Seven Scriptures that Emphasize the Easter Message Outside of the Easter Story!

Hello World! Easter word

If you are a Christian, today, Easter Sunday, is the most triumphant and glorious day of the year…The resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ is the bedrock of our faith…It is how we know that we know that we know God.loves.us…

If, by chance, you are a unfamiliar with the story – I pray that those who have never heard of the story somehow find their way to my humble space on the Internet – let me tell it to you in simple terms…

Holy God, creator of this universe, wants to have a personal relationship with us, the sinful human beings that He created…But because of our sin, which is essentially our willfulness or inclination to doing things our own way without God’s guidance, He cannot tolerate what we have done to ourselves and how we have desecrated our beings…However, he allowed his Son, Jesus Christ, a perfect being to die, to sacrifice himself on the cross and bridge the gap between us and our Holy Father…And Jesus Christ was resurrected three days later proving that God conquers death!!! If you would like  to read the official story, please see Luke 24 in the Bible…

While the Easter story is confined to a few chapters, the Easter message is scattered throughout the entire Bible from the beginning to the end…

1. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20…This verse comes from the story of Joseph who was sold into slavery by his brothers because they were jealous of him and his close relationship with their father.  Years later, however, Joseph, who had been given a position in the government in the country where he had been enslaved, was reunited with his brothers…

Despite what had been done to him, Joseph assured his brothers that God used their evil deed to allow Him to be in a position of authority. And that position of authority enabled him to do good for many under him…

Again, what may be negative, God can and will change it to a positive for us and many others if we would give Him the opportunity…This is what happened with Jesus on the cross…

2. “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to His face.”  Job 13:15…Job was a man who had been blessed spiritually and materially, but God allowed all of his materials blessings to be taken away to prove to the devil if Job would still serve God.

This verse was Job’s declaration that in spite of His feelings that God had deserted him, he would still trust Him…Jesus, God’s son, felt that way as well…Although He chose to die for our sins, there was a point that He felt God was not with Him because He was dying…

And yet, He went through it because His ultimate hope was in God…And we can claim the same when we are going through tough situations…In spite of whatever seemingly hopeless situation we find ourselves in, God can turn it around…He did it for Job, Jesus and He can and will do it for us…

3. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him,  and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6…Sometimes there are things that happen to us that no matter how long we think about them or who we talk to about them, we cannot make sense of what happened…But we don’t always have to understand because God can straighten it all out…Those who lived with and loved Jesus didn’t understand why Jesus had die although He tried to explain it, but three days later, they understood…and were blessed…

cross

4. “Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush Him and cause Him to suffer, and though the Lord makes  His life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand. After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied…” Isaiah 53: 10-11  With God, suffering can have a purpose…Jesus’ suffering enables us to have life with the Father…

5. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28…This verse is a testament of how God operates…God can and does take anything and bring good out of it…Death is vile…But Jesus’ death is how we are able to be reconciled to God…That is good…

6. “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed.” 1 Peter 4:12-13…As Christians or followers of Christ, we will be tested…But even as we are tested, we can have inexplicable  joy knowing that we are being tested because we do believe in Christ….

7. “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelation 21:3-5 The ultimate message of Easter is that death is not the end of the story…And one day death as know it will be done and over with…

I wrote this Easter post because God has a track record of bringing the biggest blessing out of tragedies…I wrote this post for me, but I hope it blesses you…

Happy Easter! Jesus is Risen! Blessed be the name of Jesus!

One of my favorite gospel songs of all times…Wonderful Easter Message…

Any thoughts?

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

Hello World,

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…See the details below…

With gospel music playing in the background, presumably establishing a worshipful experience in the sanctuary, something that could have taken place on the street was going down in one of the the side rooms of the church building. In a video recorded by Stevenson, church elder and administrator Rhonda Lewis  is heard saying to Stevenson, “So I want to be clear. On the stage, you are not allowed to do anything on the stage. Now they just said to me that you stated the pastor said you could do the stage? Am I clear about that?”

Stevenson responds with, “No, I called First Lady and she said they had no regulation of me not being able…”

Lewis interrupts. “Who has no regulation?”

“First Lady & Pastor has no regulation of me serving under any type of restriction and that we are going to have a meeting involving you and Louise so that’s where I’m at with First Lady,” Stevenson explains.

The back and forth continues until Lewis says to church security, “Dude, I want you to hear what I’m hearing right here so that when I confront this, so say what you said one more time. I just want to make sure he heard me.”

According to The Christian Post’s article:

The conversation soon devolved into a tense argument after Lewis indicated that Stevenson was out of order for having gone to the pastor’s wife with the dispute and indicated that there would be no meeting as she is the church administrator. She further called Stevenson a manipulative liar and noted that she had been “sat down” — meaning removed from service — and thus should not be on stage. Stevenson asserted that she has a right to call the pastor’s wife and told the elder she should be “ashamed” of herself.

As Stevenson tried to leave the room, a church security official, identified as Brandon Amie, blocked her way, saying he needed to “explain something” to her. She was then handcuffed and restrained as she begged him to let her leave. At one point, she indicated Amie had his knee in her back while she continued screaming.

There are many verbal bombs thrown during the conversation, mostly by Stevenson:

“You told me to shut up. I’m being spiritual.” (She even cussed with another s-word.)

“You’re an elder and you’re going straight to hell on a one-way trip.”

“I’m from Detroit! What’s up?”

“I’m bi-polar.” (Why did she say that? Was this to imply that she was about to do something as a result? And if she truly bi-polar, why did she say that then? Was she asking for medication? I don’t get this disclosure at this particular time.)

The Christian Post spoke with Stevenson’s mother who said the confrontation has been months in the making.

“These are despicable, ludicrous, demoralizing, hideous acts happening in the church of God. And these are the people who are in leadership, I want to tell you if they get away with this, they’ll do this to somebody else’s child. Or to someone else’s sister. This is a woman. Audrey is 22 years old. 5′ 2″. I’m short. I’m only 5′ 5″ and they would do this to her? What kind of people are these?” she asked.

Below is a video of the fracas:

Below is the apology that Bishop T.D. Jakes, leader of the entire The Potter’s House,  issued on the Fort Worth church Facebook page: (By the way, T.O.R.I. stands for Texas Offenders Reentry Initiative. It’s such a shame that something that was supposed to be so positive ended up being so negative. The devil stays busy…He is the author of confusion and strife.)

I kinda believe that Ms. Stevenson went in that back room ready to get stuff started. I mean she had her phone on the entire time and from what I could tell the other participants in the confrontation were not even aware of the recording. (At least I hope not or else why did they act like that, particularly Brandon?) That being said, there was a more peaceful way to deescalate the situation. And she should have been allowed to leave when asked.

Chile, don’t get it twisted. Just because you’re in church doesn’t mean that confrontations won’t happen.  Anywhere that people can show up, people will show out. But at least at church, we know that we are saved through the blood of Christ and allowing that blood to cleanse us of unholy tendencies. It may take a while, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And that is why Jesus died. To cleanse us from our sins…

“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.” I John 1:7

Do you believe that Audrey Stevenson was assaulted at The Potter’s House of Forth Worth? Should she had been handcuffed? Should she have been thrown out the church? I hope to see you in church on Easter Sunday this Sunday…

Any thoughts?

Author Stacy Hawkins Adams Contributes to ‘Our Daily Bread’s Black Church Devotional ‘This Far By Faith!’

In Time for Black History Month...

Hello World,

When I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ about 20 years ago after being baptized as a teenager, I was on the hunt for Christian materials that would help me to learn about God. The daily devotionals by Our Daily Bread Ministries were probably the first devotional materials that I read. I appreciated the entries because they were short but encompassed the breadth of the Bible in everyday situations. I eventually included different devotionals in my reading to expand my repertoire, but I still consider Our Daily Bread devotionals to be the bedrock in daily devotionals. In fact, I’m not the only who thinks so. Millions of people throughout the world read Our Daily Bread devotionals, and they are provided for FREE!

That’s why I was excited to learn that Our Daily Bread published a Black Church devotional edition, “This Far By Faith: Legacies of the Black Church, for first time ever and in time for Black History Month! “This special edition of Our Daily Bread is a celebration of the rich legacy of God’s faithfulness seen in the heritage of the Black Church. It is by the goodness and power of the Lord that believers everywhere have been able to overcome challenges in life and share God’s love with others. This collection of devotional readings will inspire you to engage in ongoing praise and thanksgiving for what God has done, what He is doing, and what He will do for those who rely on Him and trust in His Word.”

Isn’t the cover of  heartwarming? That is how I felt as a little girl at church – filled with joy and free…

One of my writer colleagues Stacy Hawkins Adams was blessed to contribute to “This Far By Faith” and I interviewed her about her contributions and career below.

1. How did you get to be involved in the ‘This Far By Faith: Legacies of the Black Church?’ 

When I speak and teach at various writer’s conferences around the country, I meet and network with other writers. A writer friend that I met at a conference in California several years ago is a regular writer for ‘Our Daily Bread.’ When this special edition was announced, she and the publication’s other freelancers were asked to share the opportunity with their professional peers. My friend reached out to me and I submitted sample entries, which I’m grateful were accepted. I wrote three entries for the publication and two were accepted – one for Day 7 and one for Day 17. 

2. I love how you drew from your experience being in the ‘watch care’ program at a church in Mississippi while you were in college to relate to how God uses people to provide support and encouragement in various situations in the Day 7 entry ‘God’s Care is Rock Solid.’ I had a similar experience at a black church in Athens, Georgia hours away from where I grew up in College Park, Georgia. Tell me about writing that devotional entry and how it relates to Hebrews 13:1-8, the main verses referenced in the devotional. 

I’m glad my entry on my watch care experience resonated with you. This devotional relates to Hebrews 13:1-8 because through the watch care experience, that’s what the pastor and the congregation were exemplifying – extending love to “strangers” (or in this case, college students) who were not going to become permanent members, but who needed encouragement, support and wisdom to continue growing as individuals and in faith. This Scripture reflects how Christians should be doing this at every turn, in whatever circumstances we encounter people experiencing. It also shows that God’s love is enduring, wherever we may find ourselves. 

3. I also enjoyed your Day 17 entry ‘Answering His Call’ in which you related Queen Esther and Rahab the prostitute from the Bible to former slave Sojourner Truth. As you highlighted, God encourages us to be courageous as noted in Esther. What inspired this entry?

Writers for the ‘This Far By Faith’ special edition were given various topics to explore, and one of mine was courage. I immediately thought of Queen Esther and Rahab as biblical ‘sheroes’ to reference. Yet for Black History Month, I also wanted to reference a figure who was both relevant to the freedom movement and a person of faith. As a traveling minister who devoted her life to seeking freedom and justice for her people, Sojourner Truth fit this bill. I hope that briefly sharing her story is a reminder that wherever we are and whoever we are, we have something to contribute; sometimes we just have to muster the courage to do so.

4. What do you hope readers will understand and or learn by reading your entries?

I hope readers will be reminded that God is faithful in all seasons of our lives and is ready to guide us to our purpose in all kinds of ways and through all kinds of people. We should never question another person’s ability to be used by God and certainly not our own. I hope that both of my devotions show that God is willing to support us in our spiritual growth and call us into service in both simple and significant ways.

 5. ‘Our Daily Bread’ devotionals are read by people throughout the world. What does it mean to be involved with this ministry, particularly as it relates to ‘This Far By Faith?’

Like many people, I grew up reading ‘Our Daily Bread,’ and I was always inspired by the entries to live my faith in a relevant way. Being offered the opportunity to write for the publication was an honor in and of itself. Writing for this special Black History edition, focused on the black church, was especially meaningful, as I grew up in church and can attest to the numerous ways that the ministry leaders, youth leaders and congregation members nurtured me and helped me grow. 

6. You have written 10 books including nine novels as well as a non-fiction book, not to mention the fact that you worked as a newspaper reporter for 14 years before becoming a book author. What exciting writing project or projects are you working on currently? 

As you can tell, I love all kinds of writing! Whether I’m writing for a secular publication or a faith-based one, I view the stories and the information I share as an opportunity to help readers feel encouraged, inspired or better equipped to make informed decisions, with less judgment, about others.

I am currently writing for an inspirational blog that I started almost a year ago, www.LifeUntapped.com, through which I encourage and empower women readers to aim for and pursue their best lives, and I allow other women to share their stories of growth and transformation.

I also am doing more essay writing and freelance writing on occasion for various national publications, including the Huffington Post.

I plan to write another novel in a couple of years, but in the meantime, I’m fine-tuning a couple of short stories and reading a lot of fiction and nonfiction, to stretch grow as a writer.

I also am mentoring aspiring writers through an online membership group I launched several years ago called Focused Writers (www.authorinyou.com/FocusedWriters).  I love connecting with new writers in this way and cheering them on to publication, whether it through a blog they’re launching or a book they’re trying to birth. The group also includes some newly published authors who are seeking guidance on marketing.

 7. You have assisted many authors in your ‘Author in You’ mentorship program. What is your biggest tip to become a successful author?

It has been wonderful to watch writers I’ve mentored go on to publication – either traditional or self-published. At least five​writers I’ve mentored over the past few years have had their books published, and a few others are nearing that goal. Several bloggers who have sought my assistance are thriving as well. 

Regarding how to become a successful author, I guess I’d have to say this depends on how you define success. For some, it’s simply being published once; for others it’s having a certain number of books published; for many it’s winning certain awards; and for others it’s making a certain amount of money from book sales. So success will vary author to author.

I believe that anyone who has published a book and presented it in the best form possible to the world – well written, well edited and well packaged – is a success, especially if achieving this milestone is a long-term goal.

I’m just thankful to be published and widely read (though I’d love the readership to grow), and it’s a joy to write words that resonate with others. I often feel a sense of reward when I hear from readers that something I’ve written has helped them heal a relationship, love themselves more, see another person’s perspective or consider God’s grace as available to them. It’s humbling and exciting to know that the words flowing through me can have that kind of impact. I’m grateful to be one of God’s vessels. 

To order “This Far By Faith: Legacies of the Black Church” which is an awesome resource for a church during Black History Month, go to ourdailybread.org. To learn more about Stacy Hawkins Adams, go to stacyhawkinsadams.com.

 Any thoughts?