Archive for Grace

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/

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/

Every Nation, Every Tribe, Every Tongue… Mickey Sutliff

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Culture, Mickey Sutliff with tags , , , , , , on July 23, 2020 by paulthepoke

22 years ago, nearly half my life ago, I had been a Christian for 15 years, discipled to know and love God’s Word as the foundation for following & loving our LORD, as well as being the basis for shaping my view of the world… to see the world as the LORD sees it, not necessarily as I or my culture chooses. In the process, I grew a passion for theology & apologetics and to make sure I understood what I believed and why I believed it. I had a strong commitment to the local Body of Christ and valued its importance to my daily walk. I would characterize myself at that time as mainstream Evangelical, conservative socially and politically and one that did not think much about diversity in the Body of Christ.

Acts 1:8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.

I supported foreign missions and its role in spreading the gospel per Acts 1:8 but would not say I had much passion for what it meant for the Body of Christ to reflect people from “every nation, every tribe, every tongue” that Revelation 5 & 7 reveal before the Throne of God. 

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands…

22 years ago, the LORD revealed His plan for me and my family… that we would be a multicultural family, as our two biracial daughters came into our lives at 7 months of age. I began the pursuit of leading my daughters/family well, which included incorporating African American heritage into our home. I began my pursuit for how to raise my girls to love God and who He made them to be. As I moved through this process, this became less of a “racial” discussion per se, but more importantly a biblical & theological one in my mind.

As I pursued the LORD, it became clear to me, to effectively lead my girls to value who God had purposed them to be (from the foundation of the world) in a country that has a history of devaluing African Americans, I had to hold those values for myself. Neither my upbringing or my first 15 years in Christ gave me much of a foundation but what I came to understand more clearly was there was more bias, ignorance and false understanding than I would readily admit 22 years ago. By the LORD’s grace, He brought us into community with African American brothers and sisters in Christ, where we were able to engage in meaningful, honest and at times very difficult and uncomfortable discussions. What followed required humble, honest self-evaluation… which led to repentance of heart issues and attitudes that came to light. The wonderfully good news of the Gospel is forgiveness & transformation Jesus Christ offers, but it does not come apart from repentance, and this is how sanctification is also worked in our heart as we continue to turn to the gospel throughout our life.

Forerunners to Christ, John the Baptist and Elijah

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Angels with tags , , , , , , , , on May 3, 2020 by paulthepoke

Luke 1:17 and he will go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.

The angel Gabriel continues his prophecy of Zechariah’s son, John the Baptist.

Look carefully, he (John the Baptist) will come before the Messiah. John the Baptist is not Elijah. John comes in the spirit and power of Elijah.

Later, Jesus Himself would confirm that John the Baptist functions as if Elijah.

Matthew 11:14 “And if you are willing to accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come.” –Jesus.

John’s purpose is to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.

As Gabriel stated previously, the ministry of John the Baptist will associated with joy, gladness, and the grace of God. People will turn back to the Lord. This is the Hebraic concept of Teshuvah.

John the Baptist is associated with the first coming of Christ. Elijah is associated with the second coming.

In both the first and second comings of Jesus, the two forerunners to Christ will change the hearts of children and fathers.

Compare Gabriel’s comments to Malachi 4:5-6. These are the last words of the Old Testament. From Gabriel back to Malachi, it had been approximately 425 years since God had communicated with the Jewish people.

Malachi 4:5-6 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes. He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.

Elijah’s purpose… so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.

When Elijah comes a second time, he will precede the second coming of Christ. His ministry will be associated with the great and awesome day of the LORD.

Although he is not specifically named, Elijah is likely one of the two witnesses in Revelation 11. The skill set and characteristics of the witnesses are consistent with the prophet Elijah on his first mission.

See 1 Kings 17-21 and 2 Kings 1-2 for Elijah’s initial career and efforts.

Revelation 11:3 And I will grant authority to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy for twelve hundred and sixty days, clothed in sackcloth.

Elijah will be dressed in sackcloth. These garments are made of a coarse, dark cloth from a goat. In Elijah’s day, sackcloth was worn in times of mourning, distress, mortification, or penitence.

Elijah promises fire, drought, water to blood, and all kinds of plagues.

Elijah will be an instrument of judgment.

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.

Pinterest

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

Read more at…

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

Read more at…

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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