God wants to renew, refresh and revive His people

So, when something bad happens do you ever feel as if God is angry with you? I've heard it said that, "Every Saint has a past and every sinner has a future." None of us are saints but, because of redemption through God's loving forgiveness we are given a chance to begin again. He's waiting for you. All we need to do is ask him to bring us out of the drought in our life. He wants to rain down His love and blessings.

God is so faithful. So gracious. He holds us, strengthens us, renews us, transforms us, refines us and, enables us to move in His strength, His peace and with His love through life's journey. 

Juneteenth Information-Because Black History has to be more than just a month

The First Juneteenth

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor. The freedmen are advised to remain quietly at their present homes and work for wages. They are informed that they will not be allowed to collect at military posts and that they will not be supported in idleness either there or elsewhere.” —General Orders, Number 3; Headquarters District of Texas, Galveston, June 19, 1865

When Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger issued the above order, he had no idea that, in establishing the Union Army’s authority over the people of Texas, he was also establishing the basis for a holiday, “Juneteenth” (“June” plus “nineteenth”), today the most popular annual celebration of emancipation from slavery in the United States. After all, by the time Granger assumed command of the Department of Texas, the Confederate capital in Richmond had fallen; the “Executive” to whom he referred, President Lincoln, was dead; and the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery was well on its way to ratification.

But Granger wasn’t just a few months late. The Emancipation Proclamation itself, ending slavery in the Confederacy (at least on paper), had taken effect two-and-a-half years before, and in the interim, close to 200,000 black men had enlisted in the fight. So, formalities aside, wasn’t it all over, literally, but the shouting?

It would be easy to think so in our world of immediate communication, but as Granger and the 1,800 bluecoats under him soon found out, news traveled slowly in Texas. Whatever Gen. Robert E. Lee had surrendered in Virginia, the Army of the Trans-Mississippi had held out until late May, and even with its formal surrender on June 2, a number of ex-rebels in the region took to bushwhacking and plunder.

That’s not all that plagued the extreme western edge of the former Confederate states. Since the capture of New Orleans in 1862, slave owners in Mississippi, Louisiana and other points east had been migrating to Texas to escape the Union Army’s reach. In a hurried re-enactment of the original Middle Passage, more than 150,000 slaves had made the trek west, according to historian Leon Litwack in his book Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of SlaveryAs one former slave he quotes recalled, ” ‘It looked like everybody in the world was going to Texas.’ ”

When Texas fell and Granger dispatched his now famous order No. 3, it wasn’t exactly instant magic for most of the Lone Star State’s 250,000 slaves. On plantations, masters had to decide when and how to announce the news — or wait for a government agent to arrive — and it was not uncommon for them to delay until after the harvest. Even in Galveston city, the ex-Confederate mayor flouted the Army by forcing the freed people back to work, as historian Elizabeth Hayes Turner details in her comprehensive essay, “Juneteenth: Emancipation and Memory,” in Lone Star Pasts: Memory and History in Texas.

Those who acted on the news did so at their peril. As quoted in Litwack’s book, former slave Susan Merritt recalled, ” ‘You could see lots of niggers hangin’ to trees in Sabine bottom right after freedom, ’cause they cotch ’em swimmin’ ‘cross Sabine River and shoot ’em.’ ” In one extreme case, according to Hayes Turner, a former slave named Katie Darling continued working for her mistress another six years (She ” ‘whip me after the war jist like she did ‘fore,’ ” Darling said).

Hardly the recipe for a celebration — which is what makes the story of Juneteenth all the more remarkable. Defying confusion and delay, terror and violence, the newly “freed” black men and women of Texas, with the aid of the Freedmen’s Bureau (itself delayed from arriving until September 1865), now had a date to rally around. In one of the most inspiring grassroots efforts of the post-Civil War period, they transformed June 19 from a day of unheeded military orders into their own annual rite, “Juneteenth,” beginning one year later in 1866.

” ‘The way it was explained to me,’ ” one heir to the tradition is quoted in Hayes Turner’s essay, ” ‘the 19th of June wasn’t the exact day the Negro was freed. But that’s the day they told them that they was free … And my daddy told me that they whooped and hollered and bored holes in trees with augers and stopped it up with [gun] powder and light and that would be their blast for the celebration.’ ”

Now if you made it this far a reminder that God wants us all to be free to choose Him and life in Eternity. Jesus bridged the divide for us and it was and is immediate. Once you accept God as your Savior, you are no longer bound but, free.

Accept His love, grace and, peace today. Come and fellowship with other believers. You need us and we need you. 

Be blessed,

Pastor Gregory Cheeks

Black Author's of Today

best group pic with ruama and valerie

Ruama Camp, Pastor Gregory Cheeks. Valerie Peterson Kelly, Yvette Cheeks

  • Hidden Figures

    So, in honor of MLK Day the wife and I went to see the new movie, Hidden Figures. I highly recommend it for all races and genders. I think especially, empowering to the young females in any family.

    Lessons learned from the movie:

    1. Push through obstacles and barriers and focus on greater outcome, some things are bigger than just you and your position or title.

    2.Great example of the fight for a common cause. It took men and women of all races working together to get a man in orbit and to the moon.

    3. Don't take your gifts and talents for granted. Use it all to the utmost even if it is not always recognized.

    The sacrifices you make now may impact many generations to come. Work now not just for recognition for yourself or your family but, so that future generations can accomplish all that God has in store for them. 

    We must put all our time, efforts and funds to work so, that others may know Christ in a real and personal way. As a Savior for all mankind. 

    There is no salvation in the bottle, the pipe, the casinos, nor the malls. What all men and women are seeking is not found outside the body but, inside, in your heart and soul. 

    God loves you and wants you to love and accept Him today.

    The steps are:

    1. Admit to God that you are a sinner
    (Romans 3:23; Romans 6:23).

    • Repent, turning away from your sin
      (Acts 3:19; 1 John 1:9)

    2. Believe that Jesus is God's Son and accept God's gift of forgiveness from sin
    (Romans 5:8; Acts 4:12; John 3:16; John 14:6; Ephesians 2:8-9; John 1:11-13).

    3. Confess your faith in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord
    (Romans 10:9-10,13).

    We look forward to meeting you at Central Garden soon. Be blessed my sisters and brothers.

    Love,

    Pastor G

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