Archive for God

God’s Blessing in His Time… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , on July 3, 2020 by paulthepoke

I’ll share with you a story that shows us how God loves us, how He blesses us in spite of our past mistakes. He always blesses in His timing, and, just as He sometimes answers prayers differently than we may ask. His blessings may not be what we expect, either. We don’t always know what’s best for us.

He knows all. He knows the whole story of our lives. He knows the perfect answer, the perfect blessing, and the perfect time. He is faithful!

I remember being really tired, much more than usual. No matter what I did or how much I slept, I was so tired, just wanting to sleep. I had done drugs for years, but now I found myself crawling under the tables in laundromats at night to just sleep. What was going on with me?

I had been picked up on a ticket and had gone to the city jail. I remember falling to the ground in the police station as they asked me to stand against the wall until my name was called for me to be booked in. I was taken to the emergency room, where they discovered I was dehydrated and severely underweight.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

They came in later and told me I was pregnant. Really? I remember asking, “What did you just say?” They repeated those three life–changing words: “You are pregnant.” I responded, “I can’t be pregnant.” The emergency room professional seemed to be holding back a smirk, replying, “Well, Ms. McDonald, you are a prostitute. Don’t you know how the whole pregnancy thing works?”

I said, rather hatefully, I might add, “I know how it works. I am a prostitute and that is why I cannot be pregnant. How far along am I?”

They told me I was so underweight that it would be hard to tell, but they ordered an ultrasound. They brought me sandwiches and some Sprite, and I waited.

Oh, my gosh, I was thinking, this can’t be real! God only knows who the father is. I sure didn’t have a clue. I’m living in a park, sleeping in empty, abandoned buildings. I can’t be a mother! I didn’t even know what year or month it was.

After the ultrasound, they returned. “We think you’re about 12 to 14 weeks along, but it’s hard to tell.”

At least three months pregnant? Are you kidding me? The jeans I had on were a size zero, and I needed a belt to hold them up.

I was returned to the city jail. I believe I did 10 days, and then I was released. I still reflect back to that time in the emergency room, a place that was not unfamiliar to me. Why didn’t they send a social worker at that time, to offer some services? I believe it was because I was a known homeless prostitute who also suffered with the disease of addiction. I mean, I have worked with a lot of individuals over the years, and the ER staff generally asks if the patient wants to speak to a social worker. Is that because I’m present, so it appears that someone cares for them? Or is it because we have become more understanding of human trafficking and the darkness and many facets of prostituted persons’ lives? I’m not sure…

To be continued…

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

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

https://crypurplemovie.com/

A More Perfect Way… Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , , , , , , on June 19, 2020 by paulthepoke

TEXT: LEVITICUS 16:20-34

Key verse: Leviticus 16:30 “For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you, to cleanse you, that ye may be clean from all your sins before the LORD”

@beholy404

Sin is man’s greatest challenge on earth. It separates man from God. Sin enslaves and no one can on his own free himself from it. The more man attempts to pull himself out of sin, the more he sinks into the abyss of helplessness. To be free from sin therefore, would require the intervention of superior power; the One who created man, Who alone knows how to disentangle him from the tyranny of evil and wickedness.

God took the initiative with the children of Israel when He appointed Aaron to be the High Priest. His job was essentially to make atonement for their sins. To do this, a day was set aside each year for him to enter into the most holy place in the temple, make animal sacrifices to cleanse his own sin and the sin of the people. The animal sacrifices only covered sins for a short period but could not cleanse it indefinitely. So, every year, the entire nation stood still to allow the high priest repeat this ritual of atonement under very strict rules. Without doubt, this old system of atonementor covering sins, was grossly limited and did not provide a permanent solution to man’s sin problem.

Whilst Aaron’s animal sacrifices only succeeded in temporarily covering the sins of the people, Christ’s sacrifice of Himself brought total cleansing from sin, once and for all. While Aaron made long preparations before appearing before God, we can now come boldly to His throne to obtain mercy and grace in time of need. Of course, now, we do not just prepare our body but our hearts as we approach God in prayer of faith through Christ.

As many as are willing can have their sins forgiven and their guilt removed as they confess and forsake their sins; accept Christ as Lord and Savior and place their trust in the spotless Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the whole world.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: In Jesus is found the only route to God.

Reconciliation… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , , on June 12, 2020 by paulthepoke

The pattern of the prodigal is: rebellion, ruin, repentance, reconciliation, restoration. —Edwin Louis Cole

God’s grand plan for all of creation boils down to one thing: reconciliation. From the moment of mankind’s “fall,” we as humans have been on a journey carrying us further and further away from truth as we continue to indulge in the idol worship of self. At the same time, God’s love, though sometimes seemingly nonexistent, has pursued the human heart for generations, culminating in the most incredible act of grace we call the Crucifixion.

It was on a cross that the most innocent of men bore the punishment that should have belonged to all of us. There has never been any act more unfair or more unjust than Jesus becoming a sacrifice for every amount of evil we could conceive. If God never did another thing for humanity, we would still have to recognize this deeply passionate gift of love. Yet His acts of love didn’t end on the cross.

God’s deep desire to be reconciled to His children motivates all He does. Second Corinthians 5:20 (NLT) says, “So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us.” We are Christ’s ambassadors. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” Our expressions of love and kindness help reconcile a lost, hurting world to a loving Father who is eager to heal broken hearts.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

As I share my own story of reconciliation, have hope. God can reconcile relationships. Where it is impossible to reconcile the relationship, He can reconcile our emotions and give us peace and contentment.

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

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

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Rest Easy, God Is In Control… Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , , , , , on June 6, 2020 by paulthepoke

JOB 21:22-34

Key verse: “Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high” (Job 21:22)

@beholy404

Things are not always what we expect them to be. Irrespective of how prepared we are to face life, situations may arise that would severely test our staying power and prove how resolute we are in standing with God.

None was ever so tested in history like Job. He suffered a deluge of calamities and disasters. Yet, he was convinced that he had done nothing to merit such an experience. He became confused though as to why God could have caused such misfortune to befall him. Yet, he never doubted God’s sovereignty and superior understanding. He recognized that He is the ultimate Judge of all men. The wicked who are mighty in this life would suffer the fate of all sinners for their evil deeds. What bothered Job most though were the wrong thoughts of his friends who concluded that he was suffering because of his great sin. In frustration, he queried them: “How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?”

As humans, there are times when events and situations weigh dangerously around a believer that he/she begins to wonder why things are so. But we must realize that at such a period, only absolute trust in the never-failing word of God is all that we need to keep going. Someone said, “The only way God can show us He’s in control is to put us in situations we can’t control.”

When troubles arise in life, especially those that are inexplicable, we must realize that it is a time to show our true attitude towards God. We must never yield to the temptation to become angry and bitter at Him. Even if we are wrongfully accused by those who should know better, we should understand that ultimate vindication awaits those who trust in God. So, when you are tried, ensure you shine forth as gold.

*THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:* When God is with you, storms should not alarm you.

The Bible IN ONE YEAR: JUDGES 8 – 10  

Good, Better, Best… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , on May 29, 2020 by paulthepoke

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.

I love how a minor infraction isn’t a stumbling block; it is actually the chance for redemption! She stumbled, yet she needed that stumble to take her to a different place. That is why I do what I do. She may never know how her sharing her experience with me helped affirm that I am living my purpose. My journey and my experiences not only empower those in similar situations, but they also help those outside of these situations better understand what their lives can look like. The struggles, the stigmas, the hurts, the pain, the shame, the guilt—they are real. Those who are hurting have to understand this, and those who are on the other side have to see this in order to connect.

Sometimes it is good–better–best. This young woman left the recovery center, yet she came back, and now two years later, she is still clean. They did not judge her for leaving or for using again; they just received her with open arms. This time, it was her time.

I know from experience that getting help is not easy. Facing our demons is not easy. As the gardener pulls weeds from the flower beds, often there are thorns, and they hurt. But the rewards of the lovely flowers in full bloom are worth all the hard work. We have to get through the hurt in order to heal. It takes courage to face our past and the hurts others have inflicted upon us. In the middle of the process, it can get messy and it can be hard, but as we press through, it is so worth the joy that comes in the morning as our Christ has promised us. That joy does come in the morning. He doesn’t tell us which morning; we just have to hold on and believe we are worth the work!

Photo by Andrew Neel on Pexels.com

It takes courage to survive, and it takes courage to heal. We have to make sure we are allowing the hurting to hurt and the healing to happen at its own pace. We can’t force the healing journey on those we serve, those we love, or those we encounter on our path of life. We just have to love them through it. And if they run, we must be there with our arms open wide to receive them when they return. We must be ready to receive them where they are at that new moment, not using the past to dictate a judgment or opinion of the new moment. We never know when it is “their time.”

After all, it is their journey. We just get to play a part, our own agendas side. When we are ready to meet them where they are, God can use us to assist them on that journey and empower them to look beyond their past hurts to find their inner strengths and beauty.

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

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

https://crypurplemovie.com/

The Ultimate Shelter… Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , , , , , on May 19, 2020 by paulthepoke

TEXT: PSALM 18:1-19

Psalm 18:19 “He brought me forth also into a large place; he delivered me, because he delighted in me.”

@beholy404

A bunker is a defensive military fortification designed to protect people and valued materials from falling bombs or other enemy attacks. Chiefly underground, they were deployed during the two world wars and in the long period of the cold war that followed the second global conflict in the 20th century. But they were not invincible. They would fail in the event of very powerful blasts or when hit by bunker-busting warheads developed to penetrate hardened targets buried deep underground.

Photo by Marco on Pexels.com

These military-type shelters, despite their limitations, might have come in handy for David to hide as Saul and other enemies sought to destroy him. Caves, mountains and the wilderness were his hideouts. Death always stalked him and his fellow fugitives, numbering about six hundred as informants exposed him often.

Finally, after being severely buffeted by the “sorrows of death”, “the sorrows of hell”, and the “floods of ungodly men”, David ran into the arms of God, the ultimate and unfailing Shelter, more secure than a thousand and one bunkers put together. That was where he got deliverance and sweet relief. Thereafter, instead of walking in the shadows of caves and mountains for the fear of Saul, he was brought “into a large place” by God.

Today, Jesus Christ is the Tower all men and women worldwide should run to for deliverance from a warring Satan and his agents. The sinner needs Him for the salvation of his soul. The backslider must go to Him for restoration to his first love. How about the redeemed? We must remain with Him in faithfulness and ask for more grace to continue to serve Him in righteousness and holiness till the end.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Trusting in God thrusts you into His everlasting arms for protection.

The Bible IN ONE YEAR: NUMBERS 11 – 13  

God Redeems Our Mistakes… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , on May 8, 2020 by paulthepoke

Pain is a pesky part of being human. I’ve learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can’t be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing. Pain feels like a fast stab wound to the heart. But then healing feels like the wind against your face when you are spreading your wings and flying through the air! We may not have wings growing out of our backs, but healing is the closest thing that will give us that wind against our faces. —C. JoyBell C.

One of the most quoted verses in Scripture also happens to be one of the most profound—and one that often makes no sense to us. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28, NLT)

Do you realize what this means? It means that your mistakes, your failures, your wins, and your successes all work together for your good and according to the Lord’s purposes for you. When you look back over the span of your life, I’m sure you can think of several moments you would love to hide from memory (yours and God’s). Yet these moments—yes, even the ones when we are sinning against Him—are all usable once we surrender to Him.

He is the master Creator who takes all of our moments and uses them as the raw material to build a work of art in you that you never could have imagined. While He doesn’t rejoice in our wrongdoings, once we have washed ourselves in His cleansing love and accepted Him as our Lord, every breath we have ever breathed becomes His.

A perfect example can be found in the story of Joseph of the Old Testament. Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery out of their own jealousy and then lied to their father about it. Many years later, when the brothers found themselves begging for food in Egypt, they discovered that Joseph was now second in charge of all of Egypt, second only to Pharaoh himself. They feared what Joseph might do to them, expecting him to have a grudge toward them.

Joseph’s wisdom, however, was not what they expected. He said, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:19–20, NIV)

God redeems our mistakes and the mistakes of others against us. It is not our place to hold those past choices and circumstances against who we are today or who we will be tomorrow. Nor is it our place to hold them against others. Perhaps, instead, we should look on one another with as much wisdom and grace as Joseph had for his brothers, recognizing that God is infinitely greater than all our wrongdoings, and that He can make princes out of slaves.

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

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

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Wait on God… Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , , on May 5, 2020 by paulthepoke

TEXT: PSALM 123:1-4

Psalm 123:2 Behold, as the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters, and as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress; so our eyes wait upon the LORD our God, until that he have mercy upon us.

@beholy404

It is wise indeed to seek help when under threat or faced with challenging circumstances. The problem is that it is equally in the nature and character of man to exhaust all his physical options before turning to God as a last resort. But the Lord ought to be our first port of call when we need help. That is the pertinent message conveyed here by the psalmist who was evidently confronted with daunting circumstances.

And he realized early enough that enduring solutions lie nowhere else than in the Lord. He likened himself to a servant expecting deliverance from his master and to a maiden seeking succor from her mistress. Also, he indicated no intention of turning elsewhere until God intervenes in his dire situation. He pleaded passionately with the Lord to have mercy on him and his people who were now pressed hard by enemies. Obviously, the enemies were very confident they would overwhelm the psalmist and his people. Hence, they exceedingly scorned them.

You may be despised by those who think they have the power to determine your fate in life. They may even reproach you for trusting in the Lord to help you. They may frighten and attempt to weaken your faith by boasting of their previous accomplishments in dealing harshly with their enemies. But your only recourse should be to turn to the Lord in prayer.

First, ensure like the psalmist, that the Lord is indeed your God by turning away from all your sins. Then, you must pray to Him to have mercy and save you from all your troubles. If you depend on God, He will sooner than later, rebuke the proud and boastful enemies and grant you victory. All you need to do is to wait on God, He will not abandon you.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: “Wait, I say, on the Lord.”

The Bible IN ONE YEAR: ACTS 13 – 14

Locust Swarms Gathering and Growing, April 2020

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Pestilence, Prophecy, Trend Update with tags , , , , , , , , on April 3, 2020 by paulthepoke

2 Chronicles 6:28 If there is famine in the land, if there is pestilence or blight or mildew or locust or caterpillar, if their enemies besiege them in the land at their gates, whatever plague, whatever sickness there is…

Granted, this is Solomon’s dedication prayer in Jerusalem. The context is Israel. But, it sure sounds like today’s world in the 21st century.

As a result of COVID 19 coronavirus, countries in East Africa are running short of pesticides to combat locusts and grasshoppers. Deliveries are being affected due to the spread of the coronavirus. Borders are being closed. Distribution and supply chains are being affected.

Cyril Ferrand is leading the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Ferrand had the following comments regarding the locust swarms.

“If we fail in the current (regional) control operations, because of lack of pesticides, then we could see 4 million more people struggle to feed their families.”

“They are very active, very voracious, and very mobile.”

“…If we don’t have pesticides, our planes cannot fly and people cannot spray and if we are not able to control these swarms, we will have big damage to crops.”

https://news.trust.org/item/20200403095550-qjd7g

photo: Times of Israel

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God is absolutely sovereign and He is absolutely in control.

This is God’s creation. Look at the interconnectedness world events. One event affects another and there is a chain reaction. It is not hard to come to the conclusion that famine is next. Then people will fight over food. The end result, more death.

These awful events happen for one reason and one reason only… Sin

Genesis 2:17 “…but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

Humanity has brought all of this upon itself. We have continued our slide to the point that we are the spoiled little brat who refuses to take responsibility for our actions.

But, there is hope. God the Father has given humanity an out.

Romans 5:17 For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Virtue In Your Vision… Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , , , on March 30, 2020 by paulthepoke

GENESIS 11:1-32

Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

Joshua of Ghana @beholy404 on Twitter

@beholy404

John Sculley, a former chief executive officer of two blue chip companies in the USA once said, “The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.” Vision is what keeps a person going. Working without vision is like laboring without a purpose. It is like travelling without a destination. Vision is the picture you have on your mind or heart that makes you look beyond yourself, abilities, environment and present state.

What the builders of the Tower of Babel sought to achieve through their vision and efforts was, at best, self-serving. God’s original command to man after creation was to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth (Genesis 1:28). But contrary to this command, they opted to build a city and tower to reach heaven because they would not want to be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.

We need to recognize that there are Satan-inspired visions. These are the kinds that Satan and his cohorts emboss on people’s minds or hearts. Such was what the builders of Babel had. There are also self-generated visions, society-imposed visions and Spirit-inspired visions. Before you run with your vision, it would be wise to check up the source. Spirit-inspired or God-given visions do not give success or breakthrough alone; they also give peace and joy. The Scripture says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he” (Proverbs 29:18).

Vision without virtue is destructive. That is what happened to the people who tried to build the Tower of Babel. What kind of vision do you have? Our visions must be in line with God’s purpose for us. For the believer, the right kind of vision is to reach the unsaved and backslidden with the gospel, whether they are adults, youths or children.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Vision without virtue is destructive.

The Bible IN ONE YEAR: DEUTERONOMY 25 – 27

Paul the Poke

Habakkuk 1:5 Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told. -LORD God

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