'Let's repair the breach'


Published: Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 2:20 p.m.
Parishioners worshipping Sunday at Cohen's Temple First Born Church of the Living God were given instructions on how to close the gaps in their lives that allow the devil to get through.
The service began with parishioners bowing their heads in silent prayer. Then the praise team sang "Victory is Mine" and "Amazing Grace."
After the reading of the scripture, which was Psalm 100, parishioners went to the altar and prayed.
The choir sang several selections, and then the Rev. Gary Cohen, the pastor of the church, located at 503 NE 15th St., began his sermon.
"We thank God for Jesus Christ because he is the reason we are here right now," Cohen said. "I thank God for giving me a mind to be a doer of his Word."
Preaching from Isaiah 58:12 and Nehemiah 6:1-3, Cohen's sermon was titled, "Let's Repair the Breach."
For the congregation to get the most out of his sermon, Cohen told parishioners that they must understand what a breach is. The Vietnam veteran used a military analogy to get his point across.
"When you look at war movies, you here them say, 'Hold the line,' " Cohen said. "They say that because that means holding the enemy from getting through. Every now and then, the enemy would get through the line. That meant they breached the line."
Cohen went on to say that even though you might be living a righteous life today, if you haven't confessed and repented for wrongs you have done in the past, God will not honor the right you are doing now.
"God does not honor anything until the breach is repaired," Cohen said. "You must repent. I do not want the devil to use me whenever he gets ready."
He went on to talk about how the Israelites, who fasted and prayed, was mad with God because they felt like he wasn't blessing them. He said the Israelites didn't take into consideration how they were treating the laborers.
"They were abusing the laborers," he said. "There is something important here. Make sure you are right with God if you want him to move in you. God won't hear you until you fix the breach.
"Saints, we've got to stand up for what is right. The sooner we do it, the quicker God will bless us. God wants us to live a life of helping and loving one another. We have to love one another more than ever before. We need to get down to business.
"If God is not No. 1 in your life, the devil will breach you," Cohen said.
Cohen talked about hanging on to people and things that will block your blessings.
"Friendship doesn't matter when it comes to making it to heaven," he said, adding that sometimes people will be better off if they choose better people to be around.
Cohen said everybody needs prayer, and that everyone falls short from time to time.
"God wants us to overcome the wicked and to repair the breach," he said. "Let's plug up the hole."
Howard Armour, 77, said he was moved by the sermon.
"I know what he was talking about because I was out there in that world and had to give it up," said Armour, who has been a member of the church for three years.
"I got sick, and I didn't want to go back out there. I started visiting churches, and I fell in love with this one. I like small churches, and we have a real good preacher. I can tell you that!"
Johnita Coleman, 37, said she was invited by a friend to visit the church, and she has been coming ever since.
"As soon as I walked in, it felt like home. It was a very good atmosphere."
Cohen, 56, was raised in Jacksonville and graduated from Raines High School in 1969. He also is a 1979 graduate of the Luther Rice Seminary School, and he has been the pastor of Cohen's Temple for 15 years.
He has been married to his wife, Eunice, for 25 years. The couple have three children.
Cohen said he made it out of Vietnam because of the prayers of others, and said he received his calling in a night service in church in 1973.
"When I received Christ, I was made brand new," Cohen said. "He brought me out."
Sunday School is at 10 a.m., followed by morning worship at 11:30 a.m., and evening service at 6:30 p.m.
Bible Study is at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Prayer Service is at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. The phone number is (352) 372-3938.

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