Archive for Grace

Brown Bag Friday’s… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , on April 9, 2021 by paulthepoke

…I sat in a meeting listening to their plans to reach out to the community. At last I had a moment to speak. I asked, “What about the homeless, the addicts, and the prostitutes who exist outside here along this street?” And that’s where it began.

We started Brown Bag Fridays. We took sandwiches, sometimes burritos, and sometimes $1.00 double cheeseburgers. We would drive up and down the streets of the area and ask if they were hungry. Rarely did anyone say no! But in the rare event that they did say no, we would say, “You can always save it for later,” and they would take it.

We expanded, collecting coats and jackets and socks. We would go out on Christmas Eve and pass out goodie bags and food. On Thanksgiving, we would put together a hot Thanksgiving meal and drive up and down the streets, giving out hot meals.

This was my passion, my calling. I knew it. I knew in my heart that these folks needed us. They would at least eat when we came through.

I would often meet up with my friends, the people I had coexisted with on the streets. My journey on the streets, through all those years, gave me an understanding of their lifestyle. I could empathize with them and understand their needs. I had walked in their shoes and had survived. Now I was filling a need, helping these people to not feel invisible, the way I had all those years. How many times had I wished, even prayed, for someone to pull up beside me and hand me food, with no strings attached? How many times had I wished that someone would help me without preaching at me first, not turn me away for having no shoes? Now I had this huge passion for acceptance, to see those people accepted right where they were.

By this point I was totally blind, completely without sight. I heard her voice. It was her, my nemesis. On three different occasions with three different pimps, we had both worked for the same guy at the same time.

I thought, What will I do? I am blind. I can’t defend myself! My heart raced.

She called me, using my street name, “Hey, Ellie! I’m so glad to see you. I’ve been waiting for you. I’m starved.”

I handed her two sack lunches, and she said thanks. Then she hugged me and kissed my cheek, and said she loved me. She thanked me again.

This is what I had seen in my vision. Those were the words I had heard 17 months prior. The church, my church, was the very church where I had been invited in all those years ago, the only one of those three churches that never ran me off or made me feel unwelcome.

Again, seeing it all brought full circle as I look back through the years, I see that God was always preparing a place for me. God knew the journey I would take, and He knew how it would be used for His Glory.

No matter what your story, no matter what your past, God is preparing a place for you. He knows the journey you have taken and will take. He knows how it will be used for
His glory.

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/

Blessings in Blindness… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , on January 8, 2021 by paulthepoke

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

My blindness proved this promise true in my life. My blindness taught me how God created us to work together as a whole for Him and His work. In no way do I see that as a punishment. I learned to see people without the clutter of visual judgment.

Faith believes in something you can’t see or touch. You just know that you know that you know that you know. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve, and mercy is not getting what you do deserve.

When I was sighted, I lived in such a deep darkness. No words can explain it fully. Today my life is full of light. Do I still have hurt? Yes. But God has taken every experience of my journey—prostitution, addiction, prison time, abuse, violence, all of it—and restored me to such a place that I can now help others. Those very experiences provide me with a point of connection to those trapped in the middle of such lives and those on the other side. I get to help these individuals understand what their lives can truly look like.

God has used all of the trauma and the disparity to shape me in so many ways. He has given me a unique voice to lead others to see the underbelly of our society more clearly and help them find ways to better serve these individuals. He has used my experiences to break my heart for the kinds of things that break His. For that I am thankful.

blindfolded woman with a candle
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I have invisible scars I will forever carry, but my God is so amazing that when those things are placed in His hands, He can provide healing, love, and restoration. He can change hearts and mend wounds and hurts. He is far better at it than I am. I mean, let’s look at the gravity of it for real.

God is the Creator of all, the King of the entire universe. If He can forgive my mistakes, if He can wipe my slate clean and see the good in me, if He is for me, then who can be against me? I can’t allow human beings who can’t see me as He sees me to inflict harm to my heart as I follow His path for me. After all, it was not a human being who kept me safe on the streets. It was not a human who recovered me from the hopelessness, disparity, and suffering. It was God. I couldn’t see that while in the middle of it all. But I see it now. He was there. He is why I survived.

Being blind has its challenges. I had to relearn everything I ever knew. However, what I knew was defective; it was broken. I mean, I lived in a park outdoors, digging in trash cans and urinating outside. I slept in dirt and washed with random water hoses as I’d sneak into people’s backyards. So, I missed out on a lot of seeing stuff—like what was in stores, or what “normal” things looked like. But take me to my old hood, and I have the visions engraved in my memory; just as my skin holds my scars, my mind holds my trauma.

Because of many of my experiences on this earth, I truly struggled with hope, love, trust, and faith. However, the loss of my sight is something I see as a tool to draw me closer to God and better understand Him. It helps bring me to a place to receive Him as the guiding eyes in my life.

So my blindness grew me. My blindness helped me see. It truly was a blessing. While it is something tragic to some, something others see as a punishment, to me, it is a gift. I am not saying that living without sight isn’t a challenge. It is a nuisance, for sure. But I have vision without sight. I know many sighted who have not learned to walk in faith, and I know many sighted who have neither vision of hope nor the ability to see. Frankly, it is a much greater travesty to live without the vision of hope than to live without physical sight.

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/

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/

Blind, But Now I See… Christine McDonald

Posted in #PaulthePoke, Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , , , on November 7, 2020 by paulthepoke

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost
But now am found
Was blind but now I see.
—John Newton, “Amazing Grace”

Are you a glass half full or a glass half empty person? Do you look at that glass and feel panic and awareness that it’s nearly empty, or do you look at the glass and celebrate that you still have half of it left? Perspective is everything.

When we consider the battles we face in life, our victories can often be attributed to our attitude even more than the outcome of the situation. It is normal for some crises to initially overwhelm us, but we don’t have to stay there in that place.

Jesus gave us a perfect example when He faced the cross. In the Garden of Gethsemane, He called out to the Father in anguish, knowing His time was nearly over. He says, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me.…”(Luke 22:42, NIV) He shows us that it isn’t a sin to wish away our circumstances for a moment. However, He doesn’t leave it there. He goes on in the same verse to say, “Yet not my will, but yours be done.” He reconciles Himself to God’s great will for His life, for the sake of all of humanity.

The same is true for you. We may not always understand why something happens, but we can be assured that God has a plan for our lives that includes every circumstance we encounter.

Photo by Simon Matzinger on Pexels.com

Paul found God’s perfect peace by loosening his grip on every fleshly aspect of life and holding on tightly to Christ alone. In Philippians 4:12–13, he writes, “I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (NLT)

At the end of the day, our personal relationship to the One who made us is truly all that matters. God loves us so much that He will allow a shift in our comfort zones so that we might find Him and draw nearer to Him. What will it take for Him to fully and completely win your heart?

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/

What is Christian Giving?

Posted in #PaulthePoke with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2020 by paulthepoke

First, defining what is not Christian giving is necessary. Christian giving is not tithing. Tithing is the practice of giving 1/10 of one’s income for the support of the Levitical priesthood, tabernacle, and temple system under the law. 

The Mosaic Law was given to the Jewish people and this was their guideline for moral living and civic law, as a nation with God as their “King”. If the Law was not upheld, punishment occurred according to the infraction.

These statutes are noted in the first 5 books of the Old Testament, which are also called the Torah (Hebrew for instruction).

This is defined in Numbers 18:21-32 and restated in Hebrews 7:5.

Hebrews 7:5 And those descendants of Levi who receive the priestly office have a commandment in the law to take tithes from the people, that is, from their brothers, though these also are descended from Abraham.

Under the law, tithing was required of produce and livestock, a currency of the day. Tithing is a statute under the Law. 

Along side the tithing system, Israel also gave “freewill” offerings in addition to their required giving as a form of worship to God (Exodus 35:21, 29; 1 Chronicles 29:9, 2 Chronicles 35:8, Ezra 3:5, 8:28).  This giving was based on “whose heart moved them” and “willingly”, rather than under compulsion of the Law.

Exodus 35:29 All the men and women, the people of Israel, whose heart moved them to bring anything for the work that the LORD had commanded by Moses to be done brought it as a freewill offering to the LORD.

The Law, being given as a part of the Mosaic Covenant, was to be replaced by a coming “New Covenant” as promised by the prophet Jeremiah.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the LORD. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the LORD: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Therefore, the law is for a specific time period and a code of conduct which ended with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ instituted this “New Covenant” at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:26-28; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25) prior to His death & resurrection.

Romans 10 clearly states the end of the Mosaic Covenant in Christ Jesus. Romans 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

Photo: Pinterest

As Christians, we are not required to keep the Law, but rather apply the “Spirit” or the principles laid forth by the Law. 

Romans 7:6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Christian living is not a checklist of “dos & don’ts”. Nor is Christian giving a specific amount according to a statute to follow. This is legalism.

Romans 7:4 Therefore, my brothers, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.

Paul chides the Galatians for legalism.

Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us, for it is written, (Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree).

A reminder to us all, if you practice the Law, you shall live by the Law (Galatians 3:12). This is a serious standard. Do you really want to go there? Do you even want to try and live by the one standard of a tithe?

Galatians 3:10 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”

Translated another way, you break one, you break them all. This is reinforced by James.

James 2:10, for whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles in one point, he has become guilty of all.

We are under grace and not under the Law.

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not be master of you, for you are not under the law, but under grace. 

What is the standard of grace giving? Give as you see fit from the heart. Give in a cheerful manner and because you desire to do as such.

2 Corinthian 9:7 Let each one do just as he has purposed in his heart; not grudgingly or under compulsion; for God loves a cheerful giver.

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.

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