Archive for faith

Along The Way… Rodna Epley

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Rodna Epley with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 1, 2021 by paulthepoke
Photo: Wikipedia

If someone isn’t experiencing much change in their behavior and thinking after giving their lives to Jesus, then it’s because they stopped somewhere along the Way, but didn’t make it all the Way to glory—to the Father.

They thought perhaps Jesus was the Way to the cross, or the Way to the resurrection. They never understood that those are only “points” along the Way.

But the destination is the Father. Jesus is the Way to the Father. Jesus never said He was the Way to the cross. He went to the cross, and we too have to go through the cross as we die to the old nature, but Jesus didn’t stay at the cross. The glory of the Father raised Jesus from the dead (Romans 6:4), and the same glory raises us too…right now, not some day.

We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

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We are seated in heaven in places in Christ now. Jesus always said His destination was the Father, and that is where He went to make our place so that we can be with Him where He is…right now. It’s not only a place for when we die and leave this earth, but a place where we are to live NOW while still here (John 14:3).

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. (John 14:3)

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It’s okay if we didn’t know that; God is not condemning anyone. But it’s time to see everything from the position of Christ, the One who already overcame the world and even death.

“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.” (Revelation 3:21)

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Even just knowing this begins to activate the glory of the Father in us and it activates the new nature. We will feel it happening and hope will rise up within us that all things truly are possible. The imagination of the child is restored instantly (Matthew 8:13).

And to the centurion Jesus said, “Go; let it be done for you as you have believed.” And the servant was healed at that very moment. (Matthew 8:13)

Everything in our lives now begins to change, beginning with our perspective from above rather than beneath (Deuteronomy 28:13).

And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them… (Deuteronomy 28:13)

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We are seated in Christ right now where He is on the throne of glory, restored to the Father. No one can take us out of Jesus’ hand or the Father’s hand (John 10:28-30).

…and I give them eternal life, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” (John 10:28-30)

Nothing can separate us from His love whom have been separated unto Him (Romans 8:38-39, John 17:19).

For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)

And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth. (John 17:19)

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His throne is in you (Acts 2:3), His power is in you (Ephesians 3:20), His kingdom is in you (Luke 17:21), heaven is in you; therefore your ability to accomplish anything already lives in you and is awaiting your command.

The Spirit of glory living in you will teach you how to separate darkness from light in every situation you encounter, even the secret ones in your mind, and you will help Him divide the old nature from the new through your spoken words. He may also show you something that you need to do in some cases. His words and works weigh the same and both will release His glory.

…but if I do them, even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me and I am in the Father.” (John 10:38).

See also Mark 2:8-12.

Still Seeking the Master… Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , , , , , on January 30, 2021 by paulthepoke

TEXT: JOHN 20:1-10

Key verse: John 20:1 “The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulcher, and seeth the stone taken away from the sepulcher.”

“Faith, like light, should always be simple and unbending,” says Martin Luther King Jr. Mary Magdalene was a true symbol of that faith and who was committed and unwavering as a disciple should be.

@beholy404

The Lord Jesus had been crucified and was buried prior to the compulsory Sabbath day that forced rest on all. His sepulcher was heavily guarded by security men sent by the chief priests and Pharisees to make sure “His disciples (did not) come by night, and steal Him away, and say unto the people, He is risen from the dead…” Matthew 27:62-66. As it began to dawn on the first day of the week when it was yet dark, Mary Magdalene came to anoint His body only to discover the huge stone that covered the tomb had been rolled away. Unable to understand what had transpired, she went to report to Apostles Peter and John who also came, saw it and went back home. But Mary, who was determined to see her Savior, stayed back.

The extraordinary courage and steadfastness of this blessed soul in defying all odds in her quest to find her crucified Master is reflective of a heart full of grace and gratitude towards a Savior who had earlier delivered her from demonic possession (Luke 8:2) and saved her soul. God is never unmindful nor is He unrighteous to forget our work and labor of love (Hebrews 6:10). Christ is still calling His disciples to a wholehearted devotion and commitment to Him and His cause.

The all-consuming passion that Mary exhibited in seeking the Lord until she found Him must be the driving force that propels every believer to keep on following Christ at this present time so as to be with Him eventually in heaven (John 17:24).

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: When you truly seek, you will find.

The Bible IN ONE YEAR: ROMANS 1 – 3

Blessings in Blindness… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , on January 8, 2021 by paulthepoke

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

My blindness proved this promise true in my life. My blindness taught me how God created us to work together as a whole for Him and His work. In no way do I see that as a punishment. I learned to see people without the clutter of visual judgment.

Faith believes in something you can’t see or touch. You just know that you know that you know that you know. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve, and mercy is not getting what you do deserve.

When I was sighted, I lived in such a deep darkness. No words can explain it fully. Today my life is full of light. Do I still have hurt? Yes. But God has taken every experience of my journey—prostitution, addiction, prison time, abuse, violence, all of it—and restored me to such a place that I can now help others. Those very experiences provide me with a point of connection to those trapped in the middle of such lives and those on the other side. I get to help these individuals understand what their lives can truly look like.

God has used all of the trauma and the disparity to shape me in so many ways. He has given me a unique voice to lead others to see the underbelly of our society more clearly and help them find ways to better serve these individuals. He has used my experiences to break my heart for the kinds of things that break His. For that I am thankful.

blindfolded woman with a candle
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I have invisible scars I will forever carry, but my God is so amazing that when those things are placed in His hands, He can provide healing, love, and restoration. He can change hearts and mend wounds and hurts. He is far better at it than I am. I mean, let’s look at the gravity of it for real.

God is the Creator of all, the King of the entire universe. If He can forgive my mistakes, if He can wipe my slate clean and see the good in me, if He is for me, then who can be against me? I can’t allow human beings who can’t see me as He sees me to inflict harm to my heart as I follow His path for me. After all, it was not a human being who kept me safe on the streets. It was not a human who recovered me from the hopelessness, disparity, and suffering. It was God. I couldn’t see that while in the middle of it all. But I see it now. He was there. He is why I survived.

Being blind has its challenges. I had to relearn everything I ever knew. However, what I knew was defective; it was broken. I mean, I lived in a park outdoors, digging in trash cans and urinating outside. I slept in dirt and washed with random water hoses as I’d sneak into people’s backyards. So, I missed out on a lot of seeing stuff—like what was in stores, or what “normal” things looked like. But take me to my old hood, and I have the visions engraved in my memory; just as my skin holds my scars, my mind holds my trauma.

Because of many of my experiences on this earth, I truly struggled with hope, love, trust, and faith. However, the loss of my sight is something I see as a tool to draw me closer to God and better understand Him. It helps bring me to a place to receive Him as the guiding eyes in my life.

So my blindness grew me. My blindness helped me see. It truly was a blessing. While it is something tragic to some, something others see as a punishment, to me, it is a gift. I am not saying that living without sight isn’t a challenge. It is a nuisance, for sure. But I have vision without sight. I know many sighted who have not learned to walk in faith, and I know many sighted who have neither vision of hope nor the ability to see. Frankly, it is a much greater travesty to live without the vision of hope than to live without physical sight.

Contact Information:
Christine C. McDonald
636-487-8986
Christine.CryPurple@gmail.com

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

Through The Eyes of Grace – Christine C McDonald 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEj5RbFpuzjx_CuksAqgyXA/featured

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Literally By Faith… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , , on November 21, 2020 by paulthepoke

In John 20:29, Jesus said, “So you believe because you have seen with your own eyes. Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing.” (I really like the way the Message translates this.)

Every day I think of my life and its journey. Every day I am so blessed by God’s amazing grace in my life. I am so humbled by the gifts of His grace in blessings He has presented to me.

In no way am I worthy of some of the gifts He has blessed me with. I have learned that humans continue to judge me by my past mistakes, but my God, who is so much greater, has forgiven me. He has wiped my slate clean.

I once had a conversation with an old friend, a strong believer in Christ. This person asked if I thought that my losing my eyesight and having my eyes removed was a punishment for my mistakes.

I suppose we can look at John 9:1–23 for the answer. This is the story of the man who was born blind. The disciples ask Jesus if the man had been born blind due to his parents’ sins. Jesus heals the man and says that the man was here for this time, to be healed. But it was not about the man’s physical blindness; it was about the world’s spiritual blindness.

Had I not been where I was on my own personal walk with Christ at the time of this conversation, the whole notion of my blindness being a punishment might have taken hold of me in a very negative way. I know many disabled persons, many addicts, ex–felons, former or current homeless, current prostituted persons, many hurting and broken people who struggle with God because they have well–meaning Christians ask such questions. These people desperately need to understand God’s hope, light, and love. To someone like this who doesn’t have a strong understanding of God, well, this kind of conversation can be very harmful. It can push the people who need Him most away from the chance for hope, light and the love of Christ!

Needless to say, I had to pause before answering such a question. I laughed and said my blindness was one of the most amazing blessings I had ever received. It was part of what led me to trust Him. It is what allowed me to trust people as I had trusted no one in my sighted life. When I was newly blind, I had to trust strangers to get me to the bathroom. I had to trust strangers in order to get around as I learned how to navigate the world blindly. I learned to walk in faith. For the first time in my life, I learned to be interdependent with others. I had no choice but to put each step and each day in God’s hands. My blindness brought me to God and taught me about faith.

Contact Information:
Christine C. McDonald
636-487-8986
Christine.CryPurple@gmail.com

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

Through The Eyes of Grace – Christine C McDonald 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEj5RbFpuzjx_CuksAqgyXA/featured

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Faith & Prayer… Paul Beverly

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Paul Beverly with tags , , , , , , on August 17, 2020 by paulthepoke
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

With faith & prayer, everything always works out. Not always the way you think it will, but the way it’s supposed to be. Worrying & being anxious won’t change anything & only holds you back. The stress you cause yourself from being anxious is not healthy. Put your trust in God.

Proverbs 12:25. Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.

Matthew 6:27. And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to your life span?

Have a worry free week my friends!!!

Tisha B`Av, 9th of Av, 5780/2020

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2020 by paulthepoke

The Temple Institute in Jerusalem is looking forward to the rebuilding of the third Temple. In recent years, the Temple Institute has chosen the 9th of Av as day to look to a brighter future. The following comments and video link are from http://www.templeinstitute.org/

Disease and despair are darkening our world. Fear and hatred and rage and anger, loss and loneliness have become the keywords of 2020. Tisha B’av, (the 9th of Av) the day of the destruction of the Holy Temple, but also the day that the rebuilding of the Holy Temple begins, is a reminder that even in our deepest, darkest despair, a better world beckons. Hope and joy and peace and unity are not just words, but a path to a brighter tomorrow. Together we can build a better future!

http://www.templeinstitute.org/

The 9th of Av is a day of mourning in Israel. Tragedy came about because of the account of Numbers 13-14. This event occurred immediately after God had delivered Israel out of bondage in Egypt. The short story is the Lord told Moses to send a group of spies to go scout the Promised Land. The spies came back and proclaimed the Jews could not take the land because of the inhabitants of the land were too big and too strong. The people rebelled against Moses. The people stated they would rather go back to Egypt. The nation, except Caleb and Joshua, did not believe God would give them the Promised Land.

Photo: Reddit.com

We know the events occurred during the grape harvest per the text. In Israel, grapes are harvested in late summer.

Numbers 13:20 “…and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether there are trees in it or not. Be of good courage and bring some of the fruit of the land.” Now the time was the season of the first ripe grapes.

This event is said to have occurred on the 9th of Av. God pronounced judgment on the nation at that time.

Tisha b’Av: Av is a Hebrew month. To a Jew, this is a date, the 9th of Av. It is the 11th month of the civil calendar or the 5th month of the religious calendar. It usually occurs during July or August on the Gregorian calendar.

This year, the 9th of Av begins at sunset on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Per God, a day runs from sunset to sunset as stated during the creation week in Genesis.  Av is not named in the Bible.

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This date is said to be a reminder of nation Israel’s lack of faith in God.

Here is a list of Jewish history on the 9th of Av.

  1. 586 BC, the first Temple was destroyed.
  2. 70 AD, the second Temple was destroyed.
  3. 135 AD, Betar fell. It was the last fortress to hold out against the Romans during the Bar Kochba revolt.
  4. 136 AD, one year after the fall of Betar, the Temple area was plowed.
  5. 1290 AD, Jews were expelled from England.
  6. 1492 AD, King Ferdinand of Spain issued the expulsion decree, setting Tisha B’Av as the final date by which not a single Jew would be allowed to walk on Spanish soil.
  7. 1914 AD, World War I began the downward slide to the Holocaust.
  8. 2005 AD, Israel turns over the Gaza Strip.

References for dates courtesy of: http://www.jewfaq.org, http://www.chabad.org, https://www.templeinstitute.org

We Do Hugs Around Here… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , , on May 16, 2020 by paulthepoke

On a trip out of state a couple of months ago, I spoke to a large group of individuals exiting prison, as well as their families and supporters of faith–based recovery groups.

Photo by Kamille Sampaio on Pexels.com

Afterward, I was approached by a lovely woman. At first, she said she wanted to shake my hand. I said, “Shoot, we do hugs around here,” and I hugged her. She went on to say she had been in a recovery center/community that also had housing. They had an area for reading with a shelf of books, and my first book, Cry Purple, was one of the books on the shelves. She said she took my book to her room with every intention of reading it.

That night, her addiction called her, and the urge to use was out of control. She said she fought it for a while but finally grabbed her purse, combed her hair, and walked out of the recovery community center, but not before stepping back into her room and putting my book in her bag. She said she just stole my book. She told me she couldn’t help it and wasn’t sure what made her grab it.

She got high, ran out of money, and ended up in a house with other people getting high. She tried to settle into sleep. A day and a half passed. Then she picked up my book and read it. It took her four hours, but she read every page. She fell asleep, got up, and went back to the center with the book in hand. She said that even though she had stolen the book and gotten high, she had to return it because every female in the center/community needed to read it. So she returned to the center to return the stolen book and tell the staff that every woman needed to read it.

She was allowed back into the program, which is where she was at the time when we met. She thanked me for writing the book and said she felt like she was not alone when she read it.

It has been a couple of years since I met her at that event, but she still messages me from time to time to let me know she is still in the free world and has not returned to prison. She remains clean and tells me that I sparked hope in her to move beyond her past. She has thanked me repeatedly. She says she looks at her shame differently today and is now full of hope. The most recent message I got from her said, “I know stealing is wrong.” She said she had prostituted herself for money to get high, but had never stolen things before. She considers stealing my book the best criminal action she has ever committed in her life; she has no regrets. When she heard I would be at the event that night, she walked a number of blocks to ensure that she had a chance to meet me in person and to share with me that my journey gave her hope.

Contact Information:
Christine C. McDonald
636-487-8986
Christine.CryPurple@gmail.com

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Be Courageous… Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , on April 15, 2020 by paulthepoke

Key verse: Joshua 1:9 “Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest.”

TEXT: JOSHUA 1:1-9

@beholy404

Courage is a contagious virtue, but discouragement and despair are strong weapons in the hand of Satan to destabilize and derail a seemingly mighty strategist. Many mighty men have lost the battles of life in moments of discouragement and despair. So, add to your faith courage to have good success. Joshua was a brilliant military strategist, a warrior and a special assistant to Moses before the latter died. God told him to take over the leadership of Israel to lead them to the Promised Land. He repeatedly encouraged Joshua to be strong and be of good courage.

Change is a natural occurrence in life. Times of difficulty, depression and dire needs often come and go. These periods of crises and challenges are not strange to men and women of God in every generation. Standing on the promises of God courageously is the only panacea when believers are faced with illness, fear, discouragement, disappointment and seemingly overwhelming tasks and circumstances of life. The exit of one person does not necessarily close the chapter of God’s promises for His own people.

Moses’ death was a great blow to Joshua and the nation of Israel. Joshua needed courage to move ahead and fulfill God’s instruction for his life because he was afraid to lead a rebellious nation like Israel.

Courage is the bedrock of success or achievement in life. Only those with persistence, faith and courage can obey divine instructions when the task seems impossible. Absolute dependence on God moves Him to pour His grace upon us and we are empowered to achieve great things.

*THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:* Courage is like a propeller that moves the engine.

The Bible IN ONE YEAR: LUKE 17 – 19

Test the Spirits… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , on November 22, 2019 by paulthepoke

Acts 20:29 I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock.

1 John 4:1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God. For many false prophets have gone out into the world.

…Of course, I thought to myself, I’m a working girl. Not even a leader of faith can allow me some safety, some sleep, some warmth, without expecting me to perform at some level. I understood all too well that being a prostitute meant the world around me viewed me differently. I knew people didn’t see us the same as everyone else.

Leaders of faith, law enforcement, case workers—it was all the same. Leaders of the faith would use you just like everyone else. The officers who arrested you would drive you someplace, only to offer to let you go if you’d perform. Sometimes you’d perform for them only to be treated horribly while they laughed and called you names. And they’d still take you to jail.

I suppose, as I consider, I have been bought/paid for by lawyers, judges, teachers, preachers, counselors, construction workers, professional athletes, journalists, cops, fathers, grandfathers uncles, brothers, husbands, boyfriends—I could go on. But one thing is absolute: They, the buyers, were from all walks of life and all economic statuses; the only common denominator they had was me, the prostituted person, an object for their play of privilege and perversions. And on this day a believer, a faith leader, an apparent “helping hand” could not see my pain, my despair.

Even the supposed good guys saw me, the prostituted, as a mere, simple object and somehow less than human and unworthy of anything beyond that identity. Thus the cycle of exploitation continued in place of the help I desperately sought.

“Love your neighbor, all of ’em.” -Christine Clarity McDonald

https://crypurplemovie.com/


How do You DO that, Jesus? -Michael Stone

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Michael Stone with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2019 by paulthepoke

You are omnipresent. That means that you are everywhere at once, ever present everywhere. That’s amazing to me. You are God, so I don’t struggle understanding that.

You are omniscient. That means that you know everything. That blows me away, yet, because You are God, I have no problem understanding that.

You are omnipotent. That is almost incomprehensible, yet, because You are God, I get it. You have always existed.

You have no beginning and no ending. I don’t really understand that with the finite mind that You created me with, but by faith I believe it wholeheartedly.

You created everything out of nothing but Your Word. I’m flabbergasted, yet, You are God, so it was really not a big effort for You at all.

You spoke light into utter darkness just by saying “LIGHT”. Okay, then! That’s all it took, because You are God.

You humbled Yourself and became a man to show us that we could be sinless and full of love, then You gave Yourself as the ultimate sacrificial Lamb, taking our place so that we may live with You forever. That’s amazing love. I accept that. I receive that.

Here’s the part that baffles me, though, Jesus; when we believe on You and confess You as LORD, You forgive every single sin that we have ever committed. Not only that, but You take it a step further and You forget every single sin that we have ever committed. WOW! That is mind boggling! How do you DO that, Jesus?

I have a hard enough time just struggling to forget a single mistake, yet You easily forget every horrible thing that I’ve ever done! You separate my sins from Yourself as far as the east is from the west. That’s immeasurable! How do you DO that, Jesus? Your Word says that You cast our sins into the sea of forgetfulness, to never again be remembered. How do you DO that, Jesus?

Why do I continue to compare Your ability to forgive and forget with mine, or anyone else’s? That’s really not wise. You ARE God. Nothing is impossible for you. When the enemy comes to me to remind me of bad things that I have done, and I bring them back up to You, Your reply is always, “What are you talking about? I don’t recall that. You’re forgiven. It’s forgotten. Don’t look back. Keep moving forward. Trust Me.” It’s time that I stop listening to the accusations of Satan, and start listening to the truth of who You are in me. You gave us all of Your power and authority.

It’s time that I started using it. Once we as Believers, as Followers of the Way, as Christians – once we all begin walking in the authority and faith that you gave to each of us, we CAN turn the world right-side-up for You, Jesus. How do we DO that, Jesus? In Your name! THAT’S how!
Thank You, Jesus!



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