Posts Tagged Jesus Christ
“. . . For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7 (NIV)
One dark fall morning, running late and with very little gas, I headed out on my way to a school assignment. It was not a new assignment, I had been there before, just not recently. I forgot my cell phone, GPS, and was relying on map directions. I could hardly see the directions because of the darkness. I was so lost. On these country roads, there are no shoulders or stopping places, you just have to keep driving until you get to a safe place which could be a matter of many miles.
The road is extremely dark. I do not even have the benefit of the headlights of other cars, and am trying to read directions while driving (something very dangerous, by the way). I finally give up on the directions and continue to drive through the blackness when I see a school sign, but it is on the other side of the highway. So I drive on searching for the nearest exit, or at least a place to make a left turn, when the opportunity finally comes 20 miles and 30 minutes later. I get to the sign and it is the wrong school! Frustrated, still running late and worried whether I have enough gas, I pull off to the side of the road, sit in the car, and pray this prayer: “Father, I’m so tired. Please help me.”
I start out again and must have driven 10 miles when I see the school at the top of the hill and there is a gas station a short distance before the school. I gas up at the station and head to the school. I arrive on time and to my surprise, my first period class is a 90-minute planning period. Look at God!! The day turned out to be bright and beautiful–the kids were great. Yes, God is a very present help in the time of trouble!!! I was on the right road, I simply needed to ask to find my way. Once I acknowledged I could not do it alone, I was led by THE TRUE WAY!!
“And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee . . . .” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (KJV)
The Apostle Paul had a physical thorn that affected his entire being. We are never told what it was–only that the “enemy of his soul” sent it to buffet him and to frustrate his life. Scripture records, it was so troublesome that Paul sought the Lord three times to remove it, but each time the Lord said, “Paul, My grace is sufficient for thee . . . .” The Lord was saying, Paul, My Grace is adequate to meet the needs of any situation or proposed end. My unmerited favor occurs in such measure and scope that it fully meets the demands, needs, or expectations of any problem. My Grace is equal to whatever you now need or will ever need. My Grace is satisfactory, suitable, in the amount needed, and to the necessary degree, for whatever you are going through or will ever go through. Paul, My Grace is all you need–It is ENOUGH for you.
These past years have taught me that God allows thorns to humble us lest we boast in other than the Cross of Jesus Christ. And He allows crucial situations and circumstances lest we think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think or somehow believe we are the source of our blessings!! Like Paul, I have a physical thorn. At first, I thought, it was a punishment for something I had done wrong, but now I know it was to teach me about the sufficiency of God’s Grace for my life. Now, when I get haughty or begin to feel sorry for myself–I gaze at my thorn and understand that it is not a curse, but a blessing that God allowed to display His Glory. It was given to remind me “I am not my own.” It was never about me and was always about Him. As Paul has said, “. . . our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18 (NIV)
Today, I am a witness that “the Will of God will not take me where the Grace of God cannot keep me.” God’s Grace has been sufficient to get me through storms, recessions, unemployment, loss of loved ones, friends, and even health. I have grown stronger through what I have been through and am trusting in the Lord to get me through whatever else comes my way. So, I now boast in my weakness, for I know when I am weak, through Christ, I am truly strong. As Abraham Lincoln wisely said, “I could complain because “rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”And so, I choose to rejoice in knowing that Yes, God’s Grace IS sufficient. IT IS ENOUGH — In fact, it is MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR ME!
“Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” John 6:68 (RSV)
I love Peter. Peter was the bold Disciple who always had the courage to speak his heart and to take action. He loved and trusted the Lord with all of his might. But he saw that the closer Jesus got to the cross, the fewer were His faithful followers. Many of Jesus’ followers had already left Him and others simply did not want to be associated with Him. So Jesus asks His handpicked “Chosen,” “Do you also wish to go away?” And in the midst of his own fear and doubt, classic Peter answers Jesus’ question with a question, “Lord to whom shall we go? . . . .”
Before marriage, husband, children, and ministry, I always went to my beloved grandmother who with only a 6th grade education was the wisest person I knew. And in her wisdom she would refer me directly to her personal consultant/counselor — the Word of God. Because there is truly “nothing new under the sun.” The world yesterday was just as troubled as it is today. The news and weather forecasts and reports were just as troubling, and I always remember grandmother saying, “Child these are not “playing” times these are “praying” times.” And pray we did, followed by reading God’s Word. But I discovered even then, as much as I loved and respected my grand mom, that safety and security in this life, is only found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. I learned that hope, peace, and “the fullness of joy” is only found in the depths of God’s Word. In these “praying” times, we must be anchored in the Word of God and have faith in Jesus Christ, the “Solid Rock.”
Where can we go when the storms of life are raging? Where can we go when the winds of sorrow blow? Where can we go when our hearts are overwhelmed and our troubles seem more than we can bear? We can go to the only one, as Peter affirmed, has the words of eternal life. We can go to the “Stone that the Builders Rejected.” We can go to the “Rock that is Higher” than we are,” who will always be our shelter from every storm. In this ever-changing, unpredictable world, remember that trouble will not last always, but Je’sus Christ remains the same yesterday, today, and forever. Build your hopes on things eternal and keep holding to God’s unchanging hand.
“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony. . . .” Rev. 12:11
For as long as I can remember I was shy and unassuming, but even as a child I would gather my young relatives and friends together and drag them to whatever Church I attended. I especially remember, I used to visit my sister at the home of her foster parents when I was about 10. She lived a mile away from my grandmother’s home and I would walk there every Saturday to do her hair, help with her homework, and most of all, talk to her about Jesus. (She, of course, was more interested in boys), but when I started talking about Jesus, I had her undivided attention.
We reconnected after many years and she told me that she had become disillusioned with Church and stopped attending. Of course, I always urged her to please return and to get her life back on track and she would always reply, “Yes, I know, just don’t keep hassling me about it.”
She called me this past Sunday and with the joyful voice I remember as a teenager said, “Guess what Ebony, I went to Church today.” I could hear the happiness in her voice. She said, “I went to my home Church, where I got baptized and got married. My old Pastor was there and he remembered me after all these years. And not only that, I didn’t want to go to Church because I didn’t have a winter coat nor transportation. And, Ebony you won’t believe this, but a woman who lives across the street from me saw me walking home from Church today and asked me, did I have a ride? When I told her, No, and that the Church was just around the corner, she said, “Don’t worry, I can drop you off on the way to my Church.” I told her, ” The real reason I haven’t been attending is: I don’t have a winter coat.” She said, “Why don’t you just come over to my house and have a cup of coffee with me and we will see what we can do.” Before we sat down to drink our coffee, she came out of her room with what looked to be a brand new wool coat. She said, Here, it’s yours.” I tried it on and it fit me perfectly. I could not contain myself, I was so happy. What a Blessed day, God is so good. Ebony, I just couldn’t wait to call you to thank you for nagging me.”
My sister’s joy was my joy. Her excitement was my excitement. Oh what a Blessing it is to be able to witness God’s Handiwork. I have many stories like this to share of others who have called who are grateful for what they learned through the years about Jesus and His Love. Their stories are simply extensions of His great Story. I can see clearly now, that my years of professional ministry and a life filled with sometimes more pain than joy only prepared me “for such a time as this.” I finally realize that the Lord was grooming me for “Life and Grace” to share with men and women everywhere what my Grandmother first shared with me — the perpetual and ever–unfolding story of One who in the midst of every choice, challenge, and change — loves each of us unconditionally and consistently remains the same. Jesus Christ — WAS — IS— and ALWAYS WILL BE — THE WAY!