It’s Never Too Latte For The Lord! (Assurance)


Want a grande Blessing from the Lord?  It’s not a ‘tall order’ for Him to make a way for you!  The power belongs to God.  He presides . . . even when our political leaders, bosses at work, or friends disappoint us.

While it may seem too latte (too late) at times, trust God will be right on time.

God’s grace, his unmerited favor, is sufficient.  While you may have bold prayer requests, trust that the Lord can do more than you can ask or imagine – a blessing may be just around the corner.   While what he delivers may not be ‘exactly what you ordered’, it may be exactly what He feels you need – for the moment.

  •  You can get a refill!  He’s not a one-blessing God.

So the next time you’re enjoying an espresso at Starbucks (or your favorite coffee shop), meditate on what you need to express in your prayers to your Heavenly Father.

  • Meditate on the benefits of praising Him in advance.  Know, as his child, it ain’t over until God says it is over.  Remember, the Lord’s words NEVER come back to him void. Never.

So praise the Lord and enjoy your latte. Thank you, thank you Jesus.  

Lastly, never forget this one truth: It’s never too latte for the Lord!

But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.

The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

2 Peter 3: 8-9 NIV

  • Hallelujah, salvation, and glory.  

66 Assurance Way


Photo credit: jpellgen/flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

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Christ’s Tomb: An Exit, not a Residence!

The Tomb where Jesus Christ was placed after being crucified:

An Exit, not a Residence

Pastor James A. Webster, Oak Ridge First Baptist Church

Preaching his 42nd Easter Sunday Sermon (4/16/17)


Houston: Hang On In There

What you gonna do when your back’s against the wall?

How you gonna smile when it seems that hope is lost?  Tell me.

My prayers are with the people in the city of Houston . . . and the states of Texas and Louisiana. This song’s title and lyrics came to mind this morning as I watched what the wind and rain of Harvey has done to your communities in the last few days. Hang on in there.


What you gonna do when your back’s against the wall?

How you gonna smile when it seems that hope is lost? Tell me

What you gonna do when you need a little more grace?

How you gonna respond when they try to test your faith?


What you gonna do when your strength gets a little weak?

What song will you sing when you’re feeling incomplete?  Tell me

What you gonna do when you try and almost slip?

What you gonna do when it seems you’re losing your grip?


Hang on, in there

Hang on, in there

   Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

John14


Lyrics from Kierra “Kiki” Sheard, “Hang On” (GEI)

Faithful Christians: Endure, Your Troubles Won’t Last


But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.

2 Corinthians 4: 7-9 NIV


For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.  So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

2 Corinthians 4: 17-18 NIV


John1466 Assurance Way

Spiritual Encouragement & Empowerment

For Times Like These, Power Belongeth to God

“There is nothing too hard for God

Nothing, too hard for God.

Power belongs to God.”

HEZEKIAH WALKER


While the news you hear may cause you to fear, remember this: The ultimate power belongs to God.  No one else!  Nothing is too hard for God.  Nothing.

  • Omnipotent, the Lord is two other things as well: Omniscient and omnipresent. Therefore, his knowledge and presence make the ‘power in his hands’ a mighty force for you – and all his children.  If he were uninformed and absence (from most places) his true power would be greatly limited, right?

This gospel classic by Hezekiah Walker and the Love Fellowship Crusade Choir conveys the assurance that all Christians benefit from.  He has all ‘power in his hands’.  This post seemed the perfect way to end this blog’s third anniversary Series; 66 Assurance Way was launched on the third Sunday of September 2013.

  • For times like these, power belongeth to God. So serve and trust the Lord for the rest of your life.

I’ll end with the words that are powerfully sung at the beginning of this Hezekiah Walker song:

Trust in the Lord at all times
Pour out your heart before Him
Power belongeth to God

God has spoken once
And twice have I heard this
Power belongeth to God

Who can search His understanding
His thoughts higher than ours
All power’s in His hands
For my life He has a plan


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

Sermon Says: Hopefulness, God’s Presence, & Racial Harmony

If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality

that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be.”

Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Keeping the Courage to Be: Your Hopes, Your Dreams

Dr. Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I am personally the victim of deferred dreams, of blasted hopes, but in spite of that . . . I still have a dream, because, you know, you can’t give up in life. If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream. I have a dream that one day men will rise up and come to see that they are made to live together as brothers”. [Emphasis added]

These words are from the last Christmas Sermon (December 1967) that King delivered, prior to his assassination in 1968. The importance of having hope and having dreams are expressed in this sermon by the embattled civil rights leader.   Racial harmony is based in all people really ‘living together as brothers’.   Therefore, simply uttering the word Unity in a single speech doesn’t mean that a diverse, divided country is magically transformed!  In the 1960s, when I was a young child living in New York, or now.

Sadly, in 2017, nearly fifty years after the death of MLK from an assassin’s bullet, we’re still a nation that judges people too often on their color – not their character.   Men of God like the other man who I showcase in this post, Rev. Noah Van Niel, give me hope that MLK’s dream is still possible.  A deferred dream, not an impossible dream.  

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Your Soul: A Stronghold Against Hate and Fear

Rev. Noah Van Niel

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. Our lives are liable to be molded and shaped by all sorts of forces beyond our control. But our soul—that bit of God that resides in each of us—is unchanging in that it is always pure, and righteous and good and it is always there no matter how much hatred, or anger, or worry, or fear is piled on top of it. And it will, always, have the last word”. [Emphasis added]

In that God has the final say, your soul will have “the last word”.  Period.  End of discussion.  This powerful Sermon was delivered on the Sunday after the recent Elections (11/13/16) by Rev. Van Niel.  I thank my friend Thomas, who I profiled in “When Hate Arises, Silence is Tacit Approval: One Man’s Story, for bringing this Sermon to my attention.  I’ve personally thanked Rev. Van Niel for delivering a message I, and many others, needed to hear!

The eloquence and empathy of this young, white Priest was one of the most calming things I experienced in the days after the candidate I didn’t vote for won.  To this fifty-something Black man in NC (yes, NC . . . Pray for me!), God knew I needed something compelling, spiritual, and anointed to deal with the changes I was enduring.  Reflecting on this Priest’s words was part of my own post-election strategy to not loss hope – when the candidate I voted for lost (in the Electoral College).  

God’s presence in our souls is something no Christian should take for granted.  Your soul is a stronghold like no other!


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Strategies for Dealing with Life’s Storms

Leslie Vernick

The sermons of Dr. King and Rev. Van Niel serve as a foundation for the insightful strategies which Leslie Vernick offers.   In times of disappointment and discouragement, even the most abiding Christians may feel like they can’t go on.  Sermons, without specific coping strategies, may not have had the impact the Lord desired for this post today – my first in 2017.   

In “5 Ways to Stop Discouragement from Getting the Best of You” Vernick offers some spiritual steps that you can take when facing disappointment.   They are in my humble Christian opinion a very good complement to the pulpit-delivered words of King and Van Niel.   

  • After offering four ways that abiding Christians can be discouraged, Vernick offers “five (5) steps you can take when you start to feel the black cloud of discouragement swallow you up“.   With ‘the God in you’ that is your soul, with ‘that courage to be’, and your dreams, you CAN deal with tough times like a champion.  You can go on!   The steps, described poignantly in her article, are:

1. Be honest.

2. Take care of your body.

3. Pay attention to your thought life.

4. Train yourself to “see” life out of two lenses at the same time

5. Press close into God


Link to full Sermons:

 


Our soul—that bit of God that resides in each of us— is

unchanging . . . and good and it is always there no matter how much

hatred, or anger, or worry, or fear is piled on top of it”.

Rev. Noah Van Niel



Photo credits:

Bible – honorbound/fickr  (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson & Rev. King – U.S. Embassy New Delhi/flickr  (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Cross – Dave King/flickr  (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)