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empty Posted June 2002
Pulpit Making It In A Difficult World
Scripture: Romans 8:31

by Rev. Cleophus J. Lee, Youth Pastor
St. Joseph Baptist Church
Chicago, Illinois

I have discovered growing up as a teenager today is much different than it was twenty or thirty years ago. For the truth of the matter it is much more difficult today than it was ten years ago. Our teenagers today are faced with some serious issues. It can no longer be said because you are a child or teenager, that you have no problems. But times have changed. Parents are no longer telling their children, “As long as you are in my house you will go to church.” And because of this type of attitude, because of the lack of drive and push from our parents, we have almost an entire generation of young people that have never seen the inside of God’s house.

Many of our young people come from broken homes. Many of our young people come from dysfunctional families. A family where daddy isn’t present. A family where daddy doesn’t give his time or his assistance in the rearing process of the children. Many of our young people come from a home where momma works all day, and when she comes home at night she’s too tired to spend any quality time with her children. And so, because of this we have children who are forced to raise themselves. We have children who are forced to struggle and figure out how to survive in this cruel and evil society. This is why we have so many kids caught up in gang violence, drug and alcohol abuse, sexual promiscuity, and teen suicide because many of our young people feel that at home there is no support system or anyone that really loves them.

Understand it is not only those young people who don’t come to church. It is not only those young people who don’t know Jesus as Lord and Savior that are facing difficulties, but many of our young people that have been saved and sanctified. Those young people who are Baptized and filled with the Holy Spirit are struggling with staying close to the fire. And let me say this right here, young people Satan does exist. He is not a myth, and understand he is not somebody you want to play around with, because he does not play fair. 

He is deceptive,
He is crafty,
He is cunning,
And he will do whatever it takes to break you.
Understand my young brothers and sisters, Satan is not some funny little man running around in a red suit with a pointy tail and horns on his head holding a pitch fork. But instead he is your enemy who knows you better than you know yourself.
He knows what you like and what you dislike.
He knows what tickles your fancy and what turns your nose up.
He knows what turns you on and what turns you off.
He knows what makes you happy and what makes you mad.
And understand young people Satan uses all that he knows about you to keep you from living out the kind of life that God wants you to live. Satan does not want you to reach your full potential. He doesn’t want you to realize or come to an understanding of what it is you are fully capable of doing. So he tries to flood your mind with low self-esteem or a lack of confidence in yourself. He tries to flood your mind with negativity, and doubtfulness all in an attempt to keep you from moving forward in the name of Jesus.

My young brothers and sisters, understand that Satan does not want you to figure out who you are nor does he want you to know whose you are, because Satan knows once you figure out who you are then you come to know whose you are, Satan knows you will then be unstoppable. Satan knows he won’t be able to touch you, because “He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world.”
I understand your desire to be accepted among your peers.
I understand your want and your need to be loved by your mother as well as your father.
I understand that you are faced with many difficult issues in your life.
But young people, I think I need to tell you today that there is no time like the present for you to decide and determine in your heart that you are going to serve the Almighty God. It is time out for you as individuals created in the very likeness and image of the Most High God to continue to be involved in foolishness.Instead it is now time, with you being at and beyond the age of understanding, it is now time for you to put God first in your lives. 

The bible says in the sixth chapter of Matthew, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to unto you.” Understand my young brothers and sisters you need to know the Will of God for your life, and the only way you can know is by spending time with Him. You need to know that it is in this time shared with Him that He will give you everything you need in order to make it in this world.  It is during your personal time of bible study and prayer that He will reveal to you the very nature of what it is He has for your life. Also, by having God first in your life, allowing Him to lead you and direct you, will keep you from making many of the mistakes and failures that Satan is trying to set you up for. If you can learn to walk with God, there is nothing Satan will be able to throw at you that will keep you from reaching your destiny. That is exactly why the Old Testament Prophet said, “When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard against him."
I don’t care how bad people talk about you.
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard.

I don’t care how bad people may treat you.
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard.

No matter what happens in your life. 
The Spirit of the Lord will lift up a standard.
If you would just stand on God’s Word and His Will for your life you can make it. You can go all the way, and accomplish everything that you set out to do. However, your lifestyle has to be intact. In other words, you have to live right. You can’t live any kind of way. Your lifestyle has to be one that is pure, holy, and acceptable to God. Understand that God loves you and He does not want you to participate in anything that will be destructive in your life. God does not want you smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol. God does not want you having sex before you get married. Instead, God wants you to go to school, be respectful to yourselves, your parents and to others. God wants you to submit your life to Him so He can use you to His Glory and His honor.

As I come to my close, young people if you would just give your lives to the Lord and decide to live for Him, you could prove to this world that there is a blessing in serving God. People are going to tell you that you won’t make it. People are going to tell you that you are going to be nothing, that you are no better than they are.  However, let me encourage you to continue to strive to live right for Christ. If you live right for Christ:
He’ll make those things that seem impossible possible and those things that seem intolerable tolerable.

He’ll make your mountains into valleys and your seas into dry land.
No matter what you are going through.  No matter what you are faced with.

You hang in there and don’t give up, because there is a God who is watching you, and He said in His Word that He will never leave you nor forsake you.

My young brothers and sisters, the best is yet to come, but you have to trust God. You have to put your faith in Him. You have to know without a doubt that Jesus will bring you through it. It is going to get hard sometimes, but you have to have the faith to know that although everything seems bleak, although you don’t see any sun shining-- everything will be all right.

May God Bless You and Keep You.  

Rev. Cleophus J. Lee serves as Youth Pastor of St. Joseph Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois where Rev. Donald M. McFadden is Senior Pastor. He is married and has four children.  Rev. Lee has a B.A. in Political Science from Dillard University (New Orleans, La.), and is presently working on his Masters of Divinity Degree at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Rev. Lee has taught various workshops throughout the city of Chicago. He is also scheduled to teach a workshop on the “Hip-Hop Culture and Christianity,” June 17-21, 2002 at the National Baptist Convention, USA’s Congress of Christian Education in St. Louis, Mo. Rev. Lee is also currently writing a book entitled, Developing Young Men of Character, a book designed to help guide us in our efforts to restore Godly male leadership in the African-American community.
Used by permission. 2002

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