May the peace of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ be upon you. On June 17, the world experienced yet another hate crime in the city of Charleston, South Carolina. As the result of a senseless act of violence, nine lives are no longer physically with us - children are left without a father, mother and or brother. Wives are planning a burial of a loved one and are struggling to grapple with an immense sense of lost. A sibling of the deceased is working to bring the surviving spouse (who works out of the country on assignment) back home to bury and mourn his loved one. Many youth are questioning if they or their loved ones are the next targets of hateful deeds. A church is mourning the death of its pastor and a people nationwide are calling for peace and an end to hate crimes and evil. The perpetrator has been caught; yet, hatred and evil still remain on the run to move freely into those who will house/feed them. So, I raise this question - will you allow evil a place to dwell or allow love to make no room for sin?
Today. I pray for the families and loved ones of those men and women who were slain in historic (Mother) Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. The slain transitioned this realm while declaring/studying God's Word. So, I am ever convinced that the word of God is still as powerful today than it ever was despite the fact that these beloved died in a church. The way or place that we die does not preclude/dim the beautiful light of lives well lived. These persons died on holy ground worshiping their Saviour who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we can ask or imagine; and, their souls returned to their Creator. So, we stand on the Word of God and fear not those who can harm the body but cannot harm the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28).
Thus, I say, "Live forever with God Rev. Clementa Pinckney (Age: 41), Cynthia Hurd(54), Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45), Tywanza Sanders(26), Ethel Lance (70), Susie Jackson (87), Rev. DePayne Middle-Doctor (49), Rev. Daniel Simmons (74), and Myra Thompson (59). Take your rest." May justice come swiftly. May God comfort all who mourn and give peace to our souls. God is still with us as God is with you. Thanks be to God.
Easter People, I greet you in the Name of our Resurrected Lord. Christ has died. Christ is Risen. Christ will come again. In a conversation with the bereaved sister of Lazarus (Martha), Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, 26and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" I invite us to ask ourselves this same question and to wrestle with our response. Who is God and in what ways do our beliefs inform our actions? God is not dead and because He lives in the words of Bill and Gloria Gaither, I/we can face tomorrow. Because He lives all fear is gone and because I know who holds the future life is worth the living just to know He lives. Will you believe this? Thanks be to God.
Let us pray,
Thank You Lord for Your Resurrection Power. Your Name is love and Love lifted you from the grave. Preserve us by the power of Your resurrecting love. Teach us the power of these words. Show us what it means to live again in You. Let Thy will be done in every home, heart, and land. In Jesus' Name, we pray. Amen.
It is Good Friday. This commemorates Jesus' crucifixion for the sins of the world. Jesus died on a cross between two criminals as an innocent man. He watched his disciples abandon him, his friends deny him, his enemies celebrate his suffering and his mother weep. Yet, he was God. He didn't remove himself from the suffering of the world. He endured it so that he could overcome it. Jesus hung on a cross and accepted the charges - "King of the Jews." He was a threat to the political regime of the day and welded great public influence. If he was the King, then the authority of the "true king" was questioned for many. But, Jesus was and is indeed the King of the world and will forever challenge the power and authority of all who exalt themselves above God's will and power. Jesus died on that cross. Superman died. The Hero died. Why? So that ultimately WE could live. Jesus is alive today so that we can understand what it means to be fully alive. So our focus today is JESUS. How do we live fully alive and thankful for the love of Christ? Thanks be to God!
Let us pray,
Thank You for Your love, O Lord. We praise Your Holy Name. We exalt You and live in You. Teach us how to overcome the world as You have overcome all things. Let Thy will be done in us and in the world. We trust You. We love You and we appreciate this moment. In Jesus' Name, we pray. Amen.
This is the day of the Lord! May the peace of the Lord be upon us. Our focus today is JOY. John 16: 22 says: So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you. On that day you will ask nothing of me. Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete. Isn't this good news? God will transform our temporary pain into eternal joy in his Name. Where has God placed JOY in you? To whom shall God send you to bring good news? Speak in God's Name and remember that the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Let us pray,
God we love and thank You for your presence in our lives and in the world. We lift before You every grieving family and person in need. Transform all by the power of Your Holy Spirit. Infuse is with Your joy, peace, comfort and strength. We trust in You. We belong to You and we thank You for the assurances of your promises. Let Thy will be done. In Jesus' Name, we pray.
The Lord is with us! God is for us and has come into this dimension to usher us into the next dimension with great power and might. It is Holy Week. It marks Jesus' journey to the resurrection by way of the cross. It is an amazing week. Today, our focus is on OVERCOMING REJECTION. Jesus was tortured by many who claimed to love him. He was rejected by a disciple, denied by another and abandoned by most when arrested on trumped up charges. Who has rejected you? How did you feel? What strength has God offered you in this moment to overcome rejection? Who must be forgiven? Who must be extended grace, not necessarily friendship? God teaches us how to overcome rejection and all pain that accompanies it. God is healing you in this present moment. Those memories can not prevent your "stand up again/resurrection" moment. You shall live again because Christ lives. The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed through Christ Jesus (Romans 8:18). Worship the Lord!
Let us pray,
Lord, we thank and praise Your Holy Name. Thank You for this new day filled with all that we need to be fruitful and effective. We thank You for allowing us to serve You and Your people. Heal, save and deliver all in need this day according to your will. We praise You for the power of Your presence and for enabling us to overcome all things, even rejection. Praise be to God. Amen.