The Sweet Love of Jesus

Wrap us in your daily love to behold

Shout to us it’s limitless width and breadth

Jesus show your love’s worth more than pure gold

And keeps us from fearing our earthly death

 

Your love’s from everlasting to everlasting

We experience it through your great grace

You show sweet love through our prayer and fasting

When you answer we look upon your face

 

Prompting us to tell about your sweetness

Showing that in you there is no weakness

 

Hiding in the Light: A Review

Rifqa Bary’s memoir Hiding in the Light (a New York Times Bestseller) chronicles her teenage conversion to Christianity from Islam. It’s a poignant tribute to the power of God and to the power of Christian testimony. Bary, as a young child, emigrated from Sri Lanka to the United States with her family. Before leaving Sri Lanka, Bary suffered a permanent loss of vision in one eye. Furthermore, in her memoir she details the impact of sexual abuse from a relative. After losing her vision and her “honor” because of the sexual abuse, she felt little love from her family. When she and her family moved to New York City, she developed a curiosity about Christian prayer and the use of the word “Amen.” From a young age, she sensed the presence of God in her life, knowing that He was always there. After 9/11, practicing Islam was not easy in New York City. Her family then located to Ohio, near Columbus. While in middle school, she was introduced to Christianity. She began to have a relationship  with Jesus Christ, later accepting Him as her savior. She was baptized years later, unbeknownst to her family. After hiding her conversion for many years, her family was informed of her Christian activities. Bary states that her father threatened to kill her (“honor killing”) if she did not renounce Christianity. Renunciation was not an option. While running away during the night, Bary with the help of Christian acquaintances absconded to Florida. Weeks later, a media frenzy surrounded her escape as the alleged threat to kill her became known. Her dependency/ criminal case (it’s against the law for a minor to run away) as well as her illegal immigration status received international coverage that pitted Christians against Muslims. Bary, seventeen years of age, was placed in foster care and moved from home to home for security reasons. In the end,  when Bary turned eighteen, she was allowed to become free from her parents. She received her Green Card, allowing her to legally stay in the United States (she is currently on the path to citizenship by her twenty-third birthday next month). At no time did Bary’s family admit any of the allegations against them.

Bary’s courage in the face of both adversity and danger is deeply moving. Although she was afraid, fear did not immobilize her. Bary desired to know the love of God and His providence in spite of the danger of turning toward Christianity. Through every step of her relationship with Christ, God led her to safety. Meeting all the God ordained people helped Bary survive crisis after crisis. She never lost her faith in Jesus. Prayer  and Bible study became the most effective tools to get her through all of the difficulties that lay ahead. The hand of God was upon her from the beginning of her questioning of Islam and throughout her conversion and later ordeal. She realized that the Lord orders the steps of a righteous man or woman (Psalm 37:23). Moreover, God did not give her a spirit of fear, but of love, power, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).image

This memoir is respectful to Muslims and it appears to be authentic. Bary never maligns Muslims; she, however, boldly states her position about the potency of Christ. From my own personal relationship with the Lord, I know that God works everything out according to the counsel of His own will ( Ephesians 1:11). Some agnostics or atheists may question the authenticity of this memoir, but my visceral response says it’s true. God loves His children, and he sometimes takes us to the brink before deliverance comes. Why would someone risk her life for a lie? Why would someone give up her family and her culture for a lie?

This memoir brought tears to my eyes. Seeing a steadfast Christian woman who made a life changing decision knowing the longterm consequences of family alienation makes me have a stronger commitment to Christ. Many of us come from a country in which we have religious freedom. We suffer little if any Christian persecution, yet we are afraid to share our faith. Most of us never will endure trauma and adversity like that of Bary’s. This memoir makes me desire a greater prayer life, and to be used to a greater degree.

Currently, Bary is in hiding, and has no contact with her biological family. She has forgiven her family, and continues to allow God to use her. God has restored her in manifold ways. She truly knows no weapon formed against her shall prosper (Isaiah 54:17). I pray that you read her book, and that it will have an impact on your life. Amen!!

For Personal Study: Read Romans 10. God bless you.

Andraé Crouch’s Jesus is the Answer

Jesus is the Answer

by Andraé Crouch

Chorus

Jesus is the answer, for the world today,
Above Him there’s no other,
Jesus is the way.3x
Verse One:
If you have some questions
In the corners of your mind,
Traces of discouragement,
The peace you cannot find,
Reflections of your past,
Seem to face you everyday,
But this one thing I do know,
That Jesus is the way.

Verse Two:
I know you’ve got mountains,
That you think you cannot climb,
I know your skies are dark,
You think the sun won’t shine,
But in case you don’t know,
That the word of God is true,
Everything he’s promised,
He will do it for you.
Chorus:
Jesus is the Answer, for the world today,
Above Him there’s no other,
Jesus is the way.3x

********************************************************************

Once again, no words can express the horrific violence in our country. People are hurting deeply in so many ways. Families need our support. We as both educators and parents need to regularly take time out to have discussions with our children about race matters. If we do not teach our children to love, who will? Violence is never the answer. Jesus Christ is THE ANSWER. When I was a young child, “Jesus is the Answer” was one of my favorite songs. It still is today! I have it on my playlist and it ministers to my soul whenever I play it. Although Andraé Crouch is no longer with us, his music still lives in my heart. How can we let people know that JESUS is the answer? What are some scriptures that we can use to generate excitement about Christ? Many people get excited about sports, and about celebrities; why not encourage people to get excited about Christ! The Queen of Sheba can be our template for gauging excitement about Jesus, our King!

When the Queen of Sheba met Solomon, she questioned him thoroughly to see if everything she heard about him was true. Then, she exclaimed that everything that she heard about his wisdom and achievements was indeed true. She did not believe it until she saw his splendor and wisdom with her own eyes. Furthermore, she says that what she now sees is far above what she was told. Further opining, the Queen of Sheba says to Solomon that it is a privilege for his officials to listen to him daily. She then blessed him abundantly with gold, spices, and precious jewels. He in turn blessed her with gifts of greater value that what she had given him. Like the Queen of Sheba,  let’s talk about Jesus, the King of Kings, the way the Queen talked about King Solomon (2 Chronicles 9: 1-12). Let’s talk to others about the wisdom of God, His many blessings, and His acts of kindness. It is a privilege to sit at Jesus’ feet to learn from Him. Watch and see the blessings (in many forms) that will follow as a result of blessing Christ through sharing his word.  Moreover, let’s pray that we will have a fresh encounter with Jesus Christ, that He will open the eyes of our hearts ( Ephesians 1:18) so that we “Will know Him in the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of his suffering.”(Philippians 3:20).

Let’s Pray: Jesus we praise you for your boundless mercies, for we thank you that they are new every morning. We thank you for your faithfulness. You are the lily of our valleys, and we will praise you forevermore. Lord, please help us to develop an intimate relationship with you. Please help us to keep our minds stayed on you so that you will keep us in perfect peace. We need you now more than ever. We ask that you comfort the families that have lost loved ones. We ask that you heal their minds and their hearts, and that you bring us all together as one. There is nothing too hard for you. We know that you have a plan for all of our lives, a plan to give us a hope and a future. We cast ALL of our cares upon you because you care for us. We ask that we open our mouths to encourage people to believe in you. Open the eyes of our hearts so that we see the far exceeding riches of your glory. You are the answer for the world today. Above you there’s no other, for you are the way. We thank you and we praise you in advance for all the blessings to come. In Jesus’ name we pray with thanksgiving  always. Amen.

For reflection and encouragement, please read Matthew 6:19-34.

Do you have a favorite Christian song? Please share it. God bless you.

Here is a link to another favorite.

http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/a/andrae_crouch/take_me_back.html

 

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.