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Discovering a Friendship in Jesus

By admin, 2017-03-11

                                Discovering a Friendship in Jesus

                   by Richard Cox, Author of I, We, Us: A Journey of Personal Growth and Development

Today, many people are looking for a good friend. We encounter situations in our lives when we need someone to “have our back.” When we think of our friends, how many can we really count on? How many friends know 'the real you'? If you are fortunate enough to have a “good friend”, you know how it feels to have someone to count on. Everyone who claims to be your friend may not be a friend, but possibly an acquaintance. Sometimes the misunderstanding about friendship comes from a mixture of good and bad experiences from previous friends. These experiences carry over from one friendship to the next.

In many cases, previous experiences cause a conflict with new friends when they discover you are operating on a different definition of friendship. For example, one friend may feel a friend should lie for another friend at any cost and another friend may feel you shouldn’t lie regardless of the consequences. Take time to ask your friend what is their definition of friendship? Their answer may surprise you.

In my Christian walk, I’ve found a friend in Jesus. You can depend on Jesus to hear and understand your troubles of life. I have learned to develop a personal relationship with Jesus over the years. It takes time for Jesus to become a part of your everyday lifestyle. I have learned to let Jesus live through me daily by seeking His purpose and direction for my life. Many people attend church desiring a closer connection to Jesus. One way to get closer to Jesus is by developing a personal relationship with Him. One may feel inspired by a sermon but later the inspiration fades. You seek not just inspiration from the Word of God but expect a change to occur in your daily life. Change happens when the Word of God is rooted in your heart. The Word of God is rooted in your heart by consistently attending church and Bible study, which quenches your thirst for Jesus.

Take time now and ask yourself: “Do I have a personal relationship with Jesus?” What I mean by personal relationship is do you communicate with Jesus privately one-on-one? You build a confidence in knowing Jesus. You are more aware daily that Jesus will assist you with any problem you may face in life. For example, if you get sick, by having a personal relationship with Jesus your faith is increased to believe He will heal your condition. A personal relationship with Jesus increases your spiritual growth daily by learning more about Him through personal experience. You begin to realize the difference in yourself by maintaining a personal connection with Jesus. The more you develop your relationship with Jesus, the more you trust telling Him all about your hurt, pain, and insecurities. I have learned to cast my burdens on Jesus because He is able to bear them. You will discover Jesus will keep you in perfect peace if your mind is stayed upon Him (Isaiah 26:3).

If you desire to grow closer to Jesus, develop a spiritual appetite to want to know Him. Your hunger to know Him will spark you to seek ways to spend time with Him. The time you set depends on your schedule. Just make time. We learn about Jesus through His Word. You will discover Jesus will fill the lack in your life. He will fill the void in your heart, if you let Him in. Jesus wants a personal relationship with you. His purpose for you is to be a worshipper who communes with Him and is a representative to the world of His love to all.

Developing a relationship with Jesus is like meeting a new friend. A relationship develops over a period of time through shared experiences. By having a personal relationship with Jesus you’ll find:

  • Good Listener - Jesus will listen to all of your problems and concerns in prayer (Psalms 88:2). 2.
  • Dependable - You can depend on Jesus to never leave you nor forsake you (Psalms 27:9). You will find out Jesus will show up for you on time. He will never let you down. 3.
  • Unconditional Love - Jesus loves us so much that He died to forgive us for our sins. Jesus has a peace and love that surpasses all understanding (Philippians 4:7). 4.
  • Faithful - Jesus is faithful to perform His promises found in His Word (Isaiah 55:11)

You will find Jesus to be a friend indeed like in one my favorite church hymns which says, “There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, no not one, no not one.” And then there is, “What a friend we have in Jesus all our sins and grieves to bear, what a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.”

Take time to consider developing a personal relationship with Jesus. Your Christian journey is a personal one. You’ll discover Jesus will be a friend that will stick closer to you than a brother (Proverbs 18:24).

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                   Envision Your Life from God’s Perspective

                    by Richard Cox , Author of I, We, Us: A Journey of Personal Growth and Development

“…I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).”  John 10:10 (AMP) 

      Often we are so busy doing this and that for other people in our lives that we sometimes lose focus on achieving our own personal goals and dreams.  God wants to fulfill His plan in our lives but we must first begin to see ourselves the way God sees us – growing and prosperous.   

      How do you view yourself as a child of God?  Are you reflecting God’s image in your everyday lifestyle? Take the time everyday to view yourself through God’s eyes. If so, you’ll experience a perception of His fulfillment, peace and power in your life.  You will begin to feel empowered by the way God sees you excelling, and living a life of victory through Him.

     You’ll also notice as your personal relationship deepens with Christ His favor and blessings will overflow.  Some people who have once viewed your life in a limited way will be surprise how God has now taken off the limits of their own limited perspective of you. Some people may even be surprised of your achieved blessings that were obtained through your faith in God.  They probably felt that you could only live in a certain type of neighborhood, only marry a certain type of person, or only work on a certain type of job. You have to work constantly to deprogram yourself from people’s impressions and limitations of you. As you begin to see yourself through God’s eyes (found in His Word) your possibilities are endless.    

     One effective key to learning God’s Perspective of you is studying your rights as a Child of God which is found throughout His Word. For example, you are blessed with every spiritual blessing which is found in Ephesians 1:3(AMP), where it says, “may blessing (praise, laudation, and eulogy) be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) Who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual (given by the Holy Spirit) blessing in the heavenly realm!  Be encouraged as a Believer because you’re not the same person since Christ has entered your life.  After Christ entered your heart, you were given a new perspective about yourself and your lifestyle.

      Another key point to understanding God perspective is self acceptance. It is vital with your new life in Christ. Once you realize and come to terms with that fact … the sky is the limit.  It will help to manifest your spiritual transformation in Christ on your Christian destiny.

       Here are some ways that God sees you: 

  • Over comer – There’s not a situation you can face that God can’t help you to overcome.  In 1 John 5:4 (NIV) it says, for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. “This reminds us that victory over the world has been won.  And the proof is that our faith in Jesus has worked to bring about a visible transformation in our lives.
  • Conqueror – You are a conqueror in every circumstance that comes your way. In Romans 8:37(NIV) it says, “ all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. “ Be confident that you are a conqueror by keeping your hope in Jesus Christ.  In Romans 8:31(NIV) it says, “…if God is for us, who can be against us?”   As long as God is on our side we are winners. 
  • Champion – You are holding a spiritual championship belt for the victories you’re already won in your life. In Psalm 18:35 (NIV) it says, “you give me your shield of victory, and your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great. God conquers and reigns for you, and you shall conquer and reign through Him.
  • Blessed – God’s favor is over your life and each day is a blessed day. In Deuteronomy 28:13(NIV) is says, “the LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom.” It’s God delight to bless you.  The blessing is promised upon condition that you diligently listen and obey the voice of God.

        On this Christian journey it’s so important to maintain God’s perspective about yourself.  In Philippians 4:13 (AMP) it says, “I have strength for all things in Christ Who empowers me [I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him Who infuses inner strength into me; I am self-sufficient in Christ's sufficiency].”Remember that God loves you and created you to know Him personally. He has a wonderful plan for your life … just trust Him to order your steps. 

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About Queen Octavia Harris

Like hip-hop greats Queen Latifah, LL Cool J and Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs, Octavia Harris proves the key to an artist’s longevity and continued relevance in contemporary music is a combination of versatility and the ability to convey the ever-fluid interests of today’s youth. She evolved from being the tough-talking pioneer of Portland’s underground hip- hop scene (as ‘151’) to ‘Jymini’-one of the West Coast’s most highly respected female lyricists/producers. In 1999, long before Kanye West was honored with a Grammy award for the religious- themed ‘Jesus walks’, Harris released ‘Walking On Water’ -an ambitious double CD that explored social and spiritual issues that were yet to be addressed by the hip hop community. After establishing herself as a premier artist and creative force, Octavia Harris has come full circle. Like the decision to drop aliases and use her birth name, Octavia’s latest work, ‘Inspired By God’ is full of sincerity and honesty. This project stands as a bold testimony of her rejuvenated sense of purpose and her determination to use rap music as a motivating force in young people’s lives. Octavia was raised in a home full of music and activity. While her older brothers introduced her to rap music and the hip-hop culture, her mother took pains to instill discipline and traditional values. The incredibly talented youngster displayed a creative genius at an early age. She taught herself to play piano (from watching musicians), sang in the school choir and would astound her teachers with poems and compositions that rang with vision and maturity. She began rapping in the third grade under the name ‘Baby D’. She says rap “gave me another form of expression, a way to entertain and address issues’. Throughout her teen years, Octavia was a local talent show favorite. In 1994, she debuted on the growing Portland rap scene with the CD “Drank, No Chasa. By now she was ‘151’ aka ‘Octavia,‘the Mic Strangla’- a razor-sharp wordsmith with beats and flow that shook the city’s most respected male and female MC’s. The CD became an instant classic, helping to establish Portland, Oregon in the growing network of urban rap communities like Compton, Oakland, Houston and Seattle. After defying expectations with the groundbreaking ‘Walking on Water’, Octavia moved to Oakland, Ca. .Her production skills were now widely known and she quickly became an even hotter name on the independent rap scene. She released a compilation CD and 2002’s ‘The Solo Child’ which featured some of the Bay area rap’s biggest names (Suga-T, 3xKrazy’s Agerman and Assassin). She continued to be a popular live performer, opening for Montell Jordan, Spearhead and others. She’s amassed an impressive list of credits- appearing on compilations and producing/performing on soundtracks for film, animated DVD and games. She took over for Queen Latifah as guest MC on Meredith Brooks ‘Lay Down’ and makes a special appearance on Myra’s ‘Quit Chasin’ Me’. ‘4 THE CHILDREN’ signals more than just a foray into the exploding world of Christian/spiritual rap. As Baby D, 151, Mic Strangla or Jymini, she is known for tight production, thoughtful lyrics and driving beats. On her new work, she loses only the aliases but retains all the qualities that made her a local legend. The tales of street life and themes that resonate with listeners of all ages are benefited by her quest for spirituality and understanding. Tunes like ‘One I Love’ and ‘Make U a Star’ move the feet and have knowledge for the head. Her message is clear: give the youth something more. Always the innovator, she is a step ahead of her peers with promotional plans that includes churches, youth groups and schools. As a rap pioneer, female Mc and performer, Octavia Harris has overcome many obstacles. As a witness to the human condition, she’s used her talent to seek solutions. She is one of the genre’s shining lights and looks forward to once again expanding the horizon for her old fans and welcoming the new ones from the spiritual community.

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By admin, 2017-02-24

Is Your Life Fruitful?

by Richard A.  Cox Jr., author of the book I. We, Us: A Journey of Personal  Growth and Development

As Christians we want our lives to be fruitful. Our spiritual fruit is a representation to the world that God lives within our hearts. Naturally we know fruit is the result of a completed growth cycle first started as a seed being planted in rich soil then nurtured until the time of harvest in its season.

In order for spiritual fruit to be produced in our lives, we must have good seeds planted in the prepared soil of our hearts that can be fertilized to grow to maturity to reap a harvest in season. Our spiritual fruit is described in Galatians 5:22-23 as, "…love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, and temperance…" which are produced in our personalities by God's Spirit. This spiritual fruit is evidence to believers and unbelievers that your heart has received the seeds of faith, which produce a fruitful harvest in your life.

God spoke to my heart about understanding the spiritual process of obtaining a fruitful life. We have heard many sermons about understanding the "fruit of the spirit" expressed in our personalities by God's Spirit. How are prayers sent to God in heaven, in an intangible form, and then transferred back to Earth as a tangible answer? God began to speak to my heart with this simple formula: hearing faith plus praise equals abundant fruit.

Having the ability to hear the Word of God is very important. In Psalm 94:9 "God designed the ear so we might hear and respond to Him, also God hears and responds to our prayers". In a biblical sense, appropriate response requires first a message but also understanding and acceptance from whomever gives the message Romans 10:17. Hearing faith brings a message of solution by faith that echoes hearing that otherwise would have been ignored.

God has designed seeds of faith to be planted in our hearts by hearing the Word of God preached from a minister sent from God. In Romans 14:10, the Bible says "how can you hear without a preacher and how can he preach unless he is sent from God?" It is important that we are tuned into the message going forth in the sermon. Are you listening for a personalized Word from God to speak to your current situation in your life? We must prepare our hearts so the soil of our hearts can receive the seeds of faith set forth by the minister. In Romans 10:14-15 the Bible says, "people need to hear if they are to believe". That means we need a messenger that is sent and anointed by God.

How are the seeds of faith fertilized and watered? It's through your praise. Praising God indicates I received the spoken Word of God. Praise indicates my belief in my heart that God will produce fruit. Praise indicates fruit from the seeds of faith planted in my heart will be manifested in my life. One way we praise God is by using the fruit of our lips to express thanksgiving and worship for who God is. In Hebrew 13:15, it says "by Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually." This means at every opportunity when we think about the goodness of God, we should seize the moment to praise God with our lips to bring forth a shower of praise to fertilize and water the seeds of faith planted in our hearts.

There is a connection between our heart and mouth that indicates what type of seeds have been planted in our heart. Matthew 14:18 says, "but those things which proceeds out of the mouth come forth from the heart". Also, Romans 10:10 explains the heart represents our inner nature spiritually and the mouth is the expression of our inner nature here on earth.

So each time you get an opportunity to praise God (in church, in the car, at home) visualize your praise as watering the seeds of faith already planted in the green, healthy and vibrant garden of your heart.

Today let us be encouraged to strive for a fruitful life. As you come to church, let the spirit of expectation prepare your heart for what God will speak to your situation. Be open to receive the seeds of faith. Throughout the service, give God showers of praise for the victory in your life, which expresses a confirmation to God that you have received the seeds of faith.

Watch and see the harvest of blessings begin to manifest in your life. Your praise today might be the fruit you have been waiting to come forth in your life. Remember, hearing faith plus praise equals fruit.

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GospelEngine Artist Spotlight - Feburary 2017 - Joe Russell

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Psalm 96.1

Born in the south Florida and grew up listening to all kinds of music and was hooked on the music sounds of rock and roll and wanted to become a singer.  Started young as a member of a youth group  in Miami.  They would go to talent shows and compete but be allowed to see big name artist perform before leaving for the night, being chaperoned by adults.  It only fueled his fire and from there he became a nightclub performer/recording artist, in various cities and clubs, until he changed his life and lifestyle, and started serving the Yahshua.  He’s been writing and singing gospel since 1996 and is still cranking them out for the joy it brings him to spread Yahweh's message of love and forgiveness 

2010 Solo Indie Gospel Artist Nominee

2011 Solo Indie Gospel Artist Nominee

2016 Solo Indie Traditional Artist Nominee

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GospelEngine Artist Spotlight - January 2017 - Traces Gospel Choir

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About Traces Gospel choir

Traces Gospel Choir, so named because the members can “trace” their roots to so many different backgrounds (African, European, Scandinavian, American, Indonesian, Sami and more), started in 2006 with 10 members, and has now grown to a 18 member woman’s choir. After a year practicing and recruiting members, Traces began performing in public, and people began to recognize the warm and slightly rough “American” sound the choir had in contrast to many other gospel choirs in Norway

Traces Gospel Choir has collaborated with a wide range of artists, including Magnolia Jazz Band, Karpe Diem, Trine Rein, Ost & Kjex, Rune Andersen, Espen Beranek Holm, Otto Graf, Odd Børetzen and Wenche Myhre. The choir has appeared on television and radio, including God Morgen Norge, NRK TV-aksjon 2010, and 21 August 2011 at the Memorial Ceremony in Oslo with Karpe Diem on the song "Tusen Tegninger". In November 2011, Traces finished its fifth season performing at the "Gospel Brunch" at Rica Victoria Hotel in Oslo, together with their regular band Einstein.

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                                                             Focus on Jesus

                       by Richard Cox, Author of I, We, Us: A Journey of Personal Growth and Development


“Looking away [from all that will distract] to Jesus, Who is the Leader and the Source of our faith [giving the first incentive for our belief] and is also its Finisher [bringing it to maturity and perfection] … (Hebrews 12:2) AMP


We are living in a time where there are so many daily distractions that get in our way.  Our lives are filled with balancing our time between work, school, kids, church, rehearsals, etc.  All of us have experienced life events that have caused us to somehow lose our focus for one reason or another. It’s sometime hard to concentrate with our minds and lives on Jesus.   Our minds sometimes drift about our past involvements and memories of our past that can be strong distractions, especially in times of stress.  The key to bringing balance and order to our Christian lives is by focusing on Jesus.  This is accomplished by constantly seeking Jesus by being obedient to His Word, seeking Him with family matters, job situations, church situations, etc. 


So many times, we have a tendency to focus on the wrong things and choices we have made in life.  We are more inclined to focus on our experience, on ourselves or on others instead of Jesus.  I encourage you today to focus on Jesus --- Christ living in you. In Galatians 2:20(KJV) it says I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”  By taking the time to examine Jesus through pray and His Word you will find that it is profitable and fulfilling for your life. Focus on “Him in you,” not your natural self and experience a life changing moment.


We are not only to see Jesus but beyond that, we are to perceive His significance and His spiritual meaning.  You will find in Hebrews 2:9 (KJV) where it says, “but we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”  In Biblical times the people were urged to make a habit of looking away from everything and focus exclusively on Jesus. It was not considered a Christian option but a way of life.  We ought to be living our lives spotlighting Jesus as the focal point in our hearts.  We need to be reminded to make a habit of focusing on Jesus. Our lives should be so Christ-centered that others in our homes, communities, jobs and churches should see the light of Christ shining in you.   


If we could only learn to focus on Jesus and let him work out the solution in our problems.  One of the hardest parts of life is keeping our focus on Jesus.  Sometimes some of us get this feeling that Jesus is too busy to solve our problem.  We do understand that Jesus is the ultimate multi-tasker He can control the universe, run the complex ecology of Earth and still be intimately involved in the lives of billions of saints.  There is no limit to God’s power. 


Here are some ways to maintain your focus in Jesus:

  1. Focus on His Promises to Us. We remember the promises He made to us. If God spoke a promise, He will fulfill it.  Isaiah 55:11(KJV) says, “so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”  It would be completely contrary to God’s character to go back on anything He’s ever said.  He never changes, so His Word is as reliable today as it was over 2,000 years.  
  2. Focus on your Faith. We believe that Jesus already has the situation under control.  Sometimes we might not like the solution.  That’s when we must reply on our faith in God comes in.  It’s not enough just to believe that Jesus can handle the problem.  We also have to believe that He always does what’s best for us.  Jesus knows and controls the future. He arranges everything to work into his plan for our lives.  In Romans 8:28 (KJV) it says “and we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
  3. Focus on your worship. When you really focus of Jesus, what happens is a change occurs in both the focus on your life and your worship. Your focused life can build a stronger relationship between you and the Lord.  God will reveal Himself in a greater dimension to you because of your faithfulness to seek Him and His will. God has also created us to be worshippers, and worshippers worship His Majesty.  In John 4:24 (NIV) it says, “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."  God inhabitants your praise for worshipping Him for just who He is.    



     If you place your focus on Jesus as a lifestyle it boils down to recognizing who you are “in Him.” Then you will find out how you can focus on the correct view of yourself with Jesus living inside of you. Knowing this, you can then step into every situation of life as in Ephesians 6:10,11 (NIV) where it says, “Finally,  be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the full armor of God that you may be able to stand against the devil’s schemes.” If you make it your life’s priority to focus on Jesus, one victory will lead to another, your faith in Him will grow and your walk with God will never be the same.




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Gospel Engine's December 2016 Indie Artist Spotlight - Shelton Dowd


About Shelton Dowd

Born in Rocky Mount, NC a true praise and worship leader from a young age. Shelton has devoted his time to spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. He is a songwriter and singer who has sung with many different artist across many different states. Shelton developed a gifting for singing at a very young age; that Gift was cultivated and mastered by the Church; where he grew to understand that "with God" all things are possible. He is currently working on his first Solo Album entitled "take control" where he has found that when you allow God to take control of every aspect of your life you will not go wrong. He believes that it is not about him; but about leading people into the very presence of God; through producing a willing body for God to use. 

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