Archive for love

Love Your Neighbor… ALL of ’em!

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald with tags , , , on June 13, 2018 by paulthepoke

Featuring Christine “Clarity” McDonald

Christine is commissioned by the Missouri Supreme Court for the Trafficking Task Force.

“Though we are incomplete, God loves us completely. Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly. Though we may feel lost and without compass, God’s love encompasses us completely. …He loves every one of us, even those who are flawed, rejected, awkward, sorrowful, or broken.” – Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Christine McDonald

The following is from The Same Kind of Human Seeing the Marginalized and Exploited Through Eyes of Grace, Christine “Clarity” McDonald

C.S. Lewis once wrote, “Love is something more stern and splendid than mere kindness.” Oftentimes as Christians we try expressing the love of Christ through kindness alone, but as Lewis stresses, kindness is but one attribute of love – it is not actually love itself. When we consider how we love others, what is our motive? Are we satisfied if we are just the seed planter? Are we satisfied if we are simply serving?

In the book of Luke we read, “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because He is kind to the ungrateful and wicked” (Luke 6:35).

If this is how we are to treat our enemies, how should we treat those for whom we have compassion and want to see brought into His Kingdom?

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Loving others is an act of obedience, but we cannot trick God. He alone sees our hearts. He knows if we are giving food to the hungry out of love, or if we are merely baiting the hungry so we can guilt them to repentance with our message… our message. God’s message is not one of trickery or condemnation, nor does it demand that broken people turn from their vices before crying out to Him. God alone can fill our empty spaces, cleanse us of our sins, and buff our rough places. He alone can draw us in.

The Lover of Our Souls draws us through compassion. He alone meets us where we are, wipes away our tears, and saves us. When we give to those who are in need, it should be the overflow of what we have been given, and it should be truly free. When we put a price or a demand on these actions, we are cheating the very ones who move His heart.

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40, NLT. 

The question is, how, then, are we treating Christ?

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

 

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Our Daily Bread… Featuring Paul Beverly

Posted in Our Daily Bread with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 10, 2018 by paulthepoke

Just now seeing that Anthony Bourdain has died from an apparent suicide. This is incredibly sad & proves that you honestly never know what a person is struggling with or feeling on the inside. Even those that are the most successful & seem the happiest have struggles. Depression is so real & so scary. You feel you don’t matter. You feel dying is better than the pain you’re feeling. It’s a disease that puts these false feelings in your brain. I promise, every single person matters & is loved. We as a society need to choose kindness & love way more often in our lives. We can make a difference. I pray everyone can find peace in their lives. RIP Mr Bourdain.

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In a world that is far too often filled with hate & cruelty, I will choose kindness & love. I know how it makes me feel when others treat me with kindness, so I’ll always try to choose to make others feel they matter as well. Let’s make love & kindness contagious.

Proverbs 19:17 Whoever generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Proverbs 11:17 A man who is kind benefits himself, but a cruel man hurts himself.

You’ll always have the choice to be kind, choose it! It doesn’t cost a thing & is so valuable… Have a kind week my friends!!!

Broken… But the Grace of Jesus Christ

Posted in Christine "Clarity" McDonald, Culture, Gospel with tags , , , , , , on June 1, 2018 by paulthepoke

Christine McDonaldFeaturing Christine “Clarity” McDonald

I had heard of a God who was condemning. I knew I was going to burn in hell for all my wickedness. I was full of shame and guilt. I was homeless. I was addicted. I was a prostitute. I was lost in darkness, wandering in my own wilderness. I was well aware of my brokenness. For real, I had heard this message before.

I felt shameful and dirty, things I already felt on my own. I didn’t need to hear these things from “those people” – the people who had a shower, who had shoes, who had a home. I didn’t need to hear it from those who did their good deed of scooping food on our trays, leaving them feeling a bit better about themselves. While these things were free, they still cost so much for us; the burden of the shame was bags of gold full.

The last thing any of us needed was confirmation of how messed up our lives were. Believe it or not, we were all well aware of our brokenness, our bondage, our chains that gripped so cripplingly tight. I often went many days without food solely because I could not handle the damnation preached so hard and heavy at the soup kitchen mere blocks from where I existed.

soup kitchen

The preaching required in order to receive the food which was needed to sustain life, human life, were binding strings. I left feeling judged and condemned. The last thing I wanted was a relationship with a God who was so grand that He judged harshly. Frequently we would leave talking about how painful it was to just get food. Food was successful to physically bring us in, but the price – judgment – pushed us away in spirit. Many times, the prayers spoken over us were to remove the demons from us, rather than prayers for safety or hope or peace.

When I got off the streets and off dope, I learned of this man who had been in the Heavens who chose to be a homeless being, who was judged for His work. He knew how messed up I was. He knew how messed up the world was and would continue to be. Yet, He still chose to face the bondage of this world, to be born and to die. He was murdered in the most humiliating way so that I could have a second chance, a chance to enter the gates of heaven. He could do something no one else could. He could forgive me of my sins, and He offered me grace. He loved me so much that He willingly was born for the sole purpose of dying for me. He even knew me before I was born and loved me.

When I heard this message, I cried. I wept. How could He love me so? Was this the same message I had heard at the soup kitchen that turned me away when I had no shoes my feet, my body battered and bloody with road rash from being pushed out of a moving car, in paper clothes? Was this the same message I heard when I had been turned away because of “no shoes, no shirt, no service”? If I had heard such a loving and compassionate message during the years before, maybe I would have embraced His love sooner.

I am thankful for my journey of brokenness. My experiences shaped me to help others understand the plights of individuals such as myself and empower those trapped in the grips of hopelessness. However, I often wonder how many good and well-meaning believers crust the message and push away broken people away rather than drawing them closer to the arms of the Father. How many lose sight of the calling to love people to Him by meeting them where they are, tending to the human needs first?

Can desperately hungry people hear your message anyway? If they are broken, do they need confirmation of their brokenness? A loving approach with no strings attached is a powerful message. Maybe it should be as simple as the message, truly allowing love to be shared – the love of our God who sent His only begotten Son to die for us.

Somehow we Christians have missed the intersection joining the humanity of our fellow hurting humans with the love of Christ. I do not mean we aren’t preaching at these folks – we are doing that ad nauseam. No, what I mean is that we are not engaging with their basic human needs – such as food, water, and shelter – without attaching strings of judgment and wagging fingers in our interactions with them.

If we are created in God’s image, meant to be His representatives to a broken world, then perhaps we should follow His model. Jesus tended to people’s human needs before presenting a spiritual message. He chose not to condemn when He had every right to. Perhaps we should seek to love with tangible expressions of Christ’s unconditional love. Perhaps then the message can be heard.

 

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Our Daily Bread… Featuring Paul Beverly

Posted in Our Daily Bread with tags , , , , , , on May 27, 2018 by paulthepoke

Memorial Day 2018Please take the time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Please take the time to give gratitude to our active duty military personnel who protect our freedom. Enjoy time with your family and friends during this Memorial Day Holiday weekend.

The older I get the more I realize that family is everything. I regret time not spent with them. Cousins were my first best friends & are the ones that will always have my back. There’s a special bond & love in family that honestly can’t be duplicated. Family is love!

1 Corinthians 13:7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

 

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Photo: Shutterstock

 

Have a great Memorial Day my friends!!!

Slavery & Sex… Thoughts from an American Soldier

Posted in American soldier with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 11, 2018 by paulthepoke

Revelation 22:15 Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood.

1 Timothy 1:10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine…

Slavery… Does Islam condone slavery? Does Islamic teaching allow Muslim men to keep women as sex slaves?

Islam neither ignores nor condemns slavery. In fact, a large part of the Sharia is dedicated to the practice. Muslims are encouraged to live in the way of Muhammad, who was a slave owner and trader. He captured slaves in battle. He had sex with his slaves. And he instructed his men to do the same.

The Quran actually devotes more verses to making sure that Muslim men know they can keep women as sex slaves (4 verse) than it does to telling them to pray five times a day (zero verses).

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Quran 33:50 O Prophet! We have made lawful to thee thy wives to whom thou hast paid their dowers; and those (slaves) whom thy right hand possesses out of the prisoners of war whom Allah has assigned to thee.

This is one of several personal-sounding verses “from Allah” narrated by Muhammad, in this case allowing a virtually unlimited supply of sex partners. Other Muslims are restricted to four wives, but they may also have sex with any number of slaves, following the example of their prophet.

Genesis 2:24 For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.

Titus 1:6 …namely, if any man is above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children who believe, not accused of dissipation or rebellion.

 

slave trade

Quran 23:5-6 …who abstain from sex, except with those joined to them in the marriage bond, or (the captives) whom their right hands possess…

This verse permits the slave-owner to have sex with his slaves. See also Quran 70:29-30. The Quran is a small book, so if Allah used valuable space to repeat the same point four times, sex slavery must be very important to him.

 

Muhammad was relatively reticent on matters of human compassion and love.

Quran 4:24 And all married women (are forbidden unto you) save those (captives) whom your right hands possess.

Even sex with married slaves is permissible, a reference to war booty, of which slaves were a part.

Quran 8:69 But (now) enjoy what ye took in war, lawful and good.

The Muslim slave master may enjoy his “catch” because (according to verse 71) “Allah gave you mastery over them.”

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

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.” -Jesus

 

Breeding slaves based on fitness…

Quran 24:32 And marry those among you who are single and those who are fit among your male slaves and your female slaves…

 

Quran 2:178 O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female.

The message of this verse, which prescribes the rules of retaliation for murder, is that all humans are not created equal. The human value of a slave is less than that of a free person. And a woman’s worth is also distinguished from that of a man.

Leviticus 19:15 You shall do no injustice in court. You shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbor.

 

Quran 16:75 Allah sets forth the parable (of two men: one) a slave under the dominion of another; He has no power of any sort; and (the other) a man on whom we have bestowed goodly favors from ourselves, and he spends thereof (freely), privately and publicly: are the two equal? By no means; praise be to Allah.

Yet another confirmation that the slave is not equal to the master. In this case, it is plain that the slave owes his status to Allah’s will. According to Quran 16:71, the owner should be careful about insulting Allah by bestowing Allah’s gifts on slaves, those whom the god of Islam has not favored.

Romans 3:22 …the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction…

Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Ephesians 6:9 Masters, do the same to them, and stop your threatening, knowing that he who is both their Master and yours is in heaven, and that there is no partiality with him.

Our Daily Bread…Featuring Paul Beverly

Posted in Culture, Our Daily Bread with tags , , , , , , on April 8, 2018 by paulthepoke

apple_booksWhen did we stop wanting the best for each other?? It saddens me to see so many bashing our teachers. You know, the ones responsible for giving our children the best education they possibly can. Those doing all the complaining are mostly those that are never involved & apparently see teachers as babysitters. Guess what? If you want to pay them what child care providers make I’m sure they’d take it. They’d be raking in about $4,500 a week at least. The thing is, they are marching at the capital for school funding & support staff raises more so than for themselves. Why wouldn’t we want them to have the best tools available to teach our children? If you were told to go build a house with only a hammer, how well will you be able to do your job? Stop the hate & let’s support one another & love each other & want the best for everyone.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.

Have a loving week my friends!!!

Revelation: Laodicea, Christ’s Love

Posted in Revelation, Teshuvah/Repent with tags , , , , on April 8, 2018 by paulthepoke

Revelation 3:19 Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent.

Φιλέω/phileó is the Greek word for “love”. It means: love (of friendship), regard with affection, cherish; I kiss (Strong’s Concordance). Jesus regards believers with a warm and deep affinity. There is a sense of harmony.

Christ loves us so much He is willing to reprove and discipline.

Reprove or ἐλέγχω/elegcho can also be translated as: reprove, rebuke, discipline; expose, show to be guilty.

Discipline or παιδεύω/paideuó can mean: I discipline, educate, train; more severely: I chastise.

Jesus is willing to reveal and uncover your issues. He will find us all to be guilty. If necessary, we will be trained like a child. Heaven forbid in severe cases, Christ is willing to reprimand and censure the believer.

The theme of God’s discipline is consistent across time in Scripture. He is not being mean. Correction is for our own good. As a reminder, He loves us…

Deuteronomy 8:5 Thus you are to know in your heart that the LORD your God was disciplining you just as a man disciplines his son.

1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are being disciplined so that we will not be condemned with the world.

As a result of discipline, the believer should have a response.

…be zealous…This is the Greek word ζηλόω/zéloó. This is where we get the English word “zealous”. HELPS Word Studies provides an excellent definition and example.

Imitating the sound of boiling water; to bubble over because so boiling hot; figuratively to burn with zeal (J. Thayer); to be deeply committed to something, with the implication of accompanying desire; to be earnest, to set one’s heart on, to be completely intent upon.

Christ is imploring us to boil with passion for Him and His word.

 

…repent…This is not a mystical, spiritual word with a deeper theological meaning. The Greek word for repent is μετανοεο/metanoeo. It means: to change one’s mind for better, heartily to amend with abhorrence of one’s past sins. -Strong’s Concordance

The idea of repent in the Hebrew is teshuvah. Prepare and turn to God. People are called to turn away from their sin, repent, and change course. It is a time of inward reflection and sincere self-assessment. The goal is a change in lifestyle away from sin to obedience in God’s word. The Hebrew month of Elul initiates a 40-day period called Teshuvah.

https://paulthepoke.com/2016/08/28/teshuvah-2016/

 

One should be ashamed of their actions. There should be real conviction. Be honest. Right is right and wrong is wrong. We can all do better.

Consider the path you are taking. Is a change of heart and mind necessary?

 

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