Another Chance: The Forgiving Nature of a Gracious God

A Contrite Sinner’s Prayer for Pardon

Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; According to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions.  Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity And cleanse me from my sin.  For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.  Psalm 51: 1 – 3 (NASB)


I’m sorry, forgive me
Clean me up, Jesus
I didn’t mean to hurt you, or desert you
‘Cause I love you so much
I admit it, that I did it
I didn’t mean to let you down
Please Jesus turn my life around
And give me another chance

~ Dallas Fort Worth Mass Choir

 


Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice. Hide Your face from my sins And blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51: 8 – 12 (NASB)

Good Friday: It is finished . . .

Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they

do not know what they do.”  Luke 23:34a

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, “I thirst!” Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth.

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. 

John 19:28-30


 66 Assurance Way

Photo credit: Arby Reed/flickr (CC)

Jesus: The ‘Stranger’ from Galilee (Brenda Waters w. Tri-City Singers)

There is a stranger in town

He’s given sight to the blind

He is a great emancipator

He turns water to wine


 Do you know the man?  Do You?  Do You?


Praise the LORD, all you nations; extol him, all you peoples. 

For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.  Psalm 117

In Every Circumstance

“I will keep you in Perfect Peace
All who’s mind stayed on me.
I will keep you in Perfect Peace
All who’s mind stayed on me.
The earth is the Lord’s
And the fullness thereof.
The world and they that dwell therein
It all belongs to Him”.
Keith Pringle (2010)

josephsdailywalkwithjesus

weary Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.] John 14 27 Holy Bible Amplified Version

It amazes me when I reflect back on my times of trouble and see the Holy Spirits awesome hand silently at work through it even though it did not feel as if He even cared much less was there . We have been through financial drought , fire of sickness, anguish of losing a loved one so very close to my heart , the strength for battle when the forces against me out numbered me and out powered me .

In every circumstance Jesus is there even though many times it…

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I am the Way / Holy Week 2017

John14


1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.

2 In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.

4 And where I go you know, and the way you know.”

5 Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, and how can we know the way?”

6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

7 “If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.” John 14 (NKJV)


Happy Palm Sunday

from 66 Assurance Way

Christians: Be ‘Unsilent’ About Things That Really Matter (2016 Election)

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Martin Luther King, JR

 


In the 3 days following the 2016 Election, 3 NBA Coaches offered heart-felt statements that I found to be timely and vividly-expressive – and that I agree with.  While I can’t say that any of them are Christians, all three seem to be morally-grounded men.  While one of them is known to speak from time to time on social issues (Steve Kerr), the other two (Stan Van Gundy and Gregg Popovich) aren’t – but were refreshingly frank and fervent in their Election week remarks.  With the Inaugeration of the 45th President Friday, today seemed a good time to share what they said in the aftermath of the Elections.

When juxtaposed against Rev. Noah Van Niel’s Sermon five days after the Election featured in Sermon Says: Hopefulness, God’s Presence, & Racial Harmony, I think these four men offer an enlightening perspective on the last eleven weeks in this country.

Excerpts of the coaches’ statements, emphasis added, are provided below.

  • Stan Van Gundy, Coach, Detroit Pistons

  • Steve Kerr. Coach, Golden State Warriors

  • Gregg Popovich, Coach, San Antonio Spurs

 


Stan Van Gundy

  • You read how [Trump] was embraced by conservative Christians. Evangelical Christians. I’m not a religious guy, but what the hell Bible are they reading? I’m dead serious. What Bible are you reading? And you’re supposed to be — it’s different. There are a lot of different groups we can be upset at. But you’re Christians. You’re supposed to be — at least you pride yourself on being the moral compass of our society. And you said, ‘Yeah, the guy can talk about women like that. I’m fine with that.’ He can disparage every ethnic group, and I’m fine with that”.
  • Martin Luther King said, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but bends toward justice.’  I would have believed in that for a long time, but not today. … What we have done to minorities … in this election is despicable. I’m having a hard time dealing with it”.
  • I have been ashamed of a lot of things that have happened in this country, but I can’t say I’ve ever been ashamed of our country until today. Until today. We all have to find our way to move forward, but that was — and I’m not even trying to make a political statement. To me, that’s beyond politics”.
  • I didn’t vote for (George W.) Bush, but he was a good, honorable man with whom I had political differences, so I didn’t vote for him. But for our country to be where we are now, who took a guy who — I don’t care what anyone says, I’m sure they have other reasons and maybe good reasons for voting for Donald Trump — but I don’t think anybody can deny this guy is openly and brazenly racist and misogynistic and ethnic-centric, and say, ‘That’s OK with us, we’re going to vote for him anyway.’  We have just thrown a good part of our population under the bus, and I have problems with thinking that this is where we are as a country”.

Steve Kerr

  • “I thought it took a lot of guts for Stan [Van Gundy] to say what he did and I think a lot of us feel similarly,” Kerr said.  For me, probably the biggest disappointment with this election was the level of discourse. There should be some level of decorum and respect and dignity that goes with the election. And it was like [that] went out the window. Maybe we should have seen it coming over the last 10 years . . . And I guess it was only a matter of time before it spilled into politics, but then you’re faced with the reality that the man who’s going to lead you has routinely used racist, misogynist, insulting words. That’s a tough one. That’s a tough one. I wish him well”.
  • I don’t know what else to say. It’s just the whole process has left all of us I think feeling just kind of disgusted and disappointed.  I thought we were better than this.  I thought the Jerry Springer Show was the Jerry Springer Show”.

Gregg Popovich

  • Right now I’m just trying to formulate thoughts. It’s still early and I’m still sick to my stomach.  Not basically because the Republicans won or anything, but the disgusting tenor and tone and all the comments that have been xenophobic, homophobic, racist, misogynistic, and I live in that country where half the country ignored all that to elect someone. That’s the scariest part of the whole thing to me”.
  • We live in a country that ignored all those values that we would hold our kids accountable for. They’d be grounded for years if they acted and said the things that have been said in that campaign by Donald Trump. I look at the evangelicals and I wonder, ‘Those values don’t mean anything to them?’ All those values to me are more important than anybody’s skill in business or anything else because it tells who we are and how we want to live and what kind of people we are.
  • We didn’t make this stuff up. [Trump’s] angry at the media because they reported what he said and how he acted.  It’s ironic to me.  It just makes no sense.  So that’s my real fear and that’s what gives me so much pause and makes me feel so badly that the country is willing to be that intolerant and not understand the empathy that’s necessary to understand other group situations. “I’m a rich white guy, and I’m sick to my stomach thinking about it. I can’t imagine being a Muslim right now, or a woman, or an African-American, a Hispanic, a handicapped person, how disenfranchised they might feel . . . The race baiting with trying to make Barack Obama, our first black president, illegitimate. It leaves me wondering where I’ve been living and with whom I’m living”.

Links to their statements:

Detroit Pistons’ Stan Van Gundy goes off on Trump: ‘Brazenly racist’ (audio and transcript)

Gregg Popovich uncensored: Full transcript of thoughts on Donald Trump (audio and transcript)

Steve Kerr on election of Donald Trump: ‘I thought we were better than this’ (transcript)


While Steve Kerr’s was the most diplomatic of the three, they all show the profound power of being unsilent – i.e. speaking up when situation warrants!  While you may not be as prominent as a NBA coach, your refusal to be silent ‘about the things that matter’ is a good thing too. 

As Kerr stated “There should be some level of decorum and respect and dignity that goes with the election”.   When he thought the mood of his players the day after Elections was due to a game his team had just lost, Van Gundy quickly learned – from one of the basketball players- that it was about who’d won the Elections that was causing them to feel the way they felt.  Neither Popovich or Van Gundy felt like talking about the games their teams had just played after making their statements to the reporters. 

As a Christian, being unsilent means, among other things, casting your vote in elections – and being willing to speak up when the outcome is one you find morally troublesome.  Many, including these three NBA coaches and myself, feel this is such an election.  If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have posted on 66 Assurance Way on a topic I typically have avoided: Politics.  Regardless of who’s in the Oval Office, remember the one who sits high and looks low.  The Lord is our Shepherd!

To God be the glory.

 Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

66 Assurance Way: Pressing towards the Mark in 2017

By Greg Silverthorne

“But allow me to offer a little bit of hope, a reminder of what the soul actually is and how it is constructed and valued. 

It is not external, it is internal.  It is not made, it is given.  It is not earned, it is instilled.  It is not of humanity, it is of God.

And as such, it is not subject to the changing winds of culture or politics.   It is more stable, more lasting, and more resilient than anything else we possess”. [Emphasis added]  

Rev. Noah Van Niel (11/13/2016)


John14As I approached the 3rd anniversary of this blog (Sept 21, 2016), I had envisioned an Anniversary Series beginning in late September – and ending by December 21st.  So much for my grand plans. Smile.

On December 20th I published a post that captured a lot of what had happened on and since the November 8th Elections. “When Hate Arrives, Silence is Tacit Approval” One Man’s Story” was surely an example of faith in action!

The results of the Elections exactly 2 months ago, and many events (good and bad) since then, caused me to postpone the launch of the Series – to mid-January.  The silence is tacit approval post, along with the first post of 2017 (“Sermon Says: Hopefulness, God’s Presence, and Racial Harmony”), are posts I felt deeply called to do.  The young Priest , Rev. Noah Van Niel, featured in the Sermon Says post is a phenomenally eloquent and empathetic man of God!  The words that led this post are from that Sermon by the way.  When I first read the Sermon he delivered -the Sunday after Elections- I was immediately moved . . . and knew I had to share his profound perspective on the soul as a Christian’s stronghold. 

66AssuranceWay blogger


While I’ve written in the last 3+ years on topics beyond spiritual encouragement and Gospel music, like worklife/career issues, I’ve generally avoided blogging on politics.  Notice the tag cloud in the right sidebar. I haven’t done a lot of deep blogging on race issues.  However, the events of the last 2 months, including some enlightening dialogues (and deep self reflection), have been unlike anything I’ve experienced in my 55 ½ years on this planet as an African-American!  As bad as things look at times, I trust that ‘all things will work together for the good’ (Romans 8:28).  I trust that God will keep being a Way Maker, and not forsake me, you, or any abiding Christian.

  • Silver linings?  Yes.  I’ve personally seen, and helped others see, the racial dynamic of the US in a more nuanced way.   As well I’ve seen some extraordinary actions that caused me to NOT loss faith in humanity; my faith in God remains changed!  So, in the words of the late Maya Angelou, I will -from time to time- be a ‘trailing wisp of glory’ in shining light on a dark place in America – race relations.  I have accepted your assignment God!

That said, I will continue to blog about Christian assurance, gospel music, worklife issues, and spiritual encouragement & empowerment.

  • I will publish a post that I first envisioned just after Labor Day next weekend.  The story behind a lead singer for the Mississippi Mass Choir (Mosie Burks) is one I love!  Like Tiffany Joy (singing “Amazing” with Ricky Dillard), Burks is an anointed singer with an intriguing life story.

Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way