We are the Founders of Lightsey Ministries, Inc., Faith and Favor Ministries, and We Be Buds Marriage Educators, all in the Charlotte, NC area. "Walk By Faith, Live With Favor" is the Internet Ministry God gave us in 2004 to share His Word to those all over the world. By way of monthly sermons and words of encouragement, we have been extremely blessed in reaching the masses as we proclaim the gospel and impart words of exhortation and wisdom in an exceptionally anointed fashion. Presenting the Word in a clear and no-nonsense venue has been rewarding to our supporters. No doubt you will enjoy and be enlightened as we expound upon God's Word. Select our website as one of your favorites.You will surely be blessed as we cover various issues and concerns pertinent to righteous living and steadfast dedication in being all God has called and intended you to be. No doubt you will be revived and refreshed as you "Walk By Faith and Live With Favor."
"For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are." (Hebrews 4:12, NLT)
For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith." (Romans 1:17 , NKJV).
"For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment." (Luke 1:37, Amplified)
A native of New Jersey, Pastor Sharen resides in the Charlotte, NC area where she serves as Co-Founder of Lightsey Ministries, Inc. and also of Faith and Favor Ministries with her husband, Dr. R. J. Lightsey. She also is an Associate Pastor at Freedom Worship Center of Charlotte, NC. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English and Psychology from Rutgers University, and a Masters in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Baker College. She is a 2010 Fellow of the Institute for HIV Prevention Leadership (IHPL) from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and The Association of Schools of Public Health. She has been active in ministry for thirty-one (31) years. Her extensive ministry experience began in New Jersey where she taught Sunday School for primaries. She co-created and developed curriculum for children/teens, and has facilitated teacher-training workshops for various churches to better equip staff to teach more effectively. In 1987 she began serving in women's ministry as a facilitator for women's retreats and seminars. In 1991 God called Pastor Sharen and her husband for a work in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where they resided for twenty (20) years. She and her husband have two (2) adult sons Jay (Ramira) and Jerius, and four grandchildren. Pastor Sharen received her ministerial license in 1998 and earned her ordination in 2000. She taught and ministered while at JCC, and continues to co-facilitate marriage classes (http://webebuds.org/), provide pre-marital and post-marital counseling, and co-write monthly mini-sermons for Lightsey Ministries. Pastor Sharen launched a ministry at JCC to address and educate the community in the prevention of HIV/AIDS. She was appointed by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe to serve on the newly formed HIV/AIDS Minority Taskforce. In addition, Pastor Sharen owns an accounting firm, Numbers 2 Numbers, Inc. The company provides general accounting, payroll, tax, and consulting services. She has worked in various facets of business. She and Dr. Lightsey facilitated business training seminars through their business consulting company, Higher Ground Marketing Group where she assisted in cultural diversity training for the Pine Bluff Police Department. Additionally, Pastor Sharen has provided financial training workshops for local churches and civic groups. She has also been an adjunct professor at Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock. Pastor Sharen and Dr. Lightsey have been married for thirty-three (33) years.
"Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end. Amen." (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Dr. R. J. Lightsey II was born in Albany, GA and grew up in the outskirts of Pittsburgh, PA. During his teenage years, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior under the pastorate of Bishop Melvin E. Clark at the Church in the Round in Aliquippa, PA. After graduating from college in 1975 and working in the Pittsburgh area for six years, his employer, Equitable Life Assurance, transferred him to its Philadelphia office. He resided across the state line in the city of Willingboro, NJ. From 1985 to 1991 he served as trustee, trustee chairman, men’s fellowship director, Sunday school teacher, and associate minister at Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Burlington, New Jersey under the leadership of Rev. Eric F. Ricks. In August of 1991 God led Dr. Lightsey and his wife, Pastor Sharen, to begin a ministry work in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, where he became Vice President and General Manager of 1270 AM KPBA, a radio station that offered all gospel programming. Dr. Lightsey left KPBA in 1993. Returning to secular employment, he concurrently served as associate minister at Abundant Life Church of God in Christ under the pastorate of the late Dr. A. L. Hunt and he served as assistant pastor at United Missionary Baptist Church under the pastorate of Rev. Michael Williams. In 1993 he became the interim pastor at Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church and was installed as pastor in 1994. He remained there until 1997. It was then that God commissioned him to found Jubilee Christian Center where he served as pastor for fifteen years. He currently is the Chaplain for Tyson Foods in Monroe, NC, Associate Pastor at Freedom Worship Center of Charlotte, NC and Co-Founder of Lightsey Ministries, Inc. and also of Faith and Favor Ministries, in the Charlotte, NC area. In addition to his thirty-two years in ministry, Dr. Lightsey has also spent 35 years in the business marketing and consulting field, in the profit and non-profit sectors. He has done management, marketing, training, special projects, and consulting work for LTV Steel Corporation, Equitable Life Assurance, Volkswagen, Metropolitan Life Insurance, Computer Science Corporation, Family Time Ministries, and United Way among others. From 1990 to 2012, he was President and CEO of Higher Ground Marketing Group, a company that promoted and marketed products, services, and resources of local businesses. From 2001 through February of 2008, he served as Director of Community Outreach and then as Director of Constituent Services for U. S. Congressman Mike Ross, Fourth Congressional District, Arkansas. Dr. Lightsey graduated from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English. He received a diploma in Supervisory Management from LaSalle Extension University in Chicago, Illinois and is also a graduate of the South Jersey Professional School of Business in Marlton, NJ. He earned a Master of Divinity degree and a Doctor of Divinity degree from Christian Bible College and Seminary in Blue Springs, Missouri. Dr. Lightsey is the author of "Living in Praise," a collection of Christian/Inspirational poetry. In 1980 he received the Outstanding Young Man in America Award for outstanding professional achievement, superior leadership ability, and exceptional service to the community. He is a Lifetime Member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the United Way of the Central Carolinas, Union County, NC. Dr. Lightsey and his wife, Rev. Sharen K. Lightsey, also own an accounting firm - Numbers 2 Numbers, Inc. They have two adult sons: Jay (Ramira) residing in New Jersey, and Jerius, residing in North Carolina. They have four grandchildren.
July 2018 Devotional
THE BEST IS YET TO COME
But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
shining ever brighter until full daylight.
Path – a way of life, conduct, or thought. It is a course of action, conduct or procedure.
As I was meditating a few weeks ago, I came across this passage of scripture in Proverbs – again. But this time, the words hit me in a different way, and I started thinking about this verse. Scripture encourages believers to live a certain way in this world. We are reminded that we are in the world, but not of the world. This means that though we exist in a place, we do not attach ourselves to our surroundings. We receive our instructions and our direction from someplace else – which implies there is a someplace else somewhere in the universe. Once we are saved our quest is to attach ourselves to this other place that also exists but is one in which we do not see with our physical eyes.
Believers look to scripture to seek instruction and guidance on how we should conduct ourselves while in this world, yet not of this world. This scripture tells us that the path of the righteous is a way of life. It is a specific thought or action, specific conduct or procedure that believers follow. This path is described as the light of dawn, shining brighter and brighter until full daylight. Think about that. The path that we’re on gets better and better. It doesn’t get worse.
Sometimes we get discouraged along the way. We wonder why things happen to us the way they do when we set ourselves to follow this path and live this life. Why so many disappointments? Why do we personally experience so much wrongdoing aimed against us when we are doing the right and good things?
This scripture is one that ignores the disappointments, setbacks, unfairness & wrongdoings done to us. This scripture wants us to focus on what’s ahead. It wants us to focus on the outcome of this way of life. It reminds us that as we continue on this path, things are getting better for us. Things are getting brighter. There’s something good and amazing that will meet us at the end of our journey in this place.
So, as we set our minds and hearts to live this life, this path, let us encourage ourselves along the way that regardless of what we face, the trials we go through, the questions we may have, the best is yet to come!
July 2018 Devotional
BLESSED ALL THE TIME
“And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to observe and to do all his commandments which I command thee this day, that the Lord thy God will set thee on high above all nations of the earth: And all these blessings shall come on thee, and overtake thee, if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God. Blessed shalt thou be in the city, and blessed shalt thou be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body, and the fruit of thy ground, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep. Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store. Blessed shall thou be when thou comest in, and blessed shalt thou be when thou goest out” (Deuteronomy 28:1-6).
What a powerful and dynamic passage of scripture! Moses wrote this book between 1410 B.C and 1406 B.C. In the book of Deuteronomy the Israelites are preparing to enter Canaan and God is giving them instruction on what to expect upon entering the “Promised Land.”
There are two (2) things God is instructing the children of Israel to do if they want to be on the receiving end of His all the time blessing: 1) listen to His voice, and 2) keep all His commandments. If they do these two things, God promises to set them high above all nations, bless them in the city, bless them in the field, bless their offspring (descendants), bless what they plant, increase their kine (cows) and increase their sheep. They will always have plenty on hand and stored up for future use. They will be highly blessed when they travel to and from the city. Oh, what a blessing!
As I studied this passage of scripture I became overwhelmed by the promise to bless them all the time and in all areas of their lives. I immediately began to thank God for the blessings I realize and possess each and every day. I’m reminded that all I need God has already provided. I’m reminded that my God delights in blessing me. I’m reminded that I am blessed to be a blessing to others. I am delighted to live the life I love and love the life I live in Christ Jesus. Yet I am still encouraged to daily thank God for who I am (a child of the Most-High King) and why I exist (to bring glory and honor to His Name by letting my light shine).
So here is what is most important. Please do not miss this. I don’t live to run or chase after the blessings. If I love God enough to always hear His voice and keep His word the blessings will automatically “come on me and overtake me” (Deuteronomy 28:2). The blessings are outstanding and incredible results of love and obedience. My desire is to always hear and obey my God. His promise is to keep me blessed all the time. I confess, I admit – I’m living a blessed life! How about you?
June 2018 Devotional
It’s Going to Be Different Next Time
Just as human beings have to die once, but after this comes judgment, so also the Messiah, having been offered once to bear the sins of many,[c] will appear a second time, not to deal with sin, but to deliver those who are eagerly waiting for him.
These words of scripture are so important for the believer. We often spend so much of our time and energy on sin that we often forget that Christ has purified us from our sin already, and that He is coming back to deliver those who are eagerly waiting for him. What does the author mean by these words? You see, my brothers and sisters, sin is no longer the dominate influence in our lives causing us to continually think about our failures. Christ has already set us free from the power and dominate influence that sin once had in our lives. We need to move on from our concentration of sin and begin to live our lives now with the Holy Spirit as the dominate influence. When we do this our mind changes from thinking death thoughts to thinking life thoughts and living life in expectancy of Christ’s reappearing.
Living life this way allows us to experience a different kind of living – not one of condemnation and guilt, but one of victory and power. Sin should not continue to occupy our minds or the way we live. We are new creations when Christ by His Spirit comes to live in us. We look forward, not backward. We live with expectation, not condemnation. Paul encouraged the believers at the church in Rome with these words,
So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. The law of Moses was unable to save us because of the weakness of our sinful nature. So God did what the law could not do. He sent his own Son in a body like the bodies we sinners have. And in that body God declared an end to sin’s control over us by giving his Son as a sacrifice for our sins. He did this so that the just requirement of the law would be fully satisfied for us, who no longer follow our sinful nature but instead follow the Spirit. (Romans 8:1-4)
June 2018 Devotional
Deliverance in Action
17 The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.
18 The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.
19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.
Almost daily one of my counseling sessions deal with someone asking “Why is God putting all this on me? I try to live right but it’s hard when you have so much to deal with at one time. Am I being punished for something?”
Truly my heart goes out to them and I thank God for the opportunity to share the above verses from Psalm 34. It wasn’t until recently that I began by emphasizing verse 19. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” But after reading and studying the chapter several times the Lord spoke to me (through the Holy Spirit) and led me to concentrate on verse 17, “The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles.”
The righteous do cry, the Lord does hear and He delivers. That is not only powerful, but also comforting. We (the righteous) are encouraged and reassured that God knows and controls every one of our troubles. The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “righteous” as: acting in accord with divine or moral law, free from guilt or sin. So verse 17 states that those who are righteous, in right standing with God, and free from guilt or sin (born again by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior) cry out (verse 19) as they go through tests, trials, and all kinds of afflictions. But what we must remember is that God is with us (always) as we go through and He is delivering us from those tests, trials, and afflictions as we go through them. In other words, we are steadily moving from the beginning of a circumstance or what I refer to as an opportunity to overcome, to the end of that circumstance. God is working it out and delivering or bringing us out.
If you realize and understand that God is working His will out through you, then you know “God’s got you.” You will not lose your mind over this. You will not have a nervous breakdown. So, since you know you are being delivered from the circumstance or situation, concentrate on the celebration for winning. Your deliverance is in action. You are on your way to the finish line. Victory is yours in this time of trouble and in all, I said all times of trouble. Always remember, never forget – in times of trouble, tests, and trials God hears your cry and deliverance is always in action.
May 2018 Devotional
The Unseen Reality
20 For ever since the creation of the universe his invisible qualities — both his eternal power and his divine nature — have been clearly seen, because they can be understood from what he has made. (Romans 1:20)
3 By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen. (Hebrews 11:3)
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)
These scriptures remind us that there are two realms that co-exist – the physical realm which is the seeing one, and the spiritual realm which is the unseen one. Both are real and both are in operation at the same time.
Unfortunately, the human race puts more emphasis on the seeing realm. We place more confidence on our physical senses - of feeling, hearing, seeing, smelling and touching. If things are not clearly seen and felt, then we assume it is not accurate or true.
Scripture, on the other hand, shares with us another realm that is just as real, but one that is not operated by the senses. The unseen realm is eternal, but the seen realm is temporal.
In the above verse to the church at Rome, Paul reminds us that God’s invisible qualities, His eternal power and divine nature were at work when He created the universe, and have been clearly seen, and understood from what He has made…from what can be seen. First, Paul acknowledges the unseen presence of God. Secondly Paul confirms that this unseen presence is the One who created the universe.
The writer of Hebrews continues by saying that we understand that God is the One who formed the entire universe, but he goes further by saying that what we see came from what cannot be seen. In other words, there were unseen things that were at work in the creation of the universe. The author is clear that this knowledge is only available by faith. We trust in God’s own Word that He is the creator of the universe. It is not something that can be proved by mere fact. It is believed and known through trusting faith.
The Psalmist describes how the celestial, the heavens or skies proclaim the glory of God day after day. The stars, moon, sun, planets…these things glorify God by bestowing honor, praise or admiration to Him.
Proclaim means to announce officially and publicly, declare. To indicate conspicuously; make plain. The Psalmist says that day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world. What message is that? The message of the unseen God, the Creator of the universe.
Throughout scripture there are reminders of the unseen and the seen continually in operation, co-existing together. Paul reminds the Corinthian church about this coexistence when he writes about the troubles we experience. (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) “That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
My brothers and sisters, I hope you will take the time to meditate on these verses. They will build our faith and remind us of God’s presence in our lives and in the entire world. God is in full control of everything that is happening in the universe. After all, He’s the One who created it. The Psalmist writes about God’s ownership of the earth in the following verses: The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths. (Psalms 24:1).
May 2018 Devotional
An Invitation to Win Souls
18 And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
19 And he saith unto them, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
20 And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
21 And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father, mending their nets; and he called them.
22 And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
23 And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.
24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatick, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.
25 And there followed him great multitudes of people from Galilee, and from Decapolis, and from Jerusalem, and from Judaea, and from beyond Jordan (KJV).
I have always enjoyed reading and studying the above passage of scripture. Verse 19 has always been (and will continue to be) one of my favorites. As Jesus was walking by the sea of Galilee He saw Simon (Peter) and his brother Andrew busy about their work of fishing. He invited (instructed) them to follow Him and He would make them “fishers of men.” Wow! That is awesome. They were chosen to move from gathering fish in a net to winning souls for Christ!
What I find so amazing about this is that they immediately “left their nets” – that is made the proper arrangements to put the business in order and then followed Christ. Once that happened, they moved on and came upon James and John, the sons of Zebedee. Jesus invited (instructed) them to follow just as he did with Peter and Andrew.
From that point Jesus went throughout Galilee preaching, teaching, and healing. What Peter, Andrew, James, and John witnessed was Jesus doing what He had called them to do. The first requirement was for them to “follow Him.” If we follow Christ (His Will, His Way, His Word) others will see His anointing in and on us. We will be seen as living examples of who and what Christ has called us to be – fishers of men.
Those who have confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior and have an earnest and sincere desire to serve Him will be extremely successful in living a life that compels others to do the same. We will be “fishers of men” and our nets will be full as we fulfill the great commission of making disciples through preaching, teaching, and healing. Always be mindful that we have received an awesome invitation to win souls!