Archive for Grace

Gabriel Covers Mary in Grace

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , on January 26, 2020 by paulthepoke

Luke 1:28 And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!”

The angel Gabriel is about to talk to the virgin Mary.

“Greetings” or χαίρω/chairo in the Greek. This is a form of the word χάρις/charis or what we know as “grace”. The word means to rejoice or be glad. Gabriel is approaching Mary in a graceful and joyous manner. “Greetings”

…O favored one… This is how Gabriel describes Mary. This is the Greek word χαριτόω/charitoó. Again, this is a form of the word χάρις/charis or what we know as “grace”. Strong’s Concordance defines the term as endowed with grace or graceful.

Gabriel approaches Mary in a gracious manner and then tells her she is favored with grace because the Lord is with you!”

Mary’s response to grace…

Luke 1:29 But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be.

The translators were kind with the wording “greatly troubled“. This is the word διαταράσσω/diatarassó. The verb is defined to agitate greatly. The prefix dia- in the Greek indicates intensity. Mary was thoroughly perturbed and anxious.

This is Mary’s initial impression. This is not exactly the response one would think someone should have when visited by an angel from the throne of God. Gabriel comes in the grace of God and He has to deal with a disturbed young woman. This is the earthly vessel for Jesus Christ.

Mary is not finished. She tried to discern or διαλογίζομαι/dialogizomai. Again, note the prefix dia- which denotes intensity. She wants to reason, debate, or consider. Mary is doing some serious thinking and trying to come to a logical conclusion. She is questioning reality. What is going on?

Luke 1:30 And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.

Do not be afraid… Gabriel recognizes that Mary may not be comfortable with his appearance and he is reassuring. Gabriel perceives her to be φοβέο/phobeo. The word can be defined as afraid, terrified, or frightened by Strong’s. In English, we use the word phobia.

Then Gabriel calls the young lady by her name, Mary. Imagine if you were Mary. A strange being, who you have never met, shows up out of nowhere. And the entity knows who you are and calls you by name.

Gabriel reminds Mary.

…for you have found favor with God. Emphasis here is on the word “favor”. This is the Greek word χάρις/charis. It means grace.

Gabriel approaches Mary in grace. He tells her she has been supplied with grace. And Gabriel closes his introduction and reminds Mary, God has blessed her with grace. Despite her attitude and response, Gabriel covers Mary in God’s grace.

Oh, How He Loves You… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , , , on August 24, 2019 by paulthepoke

Genuine love and compassion, the kind that truly come from Christ and are imaged in us to a broken world, view every human being as treasured and precious. People, all people, were the single motivation God had that compelled Jesus to the cross. His sacrifice was made for all sins committed before He came, all sins committed during His earthly journey, and all sins we would think up, dream up, and commit after He died and rose again.

This means that every human being has equal value and access to God’s love and amazing grace. It means that none of us are worthy or hold more value in and of ourselves, but through Him we are redeemed to become treasures. Before you accepted Him, He loved you passionately and saw you as a “not–yet–redeemed” treasure. He wanted you before you were cleaned up and polished by His blood.

That redemption transforms our value to reflect His value, and He is priceless. That redemption also cleanses our hearts and minds so that we can take on His viewpoint. Our role, as believers, is to be the human extenders of what God grants us daily, moment by moment. If His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9), then it is sufficient for us and a sufficient supply for us to give others. Christ is the great equalizer!

2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.

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

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Tread Gently… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Gospel with tags , , , , , , , on July 19, 2019 by paulthepoke

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 those of goodness and love and grace. It takes a 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, like the man in this story, 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

https://crypurplemovie.com/

Reminder, Saved By Grace… Christine McDonald

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

Everyone be blessed!

JUDGING OUTSIDERS IS UN-CHRISTIAN
Paul told us to stop judging people outside the church. Jesus said God will judge us by the same standard with which we judge others. Paul also reminds us to drop the uppity-attitude; that none of us were saved by the good we did but by grace.

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.

So what can you do?
1. STOP JUDGING NON-CHRISTIANS. START LOVING THEM.
Very few people have been judged into life-change. Many have been loved into it.

Mark 12:30-31 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

2. EMPATHIZE WITH NON-CHRISTIANS
Ask yourself, “If I wasn’t a Christian, what would I be doing?” Chances are, you might be doing exactly what the non-Christians in your neighborhood are doing. Understanding that and empathizing with that completely changes how you see people. And they can tell how you see them.

Colossians 3:12-14 Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

3. HANG OUT WITH NON-CHRISTIANS
Jesus did. And caught plenty of disapproval for it.

Mark 2:15-16 And it happened that He was reclining at the table in his house, and many tax collectors and sinners were dining with Jesus and His disciples; for there were many of them, and they were following Him. When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that He was eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they said to His disciples, “Why is He eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners?”

4. PRAY FOR UNCHURCHED PEOPLE
How many unchurched people do you pray for daily? How many people you disagree with do you pray for daily? It is impossible to hate someone you genuinely pray for daily.

Luke 8:1-2 Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities: Mary, called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out…

5. LIVE OUT YOUR FAITH AUTHENTICALLY
Your actions carry weight. Humility is far more attractive than pride. When a non-Christian sees integrity, it’s compelling. I just have a feeling if we in the church loved the world the way Jesus did, the world might come running to Christ. And then the change we long to see might actually begin to happen.

James 1:22-24 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like.

https://www.gofundme.com/crypurplemovie

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

https://crypurplemovie.com/

The Promised Land in Christ

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Gospel with tags , , , , , , , on January 5, 2019 by paulthepoke

Everyone be blessed!

Christine McDonald is an advocate for Mental Health Champions.

The Promised Land represented a new life for the people of Israel who had lived a life of bondage and slavery in Egypt. It is also symbolic of a new life in Christ. It says we are no longer going to be driven by the appetites of our old nature, but Christ now lives in us to live a righteous and holy life. It does not mean we’re perfect, we’re just forgiven.

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The new life in Christ has nothing to do with church attendance or even doing good things. Christ said there will be many people who will claim Him as their Savior but they never really knew Him. In other words, there was no evidence of the living Savior in them.

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” (Matthew 7:22-23).

Jesus invites everyone to partake of the new life He offers. We only must believe. Invite Him to remove our sins and allow Him to live as Lord through our lives.

“Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me?” (Revelation 3:20)

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

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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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