please my wife/husband. Our foundation in Jesus Christ is what sustained us. We raised our kids in the church. We relied solely on God. Church is very important for the Family. The enemy's goal is to destroy the foundation of family. We raised our kids richly because we raised them in the Lord. And our kids say all the time that they appreciate that. Proverbs 22:6 "Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it"

-What would you tell an engaged or dating couple today?

Seek the counseling from your pastor, keep things between each other, put God First, always encourage one another. Proverbs 11:14 "Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety" Pray about it. Don't rush. Ask and Seek God. The wedding is minute compared to the life you'll spend with your mate.

Dating couples: observe how the parents are, you can learn everything by observing the people around them before you decide to move forward with that person. Biblical portrait of marriage is your goal. Don't compromise to marry or be with anybody. 

-How has God impacted your marriage thus far?

Kept us together, we didn't know what marriage was at first. God taught us how to be and stay together. The Bible teaches us how to love our wives/husbands. My wife is my best friend. Having that relationship with God has kept us. I don't want to displease the Lord so I never wanted to mistreat her. Praying for one another. Encouraging one another. It's just gets sweeter and sweeter everyday.

Monday, January 15, 2018

In The Words Of Bishop Tommie A. Murphy

On November 12, 2017, I was blessed to be consecrated to the office of Bishop in the Churches of God in Christ. This is the second largest Pentecostal church in the United States and it is arguably the largest Pentecostal church in the world.  The Church of God in Christ is second in the United States in size by membership to the Assemblies of God Churches, which as you all know was birthed out of the Churches of God in Christ.

These facts among others clearly make this episcopal ascendency a significant honor. I have been a part of this church since February 1978, when I received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It was several months after this when I was attending UNC-Asheville as a first semester college student, and serving in the church as a deacon, the Lord spoke to me one Friday night and told me that if  ”I took care of HIS business, HE would take care of my business.”

I committed to obeying God's voice and since that day the Lord has continued to do great things in my life. I experienced elevation and promotion both secularly and in the episcopacy. I mention this because of the imperative (necessity) to convey that this blessing is certainly not something I would say I deserve, but a position I would declare I am able to experience by the grace of God!

This ascension means that I will continue to serve my leader, Bishop LeRoy Jackson Woolard, the Prelate of Greater North Carolina Jurisdiction in my current capacity as one of his Administrative Assistants, Greater North Carolina Jurisdictional Chief Financial Officer(CFO) and as the Superintendent of the E. C. Cannon Memorial District.

This, as all things that happen in my life positively, I give God ALL the Glory!  It has certainly been one of the most humbling experiences of my life, and I thank God for the entire New Bethel Church family for making this moment for my wife, daughters, and me so incredibly precious. 


The New Year

I am looking forward to 2018 because I believe it will be a year of new beginnings. This means that anything we know that has been held from us as well as anything lack of personal success we feel we experienced in 2017 can be viewed as an expectation in the upcoming New Year.  We all have an opportunity to embark upon a fresh start which can and will ultimate result in a victorious season this New Year! We should all be sitting on the edge of our seats expecting great things in this season because the Lord said in Psalm 84:11, “no good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly.”

I also want to note that the year 2018 includes the numbers 1 and 8 and when added together it equals 9! The number 9 is symbolic for birthing and since new birth is always a new beginning, this further suggests that the year will be a time of new starts for the saints. I would admonish you all to receive this word which is simply; you are not on a course for failure, but rather a course for success! This is your season to give birth!

Take a moment to reflect on all the shortcomings that you’ve experienced this past year and all the things you may feel that you’ve failed at and or given up on. In remembering this, recognize that this new season will produce the victory you expected before but even greater! You can simply consider the issues you had that did not produce as false labor or mere labor pains. However, this new season will be a time of actual birth for the vision or dream you had.

Let us join together in our journey forward to accomplish all that we know God has in store for our lives in 2018!

Why F.A.S.T.? (Focus, Afresh, Submission, Transformation)

In today’s hectic, “hurry-up climate,” it is easy to get preoccupied with to-do lists, family and job demands, and even Kingdom service. But in all of our haste to complete out day to day task, we often lose track of the one thing that is needed, or as Jesus put it to Martha in Luke 10, verse42, the "better part."
The "better part" is developing intimacy with the Lord, keeping Him at the center of our lives, knowing Him and being known by Him.  It can be a challenge but once we cultivate our relationship with Him, we will discover a greater satisfaction, fullness, and balance to our lives in a way that we have never experienced before. This type of behavior will make it easy for us to push everything aside and seek the face of the Lord!
 God has given us two means of accomplishing this goal of getting into His presence:  fasting (which demonstrates that we bring our bodies into subjection) and praying (which demonstrates our faith in God's willingness and ability to manifest the promise in our lives). These are two powerful tools to prepare us to receive His presence. We will be able to access all that He has planned for our lives, as well as develop a deeper commitment and connection to Christ in our personal walks with Him. Our declaration should always be, "more of You Lord and less of me.”
 Annually at New Bethel, we consecrate (set apart) ourselves for the 1st 21 days for fasting, praying and giving (which demonstrates our gratitude/thanksgiving every time the Lord's Word becomes revelation.) The Bible teaches that believers are to give their first and best to God. Proverbs3:9 says, "Honor the LORD with thy substance, and with the first fruits of all thine increase" and verse 10 gives the promise when we are obedient and that promise says: "So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine." Saints of God, when we put God first in every area of our lives, our families, our finances, along with everything else he has promised to us will be released to us due to our commitment and obedience. If we will pray and seek God and give Him our first and best at the beginning of the year, what would keep Him from honoring that sacrifice and bless the entire year?  Romans11:16 tell us "For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches."  
 I encourage you to ask yourself, 'What am I allowing to come between me and God's presence?' and then join us as we devote ourselves to seeking God and His will for our lives during our 2018 21-Day Consecration journey. 
 Start the year off right and discover the rewards of "God - 1st."

-Missionary Lisa Murphy