Friday, February 27, 2009


John 1:43-51

43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you, you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”


Where did you get to know me?


I remember asking God that one time (when I had been quiet enough to hear from God).  How do you know me? Are you sure it is me that you want? 

In John's account, Jesus simply told Philip to follow and Philip immediately wanted to share the Good news with a skeptical loved one.   In doing so, he immediately began working in the great ministry of making disciples to which each of us has been called.  Imagine being the one that Jesus chooses because ‘in him there is no deceit’.  Many of us are chosen by Jesus and believe that he may not know us well enough.  And we ask where did you get to know me.  And Jesus answers I saw you under the fig tree, I saw you on your knees, I saw you serving others, I saw you longing, I saw you wanting, I saw you needing. The truth is that Jesus sees us in ways that we never even see ourselves.  And God loves us anyhow.  God calls us and desires for us to experience things even greater than we can imagine.  

During this season of Lent, as we sit under the fig tree waiting, longing, needing and wanting, let our desires be to see the person in ourselves that God sees.  During this time I will get to know me - 

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I come and I quiet myself before you... 

Toni Belin-Ingram, Pastor

Greater Smith Chapel AME Church

Atlanta, GA

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Come and See

John 1:35-42

35The next day John again was standing with two of his disciples, 36and as he watched Jesus walk by, he exclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God!”37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38When Jesus turned and saw them following, he said to them, “What are you looking for?” They said to him, “Rabbi” (which translated means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39He said to them, “Come and see.” They came and saw where he was staying, and they remained with him that day. It was about four o’clock in the afternoon. 40One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which is translated Anointed). 42He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, “You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).

It seems as though I have waited my entire life to hear Jesus say, “Come and see?” Tragically, He may have said it several times but I had so many things going on in my head and so many things on my heart that I never heard him or recognized His voice.

On John’s word, his disciples followed Jesus. When the ‘Teacher’ asked them what they wanted, they asked where he was staying. Jesus’ answer was a simple invitation: “Come and see.” Maybe I never heard him because I was not prepared for the intimacy with the One who could look into my heart.  Being intimate with the Messiah, the Anointed One would require introspection, it would require that I stop being concerned with my own whims and desires and fears and lean into the discomfort of looking at my own soul in the eyes of Jesus.  This intimacy was not to hurt me but to heal me.  I came to realize the intimacy I feared is just what I needed.  Time with Jesus is healing.  It is during this time of intimacy that those things that trouble our hearts and keep us awake at night melt away.  

It is this time of intimacy that prepares us for the great ministry of making disciples to which each of us has been called.  Intimacy with Jesus births compassion in us for those who have not yet come to know Him... and it give us the determination to share His love with them.  

We have been invited to “Come and See”, to come and experience, to come and live to come and know Christ’s love for us.  "Come and see" is God's invitation for fellowship and communion with the One who made us in love for love.  

What do you want? What are your goals? What are your dreams? What is it that keeps you up at night? What troubles your heart? What occupies your mind? Jesus asks us and then invites us to “Come and see.” 

During this season of Lent, let us simply be with Jesus, listening quietly and attentively.  God already knows what occupies my thoughts and my heart. I am waiting to fellowship and commune with Jesus one with One resting in God’s love.

Prayer: Gracious and Loving God, I come and I quiet myself before you...

Toni Belin-Ingram, Pastor

Greater Smith Chapel AME Church

Atlanta, GA 

The Next Day

John 1:29-34

The next day he saw Jesus coming towards him and declared, ‘Here is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, “After me comes a man who ranks ahead of me because he was before me.” 31I myself did not know him; but I came baptizing with water for this reason, that he might be revealed to Israel.’ 32And John testified, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him, but the one who sent me to baptize with water said to me, “He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain is the one who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” 34And I myself have seen and have testified that this is the Son of God.’ (New Revised Standard Version).


The Next Day…

When you hear the words, “The next day,” anticipation of increasing your circumstance should automatically jump in your spirit of what good thing can happen next in your life.  In this passage of scripture, we find John excited about the next day because Jesus Christ was coming to offer salvation to those who wished to receive Him.  The even more interesting fact about this passage was that John did not really know everything about Christ, but he knew enough to know that everything was about to be alright.  In this season of Lent, you have to take a moment to reflect on what is important, what needs to leave, and what shall remain in your life while Christ is revealing himself to you.  Your “next day” is dependent on how you know Christ today!  Do you know Him like John knew Him; that He was sent to save you from all sins or you do you know Him and still doubt your victory? Each day in the season of Lent is your “next day” to get to know Christ more, to sacrifice more for His glory, to gain more wisdom to succeed.  Each “next day” you have is a brand new opportunity to call on His name and proclaim Him in your life as your Lord, your Savior, and your God.  Today is your “Next Day!”  What will you do with it?

Prayer for today:  Lord, you’ve brought me this far; now encourage me to walk with you today, and the next day and the next day, and the next day!

Submitted by:

Rev. Orsella R. Cooper, Associate Minister

Bethel AME Church, Bridgeport, CT    

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Ash Wednesday - February 25, 2008


Luke 18:9-14 

Hebrews 12:1-14

In the parable in the Gospel of Luke, two men went to the temple to pray, i.e. to worship God: they were probably both Jews, and felt themselves led by different motives to attend at the temple, at the hour of prayer: the one to return thanks for the mercies he had received; the other to implore that grace which alone could redeem him from his sins. Here are both these addressing themselves to the duty of prayer at the same place and time (Luke 18:10): Two men went up into the temple (for the temple stood upon a hill) to pray. It was not the hour of public prayer, but they went anyway to offer up their personal devotions, as was usual with good people at that time, when the temple was not only the place, but the medium of worship, and God had promised, whenever prayer was made in a right conduct towards that house, it should therefore  rather be accepted. 

Hebrews reminds us to affix our glaze and intentions upon Christ.  To be more like Him, To think like Him. To walk like Him.   Christ is our temple, and to him we must have an eye in all our approaches to God.   Both in and out of season prayer should precede our steps, guide us through our situations and continue as we move closer to our revelation and goals.   Sanctification can result from fasting and prayer.  And upon entering the season of prayer and consecration great joy should be applauded each day as we anticipate the outcome of manifested miracles.  

Many people find it difficult to fast because it does call for great discipline and determination.  There are many methods of fasting and many approaches that people take.   Per the Scriptures, a desire to fast should first be prayed about and meditated upon.  The kind, length and purpose of the fast should be examined.   It should never be done for form or fashion or just to be a part of a corporate picture.  But rather for inner peace and the desire to grow closer to Christ and our purpose.  Hence, the difference between the Pharisee and the Publican.   The publican had been a great sinner, and out of the greatness of his sin was brought the greatness of his repentance; out of the eater came forth meat.   The Pharisee on the other hand , had an outward appearance of doing everything right.  But yet, his eyes and his motivations were not turned toward Heaven.  

Physically, fasting gives the body a rest from digestion and fosters healing and restoration.  Not only should we look better after our Daniel fast, but we should feel better, too.   Spiritually, we alight a quiet rekindling with our desire to hear God’s voice and draw closer to Him. 

Remember that He that humbles himself shall be exalted.  Let’s be humbled, keep one another lifted and encouraged. And with everything that we do……Pray.

Rev. Khalima S. Jacobs

St. Stephens African Methodist Episcopal Church

Elkridge, Maryland

Monday, February 23, 2009


Grace and Peace!

The Lenten Fast is here and I am excited about this powerful combination of prayer and fasting!  The windows of Heaven are open because people from all over are coming together to pursue a deeper, more meaningful and more powerful relationship with God.  Let your expectations be high because God desires to bless His people in ways that will blow our minds.

During the fast we are devoting more time to pursuing God than we are in other pursuits.  We are rearranging our normal daily routines to include much more time with God through prayer, fasting, study, meditation, praise, worship and fellowship.  Get some good music to feed your soul, listen and feast on it during your meditation and devotion time. 


We are praying three (3) times a day (Daniel 6:13) at 6:00 a.m., 12 noon and 6:00 p.m. CST.  It will be powerful for prayers to reach the heart of God at the same times from so many people and from so many different places.  You should consider praying at least one time a day with your prayer partners.  If you don’t have prayer partners, this is the perfect time to ask God to lead you into relationship with some praying people. Jesus says in Matthew 18:19-20, “Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”  Partnering in prayer is also great to have someone to encourage you through the fast if you start to falter, get weak or a little wishy-washy…

God has much to say to us so remember that prayer is a conversation, not a monologue.  Be sure to take time to listen to God.  And if there are no words or revelations shared, just rest in God’s Presence – this is where joy is found (Psalm 16:11). 


Fasting is a spiritual discipline that goes hand in hand with prayer.  Fasting is to abstain from food with a spiritual purpose in mind.  We are participating in a Daniel Fast which is basically eating those foods which grow out of the earth; nothing that walks, swims or crawls.  

This fast may be a challenge to some, but with proper advanced planning you will meet it with grace.  Consider taking your lunch and snacks with you when you go to work or school.  This will save you money, time and aggravation.  I encourage you to post recipes in the comments sections here so our friends who are not on Facebook can benefit from your suggestions too. 

-Oatmeal and fruit is a good idea for breakfast.  Add some flaxseed to it (some call flaxseed the colon sweeper). 

-Have fruit, raw veggies, nuts and seeds on hand for snacking during the day.

-Hummus and carrots are another good snack.

-Indian food is a good option if you have to eat out.

-This is not a starvation diet.  Eat to your fill but you probably should be careful about eating a whole bag of cashews.


Study the Word of God.  Your sisters and brothers have written devotions based on passages from the Gospels.  Take time to read and to study these passages. The devotions will be posted on the Daniel Fast Facebook page, on and  

We are a people formed by the Word of God.  Furthermore, the Bible holds keys to our identity, our future, our purpose, our hopes, our dreams, our healing, our salvation, our love, our joy and our peace.  It is essential that we are diligent in studying the Bible, especially during this Fast. 

If you have not really studied the Bible much before, the Gospel of John is a great place to start.  Consider a translation that is easy for you to understand.  If you want more information about how to study the Bible, email me: 

Read something edifying.  We are looking for holistic benefits from our Lenten Fast.  So, grab a good book and read.  What are you going to read during Lent?  Post your reading suggestions in the comments section here   “Celebration of Discipline” by Richard Foster is an excellent resource on the spiritual disciplines. 

Remember to post recipes, book suggestions, words of encouragement, testimonies and questions. 

I’m praying for you.

Roderick Dwayne Belin


Share your recipes in the comments section below


Share your suggestions for good books and other readings it the comments section below.