Fallen From Grace

God placed before me an obstacle course of challenges to navigate last week. Two individuals felt it imperative to attack my Christian beliefs. As we observe in the world today, many people have fallen from grace while they adhere to the trending fads of social justice. Though I could have tweeted and emailed rhetorical answers, I go forth in the light of God, and write this message. I welcome a good challenge, though, for they are not aware of my history with the Lord.

I investigated a word that rattled in my brain, for there must be some form of justice in my chain of events. It occurred to me God is not just a god of love, but He is “just” – morally right and fair.

Two kinds of justice should be the most concerning for Christians: social and biblical. Much of present-day humanity confuse biblical justice when applying it to our current laws – social justice. So, let me give you some prominent examples.

BIBLICAL JUSTICE

God created all humans equal in His image and the blessing to be treated with fairness and justice. But, from the beginning of the Bible, mankind rejected God’s principles. Paul, the Apostle, warned of this blight. Biblical justice is only what is right in the sight of the Lord – not man’s laws.

“God will bring into judgment both the righteous and the wicked, for there will be a time for every activity, a time to judge every deed.” Ecclesiastes 3:17

Biblical justice occurs when we see people as God sees them. This spiritual freedom causes us to fully embrace the cause of Christ by joining the community and reconciling others to the Lord. We should not to participate in something for just our own benefit, but for the glory of God.

He calls us to confront evil and to care for the vulnerable, however many people back away from this for fear of losing their life. So, thirty-five million people live in slavery, of some form around the world, because there is no one to save them from the horror. Injustice is rampant, and very few take action to protect the innocent. The news recently broadcast the story of a seventy-seven-year-old man beaten and robbed for a couple of hundred dollars. Did any Christian come forward to help him? Christ’s followers are to “do justice” because Christ came proclaiming justice. It is He giving a voice to the voiceless!

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.” Psalm 82:3

SOCIAL JUSTICE

In matters of social justice, we become entrenched in who wronged whom, and who wronged whom first, in an undertone of anger. It spreads division and destruction, as is evident within our current U.S. government. Social division becomes based on the judgment of everyone who does not see things “our way.” The distinction Jesus taught was never about skin color, religious, ethnic, or cultural affiliations or political positions. Condemnation of people blind us to the forgiveness Christ offers us as sinners.

Also, consider this… how many social media lovers refuse to discuss religion with others? Why? Is it the fear of social injustice invoking us to hide underneath the covers? Let’s drop our apprehensions and model Christ’s truth and grace.

Social justice will never represent the law of God passed down by Moses. It is unrighteous and dehumanizing, and the moment we accept it as a way of life, we have fallen from grace.

CAN A CHRISTIAN DO GOOD IN A SOCIAL JUSTICE SYSTEM?

My answer is, “absolutely!” Upholding our dignity and biblical justice laws, we can become activists for the unborn, the elderly, marriage and family, and religious freedom. It’s not a glamorous feat, but it will quiet and humble the expression of biblical Christian justice.

May we all go out into the world with the spirit of our Lord! Be an inspiration for those who have fallen from grace. Your endeavors will be greatly rewarded!


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Which do you prefer? To be a lion or a sheep?

Life is a school where we learn and gather experience. This enables us to grow.

What have you learned from what is happening around you? I guess so many lessons.

As for me, I have learned and continue to learn a lot from what is happening around me.

I like to share a lesson I have learned about the irrelevance of size to some one who is determined and courageous. In pidgin English, we say, “Small no bi sick.” Bob Sanders tells us, “Size doesn’t matter. It’s all about the heart.”

This is what I want to talk about. You don’t have to be huge to be powerful. You don’t have to be a giant to become a champion. You don’t have to be a heavy weight to become a hero. What matters is how determined and courageous you are not how huge you are.

This truth about life has been repeated countless times. But, as a Greek proverb goes, “Repetition is the mother of learning.”

A small person can beat a huge one hands down in a dwell. Think for a moment of the tiny mosquito. Who is that General in the army who is not scared of it, tiny as it is? Many great men have been pulled down by this apparently insignificant creature.

What defines us humans is not our size but our values. Among these values is courage. Life challenges us to live courageously; to fight for what is ours else another takes it from us without blinking.

The era of survival of the fittest is not yet over. If you close your eyes, you are knocked down; and someone takes what belongs to you.

Benito Mussolini said something which is indelibly registered in my mind. Talking about the need to live courageously, he said, “It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep.”

Life demands courage. You cannot go far without courage to dare; without the courage to claim your right. Nobody will look at you, like you or feel sorry for you and hand to you what is your due. Instead, when you are soft. the world will swallow you.

With courage, many things are possible.

I see young people who display tremendous amounts of courage in the world around me. I doff my heart to them.

If God has not blessed you with a huge size, let courage and wisdom play the trick for you. Like David in the bible, fear not to face Goliath, the giant. With God fighting on your side, tiny as you may be, you will emerge victorious from the battle.

If you are passing through a precarious situation, let courage and wisdom feature among your weapons.

To courage and wisdom, add a good dose of persistence.

Winston Churchill left us many great and uplifting words but what he said about persistence particularly caught my attention:

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”

He insisted that we must never give up.

As Matt Brandi puts it, “Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.”

Calvin Coolidge made what I consider one of the greatest statements about persistence. Take time to ponder on his words:

” Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Persist. Stick to it. Hold fast to your dream. Jesus Christ was very clear on the necessity to hold fast to our dreams.

In Luke 9:26, he states: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and then looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

If you want to win, to enter the kingdom, and you should, pay attention to these words corroborated by Langston Hughes:

“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die,
Life is a broken winged bird,
That cannot fly.” (Langston Hughes).

When I see people sticking to their dreams, I feel very elated and encouraged because that is a sign they. Know what it takes to triumph in life.

As the old saying goes, “the winner never quits and the quitter never wins.”

No matter how dark the sky might look, stay and wait for the rain. A lot of times in life, things look like they are going wrong when in actual fact, they are going right.

As you go into your day everyday, always remember that we live in a highly competitive world; a world where the best prizes go to those with big, lion hearts not chicken hearts.

Be a lion even if you live only for one day rather than a sheep because you want to live for 100 years.

Always draw inspiration from the greatest man who ever lived, Jesus Christ. He was a man of unmatched courage. He knew the fate that awaited him; that he would go through untold suffering, and end in death, but he was ready for it. He did not coward out.

Because of his great courage he died at the tender age of 33 but what he accomplished, no other human being has or will ever do.

He knew his mission, lived for it unwaveringly, stood for the truth unto his death.

In courageously dying for the truth, in dying for what is right, in dying for a noble cause, many people have inscribed their names indelibly in history.

Are you pursuing any dream at this moment? Are you pursuing any cause, be courageous; be strong; be a lion; be as courageous as Jesus Christ. Your golden crown of victory awaits you.

Today’s daily prayer for your victory 56

Mighty and merciful God,
Ever powerful, living
And loving Father,
Thank you for this day,
Bright and shiny in some parts,
Dark and gloomy in others;
Thank you for the gift of prayer
Through which we are able to connect with you;
I pray for all my brothers and sisters all over the world,
Regardless of race, colour, language, geographical location or social status,
who will read this prayer;
That you bless their day,
O Father;
Fill it with happiness;
I pray that you should never depart from them;
That you accompany them wherever they go today;
Fill them with strength and courage to face the challenges of this day;
Make them strong in their faith in you;
Increase their love for you;
Turn their enemies into friends and supporters;
And the obstacles on their way into steppingstones to the things they want from life;
May those who set out to stand on their way end up opening the door for them;
And may they be warmly welcomed wherever they go;
Inspire them to know what to do today to make it their most successful day so far;
Make all who will read this leaders in their fields, or in their communities;
Make them role models who will inspire others to bring out the best in themselves.
Instill in them courage, self confidence and boldness as they interact with others today.
Generate in them a strong love for prayer,
And always answer their prayers;
Give them victory in all their battles;
We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord, Amen!

Inspirational material

If your spirits are low, find ways to raise them. Don’t allow them to stagnate in despondency.

There are many sources of inspiration which you can exploit. Take a close look at your our environment. You will be elated by the overflow of such material. Exploit it!

On a daily basis, maximize this abundance of opportunities and inspire and motivate yourself.

Prescribed actions will include reading of inspirational books, listening to inspirational programs on radio, and on the web; watching inspirational films; as well as listening to inspirational and motivational speakers.

Such actions cannot fail to make you feel differently.

in fact, they will not only raise your spirits but also create in you the zeal and courage to face and overcome the day’s challenges.

Today’s morning prayer 31

O King of Glory;
King of the universe;
No one has authority
On earth as in heaven
More than you;
As I start another day,
Wisdom calls
That I fall before you,
And beg you,
To be my guide
Throughout this day;
Your wonderful gift to me;
Touch my heart
With your divine hand,
And move me
To do only what is right;
Give me the courage
Not to be afraid of anything;
Grant me the strength
To do my duty;
The faith
To depend on you;
Because you are the way
To all that I need
Now and forever.
Amen!

Today’s morning prayer 23

Good Lord,
Right now,
I am confused;
Unsure of what
I have to do;
And having no help
As I deserve from
My collaborators;
But I have you
On my side;
Come to my aid, today;
Equip me;
Grant me the wisdom
I need,
And the courage,
And the skill
To do things in the way
I should;
All for the greater glory
Of your holy name;
Amen!

Faith will make you fine

Be bold my beloved;
That is imperative;
Be courageous;
Be confident;
Don’t be intimidated
By anyone;
Many people fall short
Of their potential,
Because they allow others
To intimidate them;
Why should you do that?
Dont you believe in God?
Isn’t your faith strong?
Faith gives courage;
And confidence;
It makes you bold;
Therefore, get faith;
That will make you fine.
Depend on God;
That is what I do.

Confidence, faith and courage

Have confidence in yourself;
Have faith in God;
Have courage to do the things you know are right;
And shun the things
You know are not right.
Have the audacity to dare;
Have the nerve to risk;
For without the courage
To risk,
You cannot achieve much
In this world;
Confidence, faith and courage
Are three powerful weapons;
With which you can achieve
Many things in life;
Without which
Not much can be achieved;
If you have confidence
In yourself,
You will go far;
Be confident
You have what it takes,
To achieve what you want,
Have faith in God,
That he will lead you through,
Have courage
To do what you should do,
You will surely make it.
And make it big.
Confidence, faith and courage.

The 8 Most Powerful Women in the Bible: Part One

What makes a woman powerful? Is it money, fame, a political position, or is it an Oscar-winning actress? Any of these attributes may be true in today’s society, but not in biblical days. Many excellent examples of strong, influential women grace the pages of the Bible, and I will review two a week for the next four Sundays. Our ladies, now two thousand years later, may find much wisdom in the biblical females. Use them as a guiding tool in your personal lives and to develop a relationship with God.

The last point I want to express is “behind every successful man is a strong and wise woman.” So true of these most powerful women in the Bible! I hope you enjoy my review.


MARY MAGDALENE

Mary of Magdala lived in a comfortable village of many Greeks in Galilee. They depicted her as a prostitute in town. According to scriptures, the single Mary Magdalene had a serious sickness caused by ‘seven demons,’ so many people assumed she was a fallen woman. But, in biblical times, certain illnesses such as schizophrenia, blindness, heart disease, and epilepsy were thought to be demonic. The Bible is unclear what her specific situation was, but bible scholars agree she was not a prostitute.

At some point in her life, Mary met Jesus in one of the many villages He ministered to, and He healed her afflictions. She became an immediate follower and a leader of a group of women who traveled with Jesus and helped to support His ministry. Only a strong, self-confident woman would be so brave to spread the Gospel in biblical days.

Jesus had two groups of people who accompanied Him – a group of men led by Peter the Apostle, and a group of women led by Mary Magdalene. However, according to religious tradition, females were meant to be seen and not heard, but Mary, in controversy, was very close to Jesus. Just as I wrote in the past, God chooses people to be His disciples that we least expect to reach this broken world. Mary was one such example. Her great faith earned special attention from Jesus.

On the day they crucified Jesus, Mary Magdalene, along with two others, stood at the base of His cross and watched Him breathe His last breath. Her heartbreak must have been unimaginable!  In the Bible passages of Luke 23 and Matthew 27, Mary prepared Jesus’ body for burial by making a spice anointment for the linens. She observed from afar as they placed His body in the rock tomb. Mary visited His burial site every day as if waiting… did she know something?

Image of Mary Magdalene courtesy of James Tissot Collection at Brooklyn Museum freebibleimages.org

In the early morning light, the following week, Mary visited the tomb. As she sat and prayed an earthquake erupted and forced the rock away from the entrance of the grave. Mary jumped up to look inside, and it was empty! Suddenly, God’s angel appeared before her.

“Woman, why are you weeping?”

With tears streaming down her face, Mary replied, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.”

Suddenly a voice from behind her spoke, “Mary! Why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

Not recognizing the face, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.” He responded with, “Mary!” It was Jesus standing before her.

She dropped to her knees, grabbed His hands, and said in Hebrew “Rabbouni!” Jesus told her not to hold on to Him because He had not ascended to the Father yet. Instead, He ordered her to go tell the disciples he was resurrected.

Mary Magdalene at Jesus’ resurrection courtesy of freebibleimages.org

Mary ran to them and announced, “I have seen the Lord.”

It is interesting that in a society where women were held in low regard, Christ showed Himself first to a woman. Mary loved her Lord, and she was His truest, faithful follower.

What made Mary Magdalene a powerful woman?

  • She taught us to live courageously and faithfully for Christ. Jesus set her free by eliminating her ‘demons,’ and instead of going about her own life, Mary worked for Him. Even when she faced difficult times, and people called her hopeless, she allowed Jesus to work through her.
  • Mary was more loyal to Jesus than His own disciples. They hid as Jesus was led to His crucifixion, but Mary stayed with Him. She also anointed His linen with spices.
  • Mary was given the honor of being the first person to see Jesus after His resurrection. She was very important to Christ, or He would not have revealed Himself to her before the other disciples. It may be safe to comment Jesus changed the way women were viewed in society.
  • Mary teaches us that even if our lives are in terrible disarray, it is never too late to find hope in God.
  • Peter, one of Jesus’ closest friends and His apostle, ostracized her work as a disciple. In the Gospel of Thomas, he said, “Let Mary leave us, for women are not worthy of the Life,” but her strength of character and love of God gave her the courage to move forward. Today, she is often called the first woman evangelist.

What happened to Mary Magdalene after Jesus’ resurrection? Much controversy exists about this topic. One theory suggests fourteen years after the crucifixion, she was put into a boat by Jews and set adrift without sails or oars. The boat landed in southern France where she lived in solitude in a cave.

Another theory claims she accompanied John to Ephesus, where she died and was buried. Some say she evangelized Provence, France during her last thirty years.

A recent book titled The Lost Gospel even claims Mary and Jesus were secretly married and had two children, but someone’s imagination was a little overextended.

Today, in the Russian Orthodox church, they know her as the patroness of sinners and penitent women. One of the world’s best-known monuments is the Church of Mary Magdalene in East Jerusalem.


HANNAH

Image of Hannah courtesy of Moody Publishers and freebibleimages.org

Hannah is an inspiring and wonderful story of humanity and all its flaws. No one is the leading character in the story of their own life.

Elkanah lived in the Ephraim hills of a small town thirteen miles to the northeast of Jerusalem. He practiced polygamy through his Levite religion. Hannah was his first wife, and he adored and loved her, doting on her every need. But, she was infertile, and his family name needed to be honored with children, so he married another woman. Peninnah was envious of the love Elkanah had for Hannah. She cruelly taunted Hannah to tears each time she gave birth to their ten sons, and Hannah lost her sense of appetite.

One day, Hannah traveled to the sanctuary, and she spoke to the priest about her inability to have children. Her soul was crushed as the tears flowed down her lovely face. She dropped to her knees before the altar and prayed.

“Oh, God-of-the-Angel-Armies, if you’ll take a good, hard look at my pain, if you’ll quit neglecting me and go into action for me by giving me a son, I’ll give him completely, unreservedly to you. I’ll set him apart for a life of holy discipline.”

Before the year was out, Hannah conceived and gave birth to a son named Samuel. She told Elkanah she asked God for this son. Hannah also explained when the child was weaned, she would present him before God, where he would remain forever. He agreed with her plans.

Image courtesy of freebibleimages.org

The day arrived when Samuel was no longer dependent on Hannah for nutrition. She took him to Shiloh along with a butchered bull, flour, and wine and presented him to the priest, Eli. “I prayed for this child, and God gave me what I asked for. And now I have dedicated him to God. He’s dedicated to God for life.”

Hannah and Elkanah dedicated their lives to God as they watched their son grow up among the priests. Hannah made Samuel little white robes cut to his size, and they took them to him. Eli often said a prayer over her on those visits, “God give you children to replace this child you have dedicated to God.” His blessings and prayers were heard as Hannah and Elkanah had three more sons and a daughter.

Today, we acknowledge Samuel as a prophet by Jews, Christians, and Muslims, an equal to Moses. He wrote the story of his life, including his mother, Hannah, in the Book of Samuel.

What made Hannah a powerful woman?

  • Hannah’s main attribute was perseverance. She prayed for many years for God to give her a child. She had faith in the power of the Lord and never doubted He would answer her prayers. Hannah teaches us never to give up, even when we think something is impossible. Her faithfulness to the Lord bled into her son, who became a great man.
  • Her boldness, strength, and devotion were like no other for she was a mother who gave up her first-born to the Lord. I’m sure most parents would rethink this decision. But, Hannah recognized all things are God’s possessions, even our children. He honors parents with children as merely a gift, a temporary gift. We are to mold them in the ways of the Lord as a blessing to all nations. In Hannah’s case, because she fulfilled her promise to God, He blessed her with a legacy of five more children.
  • Hannah’s power is also demonstrated through a promise which she kept to God. Her integrity is in the commitment of handing her child over to God. She never went back on her word, for if she did, she might never have conceived any more children. God rewards us for loyalty.

Thank you, Hannah, for teaching us we must trust in the Lord in everything in our lives. Life is not always a bowl of cherries, but with persistent prayer, miracles can and will happen. Dedication to the Master who created us, along with integrity, will reap you blessings beyond your wildest imagination.

Hannah is buried in the Tomb of Samuel in the West bank, beside her son Samuel, on top of a steep hill just north of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Ramot.

We hope you enjoyed Part One and will return next Sunday for two more powerful women in the Bible.


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