Archive for Grace

Precious in HIS Sight

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , , , , , on November 16, 2018 by paulthepoke

Christine McDonaldChristine has assisted in writing Federal legislation for block grant dollars to states for Substance Abuse.

Our culture ascribes value to people based on a million things that are never listed or mentioned in the Bible as qualifiers for God’s grace and love. We can have compassion for all of the hurting we encounter. I pray that we are challenged to look, not at the behaviors of the moment, but at the people beneath. I hope we dig a little deeper and begin to fight for people.

Instead of passing judgment on the spot, what if we simply asked, “How did this individual get here, right here at this moment in time?” Then we could ask, “God, what would you have me see and do for this individual, right here at this moment in time?”

To be like Christ, we must look beyond the shell; then we will see a hurting individual and not just a label. Labeling can be just as damning as the objectification practiced by the buyers of sex. Let me reiterate: We are as guilty of objectification and commodifying people as the buyers of sex are when we accept and view people according to labels: “prostitute”, “addict”, “disturbed”, “criminal”, etc. I could continue the list, but I think you get the picture here.

homeless eyes

We must look past the classification to the created person. God knows each one of us so well that He knows the numbers of hairs on our head (Matthew 10:30), so don’t you think He probably knows that guy on the street by name and not as “the addict?”

How do we look beyond the shell? How do we see beneath the surface of those we have a heart for? We have to be intentional, asking God to reveal this to us. We have to be humbled and willing to be uncomfortable.

What can we do? How can we change this? We have to get educated! We have to ask the right questions! And we, as a community, have to shift our views from criminal to hurting individuals for these populations!

Let’s hope eyes will be opened to see these individuals through new eyes, so that together we can make a real difference.

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

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The Age Stigma

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on October 26, 2018 by paulthepoke

Psalm 116:5 Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful.

Psalm 86:15 But You, O Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in loving devotion and truth.

Featuring Christine Clarity McDonald

Christine McDonald

Finally, let’s touch on the way age factors into people’s categorizations of “worthy versus unworthy victims.” They say the average prostituted person’s life span in the life of prostitution is seven years. If they make it the full seven years, they often end up dead from drug overdose, suicide, or murder. Only a small percent of these individuals will find a way out.

It is also said that the average age of entry into prostitution is around 13. Think about it. If a 13–year–old becomes a prostituted individual and survives seven years, they would only be 20 years old. We, as a society, see a youth in this awful life as a victim, but once they make it to 18, we expect them to somehow break the mental, emotional, and traumatic chains of prostitution and walk away. Once an individual crosses the invisible line of “adulthood,” we no longer view them as victims but as criminals. All compassion or awareness of the horrors they endure seems to disappear at that magical age of 18. Yet it is so much more complicated than that.

child abuse

As I see it, the longer they are in it, the more trauma they have endured and the deeper the hurt. Yet because they didn’t recover at age 15, we say “screw them” when they are 19, or 22, or 36, or older and trying to find a way out. That is not okay. Think about it: Does God place an age limit on His grace in our lives? No, He does not. However, this is not how the majority of our society sees it.

Why is that? Who are we, as a society, as people of faith, and as service providers to determine what age someone is recoverable to begin their healing process? If God sustained them three days, three years, or 33 years in a horrific life of commercial sexual exploitation, then perhaps we should embrace God’s love for them and reflect that love as His children to His children.

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

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Attitude Check

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 14, 2018 by paulthepoke

Christine McDonaldFeaturing Christine Clarity McDonald

Christine is a requested, featured guest speaker for many conferences and outreach events.

Luke 6:41-42 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye, when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye. -Jesus

Examine yourself and your thoughts regarding homelessness, prostitution, the disease of addiction/addicts, and individuals who have been in prison.

Ask yourself:
• Do I have a clear understanding of poverty and breaking those cycles?
• Do I believe “once a criminal always a criminal”?
• Do I believe that the most helpful thing I can do for a homeless individual is tell them of a job opening, or give them a job application?
• Do I believe that prostitution is a choice?
• Do I believe that the solution for addicts is just abstinence? And that if they just wouldn’t use all would be well?

I encourage you to answer these questions now.

Dear Reader, I pray that as you read God will open your eyes to see every person around you through eyes of love and grace through the very eyes of Jesus. I pray that you will recognize each and every individual, regardless of their  background or choices or present state, as the same kind of human—precious individuals created in the image of God.

Genesis 1:26-27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

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

It’s All About Perspective

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 20, 2018 by paulthepoke

Christine McDonaldFeaturing Christine “Clarity” McDonald

Awarded by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon for Outstanding Civil Service.

“The self-righteous scream judgments against others to hide the noise of skeletons dancing in their own closets.” ― John Mark Green

 

Just cause you say you are of the church a leader of God a Christian with some folks just don’t mean that much at all…

Have you ever wondered how two people can stand side-by-side witnessing the same event, yet report seeing two totally different things? Our past experiences shape how we interpret nearly everything around us. People from strong loving families often have a more confident view of themselves as well as the world they interact with than those who grew up with less support.

Oftentimes these experiences also define our perceptions of who God is, as well as what our purpose is on this planet. Those who have been raised in the church may not always be aware of how far apart their understanding of Jesus and salvation is from those who have only ever been hurt by the world.

Jesus bridged this gap time and time again throughout Scripture. His anger and “judgement” were never directed toward those who were clearly lost. After all, they already felt like they were as far from God as they can get. They saw their need for him. Instead, we see his anger and cutting words repeatedly hurled against the religious leaders of the day who used the law to oppress people instead of freeing them or leading them back to their Creator. Such leaders had no idea of their own need for saving; hence they had no grace for others.

In John Chapter 8, we see Jesus intervene when a group of men wanted to stone a woman caught in adultery. We don’t know precisely what her story is. Was she a willing participant? Was she someone who had been used by others? What we do know is that while she was “caught”, there was no man being condemned alongside her. Whoever she was caught with wasn’t even part of the story. The man who stood up for her, however, was the only perfect and blameless being to ever walk the earth.

If anyone had the authority and was justified in condemning this woman, it was Jesus. He was, after all, the Son of God. But instead, Jesus addressed her accusers, challenging them, “…but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” (Verse 7, NLT). Jesus alone held that right; yet when all of them had left, one by one, he turned to her and offered her freedom.

When we encounter those who need this Gospel, yet have been cast down by life over and over again, are we offering them freedom? People know who they are. Even without ever picking up a Bible, people know when their actions are morally objectionable. What Christ offers is more than a light to illuminate the darkness. His light offers freedom. This freedom does not require that we be changed before we accept it. In fact, we can’t. The changes we require to be clean and holy in His sight can only be made by Him.

Perhaps our job as believers isn’t so much about raising a mirror to people so they see their sins. Perhaps, deep down, they already see them. Perhaps our responsibility is to show them God’s reflection of love, grace and freedom. Perhaps, through our words and actions, consistently and patiently, we can offer them hope.

If you have not walked in the shoes of someone who has been exploited or marginalized by society, tread carefully when speaking about the hope of Christ. Be mindful of their past experiences and formulated ideas of Christians, people of faith, or believers. Their lived experiences may not have been that of goodness and love and grace. It takes one thousand good things to replace one bad thing, so tread lightly and gently, my Christian friends. You never know what brokenness someone might have experienced – even at the hands of a person who claims Jesus as Lord.

Tread gently, therefore, when speaking about the hope of Christ to those who are leaving the life, or those attempting to restore their lives from brokenness of any sort you don’t know. Many other “Christians” they have interacted with were antithetical representations of the gospel of Jesus. If this is all they know, then the concept of God and hope and goodness is a much more difficult sell!

“Love your neighbor… ALL of ’em!” -Christine “Clarity” McDonald

 

 

Please… God’s Grace in the Old Testament

Posted in Gospel, Prophecy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 23, 2018 by paulthepoke

The notion God is not gracious in the Old Testament is ridiculous. He is not a mean, sadistic God who is looking to squish people with His foot. He has always been gracious. Look at the people who received God’s grace in the Old Testament.

Laban recognized God’s grace and favor through Jacob.

Genesis 30:27 But Laban said to him, “If I have found favor in your sight, I have learned by divination that the LORD has blessed me because of you.”

Joseph was extended grace by God via a prison guard.

Genesis 39:21 But the LORD was with Joseph and showed him steadfast love and gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison.

 

The nation of Israel was granted favor on the way out of Egypt.

Exodus 11:3 And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover, the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants and in the sight of the people.

Exodus 12:36 And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they let them have what they asked. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.

 

Moses received God’s grace throughout Exodus 33. See one of many examples to Moses below.

Exodus 33:12 Moses said to the LORD, “See, you say to me, ‘Bring up this people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. Yet you have said, ‘I know you by name, and you have also found favor in my sight.’

 

Gideon received grace and favor from God personally via a sign in Judges 6:11-27.

Hannah was granted grace and favor in the birth of Samuel in 1 Samuel 1.

King David was anointed with grace.

Psalm 45:2 You are the most handsome of the sons of men; grace is poured upon your lips; therefore God has blessed you forever.

 

Grace is given by God to those who walk in truth.

Psalm 84:11 For the LORD God is a sun and shield; the LORD bestows favor and honor. No good thing does he withhold from those who walk uprightly.

 

God blesses the afflicted with favor and grace.

Proverbs 3:34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.

 

God’s grace for His nation Israel is eternal.

Jeremiah 31:1-3 “At that time, declares the LORD, I will be the God of all the clans of Israel, and they shall be my people.” Thus says the LORD: “The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness; when Israel sought for rest, the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you…”

 

God’s Grace is better than material wealth despite what the culture says.

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favor is better than silver or gold.

And yes, God’s grace in Jesus Christ is promised from the Old Testament prophet Zechariah.

Zechariah 12:10 “And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn…”

 

Cry Purple

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 22, 2018 by paulthepoke

Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Romans 11:6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace.

 

Featuring Christine “Clarity” McDonald

cry purple

Cry Purple, by Christine McDonald, is the story of the author’s long journey from nearly two decades of homelessness, street-corner prostitution, crack addiction, and many stints in jail to her present life of total blindness, motherhood, and happiness.

The first two-thirds of the book tell the grim story of her youthful unhappiness, how and when she got into prostitution and drug addiction, the horrendous levels of violence that she and some of her fellow prostitutes suffered, and how the drugs eventually reduced her to an almost animal-like state. It was only when she hit rock bottom that she finally found the will to seek help and change her ways.

However, after getting clean and then engaged, she had numerous other difficulties and sorrows ahead of her: losing her sight due to a disease and having both her eyeballs removed, having a special-needs daughter that she had to give up for adoption due to her inability to care for her, and  watching her relationship with her children’s father dissolve.

Christine McDonaldShe currently lives in the St. Louis, Missouri area with her young son, Ricky. She practices an open adoption relationship with her daughter’s adoptive parents. She loves doing motivational speaking, and she does all she can to help and to advocate for ex offenders, addicts, and prostituted and trafficked women.  One of her largest passions is educating people out side of these circumstances to help them have a better understanding of the barriers society has placed before these under served populations to put their lives back together.

Filming for “Cry Purple” the movie is set to begin in October 2018. Interviews and writing are currently being completed. Release of the movie is tentatively set for sometime in 2019.

“Love your neighbor… ALL of ’em!” -Christine “Clarity” McDonald

 

To contact Christine directly send a E mail to:

Christine.crypurple@gmail.com

http://www.crypurple.com/

To purchase at Amazon.com, click on link below.

 

Please… Noah Found God’s Grace

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on June 16, 2018 by paulthepoke

Genesis 6:8 But Noah found favor/grace in the eyes of the LORD.

This is the first mention of the word “grace” in the Bible. This is the Hebrew word chen. Sounds like “Cain”. Simply put, it is grace or favor. The word is found 69 times in the Old Testament.

Kentucky 2016 002

God told Noah rain and a flood were coming. Noah was graced with the knowledge of rain and the idea of a flood. The earth had not seen rain prior to Noah.

Genesis 2:5-6 When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the LORD God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground…

God gave Noah instructions on how to build a boat.

Genesis 6:14-16 Make yourself an ark of gopher wood. Make rooms in the ark, and cover it inside and out with pitch. This is how you are to make it: the length of the ark 300 cubits, its breadth 50 cubits, and its height 30 cubits. Make a roof for the ark, and finish it to a cubit above, and set the door of the ark in its side. Make it with lower, second, and third decks.

A flood is coming…

Genesis 6:17 For behold, I will bring a flood of waters upon the earth to destroy all flesh in which is the breath of life under heaven. Everything that is on the earth shall die.

God’s grace preserved humanity and life through the rain and the flood. Noah and his family lived to tell about it.

Genesis 8:16-17 “Go out from the ark, you and your wife, and your sons and your sons’ wives with you. Bring out with you every living thing that is with you of all flesh—birds and animals and every creeping thing that creeps on the earth—that they may swarm on the earth, and be fruitful and multiply on the earth.”

 

If God was not gracious to Noah, we would not be here. Today, in the 21st century, we are benefiting from God’s grace in countless ways.

God has been, is, and always will be gracious. The idea that God was not gracious in the Old Testament is absolute nonsense. If God was interested in crushing us like a bug the very moment we sinned, none of us would be here. The population of planet Earth would be zero. The fact we are drawing breath of air is an act of grace.

 

PaulthePoke

Prophecy Watch & Bible Study

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