Our Daily Bread’s Discovery House Releases ‘Our Help: Devotions on Struggle, Victory, Legacy’ (Including 45 African-American Authors)!

BOOK GIVEAWAY!

Hello World,

While black history is relevant every day of every year, it is during Black History Month that black people can truly reflect on the fact that we’ve come a mighty long way! My favorite time to reflect on that fact is when I spend my time alone with the Lord each morning! It is during those times with the Lord that I journal about what is going on with me and others as it relates to my personal relationship with God, read Christian materials and ponder what message God is trying to communicate to me through them and pray and thank God for what is behind and what is ahead. There have been many, many books that I have read during my quiet time and I’m always looking for more! And it is especially helpful and meaningful when I can get my hands on materials that speak to my heritage.

If that is true for you too, I’m sure you will be glad to know that Our Daily Bread Ministries, the bedrock company for devotional materials in the country if not the world, through it’s Discovery House has released Our Help: Devotions on Struggle, Victory, Legacy from Editors Joyce Dinkins and Diane Proctor-Reeder! 

Below is a description of Our Help featuring a cover illustrated by Coretta Scott King Book Awards medalist Jan Spivey Gilchrist and including entries from more than 45 black authors:

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation.
I will be honored throughout the world.” –Psalm 46:10 NLT

God has given us an open invitation to spend time in His presence, reflecting on His power and majesty and our faith in Jesus Christ. And every time we accept this opportunity to go before His throne, we grow stronger in our relationship with the One who knows us better than we know ourselves.

Our Help presents a variety of short devotions and feature articles, sprinkled with creative poetry and inspiring thoughts that offer hope and encouragement as we endeavor to do God’s will.
Speaking to the hearts of those in ministry, this engaging devotional includes:

> A mosaic of stories from multiple generations
> Reflection questions and suggested Bible readings
> A Scripture index and resources for personal or small-group use

Our Help invites us to reflect on God’s wisdom that’s available for every adversity; to remember the victories He has already provided; and to realize the hopeful future He gives to all generations that rely on Him.

Click on THIS LINK to read a sample!

Also, below is a video of a few of the authors speaking about their entries:

AND if you are interested in receiving a FREE HARDCOVER copy of Our Help: Devotions on Struggle, Victory, Legacy, leave a comment including a little known black history fact. The person who has the most interesting black history fact (in my opinion) will receive a free book from me. That means that you have to come back to the blog after you’ve commented so that I can tell you to e-mail your mailing address to me 🙂 .

Any thoughts?

Why Pastor John Gray & His Wife May Not Be Wrong to Host A Relationship Conference in February After Cheating Rumors & Divorce Discussions…

UPDATE: The relationship conference has been moved to September 12-14, 2019....

Hello World,

It was a exactly a year ago that Pastor John Gray got caught up in a controversy regarding relationships. R&B star Ciara faced backlash from single ladies simply because of a snippet of a Pastor John Gray sermon that she tweeted. Remember this tweet below?

Ciara tweeted a snippet of Gray’s sermon from the 2016 I Am Woman Conference in St. Louis, Missouri. I felt it was kind of unfair to blame Gray for something he said in 2016 that Ciara tweeted in 2018, and I also didn’t think Ciara’s message of #LevelUp was wrong considering all that she went through to get where she is today. And if you want to read that entire post, click on “Why Ciara & Pastor John Gray Are Right To Advise Single Ladies to Level Up…”

But now, a year after that January 2018 tweet, Pastor John Gray is caught up in another controversy regarding relationships. Relentless Church recently posted on Facebook that Gray along with his wife First Lady Aventer Gray will be hosting a relationship conference entitled “Align 19” which will be held at their church Relentless Church in Greenville, SC on Feb. 7-9. UPDATE: The date has been changed to Sept. 12-14.

This announcement has folk talking again because The Christian Post and other news outlets reported that Gray and his wife admitted that they had considered divorce for two years, which he said on a YouTube video from the summer of 2018. From The Christian Post:

“What they didn’t see is that for the last two years we weren’t sure if we would even make it. This is what the people saw,” he said while fake smiling, “but they didn’t see the tears at night. They didn’t see the times when one of us was sleeping on the couch because the argument. We had to keep smiling because even though we were struggling and even though I was failing as a husband, I was already in front of the people and the people can’t receive my brokenness because where do leaders go when they bleed? Because sheep don’t do well with blood so I had to bleed alone,” Gray said.

In that same video, his wife spoke about a “strange woman”  whom affected their marriage. From The Christian Post:

“I prayed for them and him and then the devil loses,” she said to applause. “’Cause what’s not gonna happen is you tell me that I’m gonna lose my purpose because somebody whispered to a 16-year-old John? The devil is a liar. I’m staying with my husband and you can go back to the pits of Hell where you came from.

She added, “So you want me to leave my husband because you spoke to the 16-year-old that couldn’t get a date? And he listened. So I’m supposed to leave my husband because you spoke to a place of brokenness that had not yet been submitted back to the Father? But because I know the tricks of the enemy and I’m learning them every day, I can stand here in boldness for everybody that tried to sneak in, thank you, because I got closer to God because of it. I got in that word … come on devil, you don’t want it with me.”

As a result of these revelations regarding their near divorce and this “strange woman,” some think Grays do not need to be hosting a relationship conference. And given the fact that Pastor Gray could have been contemplating divorce and allegedly cavorting with a “strange woman” while giving relationship advice to women at the 2016 I Am Woman Conference, he could very well be a hypocrite. I must say those were my initial conclusions as well.

But then, I started thinking about the fact that the Grays will be the hosts of the conferences but are not billed as speakers (as least according to the flyer anyway). I don’t know about you but when I need help in a particular area, I gather as many experts in that area that I can find and try to learn from them. That expertise may be found within the pages of a book. I may attend a conference or two. I may get counseling. I try to align myself with people who have what I want so that I can get what they have.

As far as the speakers at the Align relationship conference are concerned, Kirk and Tammy Franklin have been married for 23 years and although they have faced some challenges (I remember when Kirk Franklin admitted to having a porn addiction), they are still together. That is an inspirational story for couples who have faced similar challenges. Although DeVon Franklin is happily married now, but prior to getting married to Meagan Good, he was celibate for over 10 years as a single man. He obviously has a word for single people. I’m not as familiar with the rest of the slate of speakers, but based on their bios, they have testimonies that could encourage conference attendees. And as far as the Grays are concerned, maybe their decision to name the conference “Align” which means “to to be in or come into precise adjustment or correct relative position” is indicative of their intention to adjust or correct  their  marriage after what they revealed about their personal lives last year.

But what about the fact that he was giving relationship advice in 2016 while likely not having a good relationship with his own wife at the time, some of y’all are probably saying? LOL. I say I hope he uses better judgment in 2019 regarding his speaking engagements and overall speech because I can see why he was more than ready for 2018 to be over and hit the reset button for 2019.

Y’all it seemed like Pastor Gray was being talked about and not in a good way for much of 2018. See for yourself below.

Am I missing any controversies?

Pastor Gray said in his New Year’s Eve sermon “The Reset” that he was dressed in all black in his “funeral outfit” because “2018 tried to kill me so I thought I would dress for the occasion.”  He said that, “Some of the stuff that tried to kill me, I helped…Some stuff wasn’t the devil. Some stuff was you. It would be great if we shouted for that too because what we’re saying is, ‘I take personal responsibility.'” He then goes on to talk about how he even thought about suicide behind all of what transpired in 2018. I agree with Pastor John Gray that much of what happened to him at least regarding his public persona and statements could be traced back to his decisions. For example, I’m pretty sure he is not the only megapastor who gifted his wife with a lavish gift in 2018 especially on the heels of Christmas but many of them did not post what they gifted.

I remember Pastor Gray before he was a pastor. He was a comedian I believe. I saw him at a church event here in Atlanta, and I thought he was funny at the time. But I didn’t think much else about him because he was another Christian comedian doing this thing. But now his circumstances have changed. He is a pastor with worldwide platform. Somebody say, “More platform, More problems…” As it says in the Word, “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. (James 3:1)  His inclination is still to be funny although his words, which may come from an innocent place, are now judged more seriously.

I hope he remembers this verse as we proceed in 2019.

What say you?

Any thoughts?

Retrospect: My Top 10 Posts of 2018…

Hello World,

Wow! In just ONE more day, a New Year will dawn and 2018 will be in the rear view mirror of our lives…One of the ways that I like to reflect on a year past is to take a look at what made you come to this blog, my humble corner of the web! Thank you for subscribing to After the Altar Call and hopefully you will stay on as a subscriber in 2019 (please click on this link to subscribe to my blog 🙂 if you haven’t already) and tell your friends and maybe even your frenemies to subscribe too 🙂 ! So take a look below at your favorite blog posts of 2018!

By and large, just like last year, what brought you here were my Greenleaf recaps! I mean truly my recaps brought in the most page views in the Top 10 category, but to vary the types of post that will appear in this blog post, I’m allowing my Greenleaf recaps to take the top category and then after that, I will post the remaining nine blog posts that captured your attention after the Greenleaf recaps. Capiche?

1. Greenleaf Finale Recap, Season 3 Episode 13: The New Life…

Excerpt:  Chile, Karine almost got herself killed when she interrupts Basie holding a gun ready to pull the trigger, sending Bishop on a one-way trip to Heaven’s gates. But Bishop convinces Basie to let her leave and Basie ends up not ending Bishop’s life on this earth after all. “Oh Bishop, you’ve got some amazing faith. Too bad it’s misplaced,” Basie says to Bishop. Lady Mae and the rest of the church for that matter still have no idea what is going on as Lady Mae brings her sermon to a close. Maxine is pleased as punch with her protégé’s performance. “Girlfriend, not even Peter could deny what happened up there. Girlfriend, you got a church!” But before the balloons can be released, they are quickly deflated when they are informed that Bishop was held up by Basie in his office. Lady Mae rushes to Bishop, grabbing him at the knees like she still has feelings for ex-husband. “That man came to kill you.” “I’m okay,” Bishop says as he sweats in his chair.

2. Seven Reasons Why I Approve of The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.’s Eulogy at Aretha’s Franklin’s Funeral…

Excerpt: I watched several hours of The Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin’s funeral or homegoing (which word you choose is likely a reflection of your cultural origin) on Friday, but I must admit I missed the The Rev. Jasper Williams Jr.’s (pastor emeritus of  Salem Bible Church in Atlanta, Georgia) eulogy of the Queen of Soul on Friday. I mostly watched to hear some good ole black church saaangin and see who was there! Yes, I can be shallow like that. But as far as what the pastors and preachers had to say, I figured it would be what we always hear at funerals – some variation of the person was a good person or decent person, etc. (eulogy definition – a speech or piece of writing that praises someone or something highly, typically someone who has just died.) and a come- to-Jesus- while-there- is- yet-blood-running-through-your-veins appeal at the end. I’m in church every Sunday and when I was growing up that was every Sunday and Wednesday so I’ve been to many many church services and funerals/homegoings. But I’m not a preacher nor a pastor and don’t aspire to such a controversial calling but I probably could plan a pretty decent church service or homegoing if I was called upon to do so.

3. OWN ‘Greenleaf’ Actress LeToya Luckett aka Rochelle Cross Shows Off Baby Bump at 2018 Black Music Honors! (PHOTOS)

Excerpt: The clock still has a few 24-hour segments before Season 3 of OWN’s ‘Greenleaf’ premieres on Tuesday, August 28 and Wednesday, August 29, but thankfully the stars of the show are out and about leading up until then! Last night, comedian and radio show host Rickey Smiley and singer and OWN “Greenleaf” actress LeToya Luckett ( aka Rochelle Cross, Lady’s Mae’s lady-in-waiting and or archenemy), who debuted her baby bump,  co-hosted the 2018 Black Music Honors! The annual two-hour television special honors artists and musicians who have influenced and made significant contributions to American music. This year’s honorees were Bobby Brown, Faith Evans, Bebe & Cece Winans, Whodini, Stephanie Mills and Dallas Austin. Also, the 2018 Black Music Honors recognized the legacy of Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul who passed away yesterday. (Condolences to her family and friends. She will certainly be missed the world over.)

4. Former Pastor Mase To Reemerge at World Changers Church International’s Radical Revolution Conference

Excerpt: Y’all betta be glad I’m not God. I woulda banished some of y’all below just because you looked like you were judging me. And that’s what I’m trying to remember this morning as I type this blog post. I’m not God and just because I interpret something as being a certain way, that may not be the truth. Only God knows the condition of the hearts of men and women. So here’s the deal. Ya man Mase, or Pastor Mase as he was known in 2014, left his church that he founded as he got caught up in the rapture of rap it seems. I was so befuddled by his departure that I wrote an open letter on UrbanFaith.com.

5. TV One Offers Original Holiday Movies ‘Merry Wishmas’ & ‘Coins For Christmas’ Starring David & Tamela Mann, Kim Fields & More…

Excerpt:  TV One brings the holiday spirit with premieres of two new original movies MERRY WISHMAS, debuting Sunday, December 2 at 7 p.m. and  COINS FOR CHRISTMAS, premiering  Sunday, December 16  at  7 p.m./6C! MERRY WISHMAS , starring  Tamela Mann (The Manns), David Mann (The Manns), Kim Fields (Living Single), Towanda Braxton (Braxton Family Values), Chrystale Wilson (The Players Club) and  Elizabeth Omilami (Madea’s Family Reunion), revolves around successful businesswoman Kenni (Tamela Mann) who hasn’t returned home to the quaint town of Columbia, South Carolina in years. She’s hoping for a peaceful visit when she finally returns home, but unresolved family issues threaten to make the Christmas holiday not so bright. She’s reacquainted with Jessie (David Mann), an old high school friend with a fledgling wellness facility – the Beverly Living Center. She’s instantly thrown into the lives of the center’s residents and meets a host of colorful characters. When Jessie is faced with losing the Beverly Living Center, Kenni steps in to try and help save it. Family conflicts and relationship woes, however, threaten Kenni’s efforts. It looks like only a miracle can save the center and mend broken relationships in time for Christmas.

6. Bishop T.D. Jakes Issues Apology After Potter’s House Fort Worth Volunteer Allegedly Assaulted, Handcuffed & Thrown Out of the Church!

Excerpt: Some Palm Sunday Shenanigans went down this past Sunday it seems! Media outlets from The Christian Post to Media Takeout are reporting that Audrey Stevenson, 22, a member of The Potter’s House of Fort Worth church under the leadership of Pastor Patrick E. Winfield II and First Lady Veronica Winfield, claims she was allegedly assaulted at the church. She argued with church staff regarding being able to be on the church stage…

7. 7 Reasons Why I Love That Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child is Engaged to Pastor Chad Johnson!

Excerpt: By now, you’ve probably heard that Michelle Williams, a member of the former trio Destiny’s Child, is engaged to Pastor Chad Johnson! I ALWAYS LOVE a love story, but I particularly love a love story that demonstrates how God works! Won’t He Do It?! Yes, He did and that is evident in how God brought the two of them together (at least from what we are privy to via the media)! Let me break down seven reasons why I love the love story of Michelle Williams and Pastor Chad Johnson…

8.  Should Divorced Men Such as Dr. Jamal Bryant, Newly Named New Birth Missionary Baptist Church Pastor, Be Allowed in the Pulpit?

Excerpt:  Now that Season 3 of OWN’s “Greenleaf” is over until next season, I’m back to finding my religious drama and intrigue in real life! LOL. Last week, Atlanta was abuzz with the news that Dr. Jamal Bryant, founding pastor of Empowerment Temple, an A.M.E.  megachurch of about 10,000 members in Baltimore, Maryland was leaving his church to be the new pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, which also has about 10,000 members, in Lithonia, a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. He will preach is first sermon at New Birth on Sunday, Dec. 9.

9. Le’Andria Johnson Allegedly Uninvited from ESSENCE Fest Gospel Lineup After Going Off About Marvin Winans! UPDATE: Le’Andria Has Apologized!

Excerpt:  Just yesterday I was commenting about folk coming back from the ESSENCE Fest, and from the looks of things Le’Andria Johnson was not one of them after being allegedly being uninvited from ESSENCE Fest Gospel Lineup after going off on a video about Marvin Winans. BlackChristianNews.com is reporting that Le’Andria claimed “the gospel legend dissed her and treated her like ‘a peasant.’ Johnson insists the incident is one of many with fellow artists of faith that’s led her to a breakdown.” It’s not clear where this encounter happened.

10. Why Ciara & Pastor John Gray Are Right To Advise Single Ladies to Level Up…

Excerpt: I know that I’ve been gone for a few days. Due to a family emergency, my hubby and I ventured up north to last Tuesday and just got back on Sunday. And once I returned to my regular Internet habits, I was bombarded with the backlash that R&B star Ciara faced from single ladies over the weekend simply because of a snippet of a Pastor John Gray sermon that she tweeted. See the message that had black Twitter blazing below…

So that’s it Shawty! Blow a good-bye kiss to 2018 because we’re moving on!!! Another year is just ahead…

Any thoughts?