Kingdom Graduation

May 21, 2017, the Year of Our Lord

Pastor Carolyn Sissom


I begin today’s message with the Kingdom graduation of Mark West to his heavenly reward.  Yesterday around 3:30 p.m. he received his earthly reward and His promotion to heaven’s army.


Mark leaves behind, his wife, Sonya, his daughters Ashley and Kimberly; his son, John; His mother, and two brothers.


Mark West was blessed with a keen wit and sense of good humor that was able to turn every serious situation around and have people laughing at them selves.  He didn’t take himself too seriously; nor did he take anyone else too serious.  That is a mark of true humility.


He loved God and loved his family.  After his death experience three years ago, he joined the church, has been faithful every Sunday unless he was visiting his mother.

Mark was ordained as a Deacon at Eastgate Ministries Church.   He released Sonya to serve in the church, and supported her to serve as a Deaconess.  I loved Mark West.  I liked his spirit.  I liked that he was real.  After his meeting with the Archangel, Michael, he began a pursuit of seeking the face of God to gain understanding as to his earthly assignment to “return and fight.” 


During this pursuit, Mark made peace with himself, with God, and with life.   I believe he achieved that assignment he was sent back to accomplish.  He defended his assigned post of life.


Heaven is not reached at a single bound;

But we build the ladder by which we rise

From the lowly earth to the vaulted skies,

And we mount to its summit round by round.

(Josiah Gilbert Holland)


Saturday Vice President Pence delivered the commencement speech at Grove City College, a private, Christian liberal arts school located north of Pittsburgh.

He urged graduates to become leaders and cited President Donald Trump’s “leadership and perseverance” as an example. “If you aspire to lead, you’ll need courage, because leadership brings both honor and opposition,”  “Anyone who dreams big will encounter those who think small. Anyone who dares to step forward will find those who’d’ rather they stay put. And anyone who thinks they can will always hear from those who are sure they can’t,” he said.

Pence cited Trump as “an example of leadership and perseverance without apology for the sanctity of life and all the God-given liberties in the Constitution of the United States.” ‘Nothing worth doing ever came easy,’” Pence said. “’Following your convictions means you must be willing to face criticism from those who lack the courage to do what’s right.’”


He shared his private quest for public office that he lost twice before he won a seat in congress the third time. 


Success and failure come to all of us.  “That man is a success who has lived well, laughed often and loved much; who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children; who has filled his niche and accomplished his task; who leaves the world better than the found it, whether by an improved product, a perfect poem or a rescued soul; who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it; who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.” (Robert Louis Stevenson).


We don’t give up on marriages, children, jobs, or life.  All will be tested and go through the fire.  When we are faithful in small things, then the Lord will trust us with bigger things.  We are not moved by criticism, persecution, condemnation, or negative reports. 


There is no defeat in Jesus.  Those who make a success of their lives, show up for life, and take the hits along with the misses.  We put our trust in God for the deliverance and restoration.  “Whom shall I fear?” 


As Christians we are often assigned desert duty in a dry place.  We press through being faithful, and defend out post through our dedication to God’s purpose.  Overcomers carry battle scars on his or her body.  The battle scars are our authority.  Follow someone who walks with a limp because he or she has been through the battle and came out fighting.  Such people can describe what it is like to feel stranded in a dry and empty place.  In the face of adversity, these people get more fired up and accelerate the pedal of life.  They love the part of the story where they get to describe the smell and feel of a soon-coming rain!  They love to tell about the moment they plunged themselves into the rich cool water of the Father’s presence to emerge fully refreshed and anointed once again.


These people have found the secret of life and the “keys to the Kingdom of heaven.” They rule and reign with God.  They are given resources and visions.  They are prophets pioneering in unreached areas for Kingdom advancement.  They are the ones leading the charge against Satan’s division and deception in our churches, families and nation.  These are constantly being repairers of the breach and restores of the paths to dwell in.  They overcome evil with good.


The vessels that God has his eye on are the yielded vessels kneeling in submissive obedience to God’s every word and direction.  These are the ones who bear God’s mark of humility, justice, mercy and greatness.  This is His army of intercessors willing to weep before God’s altar on behalf of those under Satan’s deception.  They attack the very gates of Hell in a Holy passion of fire from on High!


You have come into the Kingdom for such a time as this.  Take your place in the assembly of the marked ones and begin the work of greatness prepared for you before the foundation of the world. 


“The measure of success is not whether you have a tough problem to deal with, but whether it is the same problem you had last year.” (John Foster Dulles).


This past week I attended the graduation of my oldest grandson from eighth grade.  It is a Catholic School, so the commencement service was accompanied by Mass.  Graduation is a right of passage from one state of life to another.  There is a continual graduation beyond our school years as we grow in Christ and then there is the ultimate graduation in the Kingdom of Glory.


Not only were the children celebrating their accomplishments and awards, but it was the united effort of families as they made the sacrifice of time and money to support their children through school.  “Raise up a child in the way in which he shall go and when he older he will not depart from it.”


However, every child born in this world must take the same path of life through which we have all passed.  Success and failures will build their character as they learn to overcome both.  We have to have the maturity to carry the glory of success and the humility to not allow our failures to destroy our lives.


Someone once said, that it was pride that changed angels into devils, but it is humility that makes men like angels.  Jonah found humility in the belly of a fish.  Jacob discovered it during a wrestling match.  Joseph learned it in a desert pit.   Moses learned it in the wilderness.  Samson found it in a harlot’s lap.  David rediscovered it through his sin.  Solomon had to repeat the lesson even with all his wisdom.  Heathen kings learned it at the hands of Israelite prophets like Isaiah and Daniel.  The apostle Paul learned it through a blinding light.  Jesus epitomized it from his birth to His sacrificial death on the tree.  If we want to be wise, we will learn humility from God’s Word rather than from the hard and painful path of experience.


Life is too short to have to learn everything by our own mistakes.  The highest way to God’s revelation knowledge is for us to humble ourselves.  God honors humility and rejects pride.  By walking humbly before Him, we receive His wisdom and direction for our lives.  If we continue to walk in this manner, such wisdom will be poured out into our lives that others around us will want to follow and receive God’s blessings. A life that learns to please God through true humility will be a life that God’s greatness is seen in.  It is a life that can discern and responds to the needs of others.  The humble before God may not be all that able.  But because of their availability, God empowers them with ability.


In the Book of Acts, the apostle Paul testified, "…I have been with you at all seasons, serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me...” (Acts 20: 18-19)  Paul was describing how he served the Lord with humility of mind right in the middle of opposition, betrayal, and rejection by others.  Humility is related to overcoming temptation, adversity, and injustice.


If you walk in humility, there is no way the plan of God for you life can be defeated.  God has openly declared, “Before honor comes humility.”  Paul was pressed and stressed many times in his life and ministry.  The cares of the church weighed heavily on his shoulders night and day.


“The first test of a truly great man is his humility.  I do not mean by humility, doubt of his own power.  But really great men have a curious feeling that the greatness is not in them, but through them.  And they see something divine in every other man and are endlessly, foolishly, incredibly merciful.” (John Ruskin)


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church

Scripture from K.J.V. – I entered into the labors of Requirements for Greatness by Lori Wilke – others quotes are noted in sermon context.  Comments and conclusions are my own and not meant to reflect the views of those who I entered into their labors.

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