I watched with horror the series of events that unfolded in Charlottesville this past weekend. It actually looked like a scene from a 1950's or 60's movie. Neo-Nazis, the Klan, and others who believe in the superiority of the white demographic segment of society marched enraged through the streets with torches and weapons chanting racist, anti-semitic and anti-immigration slogans. The images of the angered young man from the University of Nevada and the car barreling into a crowd of people are hard to erase from my mind.
I was talking to Daddy God about it, and the scripture that came to mind was Matthew 24. The disciples were asking Jesus for the signs that the end of time was near. He stated that there would be wars and rumors of wars (Have you been paying attention to North Korea?), famines, earthquakes and pestilences. Nation would rise against nation and kingdom against kingdom. That those who name the name of Christ would be afflicted and hated for his sake (Have you noticed how much anger and animosity is created when Christians take a stand?)
But the verse that caught my attention was verse 12. And because iniquity [wickedness] shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
Now, if there is one thing that can't be questioned, it is that the wickedness in our world has seriously abounded. Some days I am afraid to petition the throne for mercy as I feel like a greedy child asking for more. God has been nothing but merciful- and yet our world seems to be pushing the boundaries on wickedness.
But what I couldn't help but wonder when reading this passage is if the church is among the many whose love has grown cold?
Have we become "holy icicles?" Too busy to care? Indifferent? Do we find it easier to justify and even defend un-Godly behavior- in any and every form? By which standard are we measuring our actions? Is it based on what seems right to us- or "what Jesus would do?"
I've personalized these questions and reflected on them with my own behavior. I KNOW that we are in end times, yet, has the state of the world changed my prayer life? Am I thinking beyond myself? Am I begging God for healing of the land? Am I living beyond my preferences? Am I asking Him to let me be an instrument for His will?
Blessings my sister... Sabrina
What is freedom? Take a moment and think. What is freedom to you? Is it the state of not being enslaved or imprisoned? Is it the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint? If you’re not in prison, you probably consider yourself free. Living in America, the “Land of the Free”, you’re free. Is that freedom? Yes, for a lot of people, but there are some who are not in prison, and still feel enslaved and others who live in America and feel bound. Freedom can be considered relative, which means everyone has a different thought on what freedom is for them. One adult male, Clarence answered, “Freedom is life without fear”, while a teenage girl, Natalie answered, “Being able to do what I want, when I want”. So again I ask, What is freedom to you?
Christians have been contemplating that question for a long time. Fortunately, the Bible helps us discover freedom as a seemingly, joyful experience through Christ in the following scriptures:
So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:36)
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (2 Co 3:17)
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. (Gal 5:1)
People will have a different definition of freedom concerning their own lives and journeys. If Jesus sets Clarence free, will he live a life without fear? Will Natalie be able to do what she wants, when she wants where the Spirit of the Lord is? When we gain freedom through Christ, after years of living in bondage, it doesn’t take away the trepidation along the way. Gaining freedom can be a wonderful experience but maintaining it can be more distressing and terrifying than you can imagine.
Don’t be afraid to be afraid.
The sight was so terrifying that Moses said, "I am trembling with fear." [Heb 12:21 NIV]
God's prophet and friend, Moses was afraid. So afraid, that he trembled but he still had enough strength to encourage those he was leading to not be afraid.
The Israelites that followed a terrified Moses were afraid.
(Everybody was afraid!)
Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning." [Exo 20:20 NIV]
If you have gained your freedom, learn to walk and remain in it. It won’t be easy.
As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, "Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn't we say to you in Egypt, 'Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians'? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!" Moses answered the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still." Then the LORD said to Moses, "Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. [Exo 14:10-15 NIV]
Freedom is not only a one time incident. You sang, you cried and leaped for joy on your way out of bondage. That’s not it or all. You still have a journey to God’s promises now. During your freedom journey, don’t assume that you won’t experience intimidation, fearful situations and threatening life decisions. When you do, God is telling you, don’t go back, don’t be confined, keep it moving.
God is telling you.....Move on.
Oh and yes, through Christ, you have been set free from bondage, the decision to willingly sin, and you are still a slave, but only to Christ and righteousness now. Don’t be so afraid of paralyzing fear that it keeps you stagnate and sinning. Be afraid, but keep it moving.
You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. [Rom 6:18 NIV]
Don't be afraid of fear. If you have to walk in FEARdom to get to FREEdom…DO IT!
Experiencing fear on your journey to freedom is completely normal.
Don't let it stop you!
Author: Rev. Melanie M. Thigpen
Rev. Terri Ofori hails from the ‘City of Brotherly Love’ and this home town heroine shows the love of Jesus wherever she goes. This Harvard and Princeton graduate serves as the Chaplain at Bloomfield College in New Jersey. With all her awards, degrees and accolades this power house is most loved by her beautiful son, Noah.
She is a sought after Clergywoman who speaks all over the globe; bringing the new life of the Holy Spirit to once dead churches. Terri is gifted with the ability to bring the world of Pentecostal and Presbyterian congregations together; oftentimes bridging the racial divides that separate us on any given Sunday morning. Together with her husband, Dr. David Ofori, they serve the at risk youth in New York City as co-directors on Pan African Youth Academy.
Here's Terri singing Blessed Assurance and giving her testimony. Click here.
Earlier this year we had the pleasure of sitting down with this curly headed bundle of joy to gather some insights into how we can each bring our visions to pass. Nashawn Turner is a celebrated author, speaker, transformational life coach and visionary. When you first meet Nashawn you are greeted with a cheerful voice and bouncy curls. Her whole presence just says sunshine and joy. She exudes the ‘I can make it’ persona.
The author of two life changing books: Thriving Not Just Surviving and
The ESP Marriage, Nashawn encourages readers to dig deep to root our problems and prepare for a successful life. This multi-talented writer is the winner of such honors and recognition as the 2008 Christian Choice Book Award for her writings which explore intimacy issues that block your blessing in the bedroom and the boardroom.
As the President of Uniquely Designed Coaching, LLC she often gives conference goers tools to Empower them to live their Uniquely Design Life to the fullest. This power broker knows how to throw a dynamic Vision Party that will move you into the next step of your destiny.
Here are some questions we asked this game changer to help our readers get a jump start on the New Year.
LW: Nashawn, You often use a ‘vision board’ in your seminars. Why do you say we need a vision board?
NT: “One of the things I’ve grasped hold of is what God talks about in Habbakuk 2:3 “Write the vision….” It’s so important for people to have a vision and a vision board. It makes it more clear and real plain. You know exactly what you are believing for and working towards. A vision board is the coming attractions to your life. It helps you to know where you’re going.”
LW: What is the correlation, if any, between coaching and having a vision board?
NT: “As a coach, our number 1 goal is to help you identify and gain clarity about your vision. We help you to stay accountable to that vision by supporting you so that you can win! So that vision board allows you to articulate that vision visually. It becomes a powerful tool to help you to engage with that vision and to be able to capture that vision to keep you motivated and to inspire you to action.”
LW: What are 3 or 4 tips for people who should have a vision board?
NT: 1. A vision board should be connected to your values.
2. A vision board inspires you for more. Be able to envision God’s plan for you.
LW: What are a few pointers for people who have begun work on a vision board and need encouragement to continue?
NT: “You have to keep the vision before you. I tell people to put it up somewhere you will see it every day whether it’s in your bedroom or your office.”
LW: Tell us a bit about what you do and how people can benefit from the service you provide.
NT: “I am a transformational life coach and empowerment expert working with women to take control of their personal and professional lives to gain clarity and focus to maximize their potential. I help them to see the ‘Bigness’ of their dream in order to activate a more abundant living; and an unprecedented life that’s in line with their God given design. I help them to get unstuck.”
For more from Nashawn Turner check out her website and social media.
This edition highlights the lives of everyday women doing extraordinary feats for the Kingdom of God. In this issue you'll learn how one bright star is bringing S.T.E.M. to young girls, while another heroine of the faith teaches us how to care for our bodies. Feel free to flip through our pages.