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

Christian Assurance: Putting it ‘All In His Hands’

This and that, I put it all in His hands,

He can handle it that’s a fact, I put it all in His hands”.

~ Varn Michael McKay, “All in His Hands”


At it’s core, the assurance that Christians have lies in our ability to know we can put our lives in his (God’s) hands. The vision and name of this blog, 66 Assurance Way, rests in Christian assurance and the sixty-six books of the Holy Bible.  There are I feel 9 pillars of Christian Assurance.  

“All in His Hands”, written by Varn Michael McKay, entered by spirit a couple of weeks ago – and lingered.   First recorded by Dr. Charles Hayes & The Cosmopolitan Choir, featured on their release “Turn It Over to Jesus” (1989), it has a simple and divinely joyful nature that I love!  It seemed fitting for the third anniversary Series I started last month.

  • The anointed Gospel video (First Baptist Church of Glenarden Combined Choir, Landover MD) and uplifting words (lyrics below) each stand on their own. The Baltimore choir’s video is phenomenal!   
  • Remember: If you have a burden, problem, or question, you can put it in his hands. Turn it over to Jesus!  What can he handle?  ‘This and that’.   Yes, this and that.  

All In His Hands

Verse 1
All in His hands,
I put it all in His hands.
(repeat)
All of my burdens, problems
if I have a question;

Chorus
I put it all,
yes, I put it all;
I put it all in His hands.

Verse 2
Whatever the problem,
I put it all in His hands.
I know that He can solve them,
I put it all in His hands.

Verse 3
This and that,
I put it all in His hands,
He can handle it that’s a fact,
I put it all in His hands.

Bridge
No matter how great or small
He’s the Master of them all

Chorus


 Greg Silverthorne

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

She’s Got the Anointing, They Got the Word: Mosie Burks

mosie-burks


She’s got the anointing, they got the word!  As I watched and kept rewatching this powerful video, “They Got the Word”, I wasn’t quite sure why I kept being drawn to do so.  Over and over again.  

  • The amazing energy of the truly anointed lead singer? (Indisputably anointed, Mosie Burks‘ gray hair suggests she wasn’t ‘born last night’/Smile)
  • The power of the fully-robed choir of gifted men and woman she led? (Mississippi Mass Choir)
  • The gospel song’s skillful leveraging of a scripture I didn’t know well? (Revelations 21, the second to last book in the Holy Bible)

Likely all of the above I’d say. Last July, a few months before the 3rd Anniversary of this blog (Sept. 21, 2016), I learned more about the talented choir – and the lead singer of this spirited song. This post seemed a good one to begin the Anniversary Series I promised in September.


Mosie Burks’ dynamism and anointed spirit are a joy to watch in this video! Frankly, she exhibits energy and moves that you’d expect from a woman twenty years her junior.  She was about 66 or 67 when this video of the 1999-released song was recorded.  As of July 2014 she was STILL touring with the Mississippi Mass Choir. They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  If you watch this video, I promise you’ll be amazed at how she makes this song come alive.  When she retired from her former job, as a telephone operator (South Central Bell after 23 years) who knew she’d be answering another kind of call?  I’m so glad she did.

If you look at the tag cloud on my Home Page, you’ll know that I regularly feature gospel music videos and lyrics on this blog. When I realized about four years ago that I couldn’t lead a song if my life depended on it (smile), I had a fellow church member -who is a great singer- encourage me to ‘sing with my keyboard-typed words’ instead.  She knew what my true talents were.  

  • For the record, I made an attempt to lead a song – “Company”/The Nevel Sisters – and it was a mild disaster!  I realized that what I WANTED to sing I couldn’t, and that what I could (reasonably) sing I didn’t want to sing.  Like having a Tercel budget and Lexus desires when car shopping.  I sing harmony, tenor, in the background; that’s a role that’s within my God-given talents.  

How did I come to this song? The choir I’ve sung with for over 7 years (Gospel Choir, Oak Ridge First Baptist Church) sings this song.  It’s one of my favorite. Moreover, the well-produced video is phenomenal!  Looking at Mosie Burks, I subconsciously feel that when God has my back I can do all things. All things! You can too.


Who is Mosie Burks?

  • Long a local singing favorite at churches around Jackson, Miss., she was instead talked into [after retiring] joining the Mississippi Mass Choir and has spent the past two decades traveling the world as the hugely popular ensemble’ s star soloist.”
  • “When she walks on the stage, the audience automatically rises to their feet,” says Jerry Mannery, 62, the choir’s executive director and one of its songwriters. “Whether it’s in the U.S., in Africa, in Spain or in Greece, it doesn’t matter. People just recognize that there is something special about her. The scripture says, ‘Many are called, but few are chosen.’ She’s really chosen.”
  • Burks was the third of 13 children born in Forest, Miss., to migrant-fieldworker parents. Picking cotton didn’t suit her health, however. . . She says she was the only member of the family who attended church. “My mom would wake me,” Burks remembers. “She’d have my little dress pressed and comb my hair, and down through the field I would go.”
  • She got married when she was 21. “Also when Burks was 21, her mother died and her father abandoned the family, leaving her to help raise five of her younger brothers and sisters until they were old enough to go out on their own.  She worked as a maid before being hired by the telephone company.
  • Burks has three children by her first husband, who died in 1984, and seven stepchildren by her second and current husband, Willie Burks.
  • “I still enjoy traveling, even at this status in life,” said Burks in 2014.  “I give God the glory and thanksgiving every day that I am still able to get up and go and do.  It was just beyond my imagination the things the Lord has allowed me to be a part of.  Amen to that.”

Source: “Mosie Burks, Mississippi choir to make Richmond appearance”, Lee Hildebrand, San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 2014.


mississippi-mass-choir

To see someone render this song with such intensity, at any age, would be impressive. To be in her late 60s when this video was recorded and doing it so well makes it even more so; at age of 81 (July 2014) Burks was STILL touring with the group.  Through him who strengthens us we can do all things.

In an interview, Burks cited 3 scriptures which serve as sources of divine encouragement for her:


The song, “They Got The Word”, conveys a basic tenet of Christian life: Eternal salvation is possible for all abiding children of God. In life, whatever earthly tribulations we endure are simply temporary. They won’t last. Moreover, heavenly triumphs await us when we go up yonder. For those who pass through the Pearly Gates, as Burks puts it there will be “nothing, nothing, nothing but Peace”. For all who get there they’ll be able to “Crown him, crown him, crown him Lord of Lords” (Refer to Revelations 4 and 14).

When a 57-year old cousin of mine passed away last year, I couldn’t get this Mississippi Mass Choir led by Mosie Burks video out of my mind!  As stated in the 21st Chapter (Verses 4 – 6) of Revelations:

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.


Greg Silverthorne

66 Assurance Way


Photo credits: Video screenshots, “They Got The Word“, Pannellctp Traditional Gospel Music.

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