“We Made It” / Hezekiah Walker and the LFC

No weapon formed, Shall prosper against us.
I made it this far, by faith.
My future’s brighter than my today.
I’m holding on to my praise, I made it.
I survived.



LYRICS

We made it, we survived
When the enemy came in to threaten our lives
God lifted a standard, Divine protection
No weapon formed, Shall prosper against us.
I made it this far, by faith.
My future’s brighter than my today.
I’m holding on to my praise, I made it
I survived.
I’m a Survivor!! (x3)

Let’s Stand in liberty
Let’s Walk in unity
Let’s Pray continually
We made it
We made it (x3)


For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.

Psalm 27:5 NKJV


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I Sang, I ended a Storm (My Singing Testimony)

At times in life, you just need to ‘tell a storm’:

Go away, My God surrounds me!

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The killing of 9 members of the Mother Emanuel AME Church on June 17, 2015, by a racially-violent white man, was senseless and sad!  As an African-American man born two years before the Birmingham Church bombing, I’m not sure which bothered me more, the racial hatred of the shooter or the place (a Charleston SC church) where he chose to kill the nine Black Bible Study participants.  I published “The Christ is Right: Go Get Your Prize” on June 14th.   After learning about the tragedy in SC 3 days later, I hit a ‘wall’.   It wounded my desire to think and write ‘in the spirit’ for this blog.

To know that a massacre, reminiscent of the 1963 Birmingham Church bombing in Alabama, could still happen in 2015 deeply saddened me.  That a white florist in Shelby NC took the bold actions (June 18th) which allowed the shooter to be promptly captured was very reassuring.  I’m not sure if that would have happened 52 years ago.  Moreover, 2 days after the SC shooting, seeing how forgiving the Black Christian families were to Dylann Roof was a pleasant surprise.  While the Bible tells us to be forgiving, that’s easier said than done!  In spite of these 2 facts, and the quickness with which Roof was captured, I still had this subtle but lingering bitter feeling that wouldn’t go away.  The closest thing I can personally recall that felt similar was the feeling I got after the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001.

  • As a Christian, what do I do for God and my church?  I’ve been a member of the Gospel Choir at my church since 2009.  I’ve been blogging here on 66 Assurance Way since September 2013.  These two things, along with the Dare to Work Ministry I founded at my church, are part of what I do as a Christian.  They are part of my walk.

As God felt my pain, in the months after the mid-June church shooting, he crafted a way to deal with it.  With my choir’s Anniversary just a few weeks ago, my fellow members and I had to learn 4 new songs. That involved 3 ½ hours of practice (!) on two days.  Moreover, in preparation for a local missions convention, a choir, one made up of the members of all five church choirs, was assembled; we practiced once.  Ironically, Blessed Assurance was one of the songs the Mass Choir practiced.

So, the ground work for the Lord’s plan was set.  I can see God saying the following to himself:

Greg is not taking the killing of Mother Emanuel 9 in South Carolina well.  I need to deliver a real big blessing to get him through this trial.  3 choir practices for two different choirs, in preparation for 2 singing events, will do the job!  I need him back in my Christian blogging army.  I can’t forsake him now.

66AssuranceWay blogger


I think my now you see where this story is going.

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Just a Shadow, Yes Just a Shadow (Faith)

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Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psalm 23:4 (KJV)

I love it when I discover an insight into a Bible verse that had previously alluded me.  Given how familiar the 23rd Psalm is, that a mid-Summer Sermon would give me a new perspective on ‘I walk through the valley of the shadow of death’ was even more joyful.

When a sermon, song, or scripture lingers in my mind, I sense that the Holy Spirit is trying to reveal something to me.   The scripture which led this post, Psalm 23:4, will be explored.

For starters, what’s a valley?   The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines it two ways:

  • “An area of low land between hills or mountains”
  • “A low period, point, or level”

The Shadow of Death in your Valleys (July 5, 2015)

As I sat on July 5th listening to one of the Associate Ministers at my church, Rev. Percy Pass (Oak Ridge First Baptist Church), give a sermon I wasn’t sure what to expect frankly.  While I’d enjoyed the last sermon he’d given, anytime anyone other than my Pastor (Dr. Rev. James A. Webster) gives the Sunday Sermon, I’m not sure what kind of experience awaits.  The Scripture for the minister’s Independence Day weekend Sermon:  Psalm 23.   As Rev. Pass proceeded, I can say I was fully pleased with what I heard.  As I exchanged several approving glances with my smiling, 83-year old father, I knew I was not the only one in the sanctuary that Sunday morning who felt this way.

  • He made one statement in the midst of the Sermon that, as soon as he uttered it, I couldn’t get it out of my mind.   I am paraphrasing here:

David wrote about walking through a valley of the shadow of death, not a valley of death.

Rev. Pass put an emphasis on the word not.  Guess what?  The Lord puts an emphasis on keeping all his sheep safe and comforted!  

As I returned to my Church Journal (with my Sermon notes) a few weeks later, I realized how much I’d missed in reading this one familiar verse (Psalm 23:4) of the Holy Bible.  As my seasoned Pastor has said on many occasions: ‘I saw something new in reading this scripture this week’.

  • If he can say that, I don’t feel bad that all the meaning in every Bible verse I read isn’t revealed when I first read it.   Bible Study, in a group and solo, has it’s benefits!
  • An active member of a mid-sized Missionary Baptist church in the Greensboro NC area, I can say that I haven’t heard many bad sermons.  Rev. Pass’s sermon touched my spiritual heart.  Without it, the blog post you are now reading would never have been published.

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A Stranded Sailor’s Story: 66 Days of Praying

ScreenHunter_1319 Jun. 06 13.50When I first heard about this story, on the day before Good Friday, I saw God’s fingerprints all over it. When I read about the man’s praying and demonstrated faith, and that of his parents, I knew God had surely sustained and saved this grateful man.

  • Do you believe in miracles?
  • Do you remember the pilot (Chesley “Sulley” Sullenburger) who landed a US Airways plane with over 150 people on the Hudson River in 2009? (geese flew into the engines, which disabled them).  Not a single life was loss!
  • Jesus Christ was in the wilderness 40 days (Matthew 4) and prayed.  While the Devil sought to tempt Jesus while he was in a vulnerable situation, he wasn’t successful.

As reported in Christian Examiner, Rescued sailor: ‘I was just praying to God’ (4/3/15):

 “I was just praying to God, ‘please protect me,'” to survive the 66-day ordeal, [Louis] Jordan said after returning safely to land.  According to CBS News, he said he had not had much time on the water before the incident.   But details about his disciplined approach to survival appear to belie his claimed inexperience at sea . . .

He limited his water intake to about a pint a day, praying daily, “‘Please God, send me some rain, send me some water,” he told WAVY TV in Portsmouth.

Tell it, Tell it: Your Christian Story

“God’s Been So Good To Me, I Cannot Cannot Tell It All.

He’s Opened Doors For Me, I Cannot Cannot Tell It All.

He Made A Way For Me, I Cannot Cannot Tell It All.

He Supplies My Every Need, I Cannot Cannot Tell It All”

~ Chicago Mass Choir, “I Cannot Tell It All”

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As I noted in Your Stories: The Roots of your Christian Life:

The stories of your life are what define you as a unique person and child of God . . . Everyone has a story, a set of stories to be more exact, that I feel stand as the roots of their life.   As Christians, the soil in which those distinct roots are planted includes, in part, our spiritual values.

What you have personally ‘been through’, endured, and achieved is revealed in your stories.   Know the stories, know the man.   Have you heard a story this year that still lingers in your mind?

As I approach the end of this Series, I felt I needed to explore a few things not explored in that early-Series post last year.


Be a Willing Witness, not a Silent Witness

Whether in spiritual warfare, or a legal battle, being a silent witness can have a major impact on how things ‘go down’. As I sat in Bible Study last March, the nature of survivor’s guilt was discussed. The importance of witnesses was emphasized. The Tuesday night fellowship teacher explained, ‘God always leaves one’ to serve as a witness to others.  While talking about surviving a dangerous situation, it became clear -to me at least- that the role of being ‘the one’ and telling one’s story was important in many situations, ordinary and extraordinary.

Telling one’s story, be it an escape from Danger or an unexpected, timely Blessing you’ve received, is an important part of Christian life.   For you to hear a story, it has to be told first, right?  Abiding Christians should tell stories when suitable opportunities arise.   Doing so pleases the Lord; as well, it’s displeasing to the Devil.

LESSONS:

  • Be a Willing Witness, not a passive Silent Witness

  • Tell it, don’t keep it (your story) to yourself

  • Be it a Praise Report or a Testimony, speaking in public-or a face-to-face meeting- availeth much

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Our Stories, Our Praise, Our Worship (2015)

3228415990_30e954dd17_bOur Stories, Our Praise, Our Worship Series

Final Posts (2015):

  • ‘Real’ Christian Living: 6 Potent Pillars (Worship) – January 2015
  • Your Praise (2 posts, February 2015)

Series so far  (2014) . . .

Stories

Worship

Greg Silverthorne, 66 Assurance Way

66AssuranceWay blogger


 Photo credit: Shane Gorski (Taken on Mt. Olympus in 2009; CC)