Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Be a 24/7 Follower of Jesus Christ the Messiah

John 9: 18-41

We should be familiar with this passage of scripture about Jesus giving sight to the man born blind. I want to focus on versus 20-23 that mention his parents. In the face of the Pharisees, his parents were comfortable acknowledging him as their son. They were able to allow the Pharisees to question their son about his miracle. But his parents were afraid to acknowledge Jesus as the Christ. They did not want to be kicked out of the synagogue. They understood how they would be looked upon with disdain by others. Their position in the community might have been challenged. With this knowledge, they were accepting of the fact that their son, who was now of age, would have been treated. But what they overlooked was the power of their statement declaring Jesus as the Christ would have done in the community. Maybe their stance would have moved more people to accept Jesus as Christ. Have there been times where you did not stand tall and claim Jesus was your/the Christ? Maybe not directly, but probably indirectly. Not through your words, but by your actions. You did not show the world that you were a 24/7 follower of Christ. Can you relate to some of these examples?

Ø Drinking until intoxicated at a party on Saturday and worshipping on Sunday.
Ø Late night phone calls or visits that did not lead to sex but came very close, then trying to minister to a friend about fornication.
Ø Cursing or cursing people out up until you walk through the church doors.

We all can probably name a time or two when we, like the blind man’s parents, did not want to mention that we were followers of Jesus Christ. We can sometimes be blinded by the allure of worldly acceptance. We need to proclaim we are followers of Jesus Christ all the time through our words, actions and thoughts. Is Jesus Christ the Messiah in every area of your life?

Dear Father,
Have Mercy upon us. Forgive us of all the sins that commit each and every day. Forgive for being like the blind man parents, more concern with popular opinion than with the only opinion we will ever need, Yours. Search out every area of our lives that does not proclaim Your Son, Jesus, to be Christ. Help us not to be like the world, but to continually show the world Jesus by our words, our thoughts and our actions. Amen!

Nicole Mew
New York, New York

Monday, March 30, 2009

Do It NOW!

We must work the works of him who sent me while it is still day; night is coming when no one can work. John 9:4

As Jesus engages the struggle between darkness and light, between blindness and sight we feel a sense of urgency in his words. Do something to show people who God is. Do it NOW. Time is not on your side. There is a task before you and you don’t know how much time you have.

On August 24, 2008 as I was driving to a celebration that was being hosted in honor of my election to the Judicial Council of the A.M.E. Church, I lost control of the vehicle. My car flipped over and rolled across a busy freeway and into an embankment where the car began to bury itself in the dirt. In addition to worrying about my dogs who were in the car with me, I was concerned that I had been given this task and it appeared I would die before doing anything with the new duties in my hands.

So often we wrongly assume that we can borrow time from tomorrow. When we meet Jesus face to face will we be finished with our work, or explaining why we did not: clothe the naked; provide jobs for the jobless; visit the sick and in prison; help the blind to see with the light that shines from within our souls; bring tangible relief (good news) in a starving world, actively seek peace in the middle of war zones? When shall we do these things?

God who carefully shaped each of us, we remember today the urgent call on our lives to work, to toil, to actively engage in transforming our territories. Forgive us for the many times we fail to act. Forgive us for the many times we fail to act responsibly with the power you have given us. Please prosper the work of our hands today and implant in our minds, bodies and souls a sense of urgency and assurance that night is coming.

Pastor Francine Brookins
Wright Chapel AME Church
San Francisco, California

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Lessons in Suffering

Scripture: Mark 8:31 – 9:1

Suffering is characterized by unpleasant feelings, agony and distress. There are days when I dread the complications of life, the struggle, the push and pull required to accomplish tasks and stay on track. When even ordinary chores seem to go wrong and simple conversations with loved ones turn into perpetual outbursts and rampant banter – you start to wonder what is the point. At times you may even think – where did I go wrong? We don’t schedule in time slots for unpleasant experiences or even foresee suffering for ourselves – our survival strategy is to avoid pain and suffering.

Jesus does teach us about the nature suffering.
When we make the choice to remain in control of our lives, we actually forfeit the authentic life that is found in Christ. We should deny the perceived right to govern ourselves and submit fully to God’s will and in this pursuit we will know the cost of discipleship from a deeply personal experience. Here we confront the opposition of our will, yet when you allow our will to be crucified there is the gift of eternal life that comes through death. Your work in suffering exists the very core of your soul.
When we suffer while our world of our friends, family, and co-workers watch and whisper, at times we are likely to feel embarrassed, but Jesus cautions us not to be ashamed.
Key thought
When you to compromise your most valuable possession for moments of pleasure or popularity in the world, you put your soul at risk.

Jesus, for the sake of my soul help me to move toward suffering with You so that I may have life.

Additional reading: Disciplines of the Spirit by Howard Thurman, “Suffering” p. 64

Hymn: It Is Well With My Soul

"It Is Well with My Soul" is a very influential hymn penned by hymnist Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss. This hymn was written after several traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of his only son in 1871, shortly followed by the great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer). Then in 1873, he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the S.S. Ville du Havre, but sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems follow the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sailing ship, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford's daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, "Saved alone." Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.

Katherine Ellington
Hollis, New York

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hard Sayings...Great Reward

John 6:60-71

Prior to this text, Jesus fed 5000 and walked on water. His miracles were so mind boggling that it was declared in verse 14, "Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world”. But when Jesus said that he is the Bread of Life and drew the line in the sand; his disciples had a problem. Our text begins with the complaint, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”

Now you would think that the disciples would not have a problem in agreeing with Jesus’ assessment of the truth. He had just walked on water, fed 5000 people and had to hide because the crowd wanted to declare Him King. In fact, unlike us, many of the disciples were with Jesus on a 24/7 basis. However, as Jesus surmised, most of them were hanging around for the food and entertainment.

In America, our religious freedoms allow us to state that we are Christians without much sacrifice. It is easy to go to church where the music is great or “Pastor sho’ did preach.” However when it is time to get down to the essentials…the hard teachings, many of us want to bolt. It is important that we humble ourselves and allow the Lord to enable us to get back to the essentials of the faith…Jesus Christ is Lord. The only to the Father is Christ. 5000 people participated in the physical food of Jesus, but only a few believed. Are you just participating in a few miracles for entertainment sake or as Peter, be willing to allow God to give us eternal life?

Orletta E Caldwell
Detroit, Michigan

Friday, March 27, 2009

Relationship and Purpose

Gospel: John 6:52-59

Key verse: Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. John 6:53 (KJV)

Jesus had just performed the miracle of feeding the multitude with the two fish and five barley loaves. After which, a discussion arises regarding bread, the true bread of heaven and the manna (bread) which fed the Children of Israel in the desert. Jesus points out that He is the true bread of heaven and it is He who brings “life unto the world”. In the key verse, Jesus admonishes the crowd, the Jews, that if they do not “eat the flesh” and “drink the blood” of the Son of Man, they do not have life. Jesus was admonishing them, as well as us, that we must have an intimate relationship with him if we desire to have life. This life of which he speaks is our eternal life: he that eateth of this bread shall live forever (verse 58). We cannot be satisfied with believing that since we have nice clothes, nice cars and nice homes we are living or have “life”, for there will come a time when all these things will be brought to nought and if we have not eaten of the flesh and drank of the blood of Jesus, our souls will be lost.

Thought to Remember: A true relationship with Jesus is formed when an intimate relationship is developed, nurtured and maintained by a continuous feasting on the true bread of heaven.

Epistle: Romans 8:28-39

Key verse: Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Romans 8:30 (KJV)

In the Book of Jeremiah, the prophet explains how the word of the Lord came to him and let him know that before he was formed in his mother’s belly or came forth from her womb, the Lord sanctified or set him apart and ordained him to be a prophet to the nations. He was predestined to be a prophet! In this Epistle, Paul tells the church at Rome, hence tells us, that each was called by God to fulfill a purpose. And because we are predestined to or for that purpose, we who claim God as our Father cannot be separated from that purpose no matter what the enemy tries. If God be for us, who can be against us? (verse 31). We cannot see into the future, so we do not yet comprehend the great things that we can and will accomplish for the Kingdom of God. The enemy knows and is trying with every weapon he has to get us off the track that God has us following. Even in the midst of economic crisis, failed marriages, broken homes and church conflict, as God’s chosen people, we are more than mere conquerors through the God that loves us!

Thought to Remember: Each of us has a purpose and calling. We must, as God’s chosen, not let anything or anyone detract us from that purpose.

Rev. Ron W. Taylor
Britton’s Neck, South Carolina

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Whose Child Are You?

John 6:41-51

They were saying, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?  How can he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven?’” John 6:42 

So often the circumstances of our natural birth define us for the rest of our lives.  To whom we were born, where we grew up, who raised us, and the villages that surrounded us can make us into something great, or set our course towards failure.  Our self-image is constantly being shaped by those around us.    

In the text Jesus is offering a new path, a new way of seeing, believing and being.  He is offering a change that the world around us can’t see, understand or control.  The people who “know” him can’t accept it.  They know his daddy and his momma and they simply can’t imagine that God could have chosen this child to be the Savior of the world, the bread of life.   As a result those whose vision is blinded by the world’s standards may just starve to death. 

Go and look in the mirror right now.  Whose child are you?  You are God’s child.  You are in a great big family of ordinary people through whom God has done, is doing and shall do, extraordinary things.  Remind yourself of who you really are as you go throughout your day.  Then take this a step further, remove your fault-finding lenses and look for God in the faces and voices and stories of those who seem very different than you.   

Oh God, our heavenly parent, we thank you for always using the least likely candidates to do your works.  Help us today to eat from the bread of life that cleanses us from the opinions of the unrighteous and reminds us that we are your beloved children.  Use us as your instruments to offer this bread to someone else.   
Rev. Francine Brookins, Pastor

Wright Chapel AME Church

San Francisco, California


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Lord, Get My Mind Right!

Daily Reading: Rom 8:1-11

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. Romans 8:5

Sometimes we want what we want.  I know I do.  So what happens when what we want is not according to what the Spirit desires or wills?  According to this passage of scripture, we begin to live according to the sinful nature and thus become unable to please God.  What’s wrong with the sinful nature?  It leads to death and keeps us bound to old and negative things.  It does not lead to freedom and life, the two things Jesus came to give us freely.

If we are in Christ, we are no longer bound by sin, nor are we slaves to it.  In Christ, we have been set free.  However, the process does not stop there.  Jesus sets us free, but we have to walk in it.  We have to choose to walk upright, seeking God’s will for our life, not the life we choose on our own and certainly not the one set by the world’s standard.  How do you become acquainted with the will of the Spirit for your life?  You spend time in His presence.  Here are just a few ways you do that:

Prayer—Simply talk to him and make your request, concerns, and questions known.  Do not forget that praise and worship are an important part of prayer.

Bible Time--- John 1 states that he (Jesus) is the word.  When you get in the bible, you are engaging the very presence of God.

Mediation--- Spend quality time reflecting on the word of God, what he has spoken to you, etc.  Rick Warren says that if you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate.  Worry is simply focusing on the negative and rehearsing it over and over again.  Apply that same concept to the goodness of God’s word and prepare to be amazed.

Fasting--- Sacrificing the pleasure of fleshly desires that can distract us and numb our spiritual sense is another way to obtain the mind and heart of Christ in a matter.

Listening--- Once we have done all of the above, we must prepare our         spiritual ears to hear what the Spirit is saying.  He amazingly speaks to us through the engagement of all 5 of our senses and some.  All we have to do is be available to hear.

We have the assurance that we are no longer dead in the law of sin through Christ Jesus.  Because of his sacrifice when we have moments of relapse into that former death state, we have the ability to get back into relationship and live again…and again…and again.

Father, in every area of our life we want to be in line with the will of the Spirit and not the flesh.  We repent for wanting what we want.  As we delight ourselves in you, give us the desires of our heart.  We want to be pleasing to you.  Amen

Think about it:

In what areas of your life are you seeking your own will?

Are you prepared to walk in the will of the Spirit?  

Tracey Bowen, Associate Ministry
Bethel Apostolic Temple
Miami, Florida

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fleeing from Fear

Scripture: John 6:16-27


Reflection: Too often, the "in" crowd is appealing to me when I read the newspapers and magazines. Whatever they are doing, I want to be informed about it and follow the celebrity gossip and glossy pictures of the stars. These people are only "in" for the moment, leaving shallow memories of a career, record deal or cheap DVDs  for sale at a bargain store, six months after their Hollywood debut.


I have to ask myself, when was Jesus part of the "in" crowd? When have I seen Jesus in a music video, box office hit or heard him in a Grammy award winning tune? When Jesus walked across the lake, the crowd and his disciples watched him in awe. The news cameras were not there, the press was absent and the paparazzi evidently was too busy for the photo shoot. Yet, here is the son of God, giving out worldly advice and comforting those who were frightened watching him walk across the rough waters. The Bible says Jesus said, "It is I; don't be afraid."


Following the crowd takes me away from my focus on Jesus. For it is only by listening to Jesus' words that I will find eternal life from emulating h is example of courage and spiritual strength. 


Prayer: Dear God, too many times I get caught-up with what the crowd is doing.  I am listening and following  the crowd and I have failed to watch you. I have failed to hear you and take your assistance for guidance when the road is difficult to travel. Help me navigate the waves in the water so that I may journey behind you on the water. I need to swim against the tide of the crowd and embrace your words of sustenance. I fear not, Lord, because you enable me to find my strength in you. Amen


Humbly Submitted: Cassiette and Tamer Lee West-Williams (Chicago, IL)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Good and Plenty

Read John 6:1-15

“When they had all had enough to eat, … "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted." So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.”                  - John 6:12-13 (NIV) 

 As the time got closer to Thanksgiving Day, I began to worry that there would be more people than food. My sisters and I discussed what we would bring to the dinner. However, it seemed that with every phone call someone new was coming. My younger sister and I prayed for “bottomless” pots. When Thanksgiving Day finally arrived, there appeared to be just enough food, but people kept coming. We prayed and everyone ate until they were full. There was enough food for everyone to take a plate home and leftovers. The food was good and there was plenty.

      Jesus fed 5000 men, not counting the number of women and children, with two fish and five barley loaves. With thanksgiving, the food multiplied. It was good and there was plenty to go around. There were even leftovers. Our Thanksgiving Day does not compare to what happened that day on the mountain, but it is a reminder that God is the ultimate provider. God can take a little and make it into plenty. When we seek Christ, not only are we fed physically, but also spiritually. 

Prayer: Father, give us this day our daily bread. Amen. 

Thought for the Day

“God will meet all [our] needs” (Phil. 4:19) 

Beverly Douglas 
Antioch, TN

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Understanding is Priceless!

Mark 8:11-21

Although we have witnessed addiction come clean, abuse turn to peace and cancer of the breast become a survivors sisterhood, we still want something miraculous to happen in our lives that will ultimately prove that the Lord is in existence. As if we really need undeniable proof.

Some will go as far as discussing with friends of the grace and mercy that the Lord has given others while continuing not seeing, hearing or speaking of the uncountable grace and mercy that is given to them daily.  Some with confused hearts and minds will discuss amongst those special friends how they continue to listen to and rely upon gifts from man.  In addition to asking the Lord, "why is my life not blessed?”" or  "Is it something I've done?”" This temporary discussion, of course, is with a forgetfulness of what they have already witnessed and with a misunderstanding of whom all blessings flow.

Meditating instead of gossiping; believing in the works of the Lord and not the ideals of man; careful judgment of the things that you see; words that you hear and conversations that you partake in will lead to a belief in and understanding of the ability of the Lord in everyone’'s life at any given moment.  

Understanding is priceless!


Felecia Teasley

Nashville, Tennessee 

Saturday, March 21, 2009

They Will Try to Stone You

Scripture: John 8:47-59

I don’t know what it is about human nature, but we are quick to try and kill that which we don’t understand or don’t agree with.  More often than not the battle cry spoken is “We’re right and you’re wrong!”  Very self righteous, indeed!  Jesus encountered this quite a bit in his three year ministry.  In fact,it is what eventually led him to the cross.  If they had only known who he was…

In John 8:47-59, it is clear the people do not see Jesus for who he was; in fact they flat out asked him if he operated under a demonic influence.  Not only that, they reduced him to a Samaritan lineage knowing full well his mama and daddy were Jewish!  Talk about insult!  These were not just random people either; these were the religious astute of this time.  If anyone should have known him, THEY should have known him.  Nevertheless, they called him a demon and an outcast.

Jesus gave an awesome example of what you should do when someone refuses to see you for who you are and insists that are less than.  Remember who you glorify.  When provoked to defend himself, Jesus stated, “"If I glorify Myself, My glory is nothing; it is My Father who glorifies Me.”  He went on further to point out that they did not recognize the Father in him because they did not know the Father, further justifying his lack of response—it was not about him and they were blind to who he was anyway.  He proved himself right because by the end of the chapter he gave them a glimpse of who he was and they couldn’t handle the truth… the rocks started flying.

When you live for God, you can not stop the rocks from flying.  Nor can you argue down every naysayer that questions who you are and what you represent.  You can, however, follow the example of our Savior.  When the insults start, forget about your self and focus on glorifying the Father.  After all, it’s all about Him.  When the rocks start flying, hide yourself in the love, protection, and truth of the Father, allowing Him to graciously and victoriously fight your battle.  

Thought: Do you know who you are in Christ?  If so, can you clearly articulate it under pressure?  Do you believe it? 

If not, do you have the resources in place to discover who you are in Christ?  When will you commit to learning?  Today is a good day!

Tracey Bowen

Miami, Florida

God Is

John 8:47-59. Jesus said to them, "Very truly, I tell you, before Abraham was, I am!"

Those who heard Jesus say these words understood him as claiming that he was divine. They would not have picked up stones to kill Jesus merely because they thought he had a demon. That would have been absurd. Rather, they knew that "I AM" was a name reserved for God (Exodus 3:14). It meant a continuing and unchanging existence outside time. The Jews found it hard to accept that Jesus had been in existence before he became human. The truth is that Jesus was in the beginning with God and was God (John 1:1). 

It matters to me that Jesus is divine. I should not be quiet about the misinterpretation of this passage by some sects who do not believe in both the divinity and pre-existence of the Lord Jesus Christ. He was able to do the work he did because of his divine nature. He was in existence before Melchizedek. His atoning sacrifice is effective because of who he is. Likewise, the promises he made can only be taken seriously if we know the person who made the promises. Jesus, the I AM, promised to be with us until the end of the age. 

There is one Physician, who is both flesh and spirit, born and yet not born, who is God in man, true life in death, both of Mary and of God, first feeling and then beyond feeling, Jesus Christ our Lord. 
--Ignatius of Antioch 

Prayer: Dear Lord I trust you and I desire to be in your will and I wait on you....

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Truth Shall Set You Free

John 8:33-47


The Jews came to rely solely on being the physical seed of Abraham.  They favored and conformed to the ways of their world and abandoned the sacred and consecrated culture of an Abrahamic heritage.    Because the Jews did not practice the customs of Abraham, they were unable to recognize the truth about the type of freedom Jesus spoke about.   They didn’t realize that He wasn’t speaking of a physical bondage, but of spiritual shackles and hindrances.  He called them out as members of the devils household who are lustful, murderers and killers of Christ.  They were indeed, slaves to evil.  Why is it that we don’t always recognize when we are operating in ways opposite of how Christ would have us to be?   Or when being caught up or entangled in sinful circumstances or acts cause us to be slaves of the situation?  Often times, we make attempts to rationalize or justify something that clearly goes against the Word of God.   God’s chosen people are citizens of heaven and therefore, not of this world.   We do not conform to what the world thinks we should do or be fooled into thinking there will be no retribution for sin.   Just as Jesus called out the Jews, He will call us out on Judgment Day.  We have the opportunity, right now to be acquiescent to truth and salvation.   We cannot speak the truth if the truth is not in us.  We cannot be for Christ but yet keep one leg straddling the fence.  We cannot serve two masters.   The Gentiles were spiritual children of Abraham by faith.  We are all adopted into the house of faith, but it is up to us to recognize what binds us and prevents us from being children of light.  Romans 10:8 says, “the message is close at hand; and is on your lips and in your heart”.  Live daily by the message contained in the Word and remain steadfast and poised to distinguish the truth.   “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).


Heavenly Father, I pray for Godly wisdom and direction in my life.  Make clear to me the things that are unlike You and prevent me from being what You would have me to be or try to deter what You have purposed me for.  I pray for clarity of thought, mind and soul that I may recognize when something or someone is not of You.  In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

Reverend Khalima Jacobs
Baltimore, Maryland

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Truth Sets Us Free/ La Verdad Da Les Libertad

John 8:31-32

En mi vida como un persona joven, hay muchas cosas que distraer nos. Por ejemplo, los chicos, techonolgia, y a veces nuestras familas. Me parece que estoy en este catografia tambien porque con la absencia de mi padre, tengo fe  en cosas que no son importantes. No quiero ser una persona materialistica pero, por otro lado , es muy dificil para vivir con mis condiciones.  Tengo que confiar en Jesus porque su verdad me da libertad de mis pescados. La bibla les dijo que si el hijo les da libertad somos libertadas por segura. No soy perfecta y he duelo personas en la vida pero reconzco que quiero cambiar y necesito confiar en Jesus y las peronas que me duelos en pasado. Puedo obtener el fe y cambia mi vida por el mejor.  Puedo ser una persona buena de mi mama y los otros en mi vida. Quiero hacer una diferencia en mi vida y alabanzare el nombre de Dios para Vida!

La Oracion

Nuestro padre  en el cielo, el empieza y el fin

Por favor perdoname por que he pescado muchas veces en mi vida

Por favor enseneme la luz y la verdad para da me libertad

Por favor guardame en sus brazos fuertes y crearme un corazon nuevo

Tomarme y cambiarme para ser una persona mas honesto y confiazada. 

Dame el Fuerza para quedar bajo estema, temor y mientos detras de mi.

Usted es un Senor magnifico, alabanzare su nombre para todos las dias de mi vida. Soy su hija y por favor traerme  mas cerca de usted. 

En su nombre precioso y bendito 

En  el nombre del padre, hijo y el espiritu santo


English translation

In my life as a young person, there are many things that to distract us.  For example, the boys, technology, and at times, our families.  I think that I am in this category because of the absence of my father and I have faith in things that are not important.  I do not want to be a materialistic person but, on the other hand, it is very difficult to live with my condition.  I have to trust in Jesus because His truth gives me liberty.  The Bible told us that if the Son gives us liberty we are liberated for sure.  I am not perfect and sometimes I am sad but recognize that I want to change and I need to trust in Jesus and not the people who have hurt me in the past.  I can obtain the faith and change my life for the better.  I know I can be a good person in my heart.  I want to make a difference in my life and praise the name of God for Life!  

The Prayer

Our Father in Heaven, the Beginning and the End.  Please you forgive me because of the failures in my life.  Please teach me the truth that gives me freedom.  Please keep me in Your strong arms and create in me a new heart. Take me and change me to be a person who is honest and confident.  You give me the strength to leave fear and lies behind me.  Lord, You are wonderful and I will praise you all the days of my life. I am Your daughter, please draw me near to you.  In Your blessed and precious name… In the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit AMEN!

Tamer Lee W., Age 17

Chicago, Illinois



John 8: 12-20

Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.’ Then the Pharisees said to him, ‘You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.’ Jesus answered, ‘Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards;* I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father* who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.’ Then they said to him, ‘Where is your Father?’ Jesus answered, ‘You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.’ He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come. 


Today we are reminded that Jesus is the Light of the World! Isn’t it wonderful GOOD NEWS that when we walk with Christ, Jesus will illuminate our pathway? Often as humans we feel like we are stumbling around in the dark. We strain the eyes of our hearts to see what the future holds. We worry, fuss, and cuss when we feel like we don’t know what is going on around us! 

But, today we are reminded that the darkness is not dark to God! There is nothing that God does not know and nowhere that we can go—or hide—that God cannot see! Since this is true, we walk in bold confidence knowing that the bright light of God’s countenance leads us onward and upward to glory land!

Does this mean that the way will always be easy? No! Does this mean that we will always feel in control? By no means! But, if we make it our business to “hold to God’s unchanging hand” we will never be truly lost or alone.

The Pharisees had trouble getting a hold of this good news. They asked Jesus, “Who else can confirm that you are the light of the World?” Jesus answered, “Me and my Daddy say so!” 

Today, all three persons of the Holy Spirit bear witness to the fact that Jesus is the Light of the World! But, they ought not to have to bear witness alone. We are called to share this GOOD NEWS with everyone we meet. We all know people who are stumbling around in the darkness, devoid of hope, and empty without Jesus. Let us make it our business to go to them today and “offer them a light!”

Light of the World, shine on me, that I might reflect your light to others. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Rev. Yolanda Denson Lehman, M.Div.

Travelling Evangelist: AME Zion Church

Publisher: “Ain’ta That Good News?!”

A daily Christian devotional dedicated to making the GOOD NEWS easy to understand and easy to share! Monday-Saturday, I mediate on a Biblical scripture with an emphasis on evangelism. On Sunday, I post my sermon based on revised standard lectionary! Please read as you are able, and share as you are led!


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Missing God

John 7: 37-52

You will seek … and not find [the one] out of whose heart flows living water. 

John 7:34, 38 [paraphrased]

Two incorrigible siblings were sent to their pastor for counseling.  When the first child got to the office, the pastor opened the session by saying in a stern but loving voice, “Where is God?” The child looked at the pastor incredulously puzzled but remained silent.  Undaunted, the pastor said again, “Where is God?” This time, the child darted out the office, ran home and hid in the closet. When her brother asked what she was doing in there, she responded, “If I were you, I’d hide in here, too! God is missing, and they think we did it!” 

Can Jesus say of us: God is missing and I think my children did it?

The feast referenced in this passage contained many rituals, one of which involved pouring water on the altar to memorialize the water that flowed from the rock during the wilderness experience.  It unclear whether the people were then engaged in that ritual, but, at some point, Jesus cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let them come to Me and drink.” Perhaps Jesus saying pouring water had become a mere ceremony, devoid of God and that the people were so focused on the pouring water on the altar that they missed the living water in their midst?

As we journey to the cross, even as we share in the resurrection, engaging in its share of ritual, let us aim to seek Jesus. Otherwise, our fasting and praying becomes vain pieties. Like the religious people of Jesus’ day, God will be missing. And, we will miss God in our very midst. 

Is God missing from our efforts to seek God? 

Have we missed God in our efforts to find God?

Kathryn V. Stanley

Big Bethel AME Church 

Atlanta, Georgia

Monday, March 16, 2009

Jesus Teaches at the Feast

John 7:14-36 


14Not until halfway through the Feast did Jesus go up to the temple courts and begin to teach. 15The Jews were amazed and asked, "How did this man get such learning without having studied?" 16Jesus answered, "My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. 17If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own. 18He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him. 

For all you college basketball fans its March Madness, and with that comes all manner of what’s commonly known as “trash talking.” From the players, to the coaches, to the fans, there will be talk. Talk about whose team is better, whose fans are louder, and which team plays more effective defense. But it is on the court where the talking ceases and a team’s reputation is bolstered or crushed and the talk is exposed for what it really is; just talk or an announcement of the real thing.

In v14 we find Jesus in the temple doing, guess what? Talking. His teaching was and is revelatory and life-changing. The level of Jesus’ teaching was impressive to those Jews who heard it, but it prompted them to ask, “How does He know so much without being schooled?” (The Message) Based on what they knew about his background the $64,000 question was where did he get His skills? He wasn’t an alumna of a Division 1 Rabbinical school. And He wasn’t a graduate of the EFGH Holy Scripture Summer Camp. Who taught Him all that stuff? Just who was the fantastic teacher that produced such a brilliant student? 

Jesus told those assembled at the temple courts that day to, “Stop judging by mere appearance, and make a right judgment.” It takes spiritual discipline to be able to sit and receive knowledge, wisdom, and understanding from someone we believe has absolutely nothing to teach us, from someone we perceive is not on our level intellectually, spiritually, and/or socially. But hear the voice of Jesus, “Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.” As we draw nearer to Jesus during this time of fasting and sacrifice, ask God for the discernment necessary to recognize in the Sprit those teachers who don’t always look the part, but carry a teaching just for us that is not their own…It comes from the One who sent them.

Let’s Pray: Thank you in advance Lord for the spiritual insight, patience, and strength to hear and receive your Word from your chosen teachers. AMEN.

Colette Walker

Roselle, NJ

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Mark 5:1-20

Mark 5 greets us with Jesus and his companions in a boat crossing a lake to the Gerasenes where they dock.  As soon as Jesus steps out the boat, a man possessed by demons approaches him.  This demon possessed man lived and dwelled in tombs (think caves) where he would yell, cry out and cut himself with rocks, night and day.  Unsuccessfully, people tried to subdue this possessed man with irons and chains, but he broke them. 

At first sight, the demons in this man immediately recognize Jesus as the Christ and beg for mercy.  They plead that Jesus not destroy them, but rather send them in the nearby herd of pigs.  Jesus agrees and the demons leave the man to enter the herd.  The pigs run down a bank into the river and drown.  The man in the tombs is delivered, set free, healed!

I love this passage because it reminds me WHO is in control.  I am constantly trying to control the issues of my life and my surroundings.  I have tried to educate myself and acquire knowledge to insure a pleasant and prosperous future (I am smart. No, really!).  I try to eat healthy and keep my body in optimum working order (Except for the excess weight- Lord help!).  I have a supportive family that I love and who reciprocates love to me. I am surrounded with good, reliable, upstanding and gifted friends who I care for and who care for me. 

All of this and I am unemployed.  I know that I am not alone. I have friends and relatives in the same boat.  But, Lord, it is me!  I have prayed and cried about it.  I have looked for opportunities, and submitted resumes.  I have talked to "connected" people.  Some have promised things, but none have come through.  Nothing has worked.  Clearly, I am NOT in control of this situation.  Neither was the demoniac in control of his.

I went through periods of depression and feeling sorry for myself.  Then, one day I look up.  God speaks and lives in my life.  I am blessed.  I am able to pay my bills with a few consulting gigs.  I have a savings- not yet depleted.  I am starting a new business.  Even if these circumstances are not completely what I wanted or asked for, God is making a way! 

When I think of asking the Lord for something specific, I remember the demoniac bargaining with Jesus.  I’ve done that.  “Lord, if you just get me out of this mess, I will go to church...tithe...study the Bible...pray...visit the sick...blah, blah, blah!”  The Lord hears my cry, works out my situation and I start going to church- sometimes.  I study the bible sometimes.  Sometimes, I even put the name of the sick and shut-in on the prayer list.  Truth is, this bargaining I do is unnecessary.  Like the man in the tombs, my victory and deliverance is an act of Grace and Mercy.  GOD IS IN CONTROL!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for Grace and Mercy- even when I don’t deserve it; even when I don’t have the wherewithal to ask. 

Dara Davis

Memphis, Tennessee 

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Sometimes You Must Walk Alone

Based on John 7:1-13


It’s great to have close family and friends.  It’s also great to have close family and friends in our lives that will give us their best opinions and suggestions of how we should conduct our lives.   Suggestions may be of places to go and people to meet.  These suggestions may come from innocence or from the misunderstanding of who you really are and what your destiny really is. They may not know or have thought that God has placed you on a path only for you.  They may not think that it is better for you not to be seen with the “in crowd” all of the time.   

Of course, it’s okay to partake of any feast, festival, party, etc. but sometimes you must walk alone.   You will be surprised of new people you may meet or important information that may come to you regarding business or life saving circumstances.  The event may be so busy that you are not recognized by anyone. 

Walking alone will also allow God to reveal to you who your true friends are and for you to ripen your intimate relationship with him.  

So, take the time to walk alone and nurture your life on God’s path for you.

Felecia Teasley

Nashville, Tennessee 

Friday, March 13, 2009

I've Got a Testimony

John 5:30-47

Christians have always believed in including testimonies as part of regular worship services, revivals and especially Watch Night services. When I served as pastor in various congregations I included testimonies in the First Sunday worship services. Several members of the congregation would share their testimonies about the goodness of Jesus. Do we have a true testimony? Does our testimony stand on our faith in Jesus Christ?

Jesus gives a true testimony revealing who He is to those who doubt. He says, “I have come in my Father’s name and yet you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him”(5:43). Sometimes our allegiance is to those who preach and teach the Gospel, rather than to Jesus, the One of whom these messengers are speaking. Let us not be like the Jewish leaders who did not recognize Jesus as the Son of God. When we read and follow scripture and experience the love of God, we too will have a testimony about the goodness of Jesus Christ. Our testimony would be real because it stands on the solid foundation, Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Holy Father please let us reveal Jesus Christ in our lives today as a true testimony to others. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Rev. Pattie D. Hardimon

Nashville, Tennessee

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Here Comes the Judge

John 5:19-29

There are many court cases being tried on television today. There is Divorce Court, Judge Judy (who started the syndicated court drama), and Judge Brown just to name a few. If we want a day in court to resolve a petty problem, we can take it to one of these television judges.

Just as the Jews were sitting in judgment of Jesus for healing on the Sabbath— which was not a serious problem—people today are constantly judging one another over trivial matters. In the various court sitcoms, we see people taking each other to court over minor issues.  As the Jews tried to judge Jesus, they didn’t realize the case was already closed. This scripture passage says that Jesus can only do what His Father does and what He sees the Father doing. The works He does, the Father enables Him to do. The Jews evidently forgot or were unaware that at Jesus’ baptism He ascended up out of the water and God said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” (Mark 1:11 NIV)

Jesus is the true Judge assigned by God our Heavenly Father. Jesus says “whoever hears my word and believes in him who sent me has eternal life.” During this time of economic crisis, the only way to survive is to constantly believe in the Almighty True Judge and life-giver Jesus Christ. Jesus is the only true One who can decide whether we are to live eternally or be condemned to hell. Let us remember that our Savior has total control of where we spend eternity.

Prayer: Master, enable us to realize that Jesus is our true Judge who is in control of each decision we make in our lives. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Rev. Pattie D. Hardimon

Nashville, Tennessee

New Covenant Healing

John 5: 1-18


What an awesome experience to receive miraculous healings whether by the direct hand of God or the hand of medicine.  Jesus, the Master Healer, died and rose again not only for our sin, but to bring forgiveness and healing to the body of Christ at large.


Imagine trying to meet a doctor everyday, praying that somehow he would have the knowledge or skills to heal you.  Each day, you try to get into the office, but someone always beats you to the punch and you’re turned away.  Did you know that just one touch from the Master is enough to bring about new covenant healing?


At Jesus’ command, you can be healed instantly, according to the will of God.  Jesus did not touch the man at the pool, He told him, “Take up your bed and walk.”  Then Jesus reminded him of the covenant, which was to sin no more so nothing worse would come on him.  My brothers and sisters, we must meet every condition in order to reach new covenant healing.




Pray this prayer with me.  Oh gracious and heavenly father, through your son Jesus, I pray for supernatural healing like the healing received by the man at the well.  Please remind me of the covenant that you made by allowing your Word to be hidden in my heart so that I will not sin against you.  Amen!

Lamario O. Stripling

Atlanta, Georgia

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


John 4: 43-54

“The man believed the word that Jesus spoke to him and went his way.” 

— John 4: 50b

This time was different. On this visit to Cana, Jesus had no need to dread the pinch of hometown skepticism toward His ministry. He received a warm welcome.  Had the Galileans not recently witnessed His miracles, would the welcome have been the same? Would the official have sought him to heal his son? 

Just like us, this official had an urgent need for Jesus. What he knew of Jesus was sufficient to draw him to ask Him to heal his son. This man took Jesus at His word and his son’s miracle would draw him and his family into relationship with Him. This official left his request with Jesus with no further beleaguering. Even when Jesus challenged his faith and belief, he was not deterred; he went his way in confidence that his son would be healed.

In times of prayer and fasting, we bring before God our needs for healing for others, self, relationships, habits, behaviors, prejudices—all the things that drive wedges in our connections with God and others. Like the official, are we leaving these requests with God and confidently walking away knowing that He has heard us and will answer us?

Walking away is telling God that we completely trust Him. 

Walking away is our act of surrender.

Walking away is walking closer to God.

Walk away. Walk toward the answer. God is at the end of the walkway with the answer in His Hand. Start walking...

Carlene Lenore

Kairos Community AME Church

Nashville, Tennessee

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Results of a Powerful Witness

John 4:27-42

Who have we witnessed to recently? As a preacher, I witness about Jesus every Sunday when I stand and deliver God’s Word to God’s people. I witness about God every week at Bible study. Does my witnessing have results week after week, Sunday after Sunday? Is my testimony as powerful as the woman in today’s devotional scripture?

Every time I read this text I am in awe. I am in awe because this lady who had just met Jesus had such a powerful witness that it changed the lives of an entire community.  Her testimony was simple: “Come see a man that told me EVERYTHING I had ever done!”  We live in a society were people need to hear the story just plan and simple. 

I recall my own witness, born and placed into foster care at two weeks of age. I have been in two foster homes; I have never known my biological family. I was told that I was not college material. I used to, and still do, have a stuttering problem especially when I get excited, but never when I am teaching or preaching God’s Word.  At one point of my life I had very low self esteem due to my dark skin and was made to feel that I was not attractive.  My first parents died 8 months apart.  But thanks be to God, I over came all those heartaches and obstacles in my life.

I finished grade school went on to Cheyney University and completed my degree.  Then, I went on to Turner at ITC and earned my degree there as well. I know now that I am an attractive educated Black Man. What is my point?  All of us have a story to tell! Jesus has done a lot of  great and marvelous things in all of out lives. And if we, like the Samaritan woman, would stop from our busy schedules and, with great urgency like her, drop everything and run down the corridors of our jobs the sidewalks of our communities, the corners of our city blocks and proclaim “Come See A Man, Come See A Man, that told me EVERYTHING I have every done!” then we would see results in our homes, jobs, communities and churches and the evidence of changed lives. 

So during this Lenten Season, let us share our testimony with someone.

Prayer; Oh Lord, give me that holy boldness that I so desire to have so that I can be a strong witness for you  tell of your unfailing love to all I come in contact with. Amen

Rev. Michael D. Washington, Pastor

Emmanuel AME Church

Dover, Delaware