Sounding the Trumpet!

We live in a rapidly changing society. We face terrorism, moral decline, and rampant violence. Should we resign ourselves to these societal ills, or should be act in response to these intimidating problems? What should Christianity’s response be? Often we Christians do not want to seem pushy regarding our values and our faith, but the world is pushy toward its values onto the Christian world. Society trumpets values that do not speak for everyone, but we Christians lack boldness when telling others about Jesus. On June 28, 2016, dozens lost their lives because of three suicide bombers. The greatest tragedy, however, is that some of them may not have known Jesus before leaving this earth. We cannot change the hearts of people, but God can! He can use us to sound the trumpet, to let people know that He is coming back for those who know him.

We should be ever more committed to sharing his word. The Bible tells us to remember that “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins (James 5:20).” We must become fishers of men! We must work fervently to preach the good news of Jesus Christ. Our fervency is about giving people hope in a wicked world. Romans 10:14 says, “But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent?” The Christian mission is to preach the good news – death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Using the theme of Finding Dory, we must rescue, rehabilitate, and release souls so that they are equipped to do the same. I am reminded about a time in which I was in a car accident. When the fire department of the city of Philadelphia rescued me, I was wearing a tee-shirt that had a firemen’s logo in the upper left corner. On the back it had a picture of a fireman running into a burning building saving lives without getting harmed. The fireman asked me, “Is someone in your family a fireman?” I said, “No. I rescue people from the flames of hell.” How ironic it was to have that shirt on at an opportune moment to be a witness for Jesus Christ!image

We often get stuck on teaching only morality, but the Gospel is about knowing Jesus as one’s savior. Morality comes after accepting Christ. Christianity is about saving lives from the second death. For the Bible in Revelations 20:12-15 says,”I saw the dead, both great and small, standing before God’s throne. And the books were opened, including the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to what they had done, as recorded in the books….And all were judged according to their deeds. Then death and the grave were thrown into the lake of fire. This lake of fire is the second death. And anyone whose name was not found recorded in the Book of Life was thrown into the lake of fire.”

Let’s be colaborers with Christ, working feverishly for the salvation of others. For the Bible says that the night is coming when no man can work (John 9:4). Lastly, the Bible says, “How beautiful are the feet” of those who preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ (Romans 10:15). My goal is not to scare anyone into accepting Christianity, but to help others begin to believe in His name, and to trust in Him.

If you are reading this and you not a Christian, please answer the call of Christ. Ask God to forgive you of your sins. For the Bible says, “If you confess your sins, He is faithful and just to forgive you and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).” Let today be a day of new beginnings.

For further reflection and edification, read 1 Thessalonians 4.

Prayer: God, you are worthy to be praised. Please bless the readers of this post and help us to come into a deeper relationship with you, and unabashedly share the good news of Jesus Christ! In Jesus name we thank you, and praise you for what you will do in our lives. Amen!

Ode to Mothers

A Mother’s worth is as pure gold

She teaches her children great lessons

With grace as her babies unfold

But it’s never with oppression

It’s with love that she takes action

For one day they will swiftly fly

With wings that will gain great traction

and soar to great heights in the sky

So that she as nurturer will smile

knowing that one day she will leave

And her children will ponder her style

With lovely thoughts that help them grieve

And memories that soothe soul’s sorrows

Will make her children one day say

That she prepared them for tomorrow

To celebrate her love like Mother’s Day

 

Deirdre M. DeLoatch

 

This poem is dedicated to those whose mothers have passed away. I know Mother’s Day was last month, but I wanted to write it then, but I didn’t finish my thoughts. My sister’s colleague just lost her mom in a tragic car accident because of a drunk driver. I wrote this because our mothers are everything to us, like her mother was to her. Some of our mothers are with the Lord in heaven. Those of us who are fortunate, may still have them with us. We have them here for a season, but we never know when their day will be their last. Let’s celebrate everyday with them and honor them for their personal sacrifice in helping us become what and whom we are today. The Bible says to honor thy mother and thy father for your days will be long (Exodus 20:12).

For personal reflection read one of the most tender stories about Ruth and Naomi. It epitomizes the love between a “mother” and daughter, although they were in- laws. Be blessed by this.

Read Ruth 1-4.

 

 

Living Water

Living Water

Jesus is the living water for the world
Drink you who thirst for His purifying love
His water washes and makes us clean pearls
And His water calls us like a gentle dove

Jesus’ calming water sustains precious life
His undulating water floods our needy souls
His gentle ocean current cleanses life’s strife
Beckoning us to come not in part but in whole

His power fills the body and the earth
Redeems the world and ushers life anew
Taste His living water as new life is birthed
Bathe in His abundant fresh morning dew

Taste and see that His water is indeed sweet
For His arm is not too short to meet and greet

Deirdre M. DeLoatch

Read John 4 for further study. Jesus says, ” Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

Christianity Loves: The Antidote to Hate

We live in a world in which violence has become commonplace, when people’s first line of defense to resolve conflict is violence. Like most people, my heart is grieved about the Orlando mass shooting. My best friend, Anjiro lives in Orlando with her family.  Although she was not directly affected by the tragedy, she has to live in a city in which fear may threaten to overwhelm its citizens and in which greater scrutiny and greater security measures will be implemented. My first thought was to reach out to her and let her know that my prayers go out to her and to the Orlando community. Affected people want to know that others care. They want to know that we stand in unity with them and against senseless violence.  The only antidote to violence is love and respect. Webster’s Dictionary defines respect as a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.  Love is defined as a strong feeling of affection rising from kinship or close friendship. Love, however is difficult when neither respect nor admiration is present. We can then turn to the Bible for answers.  The Bible says that “Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices when the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance (1 Corinthians 13:4-7).”  Violence, however, can be the result of  intolerance, lack of love, or the result of negative life experience, but it can be overcome with love through the help of Jesus.

Many of us have both family and friends living lifestyles contrary to Christian doctrine, but we love them in spite of these differences. We ourselves, even as Christians, engage in behaviors contrary to the word of God, yet we want love and acceptance. We have to learn tolerance for behaviors and attitudes that are contrary to our own.  We can not change anyone, but ourselves. I am not saying that everyone must accept behaviors with which one has a sharp philosophical and or religious disagreement. I am saying, however, that we have to learn to love others and solve conflict by talking about the things that are disturbing to us. Start a conversation about the differences and show love and respect. The Bible says to be ready to give an answer to anyone that asks for the reason for the hope that lies within you, but do it with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).

The best way to promote love, is to teach it. As parents, we must teach our children to have respect for others. Parents must practice love toward others. Children tend to repeat the behaviors that they see practiced around them. But how do we teach our children, what we do not practice?  Some parents teach their children to fight as a means of resolving conflict, resulting in perpetual violence throughout the world. Moreover, some parents abuse their children repeatedly when resolving conflict.  I  am not saying that one should never spank her kids, but that we must be cognizant of the long-term effect of exposure to violence. Educating ourselves and asking the Lord to help us show love and mercy to everyone is a start. None of us is perfect and without sin. Both patience and kindness are essential to making the world a better place. Demagoguery will not promote love, but hatred. How can we promote the cause of Christ if we are hatemongers?

Love in Action

Comforting other when they are hurting, in spite of our differences in culture or values, helps us show love and respect toward others. Today, my friend Merlene informed me of a quote from a nineteenth century Christian, Carl Heinrich Von Bogatzky and paraphrased by Corrie Ten Boom that says, “When God designs his people for extraordinary trials, He prepares them by extraordinary comforts.” But what happens when people suffer catastrophically without knowing Jesus Christ as their savior? What happens when they do not have anyone to turn to during their time of need? When people suffer physically and emotionally, what should our response be as Christians, as human beings? How do we reach out to believers and unbelievers during their time of need? We do not want to sound trite, by telling them that everything will be okay. Losing loved ones and friends can be devastating. Sometimes we can offer sincere prayers, kind words, cooked food, sympathy cards, biblical scriptures, and our company. Sometimes a hug comforts. Let’s not be afraid to experience difficulties because we can then comfort others with the comforts we have received. Today, be the extraordinary comfort that someone needs.

Live a life worthy of the calling of Jesus Christ, “making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love (Ephesians 4:2).”

For edification read Ephesians 4.

 

Prayer Ministry Update and Reflection

imagePrayer is the simplest, yet often the most difficult action that we can take to alleviate suffering. As the hymn says, “What a friend we have in Jesus,/ All our sins and griefs to bear! /What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer! /O what peace we often forfeit, /O what needless pain we bear, /All because we do not carry/ Everything to God in prayer. Why worry? Why fret? Let God be the first avenue of defense. We must realize that apart from Christ we can do nothing (John 15:5). It is God who works in us both to will and to do according to His good pleasure (Phillipians 2:13). All we have to do is ask God, (according to His will), believe that He will do it (John 15:7)  and thank and praise Him in advance of the answer (Phillipians 4:6).

Earlier this year, I along with eight other women became part of a prayer ministry. The Lord placed us on the heart of Denyse, the leader of this fledgling ministry. We each started interceding for someone in our group, while we read Mark Batterson’s Draw the Circle. After we prayed for forty consecutive days,  we met at a cafe to discuss the effects of our prayer circle. Although everyone was not in attendance, we enjoyed sharing the word of God while discussing His blessings. During our next forty day prayer challenge, we agreed to add more women go the group and to read Warren Wiersbe’s book, On Being a Servant of God and Rachel Hickson’s Run Your Race, a forty day devotional. Our goal is to allow the Lord to work in our lives, as we dedicate ourselves to Him in service, in prayer, and in study of His word.

During the initial forty days, I had many prayer requests including the following: blood pressure and heart rate lowering, success with my students on various projects, improved hair care, time management, salvation and spiritual growth and development for family, friends, students, and colleagues, and healing for both my sister, her daughter, and for my daughter, Latoya. The leader of the ministry, prayed for me daily. God heard our prayers. During the last four months, I have become more focused on the word of God, service, and on prayer. My daughter and I have weekly Bible studies, from which we both have gained much. The Bible studies are truly from the Lord. Every week she asks, “When are we having Bible study?” Moreover, my students excelled academically regarding their Shakespeare performances. My blood pressure and my heart rate are SIGNIFICANTLY lower. Both are regularly as low as they were thirty years ago. Now that is a miracle! My sister’s health has improved. I have accomplished many tasks both professionally and personally with great time management. Although I have prayed for many people for both their personal and spiritual growth, I trust in God that He has heard these prayers.

During this next prayer challenge, I am committed to praying for one of the women as well as for my friends, my family, my daughter, my colleagues, my church’s leadership, and for missionaries. I am believing God for great blessings. I know that there is nothing too hard for God. I will show my faith by giving Him my most challenging problems and thanking and praising Him in advance of the answer.

Reflections on Wiersbe’s On Being A Servant of God

imagePrayer is the engine that drives the body of Christ (the church). In order to have an effective clean engine, we must have compassionate hearts toward people, have a personal relationship with God, and become channels of God’s resources so that He is glorified. We see these ideas exemplified in Wiersbe’s book. Ministry, Wiersbe says, “Takes place when divine resources meet human needs through loving channels to the glory of God.” He lets the ministry worker know that ministry is difficult, but that we must press forward. We may never get either public or private praise, but God knows the thoughts and the intents of the heart. Situations and people are difficult, but in order to work through these situations and with people, we must continually devote ourselves to prayer and to the study of God’s word and other books that enrich our lives and increase our knowledge. Prayer, service, and study all prepare us for the next set of challenges.

Reflections on Hickson’s Run Your Race

imageGod compels us in His word to run the race with perseverance, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and the finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2) and serving as a good Christian athlete competing according to the rules while enduring great hardship (2 Timothy 2:5). Rachel Hickson’s devotional exhorts us to face our lives with courage, purity, passion, and sacrifice, because we, like our biblical heroes, are dedicated and destined to be God’s champions. Each week, for forty days, there is a set of challenges and prayers to help us in our dedication to fulfill the calling of God on our lives.

Start a prayer ministry (women with women and men with men). Read and study the Bible daily, and pray for you to be God’s hand extended. Watch and see the blessings in and through your life start to flow. If you do not know Christ, invite Him into your heart and ask Him to forgive you of your sins. Then allow Him to do the work within your life.

For spiritual growth and development read: Hebrews 11 and Proverbs 3.