A Gated Community

“Praise ye the LORD.
Praise the LORD, O my soul. While I live will praise the LORD: I will sing praises unto My GOD while I have My being…” Psalm 146

I recently heard a sermon where the speaker spoke in a negative way about people who live in gated communities. That sermon motivated me to write this article, as I want to point out some things about gated communities, why people desire to live within the confines of a gated community, and why ultimately we all should want to live in a gated community. However, before I expound on the gated community statement, I want to share what I believe is an over-arching issue, that causes statements such as these to be made, and the impact they have on a church congregation.

The picture that is painted is that these un-named individuals think they are “better” than everyone else. So, they are scrutinized and criticized because they have been prosperous. Unfortunately, what this does more often than not is cause those who may not be as prosperous to have “distorted thinking” about those who may have more, causing them to view these individuals in a wrong light. Distorted thinking is when you think things about an individual based on what someone else has caused you to believe, and not based on your own personal interactions with those individuals.

The  “gated community” statement is really systemic of a larger issue. This is a pretty typical but sad thing that happens in many congregations, where a Pastor/Preacher has an issue with someone in the congregation who may have acquired wealth, or a certain degree of success.  They insert statements in their sermon that have nothing to do with the Word of God, but are designed to place focus on certain individuals in a negative way. I’m sure you’ve heard a many sermons where a pastor/preacher talks about the people who have the fancy cars, a big house on the hill, college education, etc.  Sprinkled into the sermon are also statements such as “when you see people who ….…”, which causes some to look around to see if they can identify those individuals within the congregation.

The men/women of God who deliver such messages may not realize it, but they are actually sowing discord among  the  brethren, causing  division in the body, and causing the saints to be judgmental in a wrong kind of way. Usually when this happens in congregations the speaker normally has specific people in the congregation in mind, and there are others in the congregation who also know exactly who they are talking about.  You may ask, how do I know this happens?  Well I know because we  have been in the church continuously (never left) for over 60 years, and have been the target of many such sermons.

It’s really a shame that this occurs, particularly in the church from people who claim to have been called by God to deliver HIS message to HIS people.   In spite of all the encouragement and opportunity that is given to people to make something of themselves, and to utilize God given talents, gifts, and abilities, when it actually happens for some, there are those who seem to have an issue with them for succeeding and achieving .

I know these people are not speaking for God because they are making statements that are contrary to His written word. The real problem is not the ones who have succeeded, but the ones who have an issue with others achieving more than themselves.  They might have an “inferiority complex”, or are struggling with envy or jealousy.  It shouldn’t be an issue, for we all should know that God has told us in His word, that HE is the one that gives man the ability to acquire wealth and to become prosperous, and has provided in His word the prescription to be blessed.  Take a look at these scriptures as this is what God has said:

Deuteronomy 8:18

“But thou shalt remember the LORD thy God: for it is he that giveth thee power to get wealth, that he may establish his covenant which he sware unto thy fathers, as it is this day.

Psalm 1: 1-3

1 Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Joshua 1:7-8

Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.

For the past 26 years we have lived in a gated community, which we have thoroughly enjoyed. These communities require a special access code for entry, and if you don’t know the code you can’t get in. Typically there are higher end homes, often have private security patrolling the community, video recording of all who enter and exit, and are normally located in some of the most desirable and prestigious areas.  The homes typically have a higher price tag because of the location, and as many know, real estate value is really dependent on location, location, location.

Many believe that those who live in gated communities, are snobbish, think they’re better than others, etc.    However,  this thinking is normally created in their mind by someone who doesn’t live in a gated community, and for all the reasons I mentioned above.   If you actually got to know some who live in those communities up close and personal, you will find that’s not what they think at all.   They’ve just been fortunate enough in life to afford that type of living. 

We chose to move to these communities because the homes we desired happened to be located in gated communities. Yes it is nice to have all of the amenities mentioned above, but it certainly doesn’t make us think we’re better than others. Just like anybody else, we looked for places to live that we felt we could enjoy and would be conducive in raising our family to be well-rounded, and able to engage with anyone in this world. We also wanted them to be color-blind, and experience that the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness  thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein. It all belongs to HIM, and as his children, we can go and live anyplace in HIS world.  We are entitled.

We enjoy our gated community and all the surroundings.  I like the fact that the roads are paved and maintained, there is someone watching out for our well-being, the homes and properties are well maintained.

The more I think about gated communities it makes me think about Heaven.  In fact, those of us who profess to be Christians, we should desire and look forward to living in a gated community.  Why? If you want to go to Heaven, you will be living forever in a gated community. Heaven is the ultimate gated community.   In fact, it has more gates than any gated community I know. My Bible tells me that Heaven has twelve gates. As John the revelator said in Revelations 21:

 “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

11 Having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

12 And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates:

Oh, and by the way, it has paved roads that are made out of gold. 

Wouldn’t you like to live in this gated community, forever?    Well you can, but you will need to know the Access Code.

 To get in you have to know Jesus, up close and personal.

 If you don’t know the Savior, you can’t get in.

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We Need To Pray

Everyday on my way to the office I pass by this church building. Most days I don’t pay it much attention, except for Thursday. On Thursday, there is a long line of people made up of women, men, and children, pretty much all races of people. Some are able bodied, some are in wheel chairs. All are there to receive the food that is handed out by the church.

It is indeed a very good thing this church does. I can only imagine that for some in the line, its’ the best meal they get all week.

Each Thursday as I past the line, I say to myself, “If it wasn’t for the grace of God, there go I”, and immediately acknowledge,thank God, and whisper a prayer for those in the line. I often ask myself, why is this, then I’m reminded of the scripture “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Yes we will have trials and tribulations, but we must still be faithful during the trials & tribulations. We need to pray.

This scene at the church also reminds me of a song from years ago, which I use to play for one of the many choirs I directed. It escapes me who wrote it, however the lyrics causes one to reflect on some of the troubling times people experience in life, from which none of us are exempt. Some have greater needs than others, but we all have need to Pray.

“If God Gave Us Everything We Need, Then We Wouldn’t Have Need To Pray”

Somebody’s heart must be broken each day
Sorrow and sadness, must come somebody’s way
Somebody’s life, must be filled with despair
Nowhere to go, but to God in prayer

Someone must go hungry, and beg for bread
No shelter to cover, his poor weary head
No one to care, and no one to share
Another day’s burden, that seems so hard to bare

Oh, but there must be hills and mountains to climb
Roads that are rough, and troubling times
If God gave us everything we need
Then we wouldn’t have need to pray

We Need To Pray


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Jesus Christ is “More Than A Story”

Recently I’ve been spending quite a bit of time pondering what the world thinks of Jesus Christ. Just who does the world think he is ? At Christmas and Easter we see the world celebrate these days if they are just “social activities”. Parties, giving gifts, drinking etc. Some may even take a moment to think about the stories that surround these days, although often mixing Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny with the story about the birth, death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Santa Claus and the Easter bunny are just kid stories. However, Jesus Christ is a way of life, everyday, every heart must hear.

It’s important to realize not everyone knows who Jesus Christ really is. The world doesn’t know why He came, why He died, and why He arose from the grave. The following lyrics to a song recorded by Donnie Harper and The New Jersey Mass Choir says it well. Take some time and ponder over these words, then tell the world that He is “More Than A Story“.

“More Than A Story”

People talk of a good man
Came to earth so long ago
In a manger he did lay
It’s the Christmas story they say
But it means more to me
Cause He set my life free
And he came to do the same for you
Cause He’s,
More than a story
That the world thinks of just one time a year
He’s more than a story
He’s a way of life, every day, every heart must hear.

Some have heard of a good man
Lived a life, did no one no harm
On a cross they killed him
It’s the Easter story again
But it means more to me
Cause he set my life free
And he came to do the same for you
Cause He’s
More than a story
That the world thinks of just one time a year
He’s more than a story
He’s a way of life, every day, every heart must hear

We’ve got to show the world
There’s so much more they must read
With every passing day
There’s less time for all to believe.

He’s more than a story
That the world thinks of just one time a year
He’s a way of life, every day, every heart must hear.
He’s more than a story
So much more!


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Teach Me Oh Lord – Give Me Understanding

Teach me, O Lord, the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law: yea, I shall observe it
with my whole heart.

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments: for therein
do I delight.

Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

Turn away my reproach which I fear; for thy judgments are good.

Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

Psalm 119:33-40

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.

The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes.

The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.

More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.

Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.

Psalm 19:7-11

Statutes = Permanent and unchangeable regulations.
Law = What God has taught us in His Word that he requires of us.
Commandments = Recognizing the “authority” of the Commander, and the necessity of
obeying the content of the charge.
Testimonies = God has testified of Himself, and His will, in His Word.
Judgments = Decisions God has made as a Judge, in order to make earthly
behavior conform to his heavenly standard.
Precepts = Instructions from God regarding the duties of man.

Teach Me Oh Lord


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Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!

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Today I was reminded of a story about a family on the East Coast who held a party to celebrate Christmas. As the guests arrived, they all threw their coats on a bed, and proceeded to celebrate, eating, drinking, opening gifts, etc. It was later discovered that the guests had actually thrown their coats on top of a baby, who was asleep on the bed, smothering the baby who died. They overlooked, or didn’t see the baby, as they had gotten caught up in their partying.

This was a very sad situation, but is also an eye opener as to how Jesus can get “smothered” during Christmas celebrations, ignorantly or deliberately. Our world is moving more and more in the direction of trying to remove Him from being the center of this holiday. Have you noticed that many, particularly in our work places, are afraid or will hesitate in saying have a “Merry Christmas” ? Instead they will say “Happy Holidays”. Some will call Christmas trees “holiday trees”. In our neighborhoods, instead of Nativity Scenes on front lawns of houses, we see Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and other cartoon or fictitious characters.

Christmas seems to be the only holiday where many don’t want to call it by it’s name, particularly in our work places. In the United States, we seem to have no problem saying any other holiday’s name, like Independence Day, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, President’s Day, etc. But when it comes to saying have a “Merry Christmas”, some of us stutter.

Jesus is the reason for this season, and every other season. For all things were made by HIM and for HIM. This holiday is a Christian holiday, set aside to acknowledge the birth of Jesus Christ. “FOR unto us a CHILD is born, unto us a SON is given: and the government shall be upon HIS shoulder: and HIS name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9

Read the following articles and be sure you Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!!


JESUS CHRIST – EMMANUEL “GOD WITH US”.
The Greatest Gift That Was Ever Given – JESUS CHRIST.



Water On Mars ? Of Course – It’s In The WORD!

Read article on CNN Rover finds evidence of ancient water on Mars

When I read this article on CNN.com, I said to myself isn’t GOD GREAT!. Its just like HIM to allow the scientist to discover just how true his WORD is. I wasn’t surprised at all to learn they discoverd water on Mars. I expected it. Why ? Read the Creation Story in the Book of Genesis and note the following:

Genesis 1: 1-7
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3 And God said , Let there be light: and there was light. 4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. 6 And God said , Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.

In other words, God placed water below and above the “sky”. It’s in the WORD!.


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Nail Scarred Hands

Should have been my footsteps
Trailing to Calvary
Should have been me instead of you
But you went any way
Now it seems as if my own hands
Were two of the hands that killed this man
Now every time I think of doing wrong
I think of His nail scarred hands

Now here was a man that knew no sin
There I was sin to the core
He didn’t care where I had been
He loved me anyway
Then he stretched out his sweet hands
Then he died for all the sins of the world
Now every time I think of doing wrong
I think of His nail scarred hands

Nail scarred hands
Nail scarred hands
Every time I feel like I just can’t win
I think of his nail scarred hands
Nail scarred hands
Every time I feel like I can’t go on
I think of his nail scarred hands
Now every time I feel like giving up
I think of His nail scarred hands

Should have been me suffering
Wondering where all my friends had gone
Hanging there all alone, Hanging all day long
Even your Father had to look away
Cause you were carrying all the sins of the world
Now every time I think of doing wrong
I think of his nail scarred hands

Nail scarred hands
Nail scarred hands
Every time I feel like I just can’t win
I think of his nail scarred hands
Nail scarred hands
Every time I feel like I can’t go on
I think of his nail scarred hands
Now every time I feel like giving up
I think of His nail scarred hands



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Yes, God Is Real

Sometimes it seems our world is trying very hard to erase God. Some people are becoming more and more bold, twisting his word, abandoning biblical teachings, and outright questioning the existance of God. But, when I reflect on His Word, we shouldn’t be surprised for He has already told us this day was coming. Many times God is speaking but we’re not listening.

I was reflecting on the goodness of God today as I received news about a miraculous healing that occurred with a family member. Just a reminder that doctors “practice”, but God “heals!” It’s mind boggling to me that people actually believe there is no Creator. They actually believe, or pretend to believe that creation happened without a Creator. Even though they see in their own daily lives that nothing just happens! Then I’m reminded of the scripture that says “The fool says in his heart there is no God.” Psalm 14:1.

As I reflect on the existence of God, I’m reminded of another scripture that states “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.” Psalm 19: 1-4 Then, words from the song “How Great Thou Art” come to mind.

“Oh Lord My God, When I in awesome wonder, Consider all the world thy hands have made
I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder, Thy power throughout, the universe displayed
Then sings my soul, my Saviour God to thee. How Great Thou Art. How Great Thou Art”

Well I am so thankful that I am not in the foolish group, for I firmy believe that God Is Real, that He exists, and that HE is a rewarder of those that diligently seek HIM. And this reminds me of another song I use to hear often in our church worship services. I believe we need to start singing it again. That song is “Yes, God Is Real!” Who wants to sing with me ?

“Yes God Is Real!”

There are some things, I may not know
There are some places, That I can’t go
But I am sure, Of this one thing
Yes, God is Real, For I can feel
Him In my soul

Some folks may doubt, Some folks may scorn
All can desert, And leave me alone
But as for me, I’ll take God’s part
For God is real ,and I can feel
Him in my heart

I cannot tell, Just how you felt
When Jesus took , All your sins away
But since that day, Yes, since that hour
God has been real, For I can feel
His Holy Power

Yes, God Is Real. He’s real in my soul
Yes, God Is Real, For He has washed,
And made me whole
His love for me, It’s like pure gold
Yes God is Real, For I can feel
Him in MY soul

Or how about this one?

Jesus is Real To Me

Real
Real
Jesus is Real to Me
So many people doubt Him
But I can’t live without Him
That is why I love Him so
He’s so real to me

Yes, GOD IS REAL!




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