Archive for God

When The Wicked Goes Unpunished! Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , , , , , on November 28, 2020 by paulthepoke

TEXT: Luke 11:29-36

Key Verse: “Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them” (Job 24:12).

@beholy404

There are many things about God and His dealings that we seem not to understand. One of such is the spate of wickedness and atrocities being perpetrated by wicked people and judgment does not seem to quickly catch up with them. Evils and crimes are committed in many places with impunity. The rights and privileges of the less privileged are forcefully trodden with no one to speak for them. And God seems to be silent!

Many people wonder why God delays judgment on the wicked. They want Him to unleash His wrath as they observe all the wickedness going on in the world. This was the same question Job raised in our passage as he tried to show his friends that God was not punishing him for his sins as they thought. He pointed their attention to all the wickedness going on daily around them which they were quite aware of and yet God seems to be silent about them. If God were punishing him for his sins, why then were all the wicked and terrible people around him in the society walking about free and judgment is not coming upon them, he queried.

Many people have been tempted to think that God is not fair. In fact, there are people who have concluded that it is either God does not exist or that He has abandoned the world to self-destruction. But the truth is, God’s ways are not our ways and His thoughts are not our thoughts. He has a set time for everything and a day of judgment for every wicked person.

Our attitude then is to have faith in His righteousness and justice. We cannot have a sense of justice more than the almighty God. Let us leave the judgment of the wicked in His Hands and strive to maintain an upright and just life. He will certainly judge the wicked and reward the upright with good.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: God’s sense of justice will not overlook wickedness.

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/

Gabriel’s 70 Weeks: Why 70 Weeks? Part 2

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 15, 2020 by paulthepoke

Daniel 9:24 Seventy weeks are decreed about your people and your holy city

God knew from the beginning of Israel being a nation, ultimately they would not let the land rest. Israel was commanded to let the land rest in Leviticus 25:1-5.

God let Israel know. If the land is not allowed to rest from your activity, then God would make sure the land would rest. The consequence of disobedience was prophetic.

Leviticus 26:34-35 Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths all the days it lies desolate, while you are in the land of your enemies. At that time the land will rest and enjoy its Sabbaths. As long as it lies desolate, the land will have the rest it did not receive during the Sabbaths when you lived in it.

Later, the concept is stated again.

Leviticus 26:43 But the land shall be abandoned by them and enjoy its Sabbaths while it lies desolate without them, and they shall make amends for their iniquity, because they spurned my rules and their soul abhorred my statutes.

God communicated His Law to Moses around 1446 BC as estimated by Biblical scholars.

By historical accounts, the practice of ignoring the land’s Sabbath rest began around the time of Samuel the prophet and judge around 1100 BC. Israel continued to farm for economic purposes and development. It did not make economic sense to let the land rest.

Fast forward to the prophet Jeremiah circa 627-580 BC.

In Jeremiah 25, the prophet is warning Judah and the city of Jerusalem. Because of your disobedience, 70 years of captivity are coming.

Jeremiah 25:11-12 This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares the LORD, making the land an everlasting waste.

Keep in mind, Daniel was already in Babylon in 605 BC under King Nebuchadnezzar’s first captivity of Jerusalem. Daniel was protected by God who knew the future of Jerusalem. Daniel was acutely aware of Jeremiah’s prophecy.

Daniel 9:2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, perceived in the books the number of years that, according to the word of the LORD to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the end of the desolations of Jerusalem, namely, seventy years.

In 586 BC, Jeremiah’s prophetic words would come to pass. Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar would capture and utterly destroy Jerusalem. Historians and commentators indicate the actual date was on the 9th of Av. A day which has become a national day of mourning for Israel.

2 Chronicles 36:20-21 He took into exile in Babylon those who had escaped from the sword, and they became servants to him and to his sons until the establishment of the kingdom of Persia, to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed its Sabbaths. All the days that it lay desolate it kept Sabbath, to fulfill seventy years.

Now, there is the matter of Leviticus 26 and God’s consistent statement, I will punish you seven times more for your sins.

70 x 7 = 490

Israel’s punishment is not complete.

To be continued…

The Fall of the Arrogant… Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , , , , on November 14, 2020 by paulthepoke

TEXT: ISAIAH 10:1-19

“And what will ye do in the day of visitation, and in the desolation which shall come from far? to whom will ye flee for help? and where will ye leave your glory?” (Isaiah 10:3)

@beholy404

Arrogant and godless man is infirm and helpless in the face of the fury of the elements such as when there is a severe earthquake or a devastating hurricane that comes with massive flooding. Trees are uprooted, buildings are brought down and entire heavily-populated settlements are swept away. We look small and present a pitiable sight when these disasters visit us.

If man can scarcely survive the onslaught of nature, how will he stand the greater fury of the Almighty? That was the message the Lord had for the people of Judah, Israel and Assyria in the days of Isaiah the prophet when they had all gone astray. The kings and governments made laws that alienated the weak of the society from their right to the good things of the land. They also worshipped idols to whom they ascribed their successes, prompting the Lord to ask derisively: “Shall the axe boast itself against him that heweth therewith?”

God declared a two-prong war against two nations. He would use Assyria as “the rod of [His] anger” to judge Samaria for forsaking the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and going after idols which had left the children of Israel vulnerable in the hands of its enemies. But the Lord said He would follow that up with a punitive action on Assyria which arrogantly assumed that its prowess was responsible for its successful military campaign in Israel.

Today all that is left of the great Assyrian Empire are stone relics, a testimony to the fulfilment of God’s promise to “punish the… stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks”. God’s action on Assyria’s pride was because the land refused to acknowledge Him as the Source of its power. Divine judgment led to its extinction. It symbolically foreshadows the eternal judgment that awaits unrepentant sinners who trust in themselves.

*THOUGHT FOR THE DAY:* Extinction follows rejection of God.

The Bible IN ONE YEAR: NUMBERS 35 – 36  

Healing from Hooker Hill… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , on September 5, 2020 by paulthepoke

Hopelessness, helplessness, and victimization can’t be narrowly defined, as proven by this conversation between two ultimately courageous human beings… These conditions exist across the broad spectrum of humanity, and there is only one place to find peace: from the Prince of Peace. —Mike Low (in response to the social media blurb I wrote about the following experience)

Only our God could have facilitated such an encounter. I think of these moments not only as winks from God, but as confirmation that folks are being reached from both sides. If I had not walked the path that I did, God could not have used me in the way that He has.

I spoke at a statewide summit on recovery practices held at a university. Among the other speakers were some people who were well–respected in my state and nationally. After I spoke, I was moved by the extended standing ovation from the audience. Even today, after having been honored with a number of them, such an ovation causes me to tremble in my soul. It is an extremely humbling and tremendous honor, moving me beyond words.

Soon after leaving the stage, I was approached by a woman. She informed me that she was not a professional but had her own reasons for attending the conference—reasons which she did not, at that moment, disclose. She asked me questions about the years I worked the streets in Kansas City, Missouri. She had seen photos of my mug shots. She shared that she lived halfway down the block of Independence Avenue and Spruce, a corner I had been known for working.

She said she and her son had lived there for a number of years. She described how the traffic from the working women kept her son up many nights. I said I was sorry for that experience for her and her family and her son. I validated her feelings.

She relayed that she hadn’t felt safe there. She went on to talk about the men picking up women, the women fighting with their pimps, the police stings, the beatings from the pimps, the numerous scenes she and her son had witnessed in their day–to–day life. Our trauma had become their demons.

As she spoke, she touched my hands. I rested my other hand on top of hers as she continued to speak. She remembered me very well. She remembered driving past me as she went home; she also remembered seeing me on the corner when her son would be getting off the school bus. She recalled watching me lose weight. She remembered the disruption in their home due to the women working that place we called Hooker Hill.

Then she paused, and I heard her sniffle. She gripped my hand and asked me for a hug. She confessed that she never saw past the prostitutes on that corner back then. She hadn’t understood their lives. While listening to my story and my words and watching the impact it had on the professionals who worked with criminals, she watched the crowd engage with every word. She said she saw hope in their eyes.

She thanked me for showing her that change and hope are possible among a population she had previously viewed as hopeless. She was glad I had survived and made it to the other side. She said she was honored to have met me.

We were each validated that day, but for different reasons. The conversation gave us both a chance to heal. Although I don’t remember her from my days on the streets, I do remember the school bus turning the corner. We would step back from the walkway as children would run past us, staring or calling us names or pointing at us.

There was a clear separation between us and the individuals who lived on the very streets where we had existed for years. Never once did we speak to them, nor they to us. Yet we were an everyday part of one another’s lives.

That day in that crowded university, a small chip of wholeness was restored, I believe, for the both of us. Only God’s divine direction could have facilitated such an encounter. Here we both were, so many years after I had worked that corner. It is almost unimaginable that we would encounter each other, miles away from Kansas City, in the most unexpected of places.

I believe that restoration takes on many facets. Wholeness comes in large pieces and small chips. Each one is equally valuable and necessary. That day I felt a connection to a stranger whom I had lived close to for the eight years she and her little boy lived in that house on Hooker Hill. One more little chip of healing took place.

Never underestimate the value of one small act, one simple glance, or one brief conversation. When God prompts your heart to reach out and touch another, do it. In responding, you might be part of the healing in someone
else’s life—not to mention your own.

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, Our Daily Bread 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!!!

Healing Chips… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , on August 15, 2020 by paulthepoke

But the man who is not afraid to admit everything that he sees to be wrong with himself, and yet recognizes that he may be the object of God’s love precisely because of his shortcomings, can begin to be sincere. His sincerity is based on confidence, not in his own illusions about himself, but in the endless, unfailing mercy of God. —Thomas Merton, No Man Is an Island

When we give our healing to God and trust in His ways and timing, truly anything can happen. He graciously considers our wounds and gently leads us through healing at a pace that is in our best interest. Sometimes it comes quickly and even painfully, but then we recover that much faster. Other times, it seems as though healing will never come, and perhaps we even quit searching for it.

As we go about our days, we tend to focus on where we are in the moment. Yet in Scripture, we constantly see the writers looking back on what God has done in the past to remind them of what He may yet do in the future. In the following story, we see a healing moment that came in an instant, but had been a long time coming. We can never grow enough in the areas of patience and grace.

My journey of healing began years before I was free from life on the streets. My journey of healing began the moment God dreamed me up in His heart. This is true of each of us. Our journeys aren’t relegated to one moment. Our lives are stories that ebb and flow; each of us is who we are today because of all the days that came before.

As you reach out to the hurting and broken around you, remember that you are a piece of God’s plan. Loving people right here and right now is all He asks of you. Those moments of compassion and love that you give build and build into a story you couldn’t have conceived on your own.

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

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

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Gabriel Visits Daniel a Second Time

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 9, 2020 by paulthepoke

Daniel 9:1 In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, by descent a Mede, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans…

In general, history records Babylon was taken by the Persian Empire in 539 BC. This is the year Daniel is about to be visited again by the angel Gabriel.

The last time Gabriel visited Daniel was 14 years earlier. We know Daniel received understanding of the first vision from Daniel 8:1 in the third year of the reign of King Belshazzar to be about 553 BC.

Gabriel’s second visitation would be a reminder of the fulfillment of his first message to Daniel. Babylon was promised to fall to the Medes and Persians and lose its seat of the world’s dominant power. Gabriel appears a second time to Daniel after his initial prophecy from God was reality.

Daniel 9:20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my plea before the LORD my God for the holy hill of my God…

Daniel 9:20 is an effective summary of his petition to God in Daniel 9:3-19. Daniel is approaching God in prayer. Daniel is more concerned about God’s name and His reputation. He knows God is forgiving and merciful.

~

Daniel 9:21 …while I was speaking in prayer, the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the first, came to me in swift flight at the time of the evening sacrifice.

…the man Gabriel… God’s messenger Gabriel appears as a man or ish in the Hebrew. Gabriel looks like a man.

In both cases when Gabriel visits Daniel, he appears as a man. The first time in Daniel 8:15 Gabriel was described as a geber. This is the term for a mighty warrior. Gabriel is physically imposing and intimidating.

…came to me in swift flight… Gabriel arrived in a condition of yeaph in the Hebrew. He was tired, weary, or faint. Gabriel appears to be in a hurry to get to Daniel.

Pinterest

…the time of the evening sacrifice. Gabriel visited Daniel in the mid afternoon. Typically, the evening sacrifice at the Temple took place at the ninth hour. This would translate to 3:00 in the afternoon for us in the western world and culture.

Cornelius also encountered an angel in the ninth hour in the book of Acts.

Acts 10:3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, “Cornelius.”

Jesus died on the cross at the ninth hour or 3:00 p.m.

Matthew 27:46  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Matthew 27:50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

Choices and Outcomes… Christine McDonald

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

My choices that day haunted me for years. After I got clean and was in college, I attempted to find information about my daughter. No luck. I had abandoned her. If her adoptive family had told her she was adopted, I might have a chance to connect with her when she was an adult. I prayed that if it was God’s will, it would happen.

Then one day it happened. I got a private message. I had been in the hospital for a number of weeks, unable to walk due to complicated medical issues. I was reviewing my dozens of messages, and there it sat: a private message introduction from the woman who had adopted my little girl.

She knew who I was. She said she had kept track of me for a while. She said that little girl knew who I was, too. I wept.

I was facing life–threatening situations, and yet a long–held prayer was being answered. I finally knew she was okay, she was safe, and, most of all, she was loved. But I had not met her and wasn’t sure if that would happen.

Then one day, in August 2015, I was preparing to speak to a room of about 200 individuals about human trafficking. A woman approached me and said, “Hello. I’m the woman who adopted your little girl.”

I paused, and my heart skipped a beat. Then I heard another voice say, “And I’m your little girl.”

“What?!” That is all I could say. I stood and asked if I could touch her. Was this real? Could it be? It was indeed.

It was time for my presentation. I told them both I wasn’t sure I could speak for 90 minutes and not share what had just happened. I asked if they were okay with my sharing about them being there. They said of course.

About four or five minutes into my speech, I could hardly talk. I was trembling. I had to share. So, to that room of strangers, in that church, I shared the blessing from God with all in attendance. We all wept together. And we all rejoiced together.

The courage that my baby’s adoptive mom, who I am proud to call friend, had to bring her that day astounds me. She gave me the chance to meet that little baby I had fallen in love with so long ago. I know today, without a doubt, that I made the best choice I ever could have for her little life.

One thing I have learned is that if I continue trying doing the best I can, God is faithful. He throws amazing situations, and gifts such as this one, to confirm His grace and presence in my life. Although mankind still judges me, holding against me the stigmas of my past, the Creator of All continues to shower me with love and grace.

We have had chances to visit a few times and to continue to grow and get to know one another. I am truly humbled that God would find me worthy of such a gift. I am excited to be a part of her life, and am continually thankful that God used this as a piece of healing for me—as well as, hopefully, for her.

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

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

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Heartfelt Plea… Joshua of Ghana

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Joshua Ghana with tags , , , , , on August 4, 2020 by paulthepoke

TEXT: PSALM 17:1-15

Key verse: Psalm 17:13 “Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword”.

@beholy404

When the Roman Empire was being sacked by the hordes of godless barbarians that invaded the territory in the fifth century, Leo, the praying Bishop of Rome, approached Attila the Hun, leader of the occupying armies, to plead for the Church and the city. He made a passionate plea that Rome be spared from the savagery and the destruction that had attended the attacks of the soldiers. Leo warned Attila not to risk the vengeance of heaven by plundering Rome and the Church. He listened to the churchman’s desperate prayer and withdrew his men.

More than one thousand five hundred years earlier, David, the future king of Israel, had also found himself in a tight corner that threatened his existence the same way the Church and the city of Rome were about to be brought to their knees. He and his men were being hounded by King Saul.

As no help was in sight and with Saul seeming to close in on him and his men, David turned to heaven for help. He spoke of coming face to face with death. It was not all despair, however, as he also talked of the mercy and power of a great God who saves those who sincerely call on Him in times of danger. The Lord did not disappoint the young man who discarded his own military prowess and called for divine intervention when he was at his wits’ end. David had the last laugh as the Lord gave him the final victory and confounded Saul. Man is also ensnared by problems he has brought on himself through the pursuit of false philosophy and rebellious religion, all of which have alienated him from God and the truth. He cannot get relief or redemption in any earth-bound solution. Only a renunciation of the world’s sin and a plea to God for help can deliver him.

THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: Man without God is helpless in the face of satanic challenges.  

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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